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Old 8th November 2004, 12:53   #1
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Default The Camcorder thread : Tech, deals and specs

Hi folks,

Bro's currently in Florida and I need some advise in helping him decide which digicam to buy....

He has set his eyes on the Sony DCR-TRV460 which retails for about $400 over there.

Is this a decent one to go for ? It will be used for general purpose shoots indoor as well as outdoor .

Any pointers to the other cams available alongwith indicative prices both in India as well as in US would help

thanks

~A
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Old 8th November 2004, 13:35   #2
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Hi,

Samsung Scd103 is a good pick , selling around $325 or even less.
Slim, compact, miniDv with lots of features , very good for indoor and outdoor as well. Has got Night Pix mode so one can shoot in almost dark (IR shooting),

Samsung also sells similar models in India so battery will be available in future and perhaps service.

Don't worry about PAL/NTSC (all US models are NTSC) almost all moden TV sets sold in India can display both PAL and NTSC, my 1995 SONY TV has this.

Other brands to consider are SONY and Canon (ZR series), SONY very good picture quality but expensive, Canons are good but Drive motor noise is bit irritating.

Servie support in India is possible with both SONY and CANON

Next choice would be Panasonic and JVC both are equally good.

You can check at www.amazon.com and www.cicuitcity.com for models, prices and user reviews.

Time is just right as Xmas is approching and Sale and discount war has just begun.

Best way to buy is through Internet and I recommend B&H or J&R also Amazon.


Based on my expreience as well as many of my friend here is US:

1> Camera function in any camcorder is pretty useless, don't even count it, buy it only for movie recording.
2> Count only the Optical Zoom , digital zoom is of no use.
3>Once the initial enthusiasum is over the Camcorder start gathering dust! I got my camcorder last year and used only 2-3 occasions so far , so keep this in mind while budgeting your purchase.



Hope this helps.

Vipul Gandhi

San Diego, CA, USA



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Old 8th November 2004, 16:28   #3
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I recommend to look at Panasonic and Canon too. Last year I bought Panasonic DV203 MiniDV for $440, $200 less than Soney with similar features. Canon has very good lens. JVC...big no..no...

Discounts are highest on the day after Thanks giving day in the last week of November. Also search on Froogle by Google for cheapest prices in online stores.



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Old 8th November 2004, 19:21   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]He has set his eyes on the Sony DCR-TRV460
.

i fgoing for the 460 go for the 460E it has memory stick too.. and yeah panasonic has some really good cams ...compact annd good features and great on price too..

check out the deals first and deceide...
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Old 9th November 2004, 01:46   #5
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I had a SOny DCR TRV-19 Mini DV until sometime ago which was gifted to someone later. It probably shares a lot of features with the DCR-TRV460. BTW, same models are called different names in different countries. Anyways, the best feature of the camera was the touch screen LCD. The pansonic, canon and jvc models do not have this feature. Also, the sony models look better as well as having better quality switches and panels. However, these features come for a price and this is why the Sony models are relatively expensive. But if u feel the features fulfill your need and the higher price doesn't bother, then go for the Sony with your eyes closed. One advice, though, even if price is an issue, don't go for an older technology than Mini DV!!
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Old 9th November 2004, 18:02   #6
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thanks guys for all those inputs ...btw can someone explain what exactly is this MiniDV technology in camcorders which is offered these days ?

I have shortlisted the SONY DCR-TRV22 Digital MiniDV...prices on amazon start from $ 535 onwards...does anyone have any experience with this cam ?



~A
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Old 10th November 2004, 13:21   #7
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When I got my Camcorder last year I did some research. Here are some points; I would like to share with you.

1> Most digital camcorders use a digital format videotape called MiniDV. Some older models (still available in stores) use analog format VHS, VHS Compact, Hi-8. *VHS, VHS Compact, Hi-8 based camcorders are bulky and heavy, while miniDV based camcorders are compact and light weight. MiniDV gives higher resolution and clean recording (however some what less in *quality as compared to DVD format) and as the recording is digital, you can then edit it on a computer, a far easier task than editing an analog tape. And there's more: You can easily output your masterwork to tape or DVD. To do all this, you'll need a digital camcorder, a FireWire (IEEE 1394) interface on your PC, and a video-editing program.

