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76S&S
07-11-2007, 02:55 PM
It looks like my old camcorder has bit the dust so I'm now in the market for a new camcorder and I am hoping to get some suggestions from you guys/gals. It's been quite a while since I shopped for one and am looking for some suggestions. Do you like the DVD, Mini DV, Hard Drive version or what. And what brand do you prefer? For photos I use Canon and like their product very much but I'm at a loss here.

Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

kingu
07-11-2007, 03:00 PM
I just bought this one for my Dad for his birthday. Touch screen and 40X zoom for $300. He really seems to like it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M3LUPO/002-5456310-0405637

76S&S
07-11-2007, 07:21 PM
Thanks kingu, any others???????

bigmac
07-11-2007, 07:45 PM
If you plan on doing any home editing, which can be done cheaply with iMovie on Macs or Windows Movie Maker, DVD-based camcorders are hard to work with. I prefer tape-based miniDV and I've been using both a Sony TRV900 and P5 for a few years with excellent results. I use both Premiere Elements and Final Cut Express (Mac) - I think the quality of FCE is better. I would much rather edit, title, and burn my own DVD in my Mac than have only the little DVD that the camera records.

You don't mention budget, but these days, if I were buying I'd look hard at an HD version. I'm partial to Sony's, but Canon's stuff is good too - just more image quality variability from camera to camera. My preference would be the Sony HDR-HC7, or the HD5 if I wanted to save $200 and forego the option of manual focusing. There's also the Canon HV10, but reviewers haven't been particularly kind to that camera and it appears to suffer badly in low light.

76S&S
07-12-2007, 10:47 AM
Thanks bigmac, I may take a look at the Sony products. I haven't decided on a budget yet, but nothing here seems to be too high.

bigmac
07-25-2007, 10:55 PM
Here's a recent CNet review of the HC7

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/07/24/sony.handycam/index.html

kingu
07-25-2007, 10:58 PM
I just bought this one for my Dad for his birthday. Touch screen and 40X zoom for $300. He really seems to like it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M3LUPO/002-5456310-0405637

since the above post, I bought myself the same one...I like it

87MCProstar
07-25-2007, 11:01 PM
Personally I am a Sony guy and use one of their miniDV's. its real easy to transfer to my computer and still keep a hard copy of the tapes.

Leroy
07-26-2007, 12:02 AM
I have looked a little lately and personally I would look seriously at the hard disk models. How long does it take to download the movies on HDD, I think you can jump around easily on the HDD in stead of tape where you have to move linear.

bigmac
07-26-2007, 09:16 AM
I have looked a little lately and personally I would look seriously at the hard disk models. How long does it take to download the movies on HDD, I think you can jump around easily on the HDD in stead of tape where you have to move linear.That would probably be a more valid point if your primary plan is mostly playback from the camera through your HD TV. Me, I only show people edited footage because I shoot a lot of footage on either end of a sequence to have room for editing. From an editing standpoint, the linear nature of tape isn't a drawback - little to gain from an HDD camcorder. Sony's tape transport mechanism in their camcorders is top-notch - something that they've done well for many, many years. Same is true for their tape quality - both of those things mature technologies with ubiquitous support systems from other integral mfgrs, especially on the non-linear editing software side. OTOH, harddrive-based camcorders are new enough that I'd be nervous about their reliable applicability and support for the things I need from a camcorder - mostly editing. The other issue I can see as problematic are those circumstances where I need to grab the camera for some spur-of-the-moment video only to find that I hadn't gotten around to downloading the video that was already on it. With a tape-system, I can just throw in a new tape cassette. I currently have about a half-dozen tapes sitting on my desk waiting for me to edit. I'd rather keep all that raw footage on those tapes than on my computer's hard drive.

Having said that, I certainly could see a harddrive camcorder as a nice, small, convenient take-along camcorder. That size might make it a good choice for someone who wasn't doing a lot of editing.

76S&S
07-26-2007, 09:28 AM
Well, I decided to go with the Sony Mini DV. After looking, I felt that this would meet our needs best. As with most things now days, you can spend as little or as much as you like. I went with something middle of the road.

uawaterskier
07-26-2007, 10:32 AM
I bought a Sony HC-36 MiniDV handy cam. Its really cool because its really small and lightweight. Several times I carry it in my cargo pocket. Also the touch screen LCD display is cool.

east tx skier
07-26-2007, 11:06 AM
My only gripe about the mini-dv cams is the slow transfer times (1x) for editing on the desktop. If I could convince myself that the hard drive cameras would be reliable, that'd be a feature I'd want. For the next camera, I think HD will be important to me as well.

dapicatti
07-26-2007, 11:33 AM
Is anyone using a tower mount for their camera? I would like to do this, and am shopping for a camcorder for this as well.

uawaterskier
07-26-2007, 12:08 PM
My only gripe about the mini-dv cams is the slow transfer times (1x) for editing on the desktop. If I could convince myself that the hard drive cameras would be reliable, that'd be a feature I'd want. For the next camera, I think HD will be important to me as well.
yes that is a real pain. 1x transfer isnt cool and it fills the HD up fast

bigmac
07-26-2007, 12:16 PM
My only gripe about the mini-dv cams is the slow transfer times (1x) for editing on the desktop. If I could convince myself that the hard drive cameras would be reliable, that'd be a feature I'd want. For the next camera, I think HD will be important to me as well.I don't understand. Why are you transferring to the computer instead of capturing for editing? The usual routine is to capture the desired clips from the camera. Capturing has to be 1:1 real time, sometimes even slower, Otherwise you can't accurately set the in and out points. Why would you be transferring the whole tape or parts of it blindly?

east tx skier
07-26-2007, 12:21 PM
I don't understand. Why are you transferring to the computer instead of capturing for editing? The usual routine is to capture the desired clips from the camera. Capturing has to be 1:1 real time, sometimes even slower, Otherwise you can't accurately set the in and out points. Why would you be transferring the whole tape or parts of it blindly?

