Suggestions for DV Camcorder - Going to buy one!

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    Posted: 25 February 2002 07:19 AM

    Looking into buying a DV camcorder.  Need some help and suggestions. I am a bit of a techophile myself, but real world experience is better than paper.

    I NEED a camera that connects through FireWire, that is a given.

    Of course, it need to be Mac compatible. (is there even such a thing? aren’t they all ambiguous, that work with anything?)

    Also, which format would be best: DV Tape, memory stick, compact flash (ick), etc.

    Next, something sub-$1000. I was looking at Canon’s ZR series. The ZR-25 states that it does use FireWire. While the ZR-20 and 30 states that they use cables that are “based” on FireWire. Not sure if that is FireWire or what.

    Let me know, people. All is appreciated. Thanks!

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  • Posted: 31 January 2002 02:22 PM #1

    I haven’t had too much experience with the Canon consumer models, but I know that they support FireWire connections to your Mac.  I have, however, used their prosumer Cannon XL1 (costs $4000) with 3 CCDs.  It’s a good camera, although it is not without its problems.  It gives you professional, broadcast quality video for a relatively cheap price.

    As for the consumer models, I have had good luck with the Sony line of camcorders, but I have not tried enough to make a good comparison.

    I would recommend using DV tapes or MiniDV tapes to record your media, just because they are easier to store and catalog, plus there are many DV decks out there that will read these tapes.

    Brad

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    Brad Smith
    The Mac Observer

         
  • Posted: 01 February 2002 12:40 PM #2

    as far as the firewire based it’s a 6 to 4 pin fire wire, also you may want to figure out what you are primarily going to record (ie sports, vacation, etc.)then compare other cameras out there try taking a look at http://www.consumerdvreviews.com/camcorders  hope this helps you out a little (as for the 4to6 pin firewire, I belive your mac should have included it ( I could be wrong, I just have a couple, forgot where I got them from),To tell if you are DV ready, one side of the firewire is thinner than the other, unless a different pin to pin wire is needed. Good Luck

         
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    Posted: 01 February 2002 12:47 PM #3

    I know I have FireWire. Got the first Pro model to have it standard.

    The only reason I ask about the cams having it “based” on FireWire is that some companies like using less than comparable parts and connectng methods. They develop a “based” on FireWire method where the throughput is slower than actual FireWire.

    Thanks for the link, though. Will check it out soon.

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  • Posted: 01 February 2002 04:56 PM #4

    A friend of mine has certainly enjoyed his canon ZR-(10?) It’s not amazing quality, but it’s pretty good. 

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  • Posted: 01 February 2002 06:17 PM #5

    Note: MemoryStick, CompactFlash, etc. are not media for storing the video on the camcorders.  They’re media for the built-in digital still capabilities that are on some units.  I advise you to ignore those specs and buy for camcorder spec only.  The digital still functions are mediocre, bested by even some of the cheapest digital still cams.  You’ll be better off buying a lesser camcorder and using the leftover towards a still cam if you want both.  At this point it’s still not reasonable to buy a DV camcorder for its still capabilities nor a digital still cam for its movie capabilities.

    There are two types of tape you’ll find on DV camcorders:  MiniDV and Digital8.  The latter is useful if you want to reuse tapes or use them in both types.  They’re also a bit cheaper I think.  But if you have no investment in 8mm tapes, get the MiniDV.  The tapes are smaller thus allowing the camcorders to be much smaller.

     

         
  • Posted: 01 February 2002 07:45 PM #6

    also besides dv and digital 8 there is dvcam (sony pro) and sony’s new format I belive it is called micro mv then there is mini disc (sony dcm-m1) and a few companies are coming out with dvd-ram format (panasonic and hitachi)

         
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    Posted: 01 February 2002 07:59 PM #7

    I have looked into the mini disc and DVD burning camcorders. Not my style.  I want to be able to take video from the camera and put it back to camera, if need be, without spending huge amounts on media.

    I am leaning like the Tower of Pisa towards the DV Tape cameras. These seem to be the best medium for what I am doing.  As much as I would love to get one of the Sony pro models, I can only spend the sub-$1000 amount on one.

    The purpose of this is that I am getting into the area of building VCDs and DVD presentations for many professional companies in my area. Already have an offer for thousands (I am talking five digits here!) to create one for my attorney. (VCD style! )

    The problem is is that I will not have that money until the product is finished. So, I need a sub-$1000 until I can afford a better one. I would rather buy than rent, as the rental costs up here are enormous compared to buying.

    So, I need the FireWire hook up. I also need the DV Tape media. I just need to worry about video and audio quality for the price now. All of the suggestions have been great. Now I need some real world experience if any has used some of these cams.

    Thanks to everyone who has helped so far.

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  • Posted: 01 February 2002 08:28 PM #8

    On 2002-02-01 23:45, carnagex wrote:
    also besides dv and digital 8 there is dvcam (sony pro) and sony’s new format I belive it is called micro mv then there is mini disc (sony dcm-m1) and a few companies are coming out with dvd-ram format (panasonic and hitachi)

    Yeah, my bad.  Should have qualified that better by saying they were the two most common on consumer-grade units.

    I guess Sony will do anything to try to push mini disc media, hehe.  I didn’t know about that unit.  The DVD-RAM format seems to me would suffer from the same problems that the floppy and CD-R Sony Mavica digital still cams do:  slow, bigger than they need to be and cost too much for their feature set.

     

     

         
  • Posted: 01 February 2002 09:29 PM #9

    dvd-ram format has advantages-and some disadvantages. But what about this new sony format Micro MV , have you seen how small these camcorders are. Anyone know the quality?

         
  • Posted: 12 February 2002 11:40 AM #10

    I was all fired up to tell you to get the SONY TRV-900 - Till you said under $1000.  You might be able to find one at not much more than $1400 if you are lucky.  It is a GREAT camera, maybe more than you need (3 chips), i’ve used it on things that have aired on PBS and DISCOVERY.  If you are going to use it for making $$$ it might be worth it - I’ve seen it go head to head with the Canon Xl1 (not the new S model) and video pro’s had a hard time telling the diff.

    The TRV-17 is good under $1000, I’ve used it once - so canrt reall say.  Canon Optura is ok, but I love my TRV-900. 

    Basically I’d say eother Sony or Canon (NO JVC or PANA).... go to a store and play with the ones you can afford. See what feels right in your hand.
    Dont bother with Dig8 (you can get better for so little extra $) or with DVCAM (too much $$$). Mini DV is the way to go. 

    Are you cutting on Final Cut Pro?  if so I have never had a prob with a sony, but there have been a few issues (not many or often) with canon cameras.

    hope that helps

         
  • Posted: 13 February 2002 10:18 PM #11

    Almost in same boat!  My poor old heavy as a rock VHS camcorder, is near death. (thanks to little grandson grabing the door).  It was time to upgrade any way.   I have a chance to make a little extra $$ doing short training films. They don’t want film but something either on CD, DVD or better yet online.  Then of course I shoot a lot of family stuff, cute pets, grand kids….

    Open to any suggestions, and like many of us, I’m not rich.

         
  • Posted: 25 February 2002 07:19 AM #12

    I have a Sony DCR-TRV17 Mini-DV camcorder and it works better than great.  No problems importing video via firewire to iMovie, and I got it for under 1000 (open box deal at Best Buy.)  I’m sure it’s under 1k now.

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