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Camcorder Newbie Q. £500/600 DV camera?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Sam, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. Sam

    Sam
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    I want a digital camcorder so I can transfer data over to my pc and then edit at will.

    Unfortunately, I know diddly-squat about camcorders... :blush:

    ...So...

    What can I get for £500/600?

    Would I be able to get a decent camcorder for this price range?

    What sort of quality of picture and sound should I expect for this
    price?

    Can you suggest any particular models that would be suitable?

    Thanks in advance!

    Sam
     
  2. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    Join the TRV33 club
     
  3. davidgirecourt

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    try JVC, they have very good stuff like GR DX95. I think that Sony is over rated.
     
  4. Sam

    Sam
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    I'm actually looking to use it to film a couple of weddings - am I being naive to think that a camera in this price range will give me a decent quality picture/sound?

    What is it comparable to?

    (I really do know zip about cameras :eek: )
     
  5. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    Picture quality of the TRV33 is very good for a single CCD camera, it is a megapixel chip and also does anamorphic widescreen unlike a lot of cameras.

    Bad points, wide angle isn't very but at least in 16x9 it gets wider than 4x3.

    It is getting rave reviews
     
  6. Sam

    Sam
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    Picture quality comparable to VHS, VCD, Digital Broadcast, DVD...?
     
  7. JayX

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    with weddings etc, you'll need a camera capable of shooting well in low light. the DV4000 by JVC has a f1.2 lens which allows more light in than say a 1.6 or a 1.8 lens, this camera is generally about £600. i've owned a jvc in the past and whilst i was happy with the camera, i wasn't impressed with the deck itself, and within 18months needed to be repaired twice. i've now moved onto a much more expensive semi-pro sony model, and find the build quality is way better, but it has a higher f rating and therefore wont handle itself as well in low light as the dv4000.

    if you want to do weddings in order to make money, then you'll need to spend more money on more professional level equipment (such as a sony vx2000 or a xl1s) and you'll need multiple camera men in order to make sure its flawless and cover all the angles. if its just a one-off personal thing, then a sub £1000 camera should be fine, just test the environment with the camera before the big day, and learn how to setup the manual modes (white balance, exposure etc) before hand.

    as for the picture quality... depends from camera to camera, but its improved leaps and bounds since hi8 (mainly outdoors tho, as hi8 still seems preferable indoors under certain lighting conditions!) and you'll get a nice sharp image with accurate colours if you set the camera up properly. it truly is a case of "you get what you pay for". the sony cameras are generally more expensive than their counterparts, but thats the same with sony's entire range of electronics. but they're reliable, and i know people who shoot on nothing else. i've seen sony rigs that cost $30,000 so they cover a VERY large range of uses :)

    personally i'd NEVER shoot in onboard 16x9, its artificial when done on the camera and you'll lose quality for doing so. if the camera you buy allows it, fit a wide angle lens instead and shoot in 4:3.

    the best thing to do is simply look up reviews, either here or camcorderinfo.com camuser.co.uk or just using google by typing in the model name and review (for example "VX2000 Review" and wading thru the junk)

    buying a camera that allows ext.microphone inputs etc also gives you a wider range of uses, as you can then fit a zoom mic, or a shotgun mic depending on your needs. my old jvc didn't allow an ext.mic (like a lot of the jvc range, but the dv4000 does include a socket now) and that was one of the few things that irked me. however its inbuilt mic was very good, and i could film infront of a 10k soundrig without distortions. my new 3ccd sony mic his great quality, but simply can't surpress the audio and will distort when the audio is simply too loud.

    ive only got experiences with 2 cameras, a jvc dvl357 (£500 paid last year) and a sony trv950 (£1300 cost last week) so i can't really offer you advice on other models, but hopefully some of what i've typed will be of some use to you.
     
  8. MartinImber

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    No it isn't more of the CCD is used in anamorpic mode than in 4x3 mode.

    Remember the NEW Sony 16x9 mode uses more CCD than 4x3 mode.

    This is the main reason I bought one.

    ** unused (except for steady shot)
    ++ Used

    Wide mode
    **********
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    **********

    4x3 Mode
    **********
    **+++++**
    **+++++**
    **+++++**
    **+++++**
    **********

    Stills mode
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++
    +++++++++

    Full width used for 16x9 4x3 cuts off the sides
     
  9. Sam

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    It's for personal use, I'm not looking to do it profesionally.

