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Best camcorder around £250-£350

Discussion in 'Camcorders & Video Editing' started by ShaggyDogg, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. ShaggyDogg

    ShaggyDogg Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking to buy a camcorder in the £200-£300 (£350max) price bracket. After reading countless reviews and spec sheets, want to just gauge a general opinion in case I'm missing a trick. It we be use solely for home, nothing pro.

    So far I'm swaying towards the Panasonic SD-90. It's a little towards the top end of what I can afford, but due to exception reports on picture and integrated sound I think it maybe worth it. I like the sound of the sound capture device, and also some of the gadgety extras such as face-recognition - but these are obviously not essential.

    I would be interested in any feedback of the SD-90 and any recommendation of other camcorders to check out before I buy.

    Many thanks.
  2. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

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    what do you want to film?
    who are you showing it to?
    Then we can suggest...
    Let's know yr level of experience too and any gear (eg from stills days).

    BTW yr budget is tight, - do you already have a fast PC for Editing and do you expect to pay for software...?
  3. ShaggyDogg

    ShaggyDogg Member

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    It's purely for home use; family, friends, holidays etc..

    Therefore my criteria are things like; good exposure in dim lighting, picture stabiliser capabilities for handheld filming, and external noise reducing attribute to cut out wind through the mic.

    These are what's led me to the SD-90, but I wondered if anything better can be recommended within my budget.

    I have a MacBook Pro and many software resources, so this isn't an issue.
  4. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

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    I haven't used this camera but my general impression is it's a good choice, although the extreme zoom should only be used in good light and possibly with a sturdy tripod. However, "family" will be more forgiving and as a whole it's looks to do well. Low-light is always a "difficulty" as image-noise can mar movies. Best to try one in a shop before you buy and find a dark corner, take a child with dark clothing to see what it does, use you own SDHC card and look at it with yr chosen PC+Software etc. before purchase! It's a single-MOS sensor which puts in the Budget band.... not that you are going to have projected widescreen movies - but many believe 3-CMOS is far better, there is little real evidence to prove it, as DSLR's are single and have fab resolution, low-light spec etc.
    ....As a Family GP camcorder, I'm guessing this is a good choice....

    I'm sure there will be owners (here) who can give their view, -but you'll just have to wait....if you've singled out a model, it's better to put that in the subject-line, IMHO.

    Pana 700/800/900 models (3-CMOS) incorporated a fan (to cool the sensor?) and several (here) have complained about this, but I listened to a YouTube complainant's footage (using rubbish PC speakers, I'll admit) and I couldn't fault it. However, beware that under quiet conditions the internal mic can raise its gain, so the inaudible becomes - audiable. Why a Mfr would do this is bizzare IMHO, as you can't stop AGC. Wind-noise is a real issue and you'll need to apply a "dead cat" to the mic, or if it has an external jack, on the ext mic. Ext mics are often much better than internals, but "...the wider you open the door, the more dirt blows in...."
    Check the camera in a shop, for some have "funny" external connections . . . ideally a stereo 3.5mm with a similar for headphones. If there is no way to monitor an external mic, that can become an issue in "difficult" situations - - - and those are the ones you most need it.
    You should budget for an extra battery/ext charger -try to get this bundled in the Deal....

    Do let us know how you get on . . . .
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  5. ShaggyDogg

    ShaggyDogg Member

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    Thank you very much for all the advise. All taken onboard. The 700-900's are out of my price range, but I think the single suits my purpose. I've done exactly what you said and tried it in a shop (even using my own SDHC card) and was more than impressed with it. Was difficult to judge the noise, or a simulate the dark room, but overall I was very pleased. There's also the option of an additional 3D lens which is a little clunky, but when I find another few hundred pounds, would be a nice addition.

    So, I've got one on order through Amazon as they had the best online deal I could find at approx £354. Unfortunately, that didn't give me the option to bundle an extra battery, but Panasonic specs 1:50min non-stop recording time, and online reviewers are not disagreeing.

    Will YouTube some videos and post links when for your interest..

    Thanks again..
  6. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

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    Let us know in "stages" as you get used to it . . . you will fill up that SD card quickly, so make sure you've got a solid regeme to file the clips, ideally a separate SATA-drive inside yr PC - that will help the Rendering speed.

    Many here use Vegas Studio (v 10 under £30 from Amazon - the Production suite is better IMHO, because SoundForge is useful, once you accept its limitations . . . a great way to make foley (from your earlier "takes" for use on other vids.

    It's not a cheap camera, even now, but you are getting something like a bargain, compared with say 5-years ago.... enjoy the family stuff, . . . it never happens again...

    For quality checking, use "familiar" settings, like public-gardens, rather than interiors. Try to use the microphone to capture some "stock" sounds..... if you don't mind my suggestions

    It's a great hobby.

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