2> You can also see camcorders that store video on memory cards: Several manufacturers have launched camcorders that can record video to memory cards. Although these camcorders are smaller than their MiniDV cousins, the recorded video is lower quality than MiniDV, and the memory cards are still much more expensive than videotape, so it will be some time before memory cards start supplanting videotapes as the most convenient way to record video.


3> Another recent development is camcorders that can record video directly onto DVD discs, which you can then play back in a DVD player. These camcorders use small 8-centimeter recordable DVD discs that can hold up to an hour of video. Although quality is better than MiniDV camcorders, the 8-centimeter DVD discs are more expensive than MiniDV tapes, and you can't just pop the DVD disc out and play it in a DVD player. Before a DVD player or PC DVD-ROM drive can read the disc, you have to set the camcorder to finish it--a process that can take up to ten minutes.


4> While selecting your camcorder check for some key features:

A>Screen: Having a large LCD screen built into the camcorder lets you more easily see what you're recording and facilitates playback previews. Be careful--some screens don't work well in bright sunlight. Most camcorders come with both an LCD screen and a (Black-n-white / color) viewfinder, and it's nice to have the option to use either. The viewfinder can be useful if you can't see the screen in bright daylight; it also uses less power than the screen, extending the camcorder battery's life. Check out the LCD screen in daylight, if possible. Some screens will wash out in bright sunlight, and you'll want to make sure you can easily see what you're recording in any conditions. If you can't see the screen in bright daylight, try using the viewfinder: It can help get the job done without eating up a lot of battery power.


B> Lens: Every camcorder comes with a zoom lens that allows you to get close-ups of your subject. Camcorder manufacturers tend to advertise their products' incredible zoom capabilities, but they don't always distinguish clearly between digital and optical zoom. With a digital zoom, the camcorder enlarges part of the image to fill the screen, leading to grainy, pixelated, and generally unpleasant-looking images. At higher digital zoom settings, the quality is so poor you often can't see what you are taping. The spec for maximum optical zoom is the more interesting figure: It denotes the maximum zoom that the lens itself can achieve without enhancement. Most modern camcorders have at least a 10X optical zoom, which should be more than adequate for general purposes.

C> Optical Image Stabilization: Check for this feature. When you zoom, the picture becomes shaky, as a slightest movement gets magnified by the zoom ratio. Optical zoom stabilizes this motion. Beware, some manufacturer provide Digital Image Stabilization but it won't help.

D>Batteries: The amount of recording and playback time you get out of a battery varies, but most camcorders should be able to record for at least an hour with the included battery. Additional higher-capacity batteries typically cost $50 to $100.

E> Microphones: Sound is as important to a video as the images. A camcorders with microphones mounted in the front tend to produce better sound than those with microphones on the top; in particular, top-mounted microphones can pick up the voice of the person using the camera, drowning out everything else. Some camcorders offer zoom microphones that can emphasize the subject's voice when the zoom lens is used, and some also come with a socket to plug in an external microphone. Either type of microphone can be very useful when you're recording presentations or speeches.
(However you can always record sound using a separate device and later merge the sound track with the footage using suitable video editing software)

F> Video Light: Just like external microphone some camcorders have a provision to mount a small lamp to help in low light conditions. This is similar to flash used in a camera only difference is this video light remains continuously on till you put it off.


G> Ability to take still images: Many digital camcorders can serve as digital cameras, saving still images to a memory card. However, check the resolution, many camcorders have poor still picture taking capabilities as the resolution is often less than 1 megapixel.

H> Controls: Owning the fanciest camcorder in the world won't do you any good if you can't use it. *

I> Ability to shoot in the dark: Many camcorders have the ability to film in very low light, either with the help of an infrared light (which you can't see, but the camcorder can), a special slow shutter mode that makes the most of ambient lighting, or built-in illumination from one or more LEDs. Some offer all three, and these can be very useful in poorly illuminated settings, such as when you're recording a camping trip or capturing on tape the creatures that wander into your yard after nightfall.