    I'm getting married next Sept and we thought that rather than hire someone for a few hundred quid (or more), it might be worth just buying a camera ourselves and getting a friend to film it. This way we get to have a Camcorder at the end of it as well.

    A mate of mine is getting married soon as well so we thought we might use it for his too.

    Would much prefer a 16:9 picture over a 4:3, so the new Sony CCD mode sounds good for me.

    I think I'll pop into John Lewis and the Sony Centre at lunch and take a look at a few models including the TRV33 and see what I think.

    Cheers for the help so far. :smashin:
     
  10. Sam

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    Just as a matter of interest, what sort of final costing would this likely work out at?

    I understand that prices will vary and I'll need to shop around, but what sort of accessories will I need to buy on top of the unit itself - or does it come bundled with all the stuff I'll need (tripod, lighting, etc...)?
     
  11. MartinImber

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    I paid £609 on a price match but got a bigger battery, a firewire cable, and 5 tapes which pushed it up to £700

    There are two 16x9 CCD Sony cameras at that price TRV33 and a PC 10? (says megapixel and in newest catalogue)
     
  12. SignalMan

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    Sam, I also know diddly squat about camcorders as I'm like yourself a newbie but I read so much on the ins and outs of this and that model that I was getting to a point where I was in fear of disapearing up my own Macro. I came to the conclusion that in my price range it boiled down to the Sony 33 and Panasonic Gs70 the later being 3CCD (there I go again getting confussed).
    To cut a long story short I choose the Panny for the simple reason that it does have 3CCD (I'm sure I've been advised that this is preferable than 1) also I got it for £628.
     
  13. torrent

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    I would say plump either for the JVC GRDV4000 (£656) or the SONY TRV33 (£610) both from www.prcdirect.co.uk
     
  14. Sam

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    Thanks for all the replies. I will take a look at all the models you mention.

    I've bought a camcorder mag which I will have a read through tonight to try to get a better understanding of all the different models and features.

    Is there a website anyone knows of with lots of tutorials on the varios camcorder features and whatnot?

    Cheers,
    Sam
     
  15. Sam

    Sam
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    OK, I've had a read through some websites & magazines and taken a look at a couple of cameras in John Lewis and I've decided on the TRV33.

    The fact that it can be bought for under £600 was a selling point (I'm on a strict budget), but the biggest point is the fact that it can record in anamorphic widescreen which I definitely want.

    Now in order to get this onto burned onto DVD I plan to buy the following:

    PCI Firewire card & Cable from Dabs.

    Panasonic DVD Burner from Ebuyer.

    I'll then use some free software like MovieMaker to edit and then burn onto DVD.

    Is this all I'll need? Am I overlooking something? :confused:

    Thanks for all your advice,
    Sam
     
  16. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    MPEG Encoder
    DVD Author package

    See what software comes with the card or the DVD drive

    TMPGENC is a pretty good encoder but only for 30 days unless you delete the registry key it creates.

    You are also limited to 8MBPS in demo mode.

    It is about £30 for a licence.
     
  17. Sam

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    So TMPGENC will work as an MPEG encoder and DVD author package? Think I can stretch to £30.

    What exactly does Windows Movie maker 2 do then? I had a play about with it and it seemed to be able to import footage from the camera so that you could edit and play with it, then burn to DVD with Nero or something...? No?
     
  18. SignalMan

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    I'd drop the Panasonic, it's only 2x and you really will be twiddling your thumbs burning at that speed. Although your on a tight budget there's some things you really do need and a 4 speed is a must, try the pioneer, I've had one for ages, with no probs at all (touch wood) ;-)
     
  19. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    You will have to check carefully what you buy as things change all the time

    DVD drive latest Pioneer or Sony will be fine
     
  20. Sam

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    OK, not that much more for the Pioneer drive so I'll probably go for that one.

    Will check for some software packages, but not sure exactly what Movie Maker does if it doesn't allow me to capture the footage from my cam and allow me to edit it?? :confused: I thought that was the point of it?
     
  21. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    The steps are

    1) Capture off tape
    2) Edit
    3) MPEG2 Encode
    4) Author
    5) Burn to DVD

    4 & 5 are usually same process
     
  22. Sam

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    OK, think I understand now.

    1 and 2 are done with Movie Maker, 3,4 & 5 with TMPGENC (or something similar).

    Thanks Martin.

    Regards,
    Sam
     

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