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Camcorder Virgin... in nightmare city :( Can any one help please?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by Hades, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Hades

    Hades
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    Hi there....

    I have never owned a camcorder before and in 4 weeks I am going to sunny Florida. Seeing as this is my 1st time to Florida, I want to record all the glory... so I can show the family and have something to look back on in years to come.

    Researching camcorders has proven to be nothing more than a nightmare. I never knew there were so many breeds to choose from.

    I know I defo want a MiniDV and my budget can stretch to around £550 tops.

    At first I had called into a local family run store and was shown the Sony DCR-HC39E. I was well inpressed with this camcorder. Then I made the big mistake of buying magazines and reading reviews on forums etc.

    Now I am just so undecided and have a list of 5 camcorders that are all getting very good reviews.

    Is there anyone in here that has any of the following and can help me out with feedback on their thoughts?

    I am looking for:

    1. Good picture quality.
    2. Good sound (with as little buzz from the camcorder being picked up).
    3. Good both outdoors and in for filming.
    4. Widescreen filming (true 16:9).


    The camcorders in my short list are:

    1. Sony DCR-HC42E
    2. Sony DCR-HC90E
    3. Panasonic NV-GS75
    4. Panasonic NV-GS150
    5. JVC GR-DF470


    I am not 100% certain if all the above actually film in widescreen. AFAIK only the Sony's have the widescreen viewfinder.

    Any help would be really appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Gazza.
     
  2. Applespider

    Applespider
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    I've just been in exactly the same position with a similar budget and requirements. I too started off looking at the v cheap cams until I read some reviews and understood a little more about the processes involved. My HC90 is being delivered from Amazon today (£545) so can't tell you how good my decision making was yet but will share how I got there.

    I tried the Panasonic GS75 - it doesn't shoot in true widescreen using all the pixels - but it simulates it. I'd stick with the 4:3 if you ended up with that. The colours were great but I wasn't all that impressed with it indoors but with 3 small CCDs, what can you expect. The GS250 is supposed to be wonderful but since I couldn't find that for under £700 reputably, it was way over budget for what I need. The Canon MXV45i also got great reviews in the £650 price range. They both have optical image stabilisation but I finally decided that going so far over budget was silly - especially after I added the cost of batteries/tapes/filters on.

    I found this site useful to see some video of the HC90 in action in low light
    http://www.disneyfunsite.com/hc90.htm

    The French site - Magazine Video - also has some great comparison movies from multiple camcorders - http://www.magazinevideo.com/ which helped a lot more than the single reference shots on other sites.

    Going back to why I chose the HC90 over the HC42, it is slightly bulkier but the better lens and bigger CCD swung it since using it in store, I felt that the colour etc was better. I also felt that the image stabilisation was smoother on the HC90 which if I am using the zoom will be important.
     
  3. senu

    senu
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    In equal (good) lighting conditions, I strongly feel the Panasonics offer more bang for the buck. If you can stretch to the GS 250 even better as I expect you will own the camcorder for a good few years . Some people find the Panasonic colours too "rich" (digital and less natural) compared to the Sony models and feel the 3CCDs are poorer in lower light conditions than the Sony models. I agree with some of what Applespider says but find that somehow, equivalents Sonys ( and Canons) cost more than the Pannys for the same range of features. I have used all the camcorders on your shortlist (testing them out " as a guinea pig" at various times and Really love the costlier Sonys ( Vx2100 etc: not in this range) but find tha lower down Sony has a big fight on its hands
    If you can afford £500 the lower cost JVCs with similar specs on paper appear to give you a slight hit in subjective quality. Around and above the £1000 mark things get decidedly more confusing
    Before you buy, go to Jessops ( or similar) and HOLD IN YOUR HAND the chosen camcorder. No matter how much we may praise the picture, sound output if it doesnt feel right in your hand its not for you
    Good luck
     
  4. Hades

    Hades
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    As it was my day off today I have been out and about with my main aim to actually see a Sony HC90 in the flesh. I have not been able to find one in any electrical shop near me for love nor money. When the sales assistant checked on their computer, it was coming up with discontinued or clearance stock?

    I was under the impression that this model was fairly new in the market, yet it is being discontinued?

    The unfortunate thing for me is that I live in a snall viallge. So I will have traverl at least 40 miles to get to a big city. Plus its finding the time to fit the journey in....and its getting closer to my hols :(
     
  5. sebuwufur

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    Hi there, just wanted to let you know that I went ahead and bought the Sony DCRHC42E, a second one as you know I returned the first due to the noisy tape mechanism. I bought the second one from Jessops after demoing two of them and choosing what I thought was the quietest out of the two. I tested this by filming in different places during my journey home and watched it when I arrived. I was impressed with the picture quality and satisfied with the sound. There was a buzz present in the recording when filmed in quiet surroundings, like an empty room but to hear this buzz I had to place my ear very close to the TV speaker. It was barely noticable while seated on the sofa and I could not determine whether it was present during normal levels of noise, but frankly I could not care because the overall feeling I had with the play back was more than satisfactory. It seems as though the original camera I had must have been faulty. What a timely escape for me seeing as I am off on holiday in two days.

