Best MiniDV Camcorder for under $1000

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by marc, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello Guys,

    I am in the market for a new camcorder and need so help. I want to buy a miniDV camcorder and have been looking at them for a few weeks now. What suggestions do you guys have for the best ones out there for under $1000? We have a new born on the way and want to upgrade my 10 yr. old Sony. Thank for the help.

    Marc
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    At $1K, you can probably get a Canon Elura model for the small size and slightly better guts. Just know that you might want to spend some extra $$$ for accessories too as is typical w/ camcorders.

    IF, however, you much prefer to stay below $1K for the complete package, probably the Canon ZR40 is plenty good enough, especially if you don't care to pay extra for photo capability that won't match a 2MP digital camera. That's the model I bought last spring(?).

    NOTE that this suggestion is based on a preference for portability and such over max quality while staying at a low budget. You might be able to find somewhat better quality w/ a bigger unit at the same price point, but personally, I find the smaller size to be quite important for home videos, especially w/ little ones.

    _Man_
     
  3. Scott_AH

    Scott_AH Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with _Man_. I love the Canon ZRs but I went with the ZR45 instead of the ZR40. The price difference is only around $50 but you gain a multimedia card slot for stills and a USB port fort transferring the images. It is a great all around camera that doesn't break the bank.

    Scott
     
  4. Patrick Zapatka

    Patrick Zapatka Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll second the recommendation for the Canon ZR45.

    In addition to the benefits cited above, it also offers a 16:9 mode. I have been using it for about nine months now, and love it.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
     
  5. Winston D

    Winston D Agent

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    I'm in the market for one too. How about the Panasonics? PVDV702? OR the JVC's? How do they compare?
     
  6. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    I had a ZR 20 way back and found that most Canons record motor noise. We had to send it back. Now my question is do these newer ZRs better in that department?
    I'm also in the same boat but am looking closely at the Sony TRV 25 or 27.
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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  8. Brian Grant

    Brian Grant Auditioning

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    I've been shopping for one in this price range for the past few months. I haven't purchased one yet but I think I've picked out the one I'm going to get.

    I'm going to go with the Panasonic PV-DV852. I've seen many glowing recommendations for this one on several sites and it apparently has the best low light (i.e., your normal 60 watt bulbs) of just about anything under $2000. The color on it is pretty dead on too (almost as good as some 3-chip cams). Buydig is selling it for just under $900 right now.

    Some of the places that I've gone for info are the DV Magazine forums and another interesting site called DVFreak.

    The Canon Optura 100MC and 200MC are a couple others in this price range I looked at. They're also very nice camcorders for the money.
     
  9. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    You might also try a query at the rec.video newsgroup or rec.video.production.
     
  10. Michael Yung

    Michael Yung Stunt Coordinator

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    I am also in the market for a MiniDV camcorder and from my research, it does seem that the Canon's biggest problems are its motor noise and poor low light performance. At this time I am most interested in the Panasonic PV-DC x52 series. The 152 and 252 are almost identical except the 252 adds the SD and USB picture download capability. The 352 has an upgraded lense, light and a few other features. The PV-DC's are also compact and easy to handle. I saw them at BestBuy. And for under $1000, the PV-DC 352 is on clearance at Amazon.com for $929! I found most of my info from BizRate's customer opinions and CNET.com.
     
  11. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I have looked into the Canon's. They have a ZR70MC coming out that looks good, but it has a low megapixel rating. Sony also has some new models coming out, DCR-TRV33, 70, 80. They look really nice, but I need to hold them to see, I am a big guy and that little thing in my hand will disappear. Thanks again, I will keep you posted of my findings.
     
  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Oh, if you have big hands, then you probably should avoid the Canon ZR series and other smallish camcorders. The Sony's might be your best option since they tend to do a good job at ergonomics besides using good parts. Definitely should go to the store and try them out either way.

    As for the megapixel rating, that's really pretty useless unless you expect to take photo stills w/ the camcorder. The video part doesn't need high resolution--just need enough for good image stabilization in addition to the actual NTSC max. If anything, I'd think a very high pixel count on the same size CCD chip is actually a bad thing for video. Don't let the pixel count fool you. In general, you want a bigger CCD, not necessarily higher pixel count, when it comes to video quality. For photo stills, just get a >=2MP camera.

    _Man_
     
  13. Kris McLaughlin

    Kris McLaughlin Stunt Coordinator

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    Good point, _Man_. Stills will be pretty bad from any camcorder.

    As an alternative to the Canons and Panasonics, among which there are some nice cameras, the Sony TRV25/TRV27k is worth a look. They are the same camera except that the 27 has a 3.5" LCD screen compared to the 25's 2.5". The smaller screen has its advantages, namely that it will be easier on battery power in addition to costing less. That's a pretty nice little camera.
    (That said, I own a Canon camera (OpturaPI), and can sing nothing but praise for it.)

    Good luck with your camera & your baby!
     
  14. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. The TRV-27 is being replaced by the 33 model. Thanks Man for the advice. I think the res. on the canon is in the 400 range and the Sony is in the low to mid 500's. I am not taking stills that much with this, I have a digital camera, just thought it would be a cool feature if the timing was right for a photo.
     
  15. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Just an update. After careful research, I have decided to purchase the Sony DCR-PC101. The features are terrific and so are the reviews. It came down to the Canon 100mc or the Sony and the reviews were better for the Sony. I have not bought the camera yet, as I am still searching for the best price. I will let you know when I get it and give a brief review. Thank you for all of the input.

    Marc
     
  16. Phil Tomaskovic

    Phil Tomaskovic Supporting Actor

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    Marc, Abt has a big customer appreciation sale this Sun. You might want to check them out. You will have to pay tax and probably won't be as cheap as mail order, but they will usually deal somewhat. And they have good service.
     
  17. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Phil, I have bought from ABT in the past and yes, their customer service is great. They carry it for $1299, but will price match authorized Sony dealers on the web. 6ave is willing to give it to me for $925. Not bad. The sale is this Sunday, 2/9?
     
  18. Kevin_Kr

    Kevin_Kr Supporting Actor

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    Sixth ave said $925.00? I have a hard time swallowing that, pleaser tell us if it comes through at that.
     
  19. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    He did not want me buying it from J and R for $950. I am going to see what ABT can do on Sunday, and I will let you guys know.
     
  20. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm... I'd rather buy it from J&R for $25 more than go w/ 6th Ave unless their business operations/philosophy has changed a whole lot from the old days when they still had stores in NYC. In the old days, they seemed to sell almost nothing but grey market stuff.

    _Man_
     

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