Buying first camcorder, help me decide

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matthew R, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Matthew R

    Matthew R Agent

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    I'm buying a camcorder for my wife's birthday, and I'm trying to decide between two models: the Sony DCR-TRV340 and the JVC GR-DVL517U.
    Anyone own either of these? Any thoughts, warnings, or recommendations?
    Thanks,
    Matthew
     
  2. Matthew R

    Matthew R Agent

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    Anyone? One specific question I have is regarding the media: they're both digital camcorders, but the Sony uses 8mm or Hi-8 tapes, where the JVC uses the small digital video cassettes. Is there any difference in quality or storage lifetime?

    Thanks,

    Matthew
     
  3. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    I would recommend the small DV camcorders if you can raise the dough.
    Sony is $ 700. How much is the JVC? JVC link doesn't work.
    Seriously though, shop for features - features you will use. (Like digital stills)
    Don't worry about the media - most of the time the camera itself ends up being the playback device.
    Then look at resolution and picture quality.
    Hope that helped. You generally can't go wrong with Sony. [Except HT! [​IMG]]
     
  4. Matthew R

    Matthew R Agent

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    Thanks, Mark. Yeah, the JVC link doesn't seem to work... Their site doesn't show that model, even in the archives, so I searched for the manual and used that link, but apparently the link doesn't work on its own.

    The JVC is pretty similar to the Sony. The place I'm buying from has the Sony for $60 more. Even though the JVC uses mini DV tapes, it's still about the same size and style as the Sony-- it's not as small as the more expensive mini DV camcorders. The features are similar, but the Sony has USB connectivity, which would be nice because I don't have a firewire port on my PC. Resolution is the same, but the JVC only has 10x optical zoom vs. the Sony's 25x.

    The same place had one of the small mini DV camcorders (a JVC) for about $150 more than the Sony. Is there an advantage to the small cameras other than size?

    Thanks,

    Matthew
     
  5. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    Buying a DV camcorder - i don't know much about it, but i'd assume that it's smarter, and more future proof (?)
    You need to look at the features as i said earlier. Find the ones you like most, then hunt for some cameras that have all (or an acceptable number) of them, and then look at brands and looks. All this within your price range, of course. [​IMG]
    And don't knock ebay for bargains... There are a few to be had from time to time. Requires trawling-time though. [​IMG]
     
  6. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Matthew,

    The USB port on the Sony is only for transfering files from the Memory Stick, not the tape. To get stuff off the tape and on your computer, you'll need firewire.
     
  7. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    Oh, and firewire (IEEE 1394) is possibly the next big thing in DV. In fact, it already is in the mac world. Look for one that has both USB and Firewire connectors (if such a beast exists! [​IMG])
    Trust me, even 12 Mbps is slow with huuuge uncompressed video files!
     
  8. Nathan_F

    Nathan_F Second Unit

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    I just purchased a Panasonic PV-DV202 http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_el...camcorders.asp from www.bilibi.com for $545 shipped. It is MiniDV, has both Firewire and USB support, 10X optical zoom, digital stills, removable storage (Secure Digital/Multimedia Card), etc... I have only had it for a week now, so I'm still getting used to it, but it is working great so far and I'm very happy with it. I think the price has actually dropped a little in the last couple of weeks. Good luck in your search!
    Nathan
     
  9. Bejoy

    Bejoy Stunt Coordinator

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    Digital 8 is a Sony proprietary product. It is a good option if you have a lot of old 8mm or Hi-8mm tapes. Otherwise its better to go with MiniDV. JVC is good, but also checkout Canon, Panasonic etc.
    A few things to look for
    IEEE 1394(Firewire) port - it's a must.
    Analog A/V input - Helps you to get all those old Analog video stuff into Digital Age.
    Optical Zoom - the more the better.
    Digital Still Photo options - I don't use this much, but good to have the best.
    If you have a computer, get a firewire card for it also. I generally convert all my footage to VCD or SVCD. But I have also kept all the tapes for archival purposes and to convert to DVD, once the DVD writer prices comes down[​IMG] .
    Bejoy
     
  10. Matthew R

    Matthew R Agent

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    Thanks for the info, everyone. I think I've decided to spend a little bit more and step up to the JVC GR-DVM75U. The place I'm buying has a good deal on it, and it offers a bit more than the other JVC and the Sony that I was looking at.

    (And, as it turns out, I think I was mistaken on the Sony resolution-- according to the info on their site, it's a bit lower than either of the JVC models: 480K pixels vs. 640,000 pixels on the JVC. That's the deal-breaker on the Sony for me; even though I like some of the other features on the Sony, the resolution is the most important factor for me.)

    Thanks,

    Matthew
     
  11. Bejoy

    Bejoy Stunt Coordinator

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    Matthew,

    Pixel nbr's not always translate to better picture resolution. If the Sony has optical image stabilizer and JVC is using digital image stabilization, Sony may have a better picture resolution. When using DIS, only a %(don't know the exact%) of the total pixels are used for the actual picture.

    Bejoy
     
  12. Matthew R

    Matthew R Agent

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    I guess I should have figured it wouldn't be as simple as it looked... It's hard to separate marketing-speak from reality on these things. So does the Sony have as much or more resolution in real terms as the JVC? (Here's a link to the GR-DVM75U.)
    Thanks,
    Matthew
     
  13. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    I have a new Sony TRV 240, and here's what I'd say in comparison to a MiniDV camcorder:

    1. Both are DV and record digitally. There is no difference in the data on the tape, except that Hi8 tapes are a little cheaper than MiniDV. Sony can also record on regular 8mm tapes.

    2. You can transfer video with USB, but only at a low (VCR-like) resolution. Not practical. 1394 way better.

    3. The Sony Digital8 cameras are cheaper than MiniDV, especailly with the new Sonys, which are around $100 cheaper than last year's models. Digital8 is by far the cheapest digital format.

    4. Digital8 cameras are larger and probably heavier.

    5. Digital8 cameras can play Hi8 or 8mm (analog) tapes and convert them to DV in the camera. However, many MiniDv cameras can also convert analog input to DV, if you have a way of playing the analog tape into the camera. (E.g., your old analog camera.)

    6. Once connected to the computer, the computer treats MiniDV and Digital8 the same as far as controlling the capture is concerned. Doesn't really know the difference. Both 1394, both DV. Only difference is physical recording method.
     

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