Anyone Own a Mini-DV Video Camera? How Do You Like It?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Mike-M, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Mike-M

    Mike-M Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the 8mm tape video camera. It's good, but it's fairly heavy and the bag that holds it is quite big. And considering they make them much smaller, I'd like to get a Mini-DV video camera. What do people think of them?

    Could you also please state the manufactuer (Sony, Panasonic, etc) model #, and around how much it cost you? Thanks guys. I'm trying to find a pretty good one before my trip to Florida.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I do not personally own one, but I've sold them, my roommate owns one that I've used frequently and I recently borrowed my sister's.

    My roommates is a cannon that is incredible, but it costs a lot more than you're probably looking to spend (around $2500) and it's likely bigger than your 8mm camera.

    My sister recently bought a Sony DCR-HC20. I was extremely impressed with this camera. It cost around $450 I believe. It's probably about the size of the case for one of your 8mm tapes. Well maybe a little bigger, but not much. I didn't use it a whole lot, but I had no complaints for the time I had it. I think it's a great entry level MiniDV. Sony makes several models higher if you wanted a few more features.

    My experience in selling tells me not to go with Panasonic. Now it's been awhile, so things may have changed, but I didn't like the Panny's we sold at all. And I'm honestly a Panasonic guy. I own a tv and dvd player made by Panasonic and am very happy, but I would go with Sony for a camcorder.
     
  3. Mike-M

    Mike-M Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. Curious though, why not Panasonic?
     
  4. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    I bought a Digital8 camera a few years ago over a Mini-DV. Size didn't matter to me and the tapes are cheaper. However, Digital8 has kinda gone away since then.
     
  5. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I've got a Sony TRV33 and I love it. Got it from B & H (bhphotovideo.com) and couldn't be happier.
     
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    If you wanna do any type of amateur work, even just for fun make sure you buy one with a Mic input jack. I love my JVC but during interviews I did the audio didn't come in well at all.
     
  7. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Love my Panasonc GS-70 and bought it from One Call for right around $630 after rebates. The Gs-70 is 3 CCD.
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Well, as I said in my earlier post, things may have changed in the past couple years. When I sold them I thought they felt cheaply made. They also had more squared off edges which made it sort of awkward to hold. Additionally, they ran a LOT of SPIFF's (a salesperson incentive where the company pays the salesperson X dollars in addition to commission for each product sold -- this was up to $50 in some cases). While every company runs SPIFFS, I was always concerned about those who constantly ran them on certain products. Panasonic may be perfectly fine though, but if you go in a store and a salesperson starts pushing the Panasonic really hard I'd be a little suspicious.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I own a Sony TRV22 (the next step down from Lelia's TRV33). It's a great camcorder. This was an upgrade from a Sony Hi8mm camcorder, and the picture quality is a big improvement. I was never very happy with the color saturation of the Hi8mm. The TRV22 has a Carl Zeiss lens, and does really well in low light conditions. It's very compact/light.

    I have recently been dubbing my 8mm, Hi8mm and MiniDV tapes to DVD-R. Watching the different formats back-to-back, I can really appreciate the differences in quality between the formats.

    I will also recommend B&H Photo. While I did not purchase the above camcorder there, I have purchased other equipment from them. They have a wide selection of photo equipment, competitive prices and are very reliable.
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I also have a SONY (I forget the model #, but I believe it's one of the TRV's), but I paid about $1,000 a few years ago. I love it as well. The ease of hooking it up to the computer (via firewire) and the memory stick for photos (the newer ones have much better quality than the 640x480 that mine does), etc.

    The SONY's use the Carl Zeiss lens. I couldn't tell you how much better it is than the others, but a lot of the experts say that it is a great lens so that's what lead me to the SONY line.

    I'm sure most do 16x9, but (at the time), this was another feature that was necessary when shopping for a camera. Being able to do anamorphic video on my DVD's for my 16x9 tv is great!

