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Thread: What digital camcorder to buy?

  1. #1

    Default What digital camcorder to buy?

    Hello everyone! I really need some help from experts who can advise me on what camcorder to buy...

    I am thinking of buying one with a hard drive (HDD) only or with a HDD and a SD Card (if those even exist). I was told that in order to record more when ur HDD is full, u have to move it to a PC, so I wouldn't be able to quickly swap the disc or tape as on old camcorders, that's why I was thinking of buying the one with SD card as well, so I could swap it as soon as my HDD or SD card becomes full...

    My budget is about 600.

    Would be nice to have these features:

    Small, light weight, good size screen, viewfinder, mic at the front (I heared that when mic is at the top the quality of the sound is worse, 10x + optical zoom).

    I found a few reviews on google, but the camcorders which were reviewed were quite old...

    Any suggestions or advices would be appreciated. Thank u in advance...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
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    5,191

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    My first thought here (and I'll bet I'm not the only one) is to question you as to why you want a hard drive camcorder.

    Perhaps you're not aware but those things tend to record in a compressed format and are an absolute pain in the butt to edit afterwards. Not to mention the loss of image quality because it is a compressed format.

    We (here at the forums) often find peolple have bought HDD and DVD camcorder because the likes of Dixons and Currys push them on people and tell them they are the best thing since sliced bread. Absolute nonsense. These sales people should be taken out and publicly pi$$ed upon!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Mills View Post
    My first thought here (and I'll bet I'm not the only one) is to question you as to why you want a hard drive camcorder.

    Perhaps you're not aware but those things tend to record in a compressed format and are an absolute pain in the butt to edit afterwards. Not to mention the loss of image quality because it is a compressed format.

    We (here at the forums) often find peolple have bought HDD and DVD camcorder because the likes of Dixons and Currys push them on people and tell them they are the best thing since sliced bread. Absolute nonsense. These sales people should be taken out and publicly pi$$ed upon!
    Well the main reason was because I thought it's much easier to transfer to a PC, burn on DVD and send it to my relatives or keep for myself.

    At the moment I have a few miniDV tapes that r full of video that I can't transfer to a DVD or PC...

    My friend once gave me a chance to trasnfer the video he had recorded with a Sony HDD camcorder onto my PC. The files were quite big, so I converted them into Divx and now I'm able to watch all those videos on my divx player on my tv. Quality is good enough to watch...

    Just out of curiosity, what format would u suggest I buy? What format is the most popular these days?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    If all you want to do is transfer and watch then what you have in mind is just fine. The trouble only begins when you wish to edit the footage. As soon as you want to edit I would pesonally recommend the miniDV (tape) format. It transfers (captures) to a computer in a lossless romat and so is much suitable to edit.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Mills View Post
    If all you want to do is transfer and watch then what you have in mind is just fine. The trouble only begins when you wish to edit the footage. As soon as you want to edit I would pesonally recommend the miniDV (tape) format. It transfers (captures) to a computer in a lossless romat and so is much suitable to edit.
    OK. Well I didn't really think of editing...

    So what HDD camcorder would u suggest I buy?

  6. #6

    Default

    Hmmmmm, I've had no trouble editing the footage of my HDD and the quality is very high especially in HD. Having said that I would still go with minidv as that's what these blokes recommend and they know their stuff, had I of found this forum prior to buying I would of gone mini.

    If your decided on HDD then I can only speak for my camera, a Sony HDR-SR1.

    On the plus side;

    Superb high definition,
    Superb screen with good options.
    Upto 11hrs high defintion recording.
    10x optical zoom, 80x digital.
    Very sturdy construction.
    Easy to get good results.

    On the minus,

    Only comes with a usb cable so uploading to your pc is a pain in the backside.
    On board '5.1' mic is uselss in a breath of wind, fine for home movies but rubbish for anything else.
    You can only fit third party kit if you buy an adapter, but that costs less than a tenner, but still a bit cheap of sony.
    The 'editing' software is bad.

    On the whole I've been well pleased with it, but should have got the mini dv verson if only to speed up transfering the footage to my pc! And buy some decent editing software, I've kept that simple by using ulead to start with and that handles the HD ok.

    If you do get one then I'll happily pass on all short cuts I've found out that sony won't tell you.

    Cheers

    Nick

  7. #7

    Default

    nick1346, just checked full specs and the price. Specs look good, but the price is 800, 200 above my budget...

    I will consider this one, but in the meantime will wait for some other suggestions in the range of 500-700...

    It's probably so expensive because of the High Definition (HD) feature. I don't really know if I should go for HD. I don't need superb quality videos...

    Also is 30GB HDD enough? U said it's about 11 hours, but what if u go for a trip where there is no PC around. What would u do if ur HDD was full and u still had to record more, without deleting the stuff u have already recorded. Is there any way to take out the HDD and swap it with an empty one?

  8. #8

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    Yep thats the biggest draw back what to do when the HD is full! I can't find the booklet but the standard definition has a much longer amount that can be stored, but thats no good if your away for a long time! You can get this cam for 700, kelkoo it, but if ditched the hd aspect you could get something superb for 400. Hope to find what you need.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Dukinfield
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    I've posted for help with my Sharp VL WD250. The message reads 'eject cassette' but the the tape is jammed. Open the door which should release the tape mechanism......................anyway its about 5 yrs old so now I'm thinking of a new one.
    What would people suggest in mini DV format??

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