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Thread: hard disk camcorder or not???

  1. #1

    Default hard disk camcorder or not???

    hi

    i've the same question as MANY...and feeling totally confused, so any advice please!

    I am a student looking for a camcorder to make recordings as part of a research project. It'll be indoor recordings, of approx. 5 hours a day (no time in between to be downloading etc). I basically need it for watching back to record observations. The sound needs to be good and the picture decent but not amazing.

    I guess I'll use it for travles and family videos too seen as I'll have one!

    A shop guy recommended the sony dcr sr35E, and I found the JVC everio in my searches ... recommendation was based on fact i could record up to 20 hrs on the sony, BUT obvioulsy i have discovered the bad reviews about the difficulties / impossibilities in converting .mod files to readable ones (and i'm not technical?!) and the very short battery life...

    SO any good opinions on the above camcorders or recommendations for something different?
    AND, suggestions for getting around the short battery life...naive question...can I record with the camcorder plugged into the mains?

    My budget: up to around £300.

    THANKS SO MUCH!

  2. #2
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    if you have the possibility to keep ur camcorder plugged in a computer while shooting... ur problems are solved...
    all u need is:
    - cheap minidv cam
    - firewire cable
    - a large hard disk (1 terabite is for 200$ tops)
    - editing software to capture (the nice thing is that u don't even have to press record on ur cam, just record on ur pc when the cam is turned on)
    The child has grown
    The dream is gone

  3. #3
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    I'd agree recording straight to the computer is the best way to go, but if that's not a happening thing I'd recommend the Sony TRV270E, same quality as MiniDV (just uses 8mm tapes, an act of kindness on Sony's part after squillions of people bought these tapes for the former format Video8 ). Long in the tooth now but the image quality is good, they can record in an LP mode which gives 90 mins on a tape at a reduction in quality, comes with a mains power supply, so no battery life problems. Sensible file formats so no issues there, just the pain of tape swapping to get your five hours, no biggy if you're not looking for seamless stuff.

    The best bit, they are around for under £190!!

    I've had mine for getting on for four years, no issues to report that I didn't cause!

    Get one of those as you'll have enough left for some decent quality tapes, a basic tripod to stand it on for five hours, and a night out to boot!

  4. #4
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    ...and availlable on eBay right now at £109 plus £12 p and p.

    HERE

  5. #5
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    Hmm, I'd like to know what 'B+ Grade means', but the guy has good feedback, and a 12 month warranty for £25. At the end of the day remote purchasing has it's risks under any circumstances, not the same as barking at a spotty oik across a shop counter to get results, so seems worth it to me.

    I could harp on about this camera for ages, I've got the 285E too, the next one up, which is the same camera with a few marginal additional features, but the main thing is it has some entry level manual controls, such as 'exposure', which is an intergrated thing which doesn't give full control over shutter speeds and apetures, but stops false metering. It has a manual focus facility, push button, followed by a thumbwheel, fine for pre-setting but maybe a bit tricky for follow focus. And, the typically patronising presets for 'scene' settings which adjust the way it meters things, like backlight, spotlighting, fast moving subject etc do actually work.

    It uses amorphic widescreen as an option, which I've used almost since day one, but then pretty much all cams at this level do that, and it can take cheap aftermarket large batteries which give me 6 hours of use. I've had mine in salty atmospheres on beaches half of its life, no problems, and the optical zoom at 20x is awesome.

    Little of that applies to this chaps use, but one thing to keep in mind is that the subject must be well lit, as it's low light performance is not so good, but then low light is an enemy of all cameras. It will capture low light scenes as low light scenes well on manual settings, but when it tries to brighten up poorly lit scenes in auto it gets very grainy. Probably academic though, it taught me to light things properly, or not bother if there's not enough as it's no good trying to polish a turd!

    Edit: Oh, and by the way, you'll need to get a firewire 6-4 pin cable.

  6. #6
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    SONY DCR-TRV270E 990x DIGITAL ZOOM 20x OPTICAL 2.5" LCD. I see the 990x digital zoom has been given prominent placing.

  7. #7
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    I guess the less well informed might be impressed by it, it's a selling thing after all.

    Pity digital zooms are pretty much all naff though!

  8. #8
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    imho any zoom on a small h held camera is naff. SHould nt be called zoom - shake more like.

  9. #9
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    Yes it's something that's not discussed enough, still cameras are the same, how many times have I been asked to analyse someone's reported fuzzy images their getting from a costly telephoto lens when it's clear it's camera shake, knowing that and the opposite end of the scale, that wide angles help to produce more stable images, are two epiphanies I hope folk into videography go through quickly. I still stuggle with getting stable images on long lenses, hence my rig shown in the enquiring post about them elsewhere here, still to be proven, but just another step to getting rid of those terrible shakey shots.

    I have a simple rule: Use a mount at all times, be it crane, steady mount, tripod, dolly, bean bag, brick, nails, gaffa tape, the misses, the dog, whatever! I never, ever, hand hold a video camera on its own. And I still get shake! A product of my age I think!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Hill View Post
    ...I'd like to know what 'B+ Grade means'...
    Usually customer returns. Catalogue stock that's been returned, checked, re-packaged and sold on again.

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