MiniDV nearing it's End?

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by John Russell, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    According to many reviews of 2006 camcorders, miniDv is nearing it's End.
    More and more DVD camcorders are being bought, and the future appears to be
    Hard Drive recorders, and solid state after that.

    Well all that may be true, but reviews also show that their demise is going
    to a blaze of glory.
    Needing a second hand held camcorder, I was surprised to see how cheap
    Sony's top end HC96 was, and I bought one.

    The picture is superb, even in-doors! And the audio has hardly any VCR noise
    compared to my previous HC42. Now the HC42 was built like a battleship,
    lot's of metal and quite heavy. Not ideal to dampen mechanical noise! The 96
    is mainly plastic, which of course is to reduce cost, but it may also be
    contributing to noise reduction. Most modern engineers will tell you that
    plastic is no longer used just because it's cheaper. It often is the best
    material to satisfy the engineering remit.

    So there you have minidv on it's death door, not decaying before your eyes,
    but shining out, to be replaced by more "modern" technology, which according
    to most reviews, doesn't achieve the same quality as last years mindv, never
    mind this!
    John Russell, Jul 11, 2006
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  2. John Russell

    Grumps Guest

    Joe Public is gullible. "Yes, sir, you want this latest technology. It's a
    hard disk recorder, don't you know".
    Mainly due to its large sensor, compared to the lower end in the HC range.
    But the motor noise annoys me. Not much gets onto the tape, but it's still a
    pain; and I'm not the only one (judging by a quick Google) that dislikes
    this Sony 'feature'.
    Indeed. And plastic weighs much less too.
    It'd be a damn shame if MiniDV died to be overtaken by poorer performing
    Grumps, Jul 11, 2006
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  3. John Russell

    G Hardy Guest

    VHS vs Beta

    Vinyl vs CD vs MP3

    It's bound to lose out eventually, because superior technology has no chance
    if it's a gnat's knob more effort than the lesser technology.
    G Hardy, Jul 11, 2006
  4. John Russell

    Tim Streater Guest

    Surely for anything even semi-serious DV has to be the way to go? I
    don't care what they do at the cheap end but am worried at present by
    the manufacturers flight from the mid-range units. I wanted to buy a
    Canon MVX45i and settled for an MVX35i because I wanted something with
    ease of use combined with easy manual overrides. It would be a shame if
    there ended up being camcorders in the £200-£00 range and then nothing
    until £1000.

    -- tim
    Tim Streater, Jul 11, 2006
  5. John Russell

    G Hardy Guest

    Well I think you've answered your own question, in a way. There is a call
    for cheaper consumer camcorders, and the technology for burning DVDs is
    cheaper than MiniDV, and will continue to drop. Consumers will buy DVD
    cameras as they are cheaper, expanding the gulf between the prices for
    consumer units and semi-pro & up. More people who would have bought a
    mid-range camera will fall on the cheaper side, reducing demand for DV tape
    transports, driving up their cost, and increasing the gulf. There will come
    a point where the tape mechanism is (proportional to a DVD writing
    mechanism) the most expensive component in the camera, so the mid range will
    disappear. The price of transports will go up as the price of the rest of
    the technology (e.g. CCDs) comes down, meaning that the four-digit cameras
    will stay four-digit, but won't deviate by much.

    Another potential driving force behind the prices coming down so much is the
    fact that DVD is supposed to be a doomed technology. With the next
    generation of storage on the horizon, it makes sense for camera
    manufacturers to shift as many units as they can right now, so that in the
    near future they will be able to sell a new camera to consumers who suddenly
    find their shiny DVD-writing camera is obsolete.
    G Hardy, Jul 11, 2006
  6. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    I don't think those buying DVD camcorders are doing so because they think
    it's bin end bargain of outdated equipment. Many people will not be rushing
    to HDTV and then wanting camcorders to match. The majority of home camcorder
    users have DVD players and like the convenience of popping their recordings
    straight in. I can understand that. I have DV camcorders but I edit the
    video for DVD on PC. I don't like the whole "wire up your camcorder to the
    TV" thing, it's so inconvenient. But equally I don't want to see DVD
    recordings with the quality of a web broadcast, hence my choice to use DV.
    John Russell, Jul 11, 2006
  7. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    The bottom end, by that I mean the "handycam" type camcorder, is shifting
    away from DV because the majority of those who might buy them are going DVD.

