Camcorder Newbie... For a change!!

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Chris162, May 8, 2007.

  1. Chris162

    Chris162
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    Camcorder Guru's,

    I'm after a camcorder and would prefer one with an hdd built in, although I hope to ultimately burn onto DVD I’m not that interested in a DVD cam. I'm looking to spend around £600 and have been looking mainly at the JVC GZ-MG575. This is mainly for home & family use, our 1st child is due in 10 weeks and wants something to catch all those embarrassing memories. I would also what it to be fairly future proof, although I don't have a HD TV yet, once the TV we have goes bang the new one will be HD, but it’s not just the TV is it, you also need a HD/DVD player don’t you? And what about editing the movies does the PC which I’ll use for editing need to be something special? So is it worth going down this route? I can only assume the quality of an HD cam is still ok if played through a non-HD TV. So as I say preferably 40 GB or greater HDD, good quality movies, this won't be used for stills although the capability is useful. And fairly easy to use is always a bonus for er-in-doors!

    Is there a HD cam which burns to 8cm DVD? That takes the PC out of the loop doesn't it.

    Reading this back I'm not really sure what I want, nothing new there!

    All advise / recommendations greatly received, and if I haven't included enough info, just let me know and I'll answer soon as.

    Cheers guys & girls (Must be PC!)

    Chris.
     
  2. senu

    senu
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    Neither I am:confused:

    To make it easy Ill summarise

    You wish to buy a camcorder for home use... a little one is on the way
    You would prefer a Hard disc drive Model (HDD not HD)
    On that records High definition Video (HD not HDD)

    (The abbreviations get confusing that is why Im making the distinction)

    You would like to edit on the PC but seem to have some ambivalence about avoiding the PC which comes across though you wish to transfer the Video to disc ( or get a DVD type HD camcorder)

    You would love SWMBO to be able to use it without fiddling with buttons

    I would suggest ( before recommendations come) that you make your mind up
    Firstly, they are all simple to use
    Secondly, there is the option of tape which is by no means dead
    Thirdly your budget is OK

    If you want a Hard disc drive camcorder which records High Definition.. Ie HD and HDD , which record AVCHD file format, (a high definition mpeg4 H.264 )

    Fine, they certainly exist are now a few around and seem affordable..You will however need a PC with a bit of grunt to turn the footage into Normal DVD material on the PC before turning it to DVD unless you shoot with them in Standard definition mode (possible)

    I would seriously avoid a High Definition DVD camcorder: You will be able to play the high def files off the disc on a PC.. but the need to keep buying discs and the short length of video make them less attractive than a Hard disc drive model
     
  3. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Chris,


    but it’s not just the TV is it, you also need a HD/DVD player don’t you?

    Yes, you’ll need something to play the edited results in HD. With a HDV (tape) camcorder you can output back to tape and use that as one way of playing it.. but with HDD based HD cams (using the AVCHD format) you can’t (generally HDD cams don’t allow you to write back to the camcorder disc).

    If you are wanting a HDD cam which is HD, then it will be AVCHD. You can play AVCHD discs on a Playstation 3 or Sony Blu-Ray player… or on a AVCHD DVD camcorder.

    And what about editing the movies does the PC which I’ll use for editing need to be something special?

    To edit HD you need a reasonably modern decent spec PC, and software which can edit it. Something like a 3 GHZ pentium (or equivelent), at least 512 MB Memory (1 GB is better).

    Is there a HD cam which burns to 8cm DVD?

    Yes, Sony has 3 current models – the HDR-UX1, UX3, and UX7. With these you could shoot and play the discs on a Playstation 3 or Sony Blu-Ray player, or on the camcorder itself.

    Also note that Sony has 3 new AVCHD HDD models coming out end of June.

    Personally – if you are talking about spending £600 (or a bit more), I’d go for a High Def cam rather than a high end SD cam like the MG575. The format choices in summary for High Def consumer cams:

    - HDV (uses miniDV tape)
    - AVCHD on HDD
    - AVCHD on DVD
    - AVCHD on flash memory card (SD card, Memory stick)

    For £600 today you can get

    HDV: Sony HC5
    AVCHD/DVD: Sony UX3
    AVCHD/HDD: Sony SR1 is £700+, but new Sony SR5 will probably be in your price range
    AVCHD/Flash memory: Panasonic SD1 is > £700. New Sony CX6 may fall into your budget.

    Extend to £700-750 more models come into play.
     
  4. Chris162

    Chris162
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    Thanks for the replies gents, firstly let me apologise for the lack of clarity in the initial post, many thoughts in the head didn't transfer to the page that well! Hopefully with your comments we'll be able to get closer to the goal.

