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View Full Version : Electronics Camcorders....help?


KevB
09-22-2007, 11:45 PM
Did a search, doesn't look like we've had a camcorder thread in a while. My 5 year old JVC miniDV just died on me, so I'm in the market. It doesn't appear to be a good time, with HD hitting it's second year but still expensive and not terribly settled.

In SD, you've got miniDV tapes, hard drives, and DVD's. Almost too many choices to decipher.

I'm leaning away from DVD, as it's apparently difficult to edit and archive (other than the DVD itself).

HD just still seems too expensive and new, but that's obviously the future. I'm tempted to buy a reasonably priced SD that tide me over for 3 or so years, then buy HD at that point.

With all of that in mind, anybody have any thoughts or recommendations? I'm wide open at this point.

Camcorderinfo.com is a good resource, but I'm looking for first had ChiefPlanet recommendations.

Virtua Chief
09-23-2007, 12:32 AM
I've got a Panasonic GS500 (http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-PV-GS500-Camcorder-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B000DZFUIO). IMHO it is the best SD camcorder out there. It is larger than most other camcorders out there, SD or HD.

A lot of people on Camcorder Info recommend the Sony DCR-HC96 (http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DCR-HC96-Digital-Handycam-Camcorder/dp/B000E0I5AI/ref=sr_1_11/104-1053582-2815145?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1190528089&sr=1-11). I don't like Sony's consumer cams, mostly because of the touch screen, but it looks pretty nice and rather compact. If you want to go HD, the Canon HV20 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-HV20-Definition-Camcorder-Stabilized/dp/B000MUV6BA) seems to get really good reviews and the thing is tiny. If you don't have the means to edit or deal with HD footage, which needs a lot more memory and storage, you can always downconvert to SD when you capture video.

I really think you and anyone who is getting a camcorder should stick with MiniDV. I don't know much about Hard Drive cams, but I don't like the thought of having a such a finite amount of recording time and also the fragility of such drives. DVD camcorders are ok if you don't want to edit and really just want to be able to record about a half hour and then watch it on your TV. Camcorders that record to SD cards intrigue me, especially the new AVCHD ones, but they are hell to edit with apparently.

I like MiniDV because after you tape something, you have archived it. The tape is the archive. With Hard Drive cams you need hard drive space to store all your archives and burned mini-DVD might not be the most stable and secure media.

Good luck in your quest, do a lot of research and read reviews. Find what will best suit you in terms of price, quality, features, etc. As you said, Camcorder Info and their message boards are really good places to start.

KevB
09-23-2007, 10:46 AM
I've got a Panasonic GS500 (http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-PV-GS500-Camcorder-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B000DZFUIO). IMHO it is the best SD camcorder out there. It is larger than most other camcorders out there, SD or HD.

A lot of people on Camcorder Info recommend the Sony DCR-HC96 (http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DCR-HC96-Digital-Handycam-Camcorder/dp/B000E0I5AI/ref=sr_1_11/104-1053582-2815145?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1190528089&sr=1-11). I don't like Sony's consumer cams, mostly because of the touch screen, but it looks pretty nice and rather compact. If you want to go HD, the Canon HV20 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-HV20-Definition-Camcorder-Stabilized/dp/B000MUV6BA) seems to get really good reviews and the thing is tiny. If you don't have the means to edit or deal with HD footage, which needs a lot more memory and storage, you can always downconvert to SD when you capture video.

I really think you and anyone who is getting a camcorder should stick with MiniDV. I don't know much about Hard Drive cams, but I don't like the thought of having a such a finite amount of recording time and also the fragility of such drives. DVD camcorders are ok if you don't want to edit and really just want to be able to record about a half hour and then watch it on your TV. Camcorders that record to SD cards intrigue me, especially the new AVCHD ones, but they are hell to edit with apparently.

I like MiniDV because after you tape something, you have archived it. The tape is the archive. With Hard Drive cams you need hard drive space to store all your archives and burned mini-DVD might not be the most stable and secure media.

Good luck in your quest, do a lot of research and read reviews. Find what will best suit you in terms of price, quality, features, etc. As you said, Camcorder Info and their message boards are really good places to start.

Right now, I'm looking at the GS500, GS320 and the Sony HC96. I'm hesitant to pay the additional $200-$300 for the GS500, when I believe I'll want another HD camcorder in 3 years. The GS500 is rated better than the Sony and the GS320, but is it enough to justify the additional expense (especially for primarily a point and shoot family).

Virtua Chief
09-23-2007, 02:41 PM
If you want to plug in an external mic don't go with the GS320.

KevB
09-23-2007, 07:14 PM
If you want to plug in an external mic don't go with the GS320.

As I'm reading various reviews, etc....a plug in external mic seems to be a big issue. I've never even considered using one. Is it that big a factor, and how much does one cost?

Virtua Chief
09-24-2007, 02:10 AM
As I'm reading various reviews, etc....a plug in external mic seems to be a big issue. I've never even considered using one. Is it that big a factor, and how much does one cost?

It depends on if you want really good sound or not. The on board camera mic is ok for home movies and youtube, but it is what it is. The GS500's mic is not very good for me, so I got a Rode Videomic (http://www.amazon.com/RODE-VideoMic-Directional-Camcorder-Microphone/dp/B0007U9SOC). It runs 150 and it is a mono shotgun (meaning it picks up sound from whatever it is pointing at). It gets really good sound and was well reviewed. However, it is huge, even on the GS500. I can't imagine it on a smaller camcorder. You can find smaller and less pricey options, if you need one.

