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£300 Budget - What to buy?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by ShiggyWiggyWoo, May 17, 2004.

  1. ShiggyWiggyWoo

    ShiggyWiggyWoo
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    Have decided that getting a MiniDV camcorder could be quite useful for holidays/events etc but have no idea what kind of things to look for in one. Been looking on pricerunner.com to compare prices and see what kind of camcorders are available but I'm stuck now on what I should be looking for.

    Is there much of a difference between mini DV cams and digital8 ones?
    Whats the pros and cons of each?

    I had been looking at the Panasonic NV-GS11, JVC GR-D23
    But I would really appreciate some views from people who know a bit more about them than me, what do you recommend and what accesories should I look into buying?

    Thanks if you can offer some helpful suggestions.
     
  2. El Indio

    El Indio
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    At £300 your in the budget end of the market and the cams have limited features - basic point and shooters good for daylight photography.

    D8 and DV use the same compression so image quality is the same. As DV is a smaller tape, the cams tend to be smaller. Id recommend DV for future compatibility.

    As for which model, try and find reviews. I think Sony is a popular brand although may be out your price bracket.

    Accessories - (weatherproof) case and longer life battery.

    El
     
  3. ShiggyWiggyWoo

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    Thanks,
    I would have looked for a Sony one but they are too expensive, can't really afford to go over the budget.
    All I'm really after is a decent digi camcorder that records in a decent - good quality and will allow me to transfer the video onto my PC to edit/ burn onto disk.

    I'm going to Las Vegas in September and thought one could be useful to take some vids to remember the holiday. Would also use one when I'm going places like birthday parties/weddings and other events. So not really needing anything with loads of fancy features.

    From what I've been looking at and reading the Panasonic NV-GS11 seems to get quite a good write up for a basic miniDV cam but I just ain't sure if I am missing out on anything important.
     
  4. adamperry

    adamperry
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    Unfortunately I can't recommend anything yet as I haven't had a chance to get to a shop to try some camera's out.

    I have bought some magazines and researched on the web, and narrowed it down to the camcorders listed below.

    Any advice on the subject would be greatfully received!

    ========

    Canon Camcorder MiniDV MV700 £285 (search on Kelkoo).
    + Light Weight (approx 490g)
    + 18x Optical Zoom
    + Got 80% in CamCorder User
    - Battery Charger built in to camera
    - According to reviews in CamCorder user, picks up tape motor noise

    Here is a review of the US version of this camcorder: http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/canon-zr80-camcorder-review.htm

    ===========

    Sony DCR-TRV265E Digital8 £255 (Amazon.co.uk)
    + 20x Optical Zoom
    + Good battery life (STAMINA, 12hrs allegedly but the Amazon review suggests more like 2hrs)
    + Built in Light for low light recording
    - Heavy (890g)

    Here is a readers review of the camcorder on Amazon.co.uk:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001GRIJE/ref=sr_aps_electronics_1_1/202-6598926-4899855

    ===========

    Panasonic NV-GS11 MiniDV £280 (Kelkoo)
    + Light weight (410g)
    + 24x Optical Zoom
    - Battery Life 60 mins

    I haven't found a review of this camera yet :thumbsdow
    The next modul up (GS15) is here though:
    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/panasonic-pv-gs15-camcorder-review.htm

    ===========

    Sony DCRHC14E MiniDV £282 (Kelkoo)
    + Light weight (520g)
    + 10x Optical Zoom
    + Touch Screen controls
    + Carl Zeiss Lens

    Can't find a review but its spec and photo look almost identical to the TRV14, which is an older model I believe. (Can anyone confirm this?)
    A review of the TRV14 can be found here:
    http://www.wvip.co.uk/cgi-bin/outputpdf.php?file=CU/200404/070_CU_0404.pdf

    ===========

    JVC GR D23 MiniDV £250 (Kelkoo)
    + Light weight (according to review)
    + 16x Optical Zoom
    + Night Light
    - 60 minute battery

    Here is a review of the US model:
    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/jvc-gr-d33-camcorder-review.htm
     
  5. Elad

    Elad
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    I may be in a position to help. I have tried the following camcorders at home :

    1. Canon 600i - good features; did not like the shape; noisey motor; good zoom x 18; poor indoors. £325

    2. JVC 20 - good zoom x 16; roor indoors; good reatures for the price; a bit big in my opinion. £280

    3. Sony HC18 - great size but found it was not great to handle and balance; poor zoom x 10; picture quality varies (a shadow green band and dark corners appeared on some recordings); LCD can be viewed at various angles, quality OK; poor view finder; indoor quality the best out of all these camcorders; motor noise while recording was annoying. £340.