    Senu, thanks for the post. Baby on the way has scrabbled my head. In summary your correct.

    Looking for a good quality cam to point & shoot for inside and out (i.e. good picture various light conditions)
    Easy to use as will be used by various members of the family.
    Budget as stated below.

    As I'm reading your's and Marks comments maybe format(i.e. HDD, DV or DVD) isn't as important as I first thought although my initial impression was for HDD as because you wouldn't have to worry about a media, it's already in the box so to speak. And I'm not sure how much video you'll get on an 8cm DVD, I thought it was about 20-30mins a side, as apposed to a 40Gb HDD then to a 4.7Gb DVD.

    If anyone viewing has a DVD cam please comments / opinions please.

    I'm starting to think maybe leave High Def isn't the way for me. I'm not thinking of the possible extra expenditure i.e. the pc, then player, then tv. I have nappies to buy! My home PC is of average spec. 1.8Gb Processor, 512Mb RAM on XP, and for the amount I currently use it, I'm not thinking of changing it anytime soon. Although I will need to add a DVD Burner as my PC doesn't have one. Hence maybe stick with a current format player so I can upload hdd to current pc, burn to dvd then play through my dvd player.

    Mark, many thanks for your thoughts also. In reading up on the threads in this part of the forum both you & Senu seem to be an authority so again thank you both for your time.

    As I currently have no intension of buying a PS3 or Blu-ray maybe HD isn't the way forward and I don't think my current PC will be man for the task, it may change in the future but no plans to as yet so will have to make do with the tools at hand.

    I feel that although I would love to buy all the kit mentioned, it's just not going to happen and to be fair I'm not going to be spending hours at a editing suite turning the video into something fit for the cannes film festival. It will most likely be a copy from the cam's HDD and burn or a DVD cam and do a finalise and hopefully this will play straight on my home DVD.

    As I said at the top, I am a newbie to this so I can only apologise if I'm not concise in my answers but I am tryin to answer them in the best way I know how and do value your advise greatly.

    Budget £600.
    Best quality format for budget.
    Good all round cam and fairly simple to use.

    Many thanks

    Chris.
     
  5. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Chris,

    For £600 I'd still recommend a High Def cam... even if you work in SD mode for now.

    Reason: SD quality as good as a similar priced SD cam, and you can keep your original footage in high def and reissue material in HD later.

    HDV cams are ideal for this, as you can shoot in HD (recording HD on the tape) and have the camcorder convert to SD and send to the PC. So with these editing and creating DVDs is just like a DV cam, but you can save those HDV tapes and reissue your masterpieces later in high def.

    If you are more ambitious you can edit HD, even on your current PC, but that involves extra steps.

    Sony HC5 is my recommendation.

    But if you really don't want to tangle with HD at all, you could go for a SD HDD cam like the JVC you suggested, or the Sony SR190/290.
     
  6. senu

    senu
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    I would go as far as suggest you get the HC5 ( Just reinforcing Marks post , really)

    Apart from feeling good next year ( or 2009) when you are looking at your baby's' footage in glorious HD on your (then) HDTV directly, A baby born in 2007 deserves to be captured in HD:D

    For the present you can still turn its HDV output into a "normal" SD DVD by doing an in-camera downconversion (It doesn't change the footage at all)

    Even if you just want to record DVDs without a PC, you can pick up an affordable DVD recorder and just transfer the footage ( DV or analogue) without worrying about PQ loss
    or
    The camcorders HDD filling up and then needing to transfer to your PCs HDD to free up space
    MiniDV tapes represent better VFM than the Mini DVDs ( IMO)

    Even if all you wished for is a good quality SD camcorder, the HC5 is that too
    :smashin:Good luck with Baby on the way.... capture the moments as best you can!
     
  7. Chris162

    Chris162
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    Cheers for your help gents, :clap: A big pat on the back.

    I'm looking at the HC5 now and will let you know when a purchase has been made.

    Many thanks for both your help, it was much needed and gave a novice a better understanding of just what I'm after, just goes to show that the first thought isn't always the best and advice/knowledge goes along way.

    Do you have any preference of miniDV tape manufacturer? Or do the prices vary greatly against quality?

    All the best

    Chris.
     
  8. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    Sony Premium DV tapes are good and also cheap.
    Not much price difference between brands; only a big price difference between "ordinary" DV tape and master or "HDV" tapes. As the normal DV tapes work fine most people use those, but the more expensive tapes are supposed to reduce the chance of dropouts.
     

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