What's new

Need help in finding a digital camcorder! (1 Viewer)

Patrick McCart

Senior HTF Member
May 16, 2001
Georgia (the state)
Real Name
Patrick McCart
I'm interested in upgrading from my current 8mm camcorder to a digital one.

I'm pretty much clueless to what is out there (I've tried Cnet, but it's hard to pick good ones).

I'm basically looking for...

- Digital8 or MiniDV
- Around or below $700 (below $600 would be nice...although unlikely, I think)
- Stereo sound, high quality
- High quality video (Very clean video)
- Able to change shutter speed
- Has large exposure selection
- "steadicam" feature (lowers the shakes caused by holding camera)
- Large range of visual and audio variables (brightness, contrast, low noise, noise filtering for audio, etc)

Also, how is the quality of Digital 8 tape?

Bill Balcziak

Supporting Actor
Aug 4, 1999
Digital 8 is a good format ONLY if you also ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO run 8mm tapes through your camcorder. If not, then the DV format is a no brainer (in spite of what all the poor Sony D8 owners will try and tell you ;) ).
You don't have to spend a lot to get a lot of performance with a DV camcorder. Most of the heavily touted bells and whistles go completely unused by most people (junk like digital efx, night vision, 300x digital zoom, still camera mode, etc.).
Stick with a camcorder that's easy to hold, has logical controls in the right places (for you, anyway), and spend as little as you have to since you'll be upgrading in a couple of years. Have fun!

Bill Balcziak

Supporting Actor
Aug 4, 1999
How easy is it to burn DV material onto a DVD using a DVDR?
Depends on the software. It should be easier than burning a CD, since the best software follows a simple, prompted process.

The biggest headache is usually configuring your hardware. Unless you're a pretty proficient computer user, you might want to think about buying a bundled package like the Sony Vaio DVD authoring system. That level of integration and ease of use is worth a lot--since the last thing you want to do is burn a lot of expensive DVD coasters!
Sep 28, 1999
Check out the Canon ZR-45MC MINI-DV CAMCORDER. Buydig has it for $516. My friend has the previous version of it - ZR25. Its very handy and has almost all of the usual stuff.
I remember reading about a JVC around $800 that has progressive scan. I don't remember if it was in PC Magazine or Sound and Vision.

Ryan Wright

Jul 30, 2000
You're in luck: I just went through this whole process last week.
Firstly: I advise you not to buy online. If you do, do your homework. Big time. You'll find sweet prices all over the net when shopping for any camera equipment, but on the whole, the vast majority of camera dealers online are scam artists based out of New York City. Sure, they'll sell you the camera for $300 less than retail, but if you don't buy their accessories for twice what they're worth, the camera will suddenly be out of stock. Or they just won't ship it. Or they'll charge your credit card and still not ship it. Horror stories abound.
If you are tempted to buy online, first check http://www.resellerratings.com/, and second, hit Google groups (groups.google.com) and do a search on the merchant you're interested in buying from.
One good thing: Sears will price match Internet sites. The camera I wanted (Sony TRV-27) sells for $999. I printed out the web page of one of those New York camera dealers, took it to Sears, and they price-matched the camera for $745 ($725 + $20/shipping - Sears includes any shipping charges in the price match, so make sure they're listed on the printout, otherwise Sears won't match the price).
Now, for the cameras: Do you want to be able to take stills with this, or will you only use it for DV editing? A buddy of mine has the Canon ZR-10. It's one hell of a nice camera, and if you don't want to take stills, I'd buy it. You should be able to find a ZR-20, the next model, for around $500. Here is a review: Link Removed - Note that out of 27 reviews, this bad boy has a 96% positive user rating. That's amazing for CNET reviews. The review does a little complaining about low light performance and image stabalization, but I've used my friend's ZR-10 and haven't had any problems with it. It works fine. He took it out to a dance club and filmed in there as well as outside the club, all at night, and the pictures are fine. Oh, and the battery life is amazing. He gets almost two hours of non-stop recording on a single charge with the stock battery, and that's using the LCD screen.
Be careful with some of Canon's other models. There are complaints about motor noise - that is, the microphone picks up the noise from the motor turning the tape. I haven't noticed this at all with the ZR-10 (and since the 20 is basically the same camera, I doubt you'll have a problem).
Check out more camera reviews here: Link Removed
If you want to be able to take decent stills with it, you're in a whole different ballgame. The Sony I bought (it's not here yet, should be next week) can take 1152 x 864 shots. Sure, it's only 1 megapixel, but that's big enough for a decent looking 8 by 10. If you don't need ultra high end still shots, you can get two cameras in one. Note that all mini-DV cameras will let you grab still frames from the video, but they'll only be 640x480. Good enough to print a 3x5, but that's about it.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Latest member
Recent bookmarks