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Thread: Which MINI-DV camcorder should i get?

  1. #1

    Default Which MINI-DV camcorder should i get?

    Hi im new here and i am a complete beginner to camcorders.

    I did some research and googling and ive found out that Mini-DV offers the best video quality and is best value.

    I'm looking to edit the video i shoot on my PC which i built:

    AMD Athlon 3700+ 2.2GHz
    1 GB Ram
    250 GB SATA HD.

    Id like to purchase a camera around the 300 mark. Give or take 100.

    Should i aim for 3CCD?

    My PC has firewire so would it be best to get a firewire compatible camcorder instead of the USB 2.0 interface the Panasonics have.

    Also does the Sony DCR-HC27E output DV AVI?

    Which is the best format to edit with and which camcorders offer it. Thanks!

    If you can please recommend a camcorder. Im not fussed about stills or any other bell and whistles. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    If it's a mini-DV camcorder you have in mind then they will all have a firewire port and that is the only way you should capture EVER!!!!

    When you buy one, if it has a CD with it then don't let it ever touch your CD drive ok?

    The format will be up tot he capture s/w so what editor will you be using. Typically, unless you go out of your way, you will capture to DV-AVI and these are the best thing to edit.

    As to specific camera. Pretty much, once you have decided to go mini-DV then it's all personal preference. Do you need widescreen? Do you need manual controls of focus and exposure etc etc.

    If it's going on a tripod then consider getting one that doesn't bottom-load.

    Forget digital zoom.
    optical zoom is the ONLY thing that matters. Forget special features like sepia and fades in and out and titles. These things are all so much better done in an editor on a PC (or Mac) than on camera etc etc.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks very much!

    I think im going to get a Panasonic NV-GS230 3CCD one. Good Choice?

    Does it load from the Top or Bottom?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    UK
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    If I were buying a new camera these would be the must-haves and the desirables.

    Must Haves:
    1. miniDV
    2. Mic socket
    3. Headphone socket
    4. Accessory shoe
    5. Good reviews
    Desirables:
    1. True 16:9
    2. 3CCD
    3. 20x optical zoom or greater
    4. Manual focus ring on lens barrel (as opposed to a tiny wheel)
    5. Top loading tape compartment
    6. Outstanding reviews
    I totally agree with Alan about built-in effects. They are more of a distraction than a benefit. I would prefer a camera that has a strong set of manual features - preferably hardware accessed (ie via physical buttons) as opposed to menu accessed.

    I'm not sure about whether the 230 is top-loading. The 180 and 300 are, so you may be in luck. If you plan to do a lot of tripod-mounted filming and require a quick tape changeover then top loading is very useful. Otherwise, I wouldn't get too worried about this feature.

    For me, true 16:9 is important. It frustrates me playing back 4:3 footage on my widescreen telly.

    4:3 is fast-becoming a very redundant ratio, in my view.

    Ultimately, the quality of the films that you make are dependant mostly on the skill and creativity of the user. A good filmmaker could produce a quality result with the cheapest of cameras. Here's an example of what I mean:

    http://www.videoforums.co.uk/summer-...-hell-you.html


    Witty signature text coming soon...

  5. #5

    Default Help Please! Canon or Sony for mini dv for mac?

    Hello

    Just reading through adam 02's posting - which was very useful.

    I'm loking at getting a mini dv camcorder with some vouchers left over from a wedding list. (ie the choice is not huge!).
    I've got new mac laptop and will store my films/ pics on an external hard drive. and understand from reading through the various forums that for what I want minin dv is the best. At the
    moment - given limited choice - the two I'm looking at are

    Sony DCR-HC44
    Canon MD160

    Both have more or less the same spec (widescreen etc). But I have heard through other forums that if you are using an external hard drive with fire wire - you won't be able to transfer material straight from Canon to the ext. hard drive. Presumably because you are using two firewire devices.

    Has any one else had trouble with this? Do sony cameras have the same problem?

    Cheers

    Simon

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    UK
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    From what I can tell....

    The Canon has a mic input, the Sony doesn't*.

    The Sony does have an accessory shoe, the Canon doesn't.

    You can overcome the lack of an accessory shoe. This is one way: CAMCORDER STEADYMOUNT (scroll down to 'Camframe', and then further still to 'Camcorder Steadymount1', and 'Camcorder Steadymount 4').

    You can't add an external mic socket.

    Also, I haven't been able to determine whether the Sony has real widescreen, or just an electronic 'squeeze' version that produces 16:9 at the expense of picture quality. Canon claim the PD160 offers real widescreen.

    So my leaning is towards the Canon, for which I found some quite complimentary reviews...

    Canon MD160 Review on CNET.co.uk

    Canon MD160 Review - Camcorders

    Good Gear Guide - Canon MD160 - Reviews - Hardware - Digital Video - Digital Video Cameras / Camcorders

    My only reservation about Canon low-budget models is that the inbuilt mic has been known to pick up tape transport noise whilst shooting. Not a problem if all you film are F1 grand prix races, but annoying if you want to do quieter stuff, eg interviews. Hence the importance of an external mic socket. Not assisted through the lack of an accessory shoe. Oh dear....

    *Having a 'hot' accessory shoe that accepts only Sony-branded microphones that are crap does not count as a mic input.
    Last edited by bert6280; 06-12-2007 at 07:40 PM.


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  7. #7

    Default

    Does this panasonic GS230 have true widescreen?

    "1/6inch CCD x 3 (800 K x 3 pixels, Total/400 K x 3 (4:3), 460 K x 3 (16:9) (Moving Picture)/ 530 K x 3 (4:3) (Still Picture) Effective)"

    Im also assuming it has a socket for external mic:


    "Microphone (stereo mini)
    Yes"

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonbrown1 View Post
    But I have heard through other forums that if you are using an external hard drive with fire wire - you won't be able to transfer material straight from Canon to the ext. hard drive. Presumably because you are using two firewire devices.

    Has any one else had trouble with this? Do sony cameras have the same problem?

    Cheers

    Simon

    I don't think there is any difference as to whether its the Canon or Sony that you are transferring from.

    I've never tried capturing to an external drive, and probably never would. If I had to store my video files on an external drive I'd probably do it in 2 stages - capture to internal hard drive first. Then move it to external drive afterwards.


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  9. #9
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam02 View Post
    Does this panasonic GS230 have true widescreen?

    The pessimist in me says 'no'.

    Manufacturers are usually very vocal about this feature. The Panasonic website and downloadable brochures are fairly silent on the issue.

    It's not a completely accurate indicator, but the aspect ratio of the lcd screen can sometimes be a giveaway - the 230 has 4:3 screen.

    Just found this:

    Camcorderinfo.com Message Board - Panasonic NV-GS230: First week experiences


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  10. #10

    Default

    I guess it makes more sense that way - as I will be editing before hand, then save the final copy on ext. hard drive.

    Thanks for your help.

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