The search has ended for my first DV camcorder....and it MAY NOT be a SONY!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I am going on a road trip with friends this
    September. Flying out to San Francisco for
    two days and then taking a 2-day drive down
    the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles.

    I wanted to document the entire trip on video.

    I have a top-of-the-line Sony HI-8mm camcorder
    that has served me well -- but I am intrigued
    with the prospect of Mini DV that allows me to
    dump my video onto a computer and edit away with
    software.

    Plus, Mini DV is supposed to have better overall
    picture quality than HI-8mm.

    I started looking for low priced camcorders from
    Cannon, Sharp, JVC and Samsung. Did a lot of
    research on this and found that these low-priced
    $400 camcorders are decent, but they lack
    performance in indoor and low-light situations.
    In fact, the Canons are supposed to be notorious
    for bad low-light output.

    The SONY models got better reviews. The TRV22
    was highly rated in the lower-priced tier. It is
    said that its low-light performance is superb and
    that it's nightshot (though green hued) is excellent.

    But then I started looking at some of the higher
    SONY models. The TRV38 has a large pull-out
    view screen that is perfect for playing back
    scenes immediately to friends and family. This
    was the feature that sold me on going with a
    much more expensive DV camcorder.

    Right now the best price I can find from a
    REPUTABLE on-line retailer is $800 for this
    camera. That's a bit pricey -- especially when
    considering I have to buy a second battery for
    it and loads of blank tape. I am going to wait
    a little longer to see if any deals sprout
    up on the web. I have till September to buy this,
    and perhaps there will be additional price
    reductions on this model.

    I realize I am going for something a little more
    expensive than I need to, but when you consider
    that the SONY cameras have rated better than most
    of the others, this may be a wise purchase --
    especially for the large viewscreen.

    If anyone has any experience with the TRV38 or
    the TRV22 (or any Sony model) I would love to hear
    your comments.
     
  2. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_g...3191e9dd9ff18c

    Ron,
    I think this Sony is a little better on the lense and CCD size. It can be had at a real dealer for $850-$900.
    The one you picked is fine. Just remember that these are lite weight and for consumer use. We used several of the earlier models and with very heavy use they overheated and broke. example=using them to copy tapes/not.
    I think I need to go to a 3 ccd system for the two weddings and trip to London. Still have a hard time justifying $2200 for a camera.[​IMG]
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Ron,

    I've had a Sony DCR-PC101 MiniDV camcorder for a couple of months now and I love it. It's a little different than the model you got, but many of the features are similar. Yours is 2.0 MP and mine is 1.0 MP. I've played w/ just about everything on it, even used the remote to record (very cool).

    My wife and I are pregnant w/ our first child and our families are along way away, so I've been sending movie clips to them via email of the baby's room and gifts they've sent. I'm not sure how elaborate your editing capabilites need to be, but go ahead and download Windows Movie Maker. It is free and a very intuitive and easy program to use. Also, go ahead and invest in a firewire cable. Dumping movies via USB is just not practicle. Congrats on your purchase.

    If I can help in any way, please let me know.

    Peace,

    DM
     
  4. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

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  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Earl,

    Why oh why did you give me that link?! [​IMG]

    I started out looking at $400 Mini DV camcorders.
    Just wasn't happy with the reviews I was reading
    as far as low-light video photography.

    You have to understand -- I own what was once
    a very expensive Hi8mm camcorder, the Sony TR101.
    I still have it and it takes stunning video. The
    problem is, looking at some tapes on my 57" Toshiba
    I can see the source limitations. I want to step
    up to something that looks even better than HI8mm.
    I want outdoor video photography that captures
    brilliant Summer colors and indoor photography that
    doesn't look too dark or muddy.

    Do I want to spend $900 on this TR70 camcorder?
    Absolutely not. However, because of its larger
    lens and CCD capability, it looks to be the absolute
    best camcorder in the "middle class" of Mini DV
    camcorders.

    If I buy a cheap I'll be unhappy knowing there
    are better image-capable camcorders out there.

    I'll hold out a month or so and see what kind
    of price deals are out there.


    Dave Miller,


    Nice to hear that you are enjoying your camcorder.
    May I extend my congrats on your upcoming arrival.
     
