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Digital HD 1080 camcorder

12harry

Distinguished Member
Look at the current issue of Computer Shopper, they review a few modern camcorders and somewhere there you may be able to save a bit by buying the model that's being replaced.

You haven't said what you plan to film - or are you hoping to learn the craft, perhaps?

It's fairly important to have a clear "purpose" - so others can perhaps focus their minds on the implications.

However, you will realise that Budget is aproaching sub-budget.... add £100 and things get easier . . . but you may well benefit from extras like a Tripod, batteries and memory.
 

paulpa66

Standard Member
Hi, Just for family videos, happy to increase budget to £400 but it all gets confusing what to look for
One i was looking at was the Canon HF R36
 
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Chelsea_Fan

Active Member
You could try looking at the panasonic X800 as these are being sold cheaply now. Eg £450. Or the older SD900 is supposed to be good and may be available cheaply too.

My advice to you would be to get a camcorder that shoots well in low light and the cameras I've listed above are above average in this respect.

Also, check out how wide the lens can go because some of them don't do wide angle. eg the SD900 isn't going to be as wide as the X800.

Another one to consider is the Canon M56 as this has really excellent low light performance for indoor family shots. Lesser cameras will produce grainy and yellowy looking movies with very subdued and posterised colour in low light. Not good if you want to make good quality family stuff...

But the lens isn't very wide angle :(

I'd also check for wireless connectivity as the Canons do this but my Panasonic doesn't and it's a bit of a chore in this respect especially when experimenting.

If you can live with the restricted (not so wide) angle on the lens then the Canon M56 is a tough act to beat because it should prove to be an excellent indoor family camcorder eg at xmas and birthday parties etc :)
 
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12harry

Distinguished Member
Canon consumer camcorders aren't very popular here . . . and it looks like the Panas are really the business for sharpness. The 700, 800 and 900 are 3-sensor designs and the X-versions are the updated models, sometimes with a wider lens. However, the whole point of a movie camera is that you focus on action, you "Tell the Story" and wide shots can't do this because there is too much imformation, so the viewer scans the scene and doesn't see the detail that the cameraman want them to see. So, IMHO it's better to pan yr shots as a series of closer-shots.

[for example at a childeren's party a wide shot of them all at play is too difficult to follow any action and each viewer will see different aspects)....better to get each child to do a specific task and cut the shots between them - so you see Action and Reaction . . . . this isn't easy as you have to get creative.... and that means working-up a story - but you may find the children are quite happy to act-up, seeking a major part in the next scene etc. They will like "dressing-up" so you can have them playing parts from story-books (but watch that Copyright angle). None of this is like filming in Big Brother, where the cameras are static and it's immensely tedious to watch.


The current issue of Computer Shopper is worth getting as it reviews the latest update to that series, the X920 [DYOR], which now has larger sensors - and it is sensor size that really determines quality. This is why DSLR's are so good, but there are some limitations, in particular AF during movie-mode.

Look also at the CS review of the NEX which is a stills camera with movie-mode (I have the basic NEX5) - it has a massive sensor and can film where I can's see (ie it's dark!) . . . . . other makes/models may claim low-light but they are way off, since their sensors are quite small. However, the NEX is only a 3:1 manual zoom . . . yet strangely no-one has ever said to me "you need more zoom" - I just move nearer, or fit a different lens, like my f/3.5 200mm (which acts like a 300mm), which is very nice for distant objects . . . as to family photos - a 3:1 zoom is perfectly OK. As a bonus the NEX5 lens has a silent AF motor, so there is no whirring, as it keeps the focus in movie-mode.
The non-Sony lenses are in Manual-mode so there is no AF and no power zoom anyway - these lenses need a hefty tripod and you need to spend £100 minimum to get one that approaches "Steady" - cheaper store-based stuff is just too flimsy. Decent ripods will have multiple legs, determined by their number, so whilst they all have "three" you need to look for 222 (very expensive), or maybe 221
so each leg is made up of pairs of tubes except the lowest one that is a single 91) tube.
They also need cross-supports and a spreader . . . . . but I'm guessing a far simpler approach is [robably all you want. Try filming the childeren in-store (take yr own memory cards), so you can compare with the same child . . . . this will help sort "quality"