Sorry, I am capturing using the editing software. I didn't realize that capture couldn't happen any faster. I thought the 1:1 was a function of transferring from tape.

I just presumed that the hard drive cameras wrote the info to the hard drive in a readable format, i.e., .avi or mpeg2, which I could just dump to the hard drive, then open in my editor. I can do that with clips from the digital camera transferred from the memory card.

bigmac
07-26-2007, 12:27 PM
Sorry, I am capturing using the editing software. I didn't realize that capture couldn't happen any faster. I thought the 1:1 was a function of transferring from tape.

I just presumed that the hard drive cameras wrote the info to the hard drive in a readable format, i.e., .avi or mpeg2, which I could just dump to the hard drive, then open in my editor. I can do that with clips from the digital camera transferred from the memory card.Capturing doesn't take place faster than 1:1 because most people wouldn't WANT it to. It would be pointless to upload an entire tape to the computer, then edit it later. Capturing faster than 1:1 is too inaccurate for editing.

OTOH, with an HDD camera, you HAVE to upload the entire disk, or you won't have any room for shooting later. In that case, you're not editing, just dumping for editing later. It wouldn't work for me since I don't want to store raw footage on my computer, only the edited clips.

If you're using editing software to capture an entire tape, you're using it for a purpose for which it was not intended, and in that case, those hard drive camcorders were invented for you...;)

east tx skier
07-26-2007, 12:52 PM
Capturing doesn't take place faster than 1:1 because most people wouldn't WANT it to. It would be pointless to upload an entire tape to the computer, then edit it later. Capturing faster than 1:1 is too inaccurate for editing.

OTOH, with an HDD camera, you HAVE to upload the entire disk, or you won't have any room for shooting later. In that case, you're not editing, just dumping for editing later. It wouldn't work for me since I don't want to store raw footage on my computer, only the edited clips.

If you're using editing software to capture an entire tape, you're using it for a purpose for which it was not intended, and in that case, those hard drive camcorders were invented for you...;)

The way we work with it, typically, is to shoot a fair amount of video over a period of time (close to a tape's worth), then dump it to the external hard drive queue for editing. When I have time, I edit that down into one or more titles and put them in a burn to disc folder/queue.

Rarely do I shoot 20 minutes and get so excited about it that I immediately dump it to the computer (but that happens occassionally).

My editing capture program has a timed stop point available, which I would suspect is available on the hard drive cameras so that you can dump as much as you want (as opposed to the entire 30 gig camera drive). But if it's all or nothing, as you suggested 30 gigs sounds like too much to sift through.

bigmac
07-26-2007, 01:54 PM
The way we work with it, typically, is to shoot a fair amount of video over a period of time (close to a tape's worth), then dump it to the external hard drive queue for editing. When I have time, I edit that down into one or more titles and put them in a burn to disc folder/queue.

Rarely do I shoot 20 minutes and get so excited about it that I immediately dump it to the computer (but that happens occassionally).

My editing capture program has a timed stop point available, which I would suspect is available on the hard drive cameras so that you can dump as much as you want (as opposed to the entire 30 gig camera drive). But if it's all or nothing, as you suggested 30 gigs sounds like too much to sift through.

I shoot about a tape's worth too, but for my purposes I see no reason to dump the tape to the computer unless it's to avoid buying more than one miniDV tape cassette. I'd rather store that content on the tape than on my hard drive, at 6.5 megabytes per second of video, most of which is not going to be used in the final edit.

I don't know how HDD camcorders dump their contents - maybe it can be done in sections, or at high speed. I do know that the AVCHD software that's used by Nikon and Canon for managing that stuff is reportedly glitchy and not user-friendly, but that's pretty typical when a hardware company like Sony, Nikon, or Canon tries to write software. It's one of the reasons I have little interest in that technology yet.

east tx skier
07-26-2007, 03:32 PM
I shoot about a tape's worth too, but for my purposes I see no reason to dump the tape to the computer unless it's to avoid buying more than one miniDV tape cassette. I'd rather store that content on the tape than on my hard drive, at 6.5 megabytes per second of video, most of which is not going to be used in the final edit.

I don't know how HDD camcorders dump their contents - maybe it can be done in sections, or at high speed. I do know that the AVCHD software that's used by Nikon and Canon for managing that stuff is reportedly glitchy and not user-friendly, but that's pretty typical when a hardware company like Sony, Nikon, or Canon tries to write software. It's one of the reasons I have little interest in that technology yet.

For the most part, we just reuse the DV tape. We're bad editors as it's mostly home movies and we resist cutting out any potential "priceless moment." It's only on the computer long enough to edit and transfer to DVD (we make lots of copies for relatives in case anything happens to our copies).

I've been using Pinnacle Studio 8.xx for the past 5 years for editing and Nero for menus and burning. Works fine and if one acts up, the other can usually pick up the slack (example, Pinnacle has trouble with some digital camera video, so I convert it with Nero). Camera is a Canon Z85. It's been good for just about everything except low light stuff. Our old sony hi-8 was better at that (and had a built in light).