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Thread: Camcoder Purchase

  1. #1

    Default Camcoder Purchase

    hi everyone, i need help in purchasing a camcoder and my budget is 500$. i have no knowledge on which cam to buy cause there are so many in the market from so many formats like HDD,DVD, and DV and from so many brands so please help me as am a newbie to this.
    thank you
    Nigel

  2. Default

    Stick with miniDV for your price range because HDD and DVD are both horrible and here's why

    HDD: When an image is recorded onto the harddrive of your camcorder it compresses the image and in return the image quality becomes degraded. Also, some programs may have conversion issues with the file format the camcorder saves to, so it's not exactly universal.

    DVD: With DVD's you must spend a lot of money getting the disks and when you record, it shows great on the camcorder but when you have to start recording it on the DVD, it compresses the image A LOT and so you get this subpar, poor quality image and sometimes the DVD will not write properly and so lets say you film for an entire hour and then finalize your disk (make it viewable on DVD players) sometimes it will not finalize correctly and then you loose your ENTIRE disk.

    So stick with miniDV. It's reliable, its storable and miniDV camcorders are cheaper because its an already existing technology which has been around for years.

    As for cheap camcorders, I have been using a Canon ZR500 and ZR800. Both are EXCELLENT cameras with tons of options such as adjusting how bright your image is (shutter speed), your white balance, tons of built-in effects and an external mic jack so you can plug in what ever microphone you want.

    To see it in action I have made a video on youtube showing the image quality this camcorder is capable of producing:
    YouTube - Canon ZR500 & 800 test :: Los Cerritos
    Imagination and discipline are like yin and yang; both are completely different and yet without each other they are nothing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
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    Default

    A very good answer indeed.

    I would dispute one small part though. A camcorder "having tons of effects" should not be a selling point to someone interested enough to post on these forums. What I have seen of the effect camcorders tend to have (wiht the possible exception of night vision - if you can call that an 'effect') is that they are all performed better in the editting stage. If you record in sepia, say, on the camera and change your mind, you are stuck with it. Decide to do it later and fine, no worries, just delete the effect on the timeline.

    one other thing not mentioned. When lookig for a camcorder you should completely ignore digital zoom. Optical zoom is the only one that means anything.

  4. Default

    Yuck, digital zoom needs to dissapear and quick, there is no useful purpose for it out there. I mean with those cameras that boast '800x digital zoom!' What do you want? a huge pixel in your screen? because that's what you'll get if you use it. It's so improperly advertised.
    Imagination and discipline are like yin and yang; both are completely different and yet without each other they are nothing.

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RET80 View Post
    Yuck, digital zoom needs to dissapear and quick, there is no useful purpose for it out there. I mean with those cameras that boast '800x digital zoom!' What do you want? a huge pixel in your screen? because that's what you'll get if you use it. It's so improperly advertised.
    My point exactly!

  6. #6

    Default

    thanks guys, so am deciding to buy a minidv so which cam shall i go for? i also need a cam with good optical zoom to take far shots. I liked the Canon ZR800 how much would that cost? and i have heard that those minidv tapes get spoilt (catch fungus) after a few years. Is that true? also is there anyway to directly transfer the video from a miniDv Camcorder to the computer through the USB or Firewire ?

  7. Default

    The ZR800 runs no more than $300 (the price changes variably, CANON INC. -- please check the website for pricing). As for miniDV, yes. They do. VHS has a MUCH, MUCH longer shelf life than any miniDV cassette. I'd go for VHS any day (but that's because I do a lot of TV stuff =P), but as long as you transfer your miniDV to your computer, you'll be OK, or if you vacuum seal your tapes in a ziplock and keep them in the dark (UV rays are the most damaging to tape), you'll get a few more years out of it.

    All miniDV camcorders use firewire cables. They're the best and most efficient out there.
    Imagination and discipline are like yin and yang; both are completely different and yet without each other they are nothing.

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