Need tips and recommendation on buying a camcorder

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Luc, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 1999
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm looking for a camcorder around $700. Could spend a bit more if necessary. Our family has one of those Sony model using Hi8 tapes. I've seen in the market much smaller ones. Can someone tell me how those work? What kind of tapes do they use. I have no plan to use my camcorder in conjunction with a computer so I don't care about digital cards and so on. I like the smaller ones but if they're not right for me, I don't mind getting one that uses Hi8 tapes.
    This is for everday uses. It much be able to connect to my TV and be recorded onto a VCR. I do have a digital to composite adapter.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought one recently. It cost me £500 (that's UK Sterling). That's about as cheap as they go in digital ones.
    Here's the deal - only buy Digital. And then only buy Mini-DV. They are the mutt's nutts. Mine gives such a crisp picture and it's really easy to stick them on your computer as MPEGs.
    As Mini-DV cameras go up in price they only seem to get smaller and have more features but it's all just garnish really, IMHO.
    I've got to rush or I'd say more. Buy Mini-DV. Drool. [​IMG]
    Theo
    ------------------
    My band is @ http://www.mokita.net
    My Novelty Coasters
     
  3. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 1999
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Theo or anyone else.
    These Mini DV, can you diplay it on your TV or record it onto your VCR like those larger ones using analog/Hi8 tapes?
    How many hours can one of those card holds? There are just so many of them out there that I don't know where to start and I don't find the sales people useful.
     
  4. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 1999
    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    MiniDV camcorders generally have both composite and S-video outputs so you can hook them up to a TV for viewing or a VCR for copying. MiniDV looks so much better than analog that unless you're really on a tight budget I wouldn't bother with the analog camcorders.
    MiniDV tapes hold 1 hour in SP, or 1.5 hours in LP mode (not all camcorders support LP though). They are a bit smaller than 8mm tapes.
    Sony also has "Digital 8" camcorders--these record digitally onto 8mm/Hi8 tapes. IMHO, I only recommend these if you already have a library of analog 8mm/Hi8 tapes and want to be able to play them back on the new camcorder. As TheoGB said, MiniDV is the "mutt's nuts." [​IMG]
    Hitachi and Panasonic now make a camcorder that records onto DVD-RAM media, but this camera is quite pricey and larger in size than a MiniDV unit.
    KJP
     
  5. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just recently bought the JVC DVL-815 Mini-DV camcorder for about $750 at Best Buy. It's very cool. I'd highly recommend it. It has all kinds of neat special effects built in - PLUS the ability to shoot in anamorphic or non-anamorphic 16:9! I haven't had a chance to pick up a firewire card for my PC, but I can't wait to get it all hooked up and do PC-based video editing.
    The picture quality rocks!
     
  6. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,358
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah Mini-DV is tape - same size as a DAT tape, ie about 5 or 6 cm wide.
    You can get 80 minute ones but they are a lot more. E.g. at my local A/V media store: 1x60 min Mini-DV = £3.85; 1x80 min Mini-DV = £9!! [​IMG]
    I'm well impressed that there are anamorphic ones out there. Mine only does letterbox 16:9 unfortunately.
    So far my only problem with encoding to the computer has been that I have no program that seems to be able to do MPEG-1 compression on the fly. So I have to record .AVI files. These hit the win98 4GB file limit at about 17-20 minutes. DARN!!! So I have to split them up and then make the MPEG's from them.
    I guess it would be a shorter running time in NTSC.
    ------------------
    My band is @ http://www.mokita.net
    My Novelty Coasters
     
  8. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2000
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    1
    Luc, I've got the Sony DCR-PC110E which really is the business. Not cheap though. It uses miniDV tapes. It also has a built in digital still camera which records onto Sony's ubiquitous memory stick media. The stills camera possibly isn't as good as a separate DSC, but it's handy to have. It can also record MPEGs to the memory stick for sending via email etc.
    In theory you can capture the video footage to your PC via the new(ish) Firewire interface. You'd need a Firewire PCI card for your PC. Once the footage is in the PC it can be edited, and burnt to CD or DVD.
    As Theo says, the raw DV footage does take up a lot of space - if the file size is a problem then NTFS is the way to go, but the 9x OSs don't support this (XP/NT/2000 do).
    I think Sony may have brought out a newer model of the DCR-PC110E, something like the PC115 or PC120. Probably just got a couple of extra features, but it means that the older models are often heavily discounted at electrical stores.
    ------------------
    My HT My DVD Collection
     
  9. Craig Chatterton

    Craig Chatterton Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 1999
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey cool, I'm looking for a camcorder too! For a Christmas present. Where's a good place online to look for good prices?
    ------------------
    Virgo: All Virgo's are extremely friendly and intelligent, except for you. Expect a big surprise today, when you wind up with your head impaled upon a stick.
     
  10. JustinT

    JustinT Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2001
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was price shopping online a few weeks ago and found the cheapest prices at www.buydig.com . I've never bought anything from them, but the prices are great!
    ------------------
    My DVD's
     
  11. aeveritt

    aeveritt Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Sony MiniDV cameras really are nice. I just bought one last weekend. It wasn't the DCR-PC110 model mentioned in this thread (which is very nice) but it was a great deal anyway. It was the DCR-PC9 and was an "open box buy" for $375 out-the-door. They even threw in a pack of MiniDV tapes. This camcorder was selling for something like $1,300 new so I couldn't resist even though I already had a working 8mm model. This one still had the stickers and tags on it. The friend I was there with jokingly claimed that the alarm was going to go off as we walked through the door because I "stole" it. About a year ago he bought a JVC MiniDV camcorder and spent about $1,500 dollars on it so he was a little irked at the situation. Anyway, they had about two other camcorders that were on this sale as well. I believe at least one was a digital 8mm, which would still be a very nice camera. I could check them out if you want.
    So far the camera I got has been great. One concern I have is the touch-screen controls though. It is neat to have the controls on the screen but I wonder how well it will hold up over time. Also, dirty fingers could result in a smeared screen. They do provide a cleaning cloth for that though. Anyway, let me know if you are interested in me checking out the remaining camcorders. They might have something left.
    [Edited last by aeveritt on November 09, 2001 at 03:10 PM]
     

Share This Page