Mic inputs seem to be more rare on consumer camcorders. Out of the three you are looking at only the GS500 has one. It doesn't have a headphone jack, which sucks because I like to hear what I am recording, but there is a work-around. Some of the newer HD models have both inputs. Sony uses all Sony hardware usually, like Memory Stick Pro instead of SD cards. Their shoe (where the external mic or light goes) is Sony only, so you couldn't even use something like the Rode. You could use a Sony mic though.

kepp
06-05-2008, 07:40 AM
I'm entering the market for a new camcorder and this seemed like the best thread to resurrect. I have numerous questions. First, I know I either want a HDD or SD/CF camcorder. Here are a few I've been looking at:

JVC GZ-MG155 (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5750537) - won the "Best Low-End HDD/Flash" category in camcorderinfo.com's The Best Camcorders of 2007 (http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/CamInfo-Selects-2007-33545.htm)
Samsung SC-MX10 (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=9188680) - attractive price at ~$250
Samsung SC-HMX10 (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=9188679) - HD version of MX10

Here are my questions:

1. Should I even be looking at SD camcorders since I have started to go with my other electronics?
2. The Samsung SC-HMX10 has 8Gb of internal memory which it says will allow for 90 minutes of recording time. Is this true? I figured HD would take up more space than that.
3. If I do go with an HD camcorder, will I need to buy a blu-ray burner and special software for authoring? Right now I have a DVD burner and I use Nero to burn.
4. If I go with the Samsung SC-MX10 (SD), what size flash mem card should I get to allow at least 2 hours of recording?

Thanks for any help!

Frosty
06-05-2008, 11:32 AM
The guy I work with just bought a Canon FS100 SD camcorder. The thing is about the size of a Coke can and records to Secure Digital cards. I know video-philes complain about the compression that goes on in the camera but it looks great to me. Getting the files off of the camera is a breeze, too, and you don't have to go about with all of the capturing BS.

My understanding is that HD DVD authoring is still in the "it's a bitch" stage. Expensive burners, very little software and needing intensive computing power makes it tough at this stage, though it is definitely the future.

Lzen
06-05-2008, 12:40 PM
Here is what I just got for my daughter. Perhaps this one will work for you, too. ;)
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5996344

Lzen
06-05-2008, 12:54 PM
Ok I'll be serious now, Kepp. Here is what Cnet says:

The HMX10 records noninterlaced 1280x720 video using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 encoding, similar to that used by AVCHD. Unlike the typical AVCHD camcorder, the HMX10 requires only a class 2 SDHC card (2MB/sec) rather than a class 4 or better card (4MB/sec and up). That's because AVCHD camcorders generally record 1080i video with its concomitantly higher bit-rate needs. Because of the smaller files, you can also fit more video; for instance, the internal 8GB is rated to hold 88 minutes of best-quality video, compared with about 20 minutes for a 1080i AVCHD model. However, the largest single clip it will capture is 2GB--not a big problem, but one to be aware of if you need "set it and forget it" recording.

http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/samsung-sc-hmx10/4505-6500_7-32306196.html

Myself, I bought a Panasonic HDC-DX1 for Christmas for the wife. The price was very low for an HD camcoder (under $500 at the time). My HDC-DX1 encodes in the AVCHD format. That means that I can't play the dvds that it records on any regular dvd player. It has to be captured on a PC and then burned onto a disc. If you have a HD dvd player that plays the AVCHD format (such as a Blue Ray player) then you can just play them straight out of the camcorder.

That's the funny thing about my situation. I got a high def cam and I end up burning my vids into standard def dvds. :shake: Eventually, I will get a Blu Ray player and then it won't be a problem. I can, however, hook up the camera directly to my 42" HD LCD Vizio and the picture is really nice.

Lzen
06-05-2008, 01:00 PM
Oh, and one more thing. I bought Nero 8 Ultra Edition (Best Buy - $100) to edit my videos from this camcorder. It is decent software and able to read the AVCHD encoding. One thing, though. If you buy Nero 8 Ultra Edition, be sure to update it after you install. My vids came out very poor quality at first. I could not figure out anything in the settings to fix that. Finally, I updated the software and the vids come out just fine now.

VERY IMPORTANT - if you place a dvd encoded in AVCHD into a regular (or non AVCHD) dvd player, it may render your dvd player useless.

kepp
06-05-2008, 01:52 PM
Ok I'll be serious now, Kepp. Here is what Cnet says:



http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/samsung-sc-hmx10/4505-6500_7-32306196.html

Myself, I bought a Panasonic HDC-DX1 for Christmas for the wife. The price was very low for an HD camcoder (under $500 at the time). My HDC-DX1 encodes in the AVCHD format. That means that I can't play the dvds that it records on any regular dvd player. It has to be captured on a PC and then burned onto a disc. If you have a HD dvd player that plays the AVCHD format (such as a Blue Ray player) then you can just play them straight out of the camcorder.

That's the funny thing about my situation. I got a high def cam and I end up burning my vids into standard def dvds. :shake: Eventually, I will get a Blu Ray player and then it won't be a problem. I can, however, hook up the camera directly to my 42" HD LCD Vizio and the picture is really nice.

Thanks. I've read in several threads on avforums.com that most current HD camcorders have problems handling motion - moderate to heavy pixelation. Have you experienced any of this? Also, it doesn't look like that Samsung HD model is getting good reviews so I'm crossing it off my list.