Camcorder Newbie would appreciate advice

barrykap

Active Member
Hi friends,

While I dabble a lot in Still photography and DVD recorders/High Def Satelite and TV etc I have yet to add 'camcording' to my bow :)

I know next to nothing about them and the only 'prod' I have taken into video recording is using my Fuji F810 digicam's video feature. I find this next to useless though as I would LIKE to do High Definition video recording.

When I have the recordings I would then like to transfer to PC and do just a little bit of editing, not a lot, just to maybe cut bits out. Sound is NOT a prime feature, being deaf myself, but best quality video is. I would then like to create DVD disks in HD if possible, or good quality SD will do as I can retain the HD original file on the PC for future use. Hope I am making sense and not showing too much of my stupidity and ignorance on this subject.

So my question first, is what Camcorder should I be looking at? I have great faith in Panasonic as a brand name as I have lots of Panny stuff which are very reliable and give good quality results.

So what cam should I be looking at? Ideally small, as I also want to record my car journey's. And with a HDMI output so I an initially play them back on the Panny HD Plasma.

My budget would be pretty low, say £500 to £700 at a stretch.

Maybe this would not obtain a good one?

Any advice would be gratefully received, Thanks.

Barry.
 

rhubarbe

Banned
If you like Panasonics, want HD, small and only want to do basic editing I should go for the Panasonic HDC-SD1, or its successor, the HDC-SD5, due out in a couple of weeks.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Panasonic-HDC-SD1-Camcorder-Review.htm
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Panasonic-HDC-SD5-First-Impressions-Camcorder-Review-33048.htm

CCI (Camcorder Info) can be a bit niggly with reviews, indeed in my experience they only ever really liked one camcorder, the Panasonic NV-GS400, now long discontinued.

These are both memory card camcorders: they record to SDHC cards (up to 8GB) and then you transfer the video to your PC; easiest by taking the SDHC card out of the cam and into an SD card reader on your PC.

Editing: Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 costs about sixty quid and requires an mpeg-2 activation (free when I did it).

There are many many other cams and choice of editing software but that is my recommendation if you like Panasonic, as indeed do I.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Your budget is Ok; there are models in the £500 to £700 range. You have 2 main formats to choose from. AVCHD and HDV. AVCHD can use either DVD, memory cards, or HDD for media (with some models offering a combination). HDV uses tape.

In terms of quality for money they are close, but generally the HDV models have slight edge.

In terms of editing – if you want to do advanced editing (i.e. not just selecting some clips and deleting others) then HDV has better support, though software for AVCHD editing is improving (more choices available). If editing is just selecting some clips and thowing away others, then AVCHD may be easier. With HDV you can save the edited projects back to tape, which is a good long term storage medium.

With both you can put high def on DVD, but this is still a confusing area with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray competing… AVCHD can be played on Blu-Ray players, with HDV you can make discs which play on either. With either you can convert to SD in software (but again HDV has better software support today). With HDV you can convert to SD in the camera.

Sony has both AVCHD and HDV models; Panasonic does not have HDV but has AVCHD. Panasonic SD1 is available online for under £700.

This will probably raise more questions than it answers….
 

rhubarbe

Banned
Don't think that you are restricted to just DVD, whether that be SD DVD, HD DVD or Blu Ray, because you aren't. You can play the m2t files through a HD network media player like the TVix 4100, a HTPC, or a PS3 (if the PS3 handles Panasonic AVCHD).
 

barrykap

Active Member
Thanks all for the info so far.

Phew! It's all these different 'standards' which are the real confusing points (AVCHD etc). I haven't a clue what AVCHD is anyway. Presumably a codec of some kind?

But thanks for the pointers and I will investigate them further.

Please keep suggesting if you can think of anything else.

Thanks again.

Barry.
 

barrykap

Active Member
Thanks Mark.

Without investigating yet, can you tell me what the main differences are between the SD1 and the SD5 models? As I think if they are not vastly different spec-wise I may be best getting the SD1 at a lot cheaper price to get familiar with the system first, then upgrade to the SD5 later.

And am I right in assuming I can create a DVD disk for standard Definition direct from the Cam to my DVD recorder? But if I need High Def I would have to use a Blu-ray recorder?

Cheers.

Barry
 

rhubarbe

Banned
The SD1 was the first HD camcorder produced by Panasonic for the Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) memory cards using the mpeg-4 part 10 (h.264) codec, known in camcorder land as AVCHD.

The SD5 isn't an upgrade as such, or rather it is in terms of resolution: 1920 x 1080 x 50i against the SD1 at 1440 x 1080 x 50i (same specs as the HDV - High Definition Video version of MiniDV and using the same type of tapes).

The SD5 gets smaller sensors: 3 x 1/6" copmpared to the SD1 at 3 x 1/4". The SD1 has a slightly larger LCD at 3.0" (SD5 = 2.7") and 12x Optical zoom compared to the SD5 at 10x.

In fact the SD5 is slated to be cheaper than the current SD1, when it appears in a couple of weeks.

Far as I know if you produce SD DVD you can use most any DVD player to play the footage but don;t quote me.
 

barrykap

Active Member
Thanks Rhubarbe,

Very helpful indeed.

Maybe I will hang on a few weeks more then and see what the prices are for the SD5.

I was just wondering if by then, due to the SD1 being a earlier model than the SD5, it may depreciate in price.