    The other nice thing is I can use the firewire out and hook it directly into my set top DVD burner and transfer everything directly to DVD without a computer. [​IMG]

    Another thing was the ability to turn the LCD screen upside down (and out) so that you can face it out (here's an Example). This is helpful if you are in front of the camera and want to see if you're in the frame before recording yourself. This is also helpful when you want a bunch of people to see the LCD screen because you can then snap the screen back into the camera (with the LCD screen showing) and everyone can huddle around and wacth.

    With the additional wideangle lens and light, I'm a happy camper.
     
  11. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    On my camera, I think, the 16x9 mode was really just the 4x3 with the top and bottom cut off. In other words, you're actually losing some picture.

    I haven't played with it too much, honestly, but I think that's how mine is. Obviously, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I'm not positive on the 16x9 mode, but even if it is 4x3 with the top and bottom cut off, the 16x9 image is still being stretched to fill the 720x480 image area of the tape (i.e. when I capture the footage, it isn't letterboxed, it's anamorphic), which makes it easier to deal with in Premiere.

    In other words, I don't think I'd get the same results if I shot in 4x3 mode, used Premiere to manually cut the top and bottom off, then produce an anamorphic DVD. Although I haven't done this test do I'm not 100% positive.

    The one thing that leads me to believe that there is more than just adding black bars to the top and bottom is, I can hook up the camera to my 16x9 tv and when I use 16x9 mode (on the camera), the image fills my screen and looks pretty clear...much better than if I used 4x3 mode (on the camera) and zoomed into the picture.

    There has to be some sort of anamorphic enhancement going on in 16x9 mode even if it is just 4x3 with the top and bottom cut off.
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Good find with that lens Buzz.
     
  14. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I didn't see a price...how much???
     
  15. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    I have a Canon ZR50MC. At the time, I paid about $900 CDN for it, give or take.

    It's really impressive. The video quality is great, it can take still pictures, with impressive quality. Overall, I've really had no complaints, save the fact that I wish I had better battery life. But who knows. I think they're onto the ZR80MC models now, so that may be better.

    Plus, now that I've got a DVD burner, I've begun to digitally edit my home videos (you'll need a firewire IEEE1394 port on your computer).
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Speaking of lens attachments, has anyone tried a teleconvertor adapter for their MiniDV camcorder? The one thing I miss with my Sony TRV22 is its relatively low 10x optical zoom. Do these adapters affect the autofocus or SteadyShot image stabilization features?

    I've used a teleconvertor with my Canon PowerShot digital camera, but never with a camcorder.
     
  17. Orlando

    Orlando Stunt Coordinator

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    Sony TRV-70. Love it. Paid just under 1100.
     
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I joined the Mini-DV club late last year when I bought a Sony TRV-38. Like everyone else here, I love my Sony minicam. Great picture, easy to use, great features.

    I'm just now diving into the editing thing. I'm using Sony Media Software's (formerly Sonic Foundry) Vegas Video. Awesome app. It's gonna take me months to learn enough to even scratch the surface of what it can do. It screams on my 3 Ghz Dell w/ 1.5 GB RAM. [​IMG]

    I remember trying to do simple video editing back in the 80s with my old VHS-C camcorder and a Videonics box. Ugh, what a pain. Now, I just plug in the firewire, suck the video on to the PC, and start slicing & dicing in Vegas. Amazing stuff. It's a good time to be alive... [​IMG]
     
  19. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Check out this month's PC WORLD magazine.

    The $900+ (retail) Panasonic DV-953 is HIGHLY rated.

    In fact, it greatly outshines the other DV
    camcorders tested.

    I am going to probably buy this camcorder by
    year's end solely for the 3 CCD imaging.

    Here are some additional rave reviews

    http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com/camc...#owner_reviews

    Honestly, if you have the money to burn, this
    is the camcorder I would look into.
     
  20. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    I got a Sony DCR-PC105 and "tested it out" at Mardi Gras [​IMG] Since then, I've been working on video editing so I can eventually make some DVDs. That's where the real learning curve has hit me. I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out which settings to use and how to get quality video while using a low enough bitrate to put 2 hours on a DVD-R.
     

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