Which low-price Digital Camcorder to buy?

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by tochiromifune, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Hi,

    I would like to buy a digital camcorder. I only want to make short films
    of my daughter so I need something basic and "cheap" I think. What would
    you recommend?

    Thank you for your help.

    tochiromifune, Nov 28, 2005
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  2. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    Well the MPEGs that a mobile phone produces are digital.

    What's "cheap", in your opinion?
    G Hardy, Nov 28, 2005
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  3. Yes, good question! It would less than 400 euros.

    I think I need a usb outlet on the camcorder to download the files to my
    computer. (sorry I don't know the first thing about camcorders)
    tochiromifune, Nov 28, 2005
  4. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    400 euros is about 270 quid (conversion necessary because this is, after
    all, a UK group).

    I think that might be a bit borderline for a DV camcorder (mine cost £1,500
    each, so you're in a market segment I know nothing about). The cheapest I
    found (after a quick scan) with USB and DV was the Sony DCR-HC22e which
    (surprisingly) has DV-in as well.

    If you're buying a DV camcorder (tape) then you're best ignoring USB and
    spend a tenner or so on a firewire card for your PC. If you're buying a DVD
    camcorder then it's up to you how you get it onto the PC.

    If you're planning to go straight to media without computer editing, then
    buy a DVD camcorder. That way, it only gets compressed once, so you only get
    the quality drop once. If VHS is your end media - or you have a DVD recorder
    with firewire-in (sometimes called i-Link, but properly called IEEE1394)
    then a DV camera is best

    All IMHO, of course.
    G Hardy, Nov 28, 2005
  5. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Not really the way to go. You're best off using firewire - a firewire
    card and cable can be had for about £18.

    I'd suggest that you go for a miniDV camcorder. You can buy a Sony
    TRV-HC19E for £228 (333 Euros) from Amazon. You should also budget for a
    spare battery (try Ebay) and a case (try Ebay).

    There's some basic stuff at:
    Tony Morgan, Nov 28, 2005
  6. tochiromifune

    Gaz Guest

    I recently bought my first camcorder - a Sony DCR-HC22E which I cannot
    fault, it is absolutely superb and very easy to use. It might be a bit
    borderline for your budget though, so I'd suggest the Sony DCR-HC19E,
    which is essentially the same camera but without the handy docking
    station and without the DV-in option (which IMO you really only need if
    you plan to archive editted footage back onto DV tape).

    Shop around online and you'll find some much better deals than on the
    high street!
    Gaz, Nov 28, 2005
  7. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <8wGif.17187$>, Gaz
    A lot of people find a camcorder's DV-in invaluable in transferring VHS
    tapes to DVD.
    Tony Morgan, Nov 28, 2005
  8. tochiromifune

    Gaz Guest

    Ooh yeah, never thought of that as a use for it - nice one!
    Gaz, Nov 28, 2005
  9. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    The cameras I bought both had DV in. I'm a professional* videographer, and
    it has to be the least-used feature on my camera! I've only once used it -
    to transfer the leading 30 mins of footage from one tape to the trailing 30
    mins of another - in the field - so I had a spare full tape to use during an
    unexpectedly lengthy shoot. With hindsight - it would have been far more
    sensible and far less risky to just take more tapes - so it's a feature I've
    not used since.

    * By my definition: "professional" means you get paid for it - not
    necessarily that you're good at it ;o)
    G Hardy, Nov 28, 2005
  10. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    Err - it's analogue-in you need for VHS to DVD using DVD as a passthrough,
    not DV-in. I've got DV-in on both my (Canon) cameras, but I still can't
    archive VHS.
    G Hardy, Nov 28, 2005
  11. It's quite useful if the camera can do pass-through in both directions (maybe
    USA spelling pass-thru ) ie DVin -> analog out so you can use a "broadcast"
    monitor for colour balancing etc

    In the days when I was only a still photographer, "professional" meant that if
    you shot 12 - 12 should be useable even if only one was good, amateur meant that
    1 was useable and could be brilliant!!



    Stuart McKears, Nov 28, 2005
  12. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    All Sony miniDV with DV-in provide analogue pass-through (to PC's DV
    AVI). Alternatively you can record directly to miniDV tape (depending on
    the menu selections), and capture in the usual way..
    Perhaps you should have bought Sony :)
    Tony Morgan, Nov 29, 2005
  13. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    As I've pointed out, DV-in permits VHS to be transferred to DVD using
    analogue pass-though (which all Sony miniDV camcorders provide via the
    menu system). Similarly, any analogue source can be transferred to DV
    AVI, and hence to DVD (on Sony miniDVD camcorders). I am a little
    surprised that a professional isn't aware of this much used facility.

    The alternative to this is to pay £100+ for a Canopus unit to facilitate
    the transfer.
    Tony Morgan, Nov 29, 2005
  14. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    IMHO "professional" means (in this context) to 'get it right the first
    time' - and to be paid for it.

    I would have thought, Stuart, that you would subscribe to the view that
    a professional can't afford to schedule a second shoot simply because he
    got it *wrong* the first time :)

    And (again IMHO) the knowledge of the full facilities of their tools,
    and their application, is implicit in the required baseline requirements
    for professionals.
    Tony Morgan, Nov 29, 2005
  15. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    Why? I don't need to put analogue onto MiniDV. And if I want passthrough, I
    certainly wouldn't use a DV camera, that recompresses the video on its
    journey through the circuits.

    The point of my post was that you are misleading people by saying you need
    DV-in to use a DV camera for analogue passthrough.
    G Hardy, Nov 29, 2005
  16. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    Indeed - before I got a dualhead card, that was how I did all my monitor
    previewing. Now sure if it was good for the camera, though, leaving it on
    all the time like that.

    Aaah - that's why I prefer my definition. I probably wouldn't even come up
    to "amateur" by your definintion ;o)
    G Hardy, Nov 29, 2005
  17. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    You would think so, but I know of one photographer in high demand who uses
    just two lenses and two F stops, and "photoshops" anything that doesn't come
    out right from the resulting four combinations.
    G Hardy, Nov 29, 2005
  18. tochiromifune

    G Hardy Guest

    And as I've pointed out - DV in refers to digital video. I'd have thought
    you knew that VHS is not digital video, Tony :eek:)

    DV in does not permit analogue VHS to be transferred anywhere.

    Just because it's implied that when one manufacturer (Sony) supports DV-in
    on any of their models, they also support analogue-in, that situation does
    not apply to all manufacturers.
    a) A real professional would not be transferring analogue to ANY medium
    (other than DV tape) using a DV camera.
    b) A professional would know that this feature is only available on some
    camera makes and models, and wouldn't be trying to confuse the OP by
    suggesting all cameras with DV-in also support analogue-in.

    ....or £30 for a USB2 converter, or £45 for a video card with analogue
    capture facilities (the latter gets even better results than the Canopus, as
    it doesn't necessarily compress the video).
    G Hardy, Nov 29, 2005
  19. tochiromifune

    Tony Morgan Guest

    I fear you didn't read what I said *in context* in much of what you say
    above. The context was in response to the view/opinion that DV-in is
    *only* useful for writing-back DV fro archiving. Indeed there have been
    a number posts here where the facility solves a posters problem - but
    they had previously been unaware of the facility.
    Tony Morgan, Nov 29, 2005
  20. tochiromifune

    Gripper Guest

    DV-in does NOT equal analogue-in, even on Sony DV camcorders.
    My Sony PC7 will NOT do analogue-in, but does do DV-in.
    Gripper, Nov 29, 2005
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