    The questions is the demand for DV camcorders by pro-ams big enough to
    sustain any hike in cost resulting from the collapse in sales at the bottom
    end? Surely this is the group most likely to shift to HD anyway? And these
    camcorders use incremental MPEG2 when they do use minidv tapes, so it would
    be the end of DV video on minidv tapes.
    John Russell, Jul 11, 2006
  8. John Russell

    G Hardy Guest


    Sorry - I didn't mean to imply that the DVD Camcorder owner is looking for
    the "bin end". It's just that prices will continue to come down, so the DVD
    buyer will get more for their money.

    Broadly speaking, there are three categories of camcorder buyer: The one who
    wants to record the kids match/school plays/niece's wedding - then just dump
    the lot onto a medium he can use in his TV with no editing or minimal
    editing (consumer cameras). Then there's the one who does some editing and
    charges for the privilege - the wedding videographer, event video etc
    (semi-pro). Then there's the broadcast guy with a ghetto blaster of a
    camera, a crew, and a dedicated suite or subcontractor for each aspect of
    his work (broadcast).

    There are people who fit in between even those categories (and those
    somewhere between "Mr No-Edit" and "Mr Paid-to-Edit" are the ones we're
    really considering here - we'll call him the "casual editor") but those are
    the broad categories.

    The guy who just wants to dump his footage onto a watchable medium will love
    DVD camcorders for many reason, not least being the ability to whip the
    recording out of the camera and use it immediately on his TV. No wiring up
    the camera to the TV needed. The quality will better than the guy who shoots
    MiniDV then converts to DVD because there's no intermediate format. The
    video goes straight from the CCD to the final format via a hardware encoder.
    Even duplication has got easier. No need to capture.

    The guy who pays a grand for a top-end MiniDV camera for semi-pro work will
    stick with that for its inherent archival potential and the ability to edit
    without (further) loss. As I said before, the price of these cameras won't
    change much because the increasing cost of the medium is offset by drops in
    the price of the rest of the camera's components.

    It's the guy between the two who will suffer - the one who wants to make a
    nice film for his niece, or edit the school play so they can sell it, or
    whatever. It will not be economically viable for DV-based cameras to compete
    with DVD, so he'll either have to go to the cheaper, less editable DVD
    format, or fork out more for DV cameras. It's not about bargain bins.

    We're going to lose the "casual editing" market just because the DVD writing
    transport is cheaper. When I bought my first DVD writer, six years ago, it
    cost me £550 for DVD-R SL 2X . I just replaced its replacement for £30
    giving me DVD+/-R and RAM, SL/DL 16X.
    G Hardy, Jul 11, 2006
  9. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    I use the word "incremental" to discriminate from the normal use for these
    tapes which is DV, DV uses Full Frame Only MPEG2.
    John Russell, Jul 11, 2006
  10. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    It's the guy between the two who will suffer - the one who wants to make a
    It will be interesting to see how the HD camcorder market develops, in
    performance, recording media used, and price. It may well be that the
    enthusiastic amateur will be forced down this route, or perhaps embrace it
    with gusto when they see the products available as prices reduce. This will
    further squeeze the market for mid range miniDV camcorders.