As I say, I'll hang on a bit and read up more.

Cheers.

Barry.
 

rhubarbe

Banned
At present I can see the SD5 on a web site in Germany at 889Euro, or about £600. Funny thing with camcorders, some depreciate upon the arrival of a new model on the scene and some don't. If the outgoing model is seen by the cogniscenti as being a good one it may even go up in price. This effect doesn't occur at the cheaper end of the market where most folk are just pleased to see replacement of the outgoing with something better.

Needless to say we are not talking cheap and nasty here.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Yes, that's true that prices on the previous models don't neccessarily drop. For example I haven't seen a drop in prices of the Sony SR1 when the Sony SR5/7/8 were introduced; mainly as the SR1 has some additional features not in the new models.

It will be interesting to see how the quality of the SD1 and SD5 compare. Larger sensor of the SD1 vs. higher resolution of the SD5.
 

rhubarbe

Banned
It will indeed. I suspect that cramming more pixels onto smaller sensors won't do a lot for the low light imaging. IMHO, it's an odd move by Panasonic but I am sure they have their reasons.
 

barrykap

Active Member
I find these postings very interesting.

I spotted a SD1 today on eBay, sold by someone in UK but it was stated as being a "Japanese import NSTC model" although brand new and was priced at £375. Not really believing my luck and not really understanding the NSTC significence of living in a PAL world here, so I asked him the question and he replied with;-

"All the old style TV in EU or UK are PAL system. For all HD TV it support both and since you mention you have a HD TV. This video for this camcorder would plug and play. If you have a FULL HD TV which have HDMI input. Then its even better since you could use HDMI cable to view the best quaility 1440x1080i."

Is he talking sense or is he b*llsh*tting?

Cheers.

Barry.
 

rhubarbe

Banned
No, he's on the level. When we got HDTVs the differences between NTSC and PAL don't exist any more except for one last difference.

In Europe the electricity supply is at 50Hz. In the USA it's 60Hz. PAL camcorders have a frame rate of 50i that matches the phase of the power supply. In USA NTSC camcorders have a frame rate of 60i - i - interlaced, basically two frames make each picture, so PAL is 25fps deinterlaced or progressive, and NTSC is 30fps deinterlaced or progressive.

What this boils down to is that if you shoot a lot of video indoors under a fluorescent light, in outside at night under sodium lighting, you'll get a flicker since the phase is out of synch.

In case that puts you off I shouldn't let it. Many people in the UK now have NTSC cams and I shall join them shortly when the HDC-SD7 becomes available in Japan.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
This is correct, any HD TVs sold here will play a 50i signal (which is what the "NTSC" cams output in HD mode). It's not really NTSC, with HD there is no NTSC and PAL, though there is 50i (25 fps) for the NTSC world and 60i (30 fps) for the PAL world.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Oops.... yes I got it the wrong way around, must have been transposed during the journey from my brain to my fingers typing.... "PAL" is of course 25 fps, NTSC is 30.... Sorry
 

barrykap

Active Member
Cheers.

I have since realised this one is the DX1 version of the SD1 and not sure I would use the in-built DVD disk recording. Think I would prefer the SD card-only which is also smaller.

But there are others (SD1) on eBay which are also NTSC so I won't be afraid to get one now thanks.

I presume the NTSC issue doesn't have any effect on PC-transfer and SD DVD burning?
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
I presume the NTSC issue doesn't have any effect on PC-transfer and SD DVD burning?

No effect on PC transfer.

To create a SD DVD, you will need to convert to SD DVD format in software regardless. You can convert to PAL at this stage (or make a NTSC DVD, which will play on most PAL players and TVs.).
 

barrykap

Active Member
Has anyone tried to download the user Manual for the SD1 from Panasonic's download site?

I've tried for hours and cannot get a copy downloaded.

I am using Firefox and when I accept the agreement to view the manual it opens up Adobe Redaer and soon the first page appears. I then try to 'save a copy to disk'. At the bottom it says 'downloading nnMB of 12.28MB' and it will continue up to about 11.67MB then freeze. Only way out is a CTRL-ALT-DEL. Nothing has been saved to disk. I sent the error report to Microsoft and it came back reporting it is a Firefox error. So I used Internet Explorer but exactly the same thing happens. I aksed a friend to try it and he had the same responses too.

I have tried printing it direct from the Adobe on-screen download which seemed to be complete as I can tab to the last page OK, but cycling through each page in turn, when I get to page 33 it hangs up again.

If anyone on here has managed to download the manual I would be grateful if it can be sent to me. Please PM me if so and I can give you my private e-mail address.

Many thanks.

Barry.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Worked fine for me, either viewing it directly in adobe or saving to a file.

When you get to the screen where you click accept, try right clicking on view and "save target to file" and see if that works better.

If you still have issues I can get it to you via PM.
 

barrykap

Active Member
Wonderful!

Thanks Mark.

I right-clicked and selected 'save target as....'

Puzzling why it acted like it did though.

Thanks again.

Barry.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar & Rotel Michi X3 Reviews + TV show and Movie News & Reviews
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Disney picks up Sony's cinema releases post Netflix in US
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Netflix UK for May 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony unveils X-Series wireless speakers
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 21st April 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
JBL Synthesis SDP-55 processor and SDR-35 AVR now available separately
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom