The simple answer is to buy second hand or from ebay. Two years ago, I bought a brand new miniDV camera (for use with a bullet cam) for a lot less than £200 on ebay.
I started a thread the other day about editing packages and whether a certain one will edit video from an Aiptek AHD200 camcorder. Well I was advised to go for a standard definition miniDV camcorder instead, and although I'd already done my research on that, I've had second thoughts. I've realised how much I'd regret buying a camera with no optical zoom, no stabilization, and various low-quality issues in the result - All for the sake of HD. So, I've looked at alternatives. I've done a lot of research on this and I know that for editing, it's better to get miniDV. Well I cannot find any miniDV camcorders new, and in my budget (sub 200GBP). All I can find are standard definition flash memory camcorders. So my question is, am I going to be content with that and will I be able to edit my video well using their MPEG2 format, with Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum?
I'm specifically looking at the Panasonic SDR-S26 by the way, as that has excellent reviews and good features for the price.
Alternatively, am I missing any miniDV cameras for less than 200GBP that are still around to buy new? I won't buy something like that second hand.
Currys - Shop for Digital Camcorders - Panasonic S15 Silver SD Card Camcorder
Currys - Shop for Digital Camcorders - Samsung F30 Black SD Card Camcorder
sony DCR-HC51 Mini DV camcorder - Jessops
I'm not a fan of big optical zooms on small camcorders as they tend not to have the imaging chips and optics needed to resolve detail at 35 or 40 times magnification and they can be prone to chroma aberration. Out of all of them I would go for the 10 x Panasonic.
Marc - Thanks for the tip. I'm nervous using Ebay to be honest as there is little come-back if the thing is faulty. I will take a look though.
I'm not too worried if the optical zoom is massive or not, so even a 10x is fine. I know that for that price, something like the Panasonic S26's 70x zoom is going to be pretty low quality (but might be fun!). Of the 3 you listed, the only miniDV one is the Sony, and that doesn't record in 16:9 so is no good for me. The Panasonic S15 has some bad things said about it's image quality, so if I was going for an SD card camera I'd probably still go with the one I mentioned, the Panasonic S26, as it's still under 200GBP. I could use it at lower zooms and it should be fine. I haven't looked at the Samsung you mentioned so shall do now.
I'm still wondering what people think of the editing of SD card footage and how much of a problem that would be in Sony Vegas.
[Edit] I've just seen that Ebuyer still stock the Canon MD215, which looks nice and is miniDV.
Last edited by Zackarydoo; 06-28-2009 at 12:26 PM.
There are several I've seen that do have True 16:9. I'm only looking at ones that do. I don't know if you noticed in my earlier post that I edited it to say that I'm now also looking at the Canon MD215 miniDV, as I've found for sale new. That has true 16:9 as does the Panasonic SDR-S26 SD card camcorder that I'm looking at.
Just to update things, and hopefully receive some more feedback, I've looked more at the Canon MD215 now, that is easy to still get hold of. It does seems about right for me, and a slightly better spec than the Panasonic SDR-S26 (flash memory) camera that I was looking at (slightly larger sensor). I can't find any reviews on it unfortunately but I have found some positive reviews of the next model up and also next model down, and they are all very similar cameras.
I am just wondering though about the advantage of getting the model up (MD235). I won't get it as I can't push my budget any further, but I'm still curious if it's worth the extra money. The only difference is that it has 1.07 megapixels compared with 0.8 megapixels on the MD215. Well as it doesn't take stills, why is a higher resolution better when the resulting video resolution is actually lower than 0.8? The camera surely only converts it to whatever (I forget the exact pixle number) 16:9 is. As the CCD sensor is the same physical size on both cameras, I would have thought the 0.8 megapixel one could actually be higher quality before being converted to 16:9's number of pixels.
So anyway, that's what I'll probably go for unless someone here can tell me a reason not to.