Are older tape-based standard-def camcorders better than new ones - please advise.

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Lenny Lens, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Lenny Lens

    Lenny Lens
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    Hi,

    After a lot of research I bought a Canon MD235 to replace an old Sony Digital-8 model. I guess I should have done my research better as the night-mode on the Canon is terrible compared to the Sony (it is red-coloured and sluggish compared to the preferred green and swift-moving Sony Nightshot mode). The Canon is also far more grainy in low-light conditions.

    The Canon's auto focus is far inferior to the Sony as well, and it doesn't even have a focus ring. To manually focus you have to open the LCD screen (which switches off the viewfinder!), and go through a menu! Totally impractical, in my opinion. I tried to send the Canon back but because the packaging had been opened it was refused.

    Anyway, I've been saving and trying to do that little bit extra research to find a camcorder I like (preferably standard def, excellent green night vision that I can use an additional infra-red X-ray filter with to film in the day, Digital-8 or Mini-DV, good optical zoom and a focus ring) but it seems very hard to find a camcorder with all of these requirements. I've been looking at Sony's meagre Mini-DV line, but they look like a step down compared to the now defunkt Digital-8s.

    So, I guess my question is, are the older Sony models better than the modern ones? I would have expected today's models to have advanced, but they lack features - focus ring being a major grievance.

    I know Mini-DV is being ushered out, but does anyone know of any models covering my requirements? Is the DCR-TRV line my best bet? If anyone could recommend models, as well as ones to avoid, that would be greatly appreciated. Are there any new models, or is ebay the place to go (I've looked but don't know which models have the focus ring - a must have as far as I'm concerned).

    Thank you for any help.
     
  2. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    I cant realy comment on your model but some seem to like it
    Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews: Canon MD235 Digital MiniDV Camcorder (37x Optical Zoom With 2.7" Widescreen Colour LCD)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  3. Lenny Lens

    Lenny Lens
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    Hi, thanks for your reply.

    I see why a lot of people like the Canon MD235, it is a good camcorder, apart from the manual focus debacle and the reddish, slow night mode. Also the colours seem too strong and bleed a little. The sharpness of the picture isn't as good as my old Digital-8 camcorder, despite the Canon being megapixel, and the Canon is more grainy in low light. For the price, though, it's very good, just missing the specifics I'm pretty stubborn about.

    I'm finding it really difficult to find a Mini-DV camcorder with a manual focus ring, 0' lux, green night shot, and good optical zoom. I don't know much about camcorders, but I thought these features would be readily available, and even much more advanced than the Digital-8, since time has passed. But the modern standard definition Mini-DV camcorders seem to have had the most practical stuff stripped from them, as far as I can see so far.

    May I ask, why is the optical zoom usually 10 for higher end models? Do the more pixels compensate so it's like zooming in further? Or is 10x as low as it sounds? I would really like 25x optical zoom (as a minimum) since the subjects I film are usually at a great distance.

    I was recently looking at a second-hand DCR-TRV80 but was put off by the 10x optical zoom, thinking it wouldn't be enough. Is the DCR-TRV120 a good (but old) option, or would the picture quality be considered low quality by today's standards?

    Can anyone recommend a Mini-DV camcorder that does all I want? Preferably standard-definition since my computer's not ready for HD yet, but I'll consider HD if the camera does all I need it to.

    I've been mainly looking at Sony since I prefer their digital-8 to the Canon, but would other companies' models do the trick?

    Sorry for so many questions, I just feel like I've wasted my money with the Canon and don't want to make the same mistake again. Thanks.
     
  4. Lenny Lens

    Lenny Lens
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    Hi, thanks for your reply.

    I see why a lot of people like the Canon MD235, it is a good camcorder, apart from the manual focus debacle and the reddish, slow night mode. Also the colours seem too strong and bleed a little. The sharpness of the picture isn't as good as my old Digital-8 camcorder, despite the Canon being megapixel, and the Canon is more grainy in low light. For the price, though, it's very good, just missing the specifics I'm pretty stubborn about.

    I'm finding it really difficult to find a Mini-DV camcorder with a manual focus ring, 0' lux, green night shot, and good optical zoom. I don't know much about camcorders, but I thought these features would be readily available, and even much more advanced than the Digital-8, since time has passed. But the modern standard definition Mini-DV camcorders seem to have had the most practical stuff stripped from them, as far as I can see so far.

    May I ask, why is the optical zoom usually 10 for higher end models? Do the more pixels compensate so it's like zooming in further? Or is 10x as low as it sounds? I would really like 25x optical zoom (as a minimum) since the subjects I film are usually at a great distance.

    I was recently looking at a second-hand DCR-TRV80 but was put off by the 10x optical zoom, thinking it wouldn't be enough. Is the DCR-TRV120 a good (but old) option, or would the picture quality be considered low quality by today's standards?

    Can anyone recommend a Mini-DV camcorder that does all I want? Preferably standard-definition since my computer's not ready for HD yet, but I'll consider HD if the camera does all I need it to.

    I've been mainly looking at Sony since I prefer their digital-8 to the Canon, but would other companies' models do the trick?

    Sorry for so many questions, I just feel like I've wasted my money with the Canon and don't want to make the same mistake again. Thanks.
     
  5. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    Lenny i am a little confused if your mini dv cam is working correctly i find it strange the sharpness is not as good as your digital 8 cam the other users find the picture good for the price,it is true the makers have cut down their mini dv cam production and the ones that are still sold have a lot less features than many in the past,most mini dv cams have long zoom lenses where as consumer hd cams are always in the 10/12 zoom ratio.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  6. senu

    senu
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    Most consumer ( domestic) camcorders have had a lot of videgrapher friendly features stripped off
    Dv in AV in head phone mic in, zebra , recording levels, Manual focus / Zoom ring, Iris, Shutter speed, amongst others
    Even those which do are menu based ( joystick or touch screen):eek:

    Instead we get face recogntion an various didigital effect 100X digital zoom and you tube conversion software:suicide:
    The R and D of the brands have ( in theier wisdom) decided that the average JP who buys a camcorder does not wish for manual feature's or have any interest in editing
    As such , these features are mainly to be found in Tape Semi Pro models now with domestic models aimed at " auto" only users ..:suicide:
    The higher end " AVCHD" HDD or SD card models do have a lot more than basic but my impression are that they are ( still) not aimed at anyone hoping to shoot with serious enthusiast aims in mind although video quality not in doubt
    HDV camcorders Sony HC9, Canon HV 30/ 40 are perhaps the best examples of better specified "SD" models
    Although HDV they can be used as SD .
    or
    Infact used to shoot as HDV, then captured as SD (DV AVI ) via firewire ("on the fly" downconverting) which I do fairly regularly with HC1 and FX1 (Im capturing even as Im typing this to making an SD DVD after a little editing in Sony Vegas 7)
    HTH:hiya:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009

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