    I have to admit I was tempted to get a JVC Hard Drive recorder and then read
    a lot of poor reviews, and my sisters comments about how her Digital 8
    recordings looked better than a friends JVC Hard Drive recorder costing
    twice as much.
    John Russell, Jul 11, 2006
  11. John Russell

    Ed Fielden Guest

    On the pro end of things, Sony have already ceased development on the DVCAM
    format - no new DVCAM products are being created. Sure, the tape will
    continue to be manufactured and the format will still be in widespread use
    for a few years yet - ITV, for instance, have recently kitted out most of
    their regional news centres with DVCAM equipment because it ties in so
    nicely with Avid.
    Sony seem to be concentrating on their XDCAM range - using 'Blu-ray'-like
    disc cartridges, and allowing much faster than realtime transfer into a
    compatible storage server.

    Ed Fielden, Jul 11, 2006
  12. John Russell

    Tim Streater Guest

    Yes, I would say I'm going to be squarely in that category. I only got
    into this because we went to see the brother-in-law and I ended up
    taking some (low-quality) video of their children with my Sony digital
    camera. Then I found what a doddle it was to put that on a DVD with
    titles, fades etc. It only took me about 30 mins from never having used
    iMovie, iDVD, ever.

    So then I looked for a camcorder - we're moving house and would like to
    document the one we're in now. Just as I settle on a model in the
    midrange I find they're all being deleted. The Sonys look nice but
    everyone says they have rubbish manual control. I think the Canon mvx35i
    will work out fine - the only real shame is lack of a shoe and it's
    bottom loading. I'm going to have to make a wooden shoe-mount and glue
    it on top of the camcorder. Looks like I should have got into this
    business a year ago :)

    -- tim
    Tim Streater, Jul 12, 2006
  13. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    Sony have made their range top loaders for this year, but they still haven't
    addressed the problem of being able to change tapes without removing from
    the docking station. The new docking station has a higher part which blocks
    the door from opening. It isn't a no no to remove a tape with power on is
    it, as they seem to think so. So I'm still left with turning it off,
    removing from the docking station, swap tapes etc.
    John Russell, Jul 12, 2006
  14. John Russell

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <44b3620e$>, John Russell

    I suppose we have to look at things from the camcorder manufacturers
    point of view. The camcorder manufacturer's marketing droids, quite
    rightly from a business point of view, look at consumer camcorders as
    being a volume market. What this means is that 99.99% of camcorder
    buyers only want to shoot birthdays, weddings and the annual holidays -
    and the rest of the year the camcorder is put away until the next
    "event". So to make things easy for these people, manufacturers provide
    a removable DVD disk to stuff in their home video for "quick-and-easy"
    viewing. For the camcorders with a hard drive, an increasing number of
    those who are in a position to buy, already have a DVD recorder stuck
    underneath their TVs - usually with a firewire socket. So why make
    things difficult for the overwhelming majority of camcorder buyers?

    I imagine that in the course of time, the manufacturers will look at
    their sales figures for the various flavours of camcorder and inevitably
    allocate smaller budgets for the development of new-model miniDV

    My personal view is that miniDV camcorders will remain with us for a
    decade or two - but with a much smaller selection of available models
    across the price ranges. This, because there is little investment
    needed, because the miniDV camcorder's development has gone as far as it
    can go. I'd speculate that the miniDV drive mechanism in today's
    "latest-model" camcorder is identical to that of the model of four years
    ago (for each manufacturer). Even the circuitry, I'd wager, is very
    similar to that in camcorders of yesteryear. This factor may account for
    the low price of miniDV camcorders today, compared with three or four
    years ago. Not a lot of development cost for a new model.
    Tony Morgan, Jul 13, 2006
  15. John Russell

    Tony Morgan Guest

    I'm not sure if the above are good parallels. Betamax died a death
    simply because it came to market 18 months after VHS. As someone once
    said of IBM - "50 million people can't be wrong". CD gave less noise
    and better quality than vinyl. And who wants to hang an 8" diameter
    player round their neck when you can put 1000x more music tracks on an
    MP3 unit the size of a cigarette lighter?
    50 zillion users can't be wrong - especially when the marketing droids
    tell them what to think and buy :)
    Tony Morgan, Jul 13, 2006
  16. John Russell

    John Russell Guest

    Economy of scale, and the Japanese approach of using high cost (high
    quality?) home plants for the latest technology, and off loading older
    technology to cheaper countries, means prices do come down.
    But it's interesting that sites like camcorderinfo are showing this years
    models are better than last years (OK not by huge amounts). Compare that to
    say VHS Video Recorders, where my 20 year old JVC produced better pictures
    than every VHS I've bought since. It had been relegated to the bedroom,
    whilst 2 or 3 newer ones lived (and died) in the living room.