At ~£400 the updated Pana with a single-sensor is pretty good it seems and does allow an external microphone to be connected . . . but this isn't such a big deal, since you can use the on-camera Audio to sync an external recorder back in the Edit and a portable recorder is far more use for picking up Foley, (ambient sounds) since this can be done without using the camcorder it's somewhat less obvious.

Get that Mag and read the reviews, this will give you up-to-date insight to the rather cpnfusing claims made by Mfrs.
 
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paulpa66

Standard Member
Well as an ex Canon employee i went with the CANON LEGRIA HF R48 should have it tomorrow so will let you know what i make of it. Too many choices and too many reviews it just gets cloudy :)
But for £400 i guess i can't expect too much.
 

chrishull3

Well-known Member
Cheers will find out soon:) any software you can suggest for AVCHD? or is MP4 best for TV play back all new to me. Was looking at MoviePlus X5 but not sure that does AVCHD, used pinnacle before in the past

There are loads of different software,some work better than others,Coral is very easy to use but the renders are very slow,Magix is another popular one,as is sony vegas.
 
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grahamlthompson

In memoriam
Cheers will find out soon:) any software you can suggest for AVCHD? or is MP4 best for TV play back all new to me. Was looking at MoviePlus X5 but not sure that does AVCHD, used pinnacle before in the past

Movie Plus X5 does AVCHD but lacks any support for Dolby Digital audio (ac3)

If you want to create DVD's from HD content avoid Movie Plus X5 the mpeg2 encoder isn't very good compared to the following 2 editing packages.

AC3 support is also lacking in the Sony Movie Studio software (You need the very expensive Vegas Pro version for this)

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro MX Premium (note the premium) has full ac3 5.1 support.

Your camera will record in the most advanced form of mpeg4 compression (H264/AVC) and most likely ac3 audio. Both are the most efficient codecs in terms of quality/file size and usable on any HD TV up to Full-HD 1080i. As this is the format used for HD TV broadcasting compatibility is certain.
 
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paulpa66

Standard Member
Movie Plus X5 does AVCHD but lacks any support for Dolby Digital audio (ac3)

If you want to create DVD's from HD content avoid Movie Plus X5 the mpeg2 encoder isn't very good compared to the following 2 editing packages.

AC3 support is also lacking in the Sony Movie Studio software (You need the very expensive Vegas Pro version for this)

MAGIX Movie Edit Pro MX Premium (note the premium) has full ac3 5.1 support.

Your camera will record in the most advanced form of mpeg4 compression (H264/AVC) and most likely ac3 audio. Both are the most efficient codecs in terms of quality/file size and usable on any HD TV up to Full-HD 1080i. As this is the format used for HD TV broadcasting compatibility is certain.

so this one
MAGIX Movie Edit Pro ? Video editing software
 

Bob++

Active Member
Yes - and I suggest that it is worth spending the £80 for the full version.

Magix takes a little time to learn but is highly sophisticated and can render quite fast even on a twin core pc. As with all such software there will be loads of features that you will have no use for, but you can have a lot of fun creating your own movies.
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam

If ac3 support is required then yes. On the other hand for creating optical discs (DVD and Blu-ray) DVD Architect Studio 5 which come with Movie Studio is a lot more customisable than Magix's built in authoring capability. Given support for ac3 and AVCHD discs the Sony Version would be the editor of choice if this came at the same price as Magix. Shame Sony don't do a slightly more expensive version with an ac3 encoder licence.

Nothing to stop you trying the Sony and Magix editors yourself. Both can be downloaded as a free trial.
 

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