Canon or Panasonic?



I've been looking for a while now for my 1st camcorder and i've whittled my list down to Canon MV500 or Panasonic NVDS 30. I dont wish to spend a fortune as my intented use for the camera is holidays/parties etc only. After reading various posts on this forum I have noticed a lot of expert users out there and I would appreciate any advice. Also, how easy is pc editing and what is this Firewire business? PS Please feel free to advise on any other better cameras in the similar price range. Thanx. (Budget £450 max)


Although I don't own one personally, the Panasonic seems to be a very good camera at the lower price range end of the market. It also has DV-in which basically means after you've edited footage on your PC, you can transfer it back to the camcorder (maybe for eventual transfer onto VHS, for example).

What some might not like about this camera is the fact that it's larger and not as compact as some Mini DV cameras. However, some people prefer the more traditional shape as generally the smaller and lighter a camera is, the harder it is to hold still (although some cameras can combat shakiness)

A lot of people have complained about the noise of the motor on Canon cameras as well as poor picture quality. But the Canon cameras have big buttons and rounded edges which might make it easier for some people to use.

Canon is a good brand as they specifically manufacture for this market whereas Panasonic have a whole bunch of things. All in all, I would go for the Panasonic.

You can also check out reviews by customers at www.ciao.com, www.dooyoo.co.uk and www.epinions.com

Hope this is of help!!



And firewire is just a high speed protocol for digital devices to talk to each other (also called iLink which I think is the 4pin version or iEEE1394)

Most commonly used to connect a DV camera to a PC to transfer video in full fidelity but can also be used for other things as it's a general purpose connection like USB.

Macs have it built in now, as do some PCs, otherwise, you can get a PCI Firewire card for <20 quid or if you're in the market for a sound card, the Soundblaster Audigy has a firewire port included "for free"

Sorry - when I said the people sometimes complain about the picture, I got mixed up with another one! It has a lack of features is what I meant to say!



Active Member
I am also about to buy a £500ish Digicamcorder and narrowed my choices down to the Pana GS3B / DS30B and the Canon MV500i.

I then narrowed it down further to the MV500i 'cos I thought that the AV in feature would allow me to easily transfer my older Video footage to my PC for editing.

I was all set to go and buy the MV500i when I discovered that its CCD has rougly half the resolution of most other DigiCams including the two Pana models.

Does this matter? As I have seen that the MV500i has got some fairly good reviews.

I dont understand - can someone please explain if this lower CCD res will make a difference or not?

Thanks in advance.

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Well-known Member
I bought my Panasonic DV cam in 1999 for a trip to Jamaica

Since then it has been to

The Canaries, US, France, Germany, Belgium, Alaska, Scotland, and all over the UK.

It goes everywhere with me in the boot of the carand gets used indoors, outdoors and in the studio,

It gets used at least weekly and I currently have in excess of 200 DV tapes.

This was a £500 cam 3 years ago (so cheap) and it is still going strong.

When I bought it, I bought a cheap one as I did not know if I would use it much but the reliability from something as complex as a camcorder has surprised me.


Standard Member
Its nice to know someone is in the same position as me ;)
I'm torn between the mv500i and the panasonic gs3b the mv is really appealing (the av in option is a clencher) but the ccd is, well a bit small guess this will compromise the picture qual. The panasonic has a bigger ccd so it should be better...but then you have to take the lens in to consideration. Im gonna pop down to jessops tommorow and have a play with the two compare and make my desicion. ill report my findings


Standard Member
well the quality of the cameras are pritty similar. The canon feels a little sturdier but looks like a fisherprice toy. So ive gone with the panasonic gs5 as it comes with the video in....


ive heard too many bad things about the canons mv400's and 500's.
If I had to pick a cam in this price range it would be one of the panny gs's.


I was looking at the Canon 550i and the Pana NV GSx... tried the Canon, and didn't like it... poor picture quality (only about as good as a 5 year old analogue Sony), and VERY noisy... constant buzzing from the motors / electronics when videoing in quiet places.

Decided to buy the NV GX7 from Letsgodidgital, and I love it.

Great pics, good sound, good lens, reasonable quality stills (flash included), DV in and out.


Active Member
I also decided against the mv500i and convinced the missus to let me spend an extra £50 and went for a NV GX5.
Got if from ASK on Tottenham Court Road - mad price of £549 and got them to chuck in a free DV tape as well.
Not bad considering all the other usual websites were £30-£100 dearer.
Av In/Out, DV In/Out, SD Card support, MPEG 4 and one of the smallest coolest looking cams around.

Oh if anyone is still after the older Panasonic DS38 then they had some left at £499 in a store opposite ASK (the store next door to the Odeon). This has pretty much the same feature set as the GS5 but is nearly twice the size!


Active Member
I was torn between these 2 camcorders on Thursday. But after reading the reviews on them both I decided on the Panasonic. Got a good price on it at £360 delieved and it is coming on Monday. I can't wait, my first camcorder and my Baby Boy first Christmas. Wont be able to get me off it.


I have come to the conclusion that nearly all digital camcorders are useless in low light.
I sent my Canon MV5i back. Utter rubbish.
These people should be prosecuted for miss-selling their products.
To think this camera costs £899 on the high street and does NOT do what it claims.

I'm sticking with my Canon UC16 for the time being. (just as good in low light)

Everyone wants tiny products... so small lenses and small CCD's equals crappy products.

rant over...


Interesting to read that a number of others have, like me, been weighing up between Panasonic and Canon compact DV camcorders.

I hope that this thread has not been entirely forgotten about amidst all the turkey, mince pies and playing with newly acquired camcorders...

Anyway, needless to say that before Christmas, I too was trying to decide between a Panasonic NV-GS5B and a Canon MV550i (or MV5iMC). I'd read about the Canon motor noise problems and was waiting for the July review of the NV-GS5B in What Camcorder to make it to the website. The relatively poor low light performance of the latter was mentioned in said review but in the end I went ahead and got the NV-GS5B anyway.

And indeed I have been somewhat dissapointed by its (grainy) performance in low(ish) light levels over the low light Christmas period. I have yet to play seriously with the manual controls which I understand may go someway towards solving the problem. Does anybody have any experience of this?

I may yet send it back (to Letsgodigital) but what should I get instead...??? Is RockStar right and are all compact DV cams crap in low light? Should I be considering another make/model entirely?

Budgie, how do you find your NV-GX7 (especially in low light)?




In answer to Mikey_E, I love my GX7... not sure I've used it much in low light .... I video'd my daughters Christmas concerts at school, and these look OK to me, but in good light its great... my only criticism is the image stabiliser.... if you are looking at a steady scene, it works fine, but if you zoom in or out during this, the stabilser switches off until you stop zooming... this results (if you doing a slow zoom) in some quite shakey sections!


this is really interesting because after looking at the jvcgrdvl367 for £440 i thought this was a good cam with quite a high spec, but then people told me jvc's arn't all that.

so i'm now going to go for a panasonic nvds30b for £400 with a free pack of tapes and a battery (i can get it for £350 ish on its own but i figured a pack of tapes and an extra battery is worth the extra 50 odd quid.

whats the o lux like on the panasonic?

the cams not that big is it? not like the old cams the size of a vcr lol. same it aint got a remote but never mind, might get a remote tripod.

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