    What's worrying is this year may be the nirvana of miniDV. If it does follow
    VHS, quality will suffer as cost becomes the defining attribute in a
    competitive market with the likes of DVD.
    John Russell, Jul 13, 2006
  17. John Russell

    G Hardy Guest

    I heard it had happened because beta was top-loading whereas VHS was front
    loading. VHS units could go neatly in a cabinet under the telly whereas beta
    had to go on top of the TV, or on a shelf with room on top to load.

    Now that's _definitely_ fighting talk to some afficionados. About 15 years
    ago, I actually knew someone who could tell the audio difference between CD
    and LP, and said CD isn't as good. When CD first came out, many vinyl buffs
    felt that CD had less fidelity. I can't tell - my hearing isn't that good,
    but I bet they'd have to have a better stereo than I've ever owned to be
    able to tell.
    The delivery hardware isn't important. It's the delivery medium. You need a
    computer to download music anyway, so if quality mattered, the consumer
    would buy the CD, rip it to MP3 then use that wherever it's needed. Legit
    MP3 sales have just outstripped CD sales for the first time - so it's just
    that people can't be bothered to do the conversion themself, it's nothing to
    do with the listening hardware.

    I've got a CD player in the car that's capable of playing MP3 CDs. What's
    the use of that? You still have to use the same physical medium, so why
    listen to MP3s when you get better quality from a CD? Because I'm lazy - and
    don't have to change CDs as often.

    It's also the reason that the typical consumer rarely bothers to transfer DV
    tapes to VHS. It's not that the DV is better quality - they just can't be
    arsed. :eek:)

    I hear what you're saying, but I still think you have a higher opinion of
    Joe Public than he deserves. Even if the DVD marketing droid honestly
    conceded that quality was lower than with DV, but you get to play it in the
    DVD player straight from the camera, he'd still make the sale. If the hard
    drive droid said quality was even lower than DVD, it was more expensive, and
    the unit is more fragile in use - he'd still make his sale from the guy who
    thinks "cool - no more tapes to carry about".

    People are ostensibly lazy. The price/quality/convenience triangle is not
    equilateral. The biggest factor by far is "how easy does this make it?"
    G Hardy, Jul 13, 2006
  18. John Russell

    RobDee Guest

    Both Betamax and VHS had, at one time, top loaders, it wasn´t something
    peculiar to Beta.

    RobDee, Jul 14, 2006
  19. John Russell

    Tony Morgan Guest

    I'm old enough to remember that for the first few years, every VHS was
    top-loading :)
    And that's a good thing IMHO. I cannot think of anything so
    user-unfriendly as to be forced to crouch down to (or near) floor level
    to change a VHS cassette, DVD disk or CD disk). It's something I've been
    whinging about for many years. How much more user-friendly would it be
    to have the units that you had to change tapes/disks above the TV? The
    problem seems to stem from the undue influence that marketing droids
    have on designers.

    It seems a welcome spin-off from the wider use of LCD and plasma screen
    TVs that users are increasingly mounting recorders and players on a
    wall-mounted shelf at a more ergonomic height.

    Skipped the rest that I agree with........
    Tony Morgan, Jul 14, 2006

  20. Not true. My dad bought what was supposed to be one of the first (if not
    the first) consumer front loading VHS recorders to replace our Sony Betamax
    (which was huge). This was around 1981 or 1982, a few years after both
    formats had come out.

    Synapse Syndrome, Jul 21, 2006
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