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First time camera for making short films

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by Kupo!, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Kupo!

    Kupo!
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    Hi, I've been doing some homework and have got as far as deciding that MiniDV is the format to go for. However, I am unsure which camera to go for. I intend to use the camera to shoot short films for a University film making society and my main criteria are:

    Reliability
    Good lens/CCD quality
    USB 2.0/Firewire output
    (a microphone input would be good too!)
    (I'm not into gimmicks, but a widescreen mode would be cool)

    At the moment, I've been focusing on (pun intended) the Sony DCR-HC14E, Sony DCR-HC40ES, JVC GR-D230EK, JVC GR-D73EK and Canon MV750i.
    Anything similar to those I should check out?

    I'd be interested to see the different between the 800K and 1M pixel CCDS. Are there any resources on the web which allow you to download comparison videos?

    Also, I'm going to be in the US in a couple of weeks time and due to the current exchange rate, I can but one of the £500 ones for about £300! Would it be a bad idea buying in the US, i.e. is a warrantee I can use essential?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Hi Kupo! and welcome to the forum!

    IMHO you should not buy a cam from America for the following reasons:

    The cam will be NTSC which is not fully compatable with UK TV's & VCR's etc as we use the PAL system. You will be able to watch the footage on most TV's, but will not be able to copy the footage to a VCR as they will not record NTSC. If you make a DVD on the PC it will still be NTSC unless you convert it via software that will result in a loss of quality.
    If it breaks down you will be very lucky to get any help from Sony UK, so its an expensive trip back to the USA.
    If caught by customs you will get charged import duty & VAT. This can also be charged at a later date if unable to prove it has already been paid.


    The number of pixels on the CCD is more a feature required for good quality still pictures & not for video, so I would not worry about this unless you will be useing the cam for stills.

    A highly regarded cam that many on this forum have & rave about is the newly discontinued TRV-33. As it has been discontinued you may well find it for a good price, as long as you can find one that is! I would recommend this over the newer models because many people have commented on the new cams being of lower quality than those that they have replaced.

    Don't worry about a cam having USB2.0 unless you will be transfering stills or useing it as a web cam. USB2.0 is not good enough for transfering full quality video.

    Mark.
     
  3. Roy Mallard

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    If you have semi-serious aspirations I would stretch to a Panasonic GS120 (£600) or the better discontinued GS70 (has MF focus ring, around £550), bith are 3ccd, giving you the best video at this price.

    If you opt for a coanon or sony look at a lanc controller (£30 from Jessops) controls zoom and focus off camera, less shake, nice smooth pull focus movements.

    USB 2 is faster than firewire, but firewire is the established standard for video transfer. Firewire in is useful.

    All of advice of previous poster stands good on american cam, although someplaces will sell PAL cameras, by the time you get hit for import tax etc it' s hardly worth the difference.

    NTSC is also a lower res foramt with very shoddy colour quality compared to PAL.
     
  4. shaq365

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    I thought Firewire was faster than than USB2? Isn't it something to do with variable rates of transfer with USB?
     
  5. Kupo!

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    While I agree that PAL is superior to NTSC, I looked up prices on and a quick search for the GS120 and came up with "PANASONIC PV-GS120" for $400 (aprox £220) where as the NV-GS120B is £570!

    Is the difference between the NTSC and PAL versions enough to warrant the PAL one being 3 times more expensive? I will be doing all the editing digitally and the final product will probably be either DivX or DVD. Therefore, direct playback from the cam straight to a normal television will be rare.

    Would this warrant a purchase of a NTSC cam or do you still think I should stick with pal?

    Thanks for the advice on the controller. Do you think it would also be worth investing in a tripod, or is the “steady cam” technology pretty good these days?
     
  6. torrent

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    Tripod is a must for any half-serious shooting. You can of course go completely stupid with tripod prices too but one with fluid head to help give nice smooth pan and tilts is worth it.

    Aside from the NTSC versus PAL arguments you do need to understand that your warranty will more than likely be invalid outside of North America (as mentioned earlier).
     
  7. MarkE19

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    No USB2.0 is faster, but as you say the full speed is not sustainable as it is with firewire. Therefore USB2.0 is not really recommended for video transfer at ful AVI quality.

    No, of course PAL V NTSC is not worth 3 times the cost, but we are in 'rip off Britain'!!!
    Remember though that you will still be creating NTSC disks unless converting the footage to PAL on the PC that will reduce the final quality and add to the cost for purchase of the conversion software. Also the compatability will be lower as many older UK TV's (and even some old DVDP) will not play NTSC and should you need to put it onto a VCR, well you simply can't unless you have a very expensive multistandards VCR.

    Well at the end of the day its your choice, but personally I wouldn't buy a cam from the USA.
    Remember the cost if you do get caught by customs is inport duty & VAT. This as I said before could be charged 2 or 3 years later when returning to the UK after a holiday unless you can prove it has already been paid!

    Totally agree. A tripod is a must if doing any serious shooting with anything other than low zoom, and even then the steadyshot is not perfect.
    As also stated, don't spend a fortune on it. I paid about £60 around 10 years ago for one with fluid head to give the smooth pans etc.

    Mark.
     
  8. Kupo!

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    Just to check another spanner into the works, I found the SONY DCRPC120 on special offer for £460. It's spec looks very attractive indeed. Anyone heard of this model as I can't really find much information about it on google.
     
  9. Kupo!

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    These are the best prices I've found:

    Panasonic NV-GS120EG: £504
    Sony DCR-TRV33: £485
    SONY CCDTRV91: £498

    If nobody says otherwise, I think I'm going to order the TRV-33 tomorrow night. I've found some sample images online and they look excellent. Plus the Fifteen quid saved will get a couple of cassettes :)
     
  10. hencole

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    If you manage to order a TRV33 could let me know where from because I've been unable to find anywhere that has them due to it being discontiued.
     
  11. Roy Mallard

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    Sony PC120 is a bit older now, great cam in its day and a good buy at that price, it has a manual focus ring which you might find useful, however the 3ccd Panasonic GS120 will give you more manual exposure control and more accurate colour.

    My money is on the panasonic
     
  12. Kupo!

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