    4. Panasonic GS11 - zoom x 24 fantastic; LCD good; quiet motor; indoor quality not so good - grainy and smeared -although control adjustments help; well balanced to handle and a nice size; outdoor quality good. £280.

    At the moment I have kept the Panasonic due to the zoom and it feels good to handle. Indoor quality is a problem - but as the camcorder is just for fun and holidays it may not be a major concern. I probably will record mainly outdoors and on holiday and due to this the Panasonic seems the best, although the Sony is tempting due to its size!
     
  6. adamperry

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    Thats great advice...
    Still have to decide between the Sony and the Panasonic. The list of features on the Panasonic is very impressive (IMHO); but I want to be able to record indoors - I have a baby daughter and want to be able to capture her as she learns to crawl, walk, gurgle, etc... much of which will be indoor.

    So I guess that means the Sony. But when I go into town on the weekend, I shall try them both out...

    The Sony HC18 is a lot lighter than the HC14 isn't it? But about £40 dearer.
     
  7. mattrixdesign

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    I have just got this, buy it from UNBEATABLE.co.uk and get them to price matche and inc postage. You should save a few quid.

    Its digital 8, same quality as DV, but cheaper (and bigger) tapes, u can use std non Digi8 tape (v.cheap).

    Dont worry about future compatability, this camera can out put digitally so it can always be put on PC or DVD etc easily.
     
  8. Elad

    Elad
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    Adam - what did you buy and whats is your opinion.
     
  9. adamperry

    adamperry
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    I went a little above budget and got the Sony HC18E for £330 (its available from some web retailers for £320).

    It is a completely different model to the HC14, and more closely related to the HC20.

    The only difference between the HC20 and the HC18 is that the HC18 does not accept video in for editing/recording back to tape from your PC.

    The HC18 is really lightweight and for my purposes, the indoor recording quality is better than I expected.

    I have not yet noticed any real tape motor noise captured on tape - apparently this is a common problem with the cheaper, smaller cams.

    It's really easy to use - just point and shoot; especially when using the "Easy" (full automatic) mode.

    Many of the functions are accessed via the LCD panel, which makes it difficult to adjust focus etc manually.

    The LCD panel can be flipped round and closed so that you can access Exposure and the Fade effects whilst recording through the view finder.

    The battery supplied with the camera provides reasonable record times - the manual states it is useable for about an hour if you zoom in/out etc, or for just over 2 hours if you just record constantly. I was playing with the camera all afternoon yesterday, and also on Saturday night, and the battery has not had to be recharged yet.

    I am really pleased with the results so far. My main requirements were that the camera should be lightweight, work as well as possible indoors, have at least 10x zoom, have a reasonable battery life, and have anti-shake and automatic functions (easy to use). The camera meets all those requirements.

    Am so far very pleased!
     
  10. Elad

    Elad
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    Where did you buy it and have you any more comments on it as I am still considering bewteen Sony & Panasonic GS11.
     
  11. adamperry

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    I attempted to buy the camcorder from Jessops (they price match). However the best price they would give me was £350.00

    So I bought it from a shop called "HiSpek" ( www.hispek.com ). They have a store in Brentwood, Essex, which is local to me, so I drove there and bought it; they do offer a mail order service.

    If you want to buy mail order, try www.kelkoo.co.uk as you will be able to shave an extra tenner off the price.

    The only additional comments I have at the moment is that the Sony has a low "geek" factor - it doesn't have many 'cool' functions, it just works as a camcorder.

    The Panasonic has a lot more extras - for instance, a better zoom, a microphone socket, "Zoom Microphone adjusts automatically according to the zoom setting of the lens to bring sound and images together", more digital effects, and it includes a separate charger (The sony doesn't include a charger, you have to use the camcorder as a charger). The Panasonic is also slightly cheaper (at £279). Spare batterys are cheaper for the Panasonic, especially if you buy Jessops own make. Jessops don't produce their own brand of batterys for the Sony.

    For the features, I was very tempted by the Panasonic, but for me it was the indoor recording ability which was more important, hence why I went for the Sony. If you don't think you'll be recording indoors very often, then definitely go for the Panasonic!

    Good luck,

    Ad.
     
  12. andy1234

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    i bought the panasonic nvgs 11 and found it to be great.i considered the price when buying.i got it for £255.99 from [COLOR=Red]www.digital-point.co.uk[/COLOR] which included free delivery within 24hrs by courier.im very happy with the service.
     

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