    My suggestions to you is to buy the camera you wish to have after researching as much as you can but only after demoing it in the shop for the faults you think it might possess. Make sure you buy from a dealer who will allow you to return it if you are not happy and also make sure you get insurance especially as you are going abroad. Jessops do a good three year package for around £70 or give or take a few.

    I wish you all the best.

    Regards

    Raymond
     
  6. Hades

    Hades
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    Many thanks for the info. It looks like it's going to be between the 42E and 90E.

    I can get the 42E from PixMania with 2 year warranty for £384 delivered or the 90E for £540. Can get both for around £20 cheaper, but only with 1 year warranty.

    Going to have a trip to Leeds soon so that I can demo both properly. But Jessops are far more expensive. They have the 42E @ £450 and the 90E @ £700.
     
  7. Matty

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  8. Hades

    Hades
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  9. Applespider

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    My HC90 arrived safely and I'm very pleased with it.

    Finally got a chance to test it out over the weekend; pretended to be a tourist and took it along the South Bank in London. I figured that coping with Borough Market with food 'macro' shots, cityscapes, lots of noise and varying light levels would be a good test of what it might see in 'real' tourist use!

    When in a very quiet room, you can hear a low buzz of the tape mechanism but I didn't notice it on the tape; it picked up sound surprisingly well. I can make out the trains going overhead at Borough and a busker singing about 10m away from me outside the Tate Modern.

    I only had to fiddle with the manual settings a couple of times. I'd set up the menu so that the things I thought I might use most were on the first screen. Changing the exposure and focus were very easy - even as a novice - with instant feedback on the screen so you don't over-adjust. The stabilisation also appeared pretty good - I panned along the river a few times with surprisingly few wobbles.

    I'll PM you the address of the site the edited video is at if you like.
     
  10. owey

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    Have you thought about buying one at the airport when you are going away?.
    I would find the one you want then ring Dixons if you are flying from Manchester?, and see if you can get the number for the dixons in the airport make sure they have the one you want as they are alot cheaper in the airport. If you are are flying from Leeds?, I am not sure if they have one in there?
    Anyway good luck and have a great time.
     
  11. senu

    senu
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  12. Hades

    Hades
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    Well in the end I decided not to buy a camcorder and treated myself to a decent digital camera with 12X optical zoom.
     
  13. senu

    senu
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    What ......after all that!!!
    Seriously its your money but I think you find in time that there is a place for both and the skills used in one can be transferred to the other.
    I recently went on a family holiday to disneyland with a DSLR (Canon 350d) and camcorder( ageing panasonic mx350). As a result we now have loads of pics, some decent videofootage which makes us all chuckle and a dvd with both video footage and slideshow of pics taken with the digital camera
    Anyway .. have fun with your camera and perhaps your wish for a camcorder will return someday
     
  14. chemicalbrother

    chemicalbrother
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    i have the sony dcr hc 39e which is just under since you wanted the hc 40 but the quality is amazing for the price of £365!
     
  15. SIP

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    Hi chemicalbrother

    I recently posted asking about the 39e, but got no response.
    Having owned & sold Sony's in the past, I am tempted to replace my old camera with the DCRHC39 (I have seen it for £335). Could you tell me what the recording is like in widescreen please, and also if you get any picture distortion when panning with the "steady shot" switched on. I read in one review that it made the picture edge very jagged.

    I would be greatfull for any comments on this model. :lease:

    Cheers

    SIP
     
  16. chemicalbrother

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    hey sip
    the recording in widescreen is amazing! its really sharp and clear, the 1megapixel ccd is great it really records bright colours well, if you go on my blog at www.chemicalbrothers999.blogspot.com there is some pictures of a drag weekend that i went to, these picture were taken of the actually footage through windows movie maker but for some reason it scales the 720x576 video to 1024x768 so they do like abit harsh and not clear but the moving footage is amazing for the price,if you want i can send you a video clip of footage i have took but obviously it will be compressed my hotmail is chemicalbrothers_999@hotmail.com
    i never get distortion when panning left and right but sometimes i do when moving up and down but not whent its slow only when fast movement, it does do a really good job of stablisation

    dan
     
  17. Hades

    Hades
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    Just an update...

    The holiday in Orlando was amazing... and I am going back again in Oct this year. After seeing the amazing shows at all the parks... I have decided that I am going to certainly buy a camcorder to take this year.

    The camera I bought was nothing but excellent ICanon S2 IS). I took some 400+ pics and have made a greta album of pictures.

    I am still looking at purchasing the Sony HC90 as it still keeps getting 5 star reviews. Also the price is coming down all the time, so I am looking to buy when the bargain is a good as it can possibly get.

    The cheapest I can find it is £486 delivered at the moment. Hopefully it will come down some more in the next few months. Plus I hope it does not end up discontinued either.

    Gazza.
     

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