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Thread: What camera???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries

    Default What camera???

    It's a confusing time to buy a camera. Lots of new formats that sales people appear to be telling lots of lies about just to sell stuff.

    This is a very basic guide to the pros and cons of the various and many formats out there.

    1) Standard definition (SD) DV tape.
    Slick to edit, only requires a moderate fast pc, a 2 gig pentium is enough.
    Cameras are cheap as chips new and so cheap as to be almost disposable if you buy used. Some real bargains to be had as people swap to hdv. Pro SD gear is a steal.

    2) HDV - tape ( same tapes as above)
    Needs more power to edit, dual core minimum, four advisable. Long rendering times on slower systems.
    Now available for sensible prices, but be aware that to get the best from this format you do need to spend a considerable sum; the quality of the lens and other optical components can limit camera performance. Cameras that claim to be 'HD' but cost less than a cheap DV standard def cam will NOT produce results worthy ot the format.

    These two tape formats are what I would reccomend for the keen film maker. The following formats use more compression and consequently require more cpu power to edit smoothly and have slightly poorer picture quality as a result of this extra compression.

    3) DVD SD.
    Dics can be played in many dvd players, a selling point for many. Easy to edit but the data is much more compressed and the cameras often perform badly in situations where the camera is getting knocked and shaken.

    4) Hard drive cameras, SD and 'high def'.
    Video is often very compressed so you really will benefit from a very fast PC. Many editors wont even accept this data. Hard drives are fragile in portable devices. Convenient as you can often get 7 hours or more on a drive.

    5) SD card cameras.
    The future, but not yet unless you spend 5000. Consumer cams are really compromised by poor optics (often) and very high compression.

    A note about HD, hi def, and so on.

    Stickers proclaiming ' hi def ' are being slapped on all sorts of tat to sell it - it's often bullshit.
    To achieve a decent pic you need a good lens and that dont come cheap. The raw pixel count is almost irrelevant. Nobody rides for free on the quality express.

    A 150 quid camera may have a zillion pxels but you really do get what you pay for. Dont be a pixel whore ! ! If you are buying a camera, compare the output from several at different price points. IGNORE the sales pitch, unless you really trust the shop.
    Last edited by Mark W; 10-18-2008 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2


    Wish i read this about 3months ago

  3. #3


    Very helpful, in other words, walk before you can run and I presume just because it is new it is the best. Am I correct?

  4. #4


    Thanks for the advice Mark W.


  5. #5


    Thanks Mark, very useful to newbs like myself. P.S. love the dress.
    Last edited by snapper1; 12-10-2008 at 08:05 AM.

  6. Default

    can u please tell me is canon hg10 a gud camera to buy can u also tell me wat is the output format of the video i mean is it avi or vob or any other format...please help me my frnd..

  7. #7


    very helpful! i've been looking for a post just like this to give me an idea of what my first camcorder should be. i think i'm definitely going to go with the first.

    thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Cambridge, UK


    Is there any easy way of finding out the market value of used SD mini-DV cameras? I've been browsing eBay for a 3 ccd camera or at least a better 1 ccd than my current camera I bought more as a whim at Heathrow nearly 5 years ago. I've been using it more in the last year than when I first bought it

  9. #9


    I'm still (been on the case for about two months now) on the same quest, if you mean that you're looking for a used pro or semi pro SD camcorder.
    I look on Ebay a lot and carefully note the prices, although prices depend on the state of the market, on how many bidders are interested.
    Ebay prices can be pretty ridiculous, I've seen camcorders sell for not far off their new price - and you get a years' guarantee with a new cam.
    By new price, ie. for pricing cams at dealer prices, I check with Prestons, aka Videokit I think it's called. I don't have a financial interest of any kind in them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    There are SD prosumer bargains to be had for sure - but on e bay the favs are holding thier value suprisingly well.

    Things like PD170 / canon XL2 / pana DVX100 / sony PDX10 remain very sought after. Sensible people.

    Older ' prosumer' stuff like XM/XL1, PD150 are significantly cheaper but they are significantly not as good.

    The best deals seem to be bottom end of true pro sd but these cameras are huge and not for the faint hearted - and accessories cost the earth.

    Some of the last panasomic 3 ccd consumer cameras were the excellent I recall - simialr perf to the prosumer models mentioned.

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