J> Format: Most camcorders use the MiniDV videotape format, but a few other options are available, such as Sony's Digital 8 and MicroMV formats. A Digital 8 camcorder uses Hi-8 videotapes and can also play back videotapes recorded on analog camcorders. MicroMV camcorders use a type of tape that is smaller than MiniDV tapes. On a MicroMV camcorder, however, the digital video is compressed much more than on MiniDV camcorders, so most digital video-editing programs are unable to edit the video without using another program to convert it into a format that they can understand. There are two programs that can import video directly from a MicroMV camcorder, though: Pinnacle Studio 9 and Sony's own ScreenBlast.

K> Number of CCDs: The camcorder's CCD device captures your image information. The more the CCD count the better the picture. With three CCDs, each captures a different color, resulting in greater color accuracy and a sharper image. But more of CCD comes at a cost!

L> Input/Output ports: *Must have port: *FireWire port to get recording from Camcorder to PC for editing. Some Camcorders offer Firewire In only which means you can not send data back to tape. *If it is Firewire In/Out then the same port can be used to send the data back to tape or any other recording device. S-Video in/out, composite in/out S-Video are used to connect the camcorder to either TV or VCR like Firewire port this could be either Out only or IN/Out in the later case you can record from TV, VCR or another Camcorder ( means you can convert old VHS recording into MiniDV format).

M> PAL/NTSC: In India we use PAL format for TV while in US it is NTSC. So models sold in US are NTSC based and those available in India are PAL based. But most modern (1995 onwards) TVs sold in India do have PAL/NTSC switch facility so PAL / NTSC is not at all an issue. In US there are some stores which sell PAL format Camcorders (imported from Gulf countries) at an exorbitant cost.

N> 110/230V, 50/60 Hz: Camcorders work on Battery so nothing to worry about it. Battery chargers supplied with the camcorders are 110 to 240 V type so it will work in India, however you need a plug adapter (costs around Rs 5 and ypu can find it at any electrical goods store).

In addition to the basic Camcorder you will also need: Tripod, Video Editing Software, and Firewire Card for your PC, Blank media. *Better buy the video editing software in US and rest can be purchased in Mumbai (somewhat cheaper)

Hope this helps.

Vipul Gandhi
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Old 10th November 2004, 16:56   #8
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Thanx a ton for those deep insights Vipul, infact your comments could be titled " The Camcorder biblography for amateurs " what say ?

thanks once again

~A

ps : i will pm my model specific queries to u directly
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Old 28th March 2008, 12:55   #9
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Exclamation a quality digi camcorder within 30k??

hello

im planning to buy a digital camcorder within a budget of 30k.My priorities are quality of product,quality of video/photos taken and easy transfer to pc.

also which format would be the best..hard disk/mini dv/tape??

thanks.
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Old 29th March 2008, 15:42   #10
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If you want quality got for one with 3CCD.

Not sure if you can get one within 30K budget.
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Old 31st March 2008, 19:35   #11
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Sony Handycam DCR-DVD 608/E DVD Camcorder
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Old 31st March 2008, 20:08   #12
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This link should give you some insights. I have used it so many times to suggest models:
Camcorders - Independent Camcorder Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons
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Old 31st March 2008, 20:12   #13
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I might also be interested in buying a camcorder. I think it makes more sense to buy one with HDD storage.

My personal experience with cameras has been that Canon is better than Sony ? How do these and other brands compare in the camcorder space ?
Gurus, please enlighten
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Old 1st April 2008, 13:12   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy View Post
I might also be interested in buying a camcorder. I think it makes more sense to buy one with HDD storage.
Why not SD? No moving parts.
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Old 1st April 2008, 13:35   #15
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If you have any buddies coming from US, buying from there will be a good deal. I got my DCR-SR42E (30GB, 40X Digi zoom and carlzeiss lens) + additional NPFH70 high capacity battery (the one with cam is NPFH50) and carrying case for some 560$ from bestbuy. And luckily all (Cam and both batteries) made in Japan. Here the SR42 costs around 30K and for additional accessories you need to shell out extra money. Just a suggestion, do check if it is possible for you.

PS:This was 4 months back, and now the prices seems have gone down.

Last edited by redfire : 1st April 2008 at 13:37.
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