  6. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    I started out looking at the JVC's around $650. I soon realized that the 3 ccd=1/3" or 1/2" system was what I needed for a pro recording. It is just that they are a little large to tote around for a vacation. Actually I hate taking any camera on vacation. Extra weight to lug around all day at Disney.
    Brings back bad memories of diaper bags, strollers, bottles, kids crying in the hot sun.
    But it was worth it. Just not sure I would ever do it again[​IMG]

    On my way to Davis Monthan for a week of TDY in the hot sun. See you guys in a week.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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  9. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Ron,

    I picked up the TRV-22 last week. So far so good. The low light and indoor performance is great, night shot is pretty handy too. The image stabilization works really well. Haven't played around with 16x9 mode yet. Wide angle is good and the minimum focus seems to be about two feet.

    Cons - not enough flexibility for my tastes. I'm just starting out with the camera but would like more exposure control. However - the auto exposure is very quick and normally does a decent job. Terrible still pictures, but this is to be expected from a VIDEO camera. For stills you're still (hehe) gonna get a still camera.

    Watch out now...its very easy to go "hmmm, why not spend an extra 200 bucks and get a nicer model" Next thing you know your at 1400 bucks. Sounds like another hobby we're interested in.[​IMG]
     
  10. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    http://pro.jvc.com/prof/Attributes/t...&feature_id=02

    I will wait for the prices to drop on this one. But for $2000 this is a fine three 1/3.8" CCD pro camera. Has XLR inputs(commercial mics) for pro sound. With the large CCDs, low light should be a snap. The Pana models look very good, and if the abiliy to record in a church at maximum quality is there, then I may save $1000 and get the Pana. But with 1/6" CCDs, it would be difficult to judge unless I had one to test. Maybe CC will get some in that I can try out.
     
  11. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron -

    I'm in the market for a camcorder too... and I liked what I'd read about the Sony TRV70 and 80 (and considering that its a touch screen system.... the extra $$ for the larger screened 80 seems worth it).

    But in reading about this Panasonic PV-DV953 model... which is basically in the same price range and a 3 CCD camera... I feel strongly that I'm leaning that way.

    I don't know, though.

    Shoot! I thought, too, that I could get what I needed for $600-$700... but I'd rather spend $1200-$1300 for something I can use for years, than $700-$800 for something that I'll regret having bought two years down the line.

    I got a chance to play around with the TRV70 the other day... and I didn't mind the touch screen (as a Prontopro addict. LOL) but I'm not sure how I'd like it direct sunlight.

    So... I think if I can find a good price on the 953, and it in stock (NOT very easy, apparently) I might go with that.

    Good luck to you on making your final decision.
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    FYI - best buy has 10% off coupon this weekend so you could get a good deal or a price match.
     
  13. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Does Best Buy price match? I thought they didn't
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  15. marc

    marc Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out the dcr-pc105, came out this past week.
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Marc,

    The dcr-pc105 has an impressive design,
    but at $1,000 it's not an impressive
    camcorder. The camera only has a 1/4.7 inch
    sensor size which is smaller than other
    cameras in that price range.

    Based on its design, however, I am sure this
    camera may be beneficial for others.
     
  17. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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  18. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    This is a person I trust in the business Ron and this is what he said,




     
  19. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Earl,

    Your friend's advice is good and well, but
    they are all PRO cameras priced in the $2k range.

    As this thread suggests, most of us are looking
    for the best camera in the $1k (slightly above
    and below) range.

    I noticed J&R is selling the Panasonic PV-GS70
    for $799. Supposedly, It's a 3CCD camera. Don't
    know much about this camcorder -- have to compare
    it to the Panasonic PV-DV953.
     
  20. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_g...3191e9dd9ff18c

    The 950 is getting down in my price range. Come on RON , it's only $700 more.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    My wife is rolling her eyes to buy any camera. Weddings are not cheap for the father. They refuse to elope!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So, what we need Ron is an outstanding evaluation of the Panasonic models in all light conditions. 1/6" ccd is very small. But size may be less of a factor than the quality of a 3 ccd system. Also the Panasonic is lite weight.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] With a good lense.
    As you know, the prices are falling and the 3 ccd consumer models are just hitting the shelves. Sony, Cannon, and JVC will not be left behind for more than 10 minutes. If we can hold out, there may be a .25" for about the same price in late Summer. Wishful thinking on my part.
     

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