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Digital Camcorders

Digital Camcorders

Old Apr 29th 2004, 2:03 pm
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Default Digital Camcorders

I would be grateful for some advice from anyone with knowledge and/or experience of digital camcorders.

I am looking for something:

Cheap - sub £500
Relatively easy to operate
Stills capability
Reasonable zoom (optical, digital doesn't matter)
Image stabiliser
Good quality images and video (I know, but I'm not going over £500!)
Good quality sound
DV In and Out so I can do some editing on my PC.

I've read quite a few reviews in magazines and on the net and at the moment the Canon MV630i/650i/700i series is coming out on top. I've been tracking the prices and the Canon's are down from the £600-£800 range to the £300-£500 range. Camcorders are a good example of market skimming where they come in expensive, take the 'cream' and then bring the prices down to get more sales. The trouble is while I've been waiting for the prices to come down to the level I want the DVD camcorders and smaller camcorders have come onto the market and I can see the deficiencies of the ones I'm looking at.

Does anyone have experience of these or others?

Sincerest thanks in anticipation of lots of helpful suggestions.

OzTennis
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Digital Camcorders

Originally posted by OzTennis
I would be grateful for some advice from anyone with knowledge and/or experience of digital camcorders.

I am looking for something:

Cheap - sub £500
Relatively easy to operate
Stills capability
Reasonable zoom (optical, digital doesn't matter)
Image stabiliser
Good quality images and video (I know, but I'm not going over £500!)
Good quality sound
DV In and Out so I can do some editing on my PC.

I've read quite a few reviews in magazines and on the net and at the moment the Canon MV630i/650i/700i series is coming out on top. I've been tracking the prices and the Canon's are down from the £600-£800 range to the £300-£500 range. Camcorders are a good example of market skimming where they come in expensive, take the 'cream' and then bring the prices down to get more sales. The trouble is while I've been waiting for the prices to come down to the level I want the DVD camcorders and smaller camcorders have come onto the market and I can see the deficiencies of the ones I'm looking at.

Does anyone have experience of these or others?

Sincerest thanks in anticipation of lots of helpful suggestions.

OzTennis

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I bought a Canon 600i series when in Sydney last month - fits the bill for what you want pretty well I think. Not used it for much more than normal videoing but it has a 18x zoom and is compact and easy to use. Was a best buy in Which magazine as well.

Only thing to note is it needs a firewire IEEE1394 (?) connection to download to your PC - will cost approx £70 for a kit if you are not that way equipped.

Cost approx £300 which is as much as I wanted to spend on one.

As you say technology changes very quickly - suppose it depends on how much you will use it and what for, and what fancy editing you will want to do

Last edited by sjn2003; Apr 29th 2004 at 6:21 pm.
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 4:36 pm
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i have a Sony TRV 14 mini dv.
Its really excellent and cost about £350.

It is also firewire and doesn't come with the relevant cable. The cable you need is available for under a fiver.

It does come with a USB cable but that is considered old technology and is of little use.

The firewire cable is generic and can be picked up in most computer stores.

I think the kit sj2003 is referring to must include a firewire card for your PC, most PC's will already have this but you'll need to check.

I dont want to insult your intelligence but the firewire (iee1394) socket looks similar to the USB and is easily missed.

I use Pinnacle studio 8 for my editing and this will only recognise cameras with the firewire cable. (basically its about 4X faster than USB.
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 4:40 pm
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Also the stills capability that you mention is pretty poor on most camcorders, even those with the memory stick.
I would not even bother with that.
Buy a cheap and cheerful Digital camera the results are much better.
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 5:49 pm
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I just got a JVC GRD70 Digital Camcorder from http://www.internetcamcordersdirect.co.uk

price £329 its £499 in the argos catalogue
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 6:51 pm
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try this site out - i got a jvc gr-dx95 for £450 - no less than £750 in Argos & others....
http://www.kelkoo.co.uk/

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Old Apr 29th 2004, 7:00 pm
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OzTennis, just something to think about, the difference between USB and firewire is the speed at which you can transfer data between your digital camcorder and your PC, if you do end up with a USB transfer cable, you ain't really gonna notice a difference as opposed to having firewire speeds, so what I'm saying is don't be too worried about that.
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 9:31 pm
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Originally posted by rossifumi
OzTennis, just something to think about, the difference between USB and firewire is the speed at which you can transfer data between your digital camcorder and your PC, if you do end up with a USB transfer cable, you ain't really gonna notice a difference as opposed to having firewire speeds, so what I'm saying is don't be too worried about that.
True, but given a choice go for firewire its not just the speed.
Most decent software will only support firewire, not sure why. Probably something to do with the streaming.
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Old Apr 29th 2004, 10:35 pm
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Originally posted by pompeywill
True, but given a choice go for firewire its not just the speed.
Most decent software will only support firewire, not sure why. Probably something to do with the streaming.

I thought USB 2.0 was faster than firewire, or is that just on ipods??

Or am I just a technology imbecile who has no idea about anything?
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Old Apr 30th 2004, 5:37 am
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Originally posted by sjn2003
I thought USB 2.0 was faster than firewire, or is that just on ipods??

Or am I just a technology imbecile who has no idea about anything?

FireWire vs. USB 2.0

http://www.cwol.com/firewire/firewire-vs-usb.htm




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Old Apr 30th 2004, 8:23 am
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Thanks very much sjn2003, jib, pompeywill (pompeyWILL survive the way it looks now!), jaruky, biggy and rossifumi for all the useful tips and links.

The Canon MV650i gets a Camcorder User 'Gold Award' and at 88% one of the highest marks in the Mini DV category. It says £680 suggested retail but I've found it for £379.99 in 3 advertisements in the same magazine.

Features are given as 1/6 in 800,000 pixel CCD, f1.6 lens, PCM stereo sound, 22x optical (440x digital) zoom, 2.5 in LCD, 7 mode program AE, Electronic image stabiliser, Nightmode, Digital effects, Audio dub, Manual focus, Colour viewfinder, BLC, DV In/Out, AV In/Out, MMC/SD Memory Card Slot, 8MB SD card provided, M-JPEG video clips, PC connection kit includes USB cable.

Comments: Top of the MV range for 2003. All the features a videomaker could require, and a nifty selection of PC software into the bargain. Ease of Use 5 stars, Performance 3 1/2 stars, Features 5 stars, Value 5 stars.

Confusingly there is a newer MV750i which has less features, is cheaper and gets an 82% score (you'd think a newer model would be better 'specced' and better all round!)

The JVC GR-D70 gets also gets a gold award and 85% as does the Panasonic NV-DS30. Sony DCR-TRV33 gets a slightly higher score at 90% but tends to be a fair bit more expensive and not as easy to use.

I think I'll track the prices of all the above for a week or two and then make my move. It seems as though I probably can't go too wrong with any of these.

Thanks again,

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Old Apr 30th 2004, 10:25 am
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Originally posted by jib
FireWire vs. USB 2.0

http://www.cwol.com/firewire/firewire-vs-usb.htm




jib

Cheers for that !!

I little bit techy for me but I got the point - yeah firewire !!
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