Best low end (price wise) digital camcorder?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Matt_P, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

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    Hello, all. I'm getting into new territory...

    I'm thinking about getting a digital camcorder, and would like some input.

    I would like to spend as little as possible, but I don't want to buy junk (under $500, preferrably around $400). I've noticed some camcorders around $400, such as some Panasonic and Canon models. Are these any good?

    Features I am looking for:
    Widescreen mode (any camcorders do multiple aspect ratios?)
    Firewire port
    Manual control options (focus, apeture, white balance)
    LCD screen (of course)
    Still camera mode

    Which is better, MiniDV or Digital8? I've heard that MiniDV is hard to service. Can Digital8 still dump to a computer via Firewire?

    Any good models fit the bill? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    I would focus on MiniDV ... seems to have emerged as the standard for digital camcorders. One piece of advice ... when choosing a MiniDV camcorder, avoid those with very small lenses. Digital tends to be granier under low-light situations anyway and the very small lenses of course, will further restrict the amount of light reaching the CCD pickup.

    Keep an eye on the Dell website and www.techbargains.com

    Just this week they had this Panasonic MiniDV camcorder on sale for $330 delivered (after discounts/coupon). Most of the Panasonics get generally good reviews and have all the features you listed including firewire connections. (I'm not sure about all the manual controls.)

    Scott
     
  3. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

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    Thanks for the info, Scott.

    Actually, the Panasonic model you linked is one of my top contenders. I need to do a bit more research, though.

    Is that sale still going on, or was it only for last week?

    Any other recommendations?
     
  4. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Dell had a $30 off stackable coupon that expired on the 13th. They stil have the sale on and free shipping. Delivered price today is $360. Keep watchng, they've been putting up those coupons every week lately (usually Monday).

    Also be aware that that Panny model does not really have an internal still camera. Rather, you can download freeze-frames of video to your computer with accessory software/cable. I wouldn't worry too much about a camcorder with still photo capability. The ones that have it are 1MP or less and don't even compare to a cheap still digi-cam.

    Scott
     
  5. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

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    This model looks like a winner to me. Reviews I have read have looked good, and it has all the manual controls/modes that I would like. If the still feature is that useless, I guess I shouldn't worry about it.

    This model is compatible with Macs, I hope. If it has Firewire, it should be. I'd be editing on iMovie.

    Now, I just have to wait for/find the best deal...
     

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