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HD camcorder for under £350?

technoflare

Active Member
I am looking for a good HD 1080i camera for under £350 if possible. My only worries are inability to edit without a very high spec PC (my best is a 2GHZ Laptop with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card). Good low light would be helpful and maybe even an external mic input.

I think I am asking a little too much for this price point but you never know. I am off on my hols on Monday and as my old HC90 is out of action after the lenscap stuck (dont wanna pay for repair rather put it towards a new HD one).

Any suggestions? I see there are quite a lot of camcoders around this price...
 

Tinderbox (UK)

Active Member
I prefer the Panasonic HDC-SD10 , but check out other makes , canon , sony , samsung, but for £350 you are only going to get an average quality HD camcorder, eg a small sensor.
 
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Mike-H

Standard Member
I prefer the Panasonic HDC-SD10 , but check out other makes , canon , sony , samsung, but for £350 you are only going to get an average quality HD camcorder, eg a small sensor.

With that point in mind would it be better to get a bigger sensor but not HD or go HD and appreciate that in some light conditions it will not be perfect.
 

dapex

Active Member
there is no right and wrong. I dont see the point in having HD if the low light in your house or anywhere else you go is goint to let it down. I would rather have a good quality SD camcorder than a crappy HD camcorder
 

Mike-H

Standard Member
there is no right and wrong. I dont see the point in having HD if the low light in your house or anywhere else you go is goint to let it down. I would rather have a good quality SD camcorder than a crappy HD camcorder

Most family guys like me will probably use camcorders inside on several occasions so I am now questioning whether I should be looking at HD as my budget is not really over £400. That said when I started looking I was aiming below £300 until I thought about HD.

Muddy hell - its driving me mad now.
 

Tinderbox (UK)

Active Member
You can get the Samsung FullHD "HMX-R10" for around £300 , if you want to see how well camcorders perform just type the model numbers into youtube.
 

dapex

Active Member
if its any consolation my camcorder hunting started by accident when I saw a Sanyo Xacti CG10 on QVC for £180. ordered it and then help it next to my old Minidv camcorder and walked around the house.. thats when I realised how bad the indoor quality was and so I sent it back. SO from £180 I jumped to £300 looking at samsung models then about £350 looking at Panasonic models and now its up to over £500 looking at Pannasonic 3cmos models.. And I have come to the conclusion that it will take over £500 to get HD quality I am happy with... I dont have a blueray recorder and so all I can really do with the footage is burn it to DVD which is going to be SD anyway...
 

Mike-H

Standard Member
... I dont have a blueray recorder and so all I can really do with the footage is burn it to DVD which is going to be SD anyway...

Ahh i see. Have I overlooked the blindingly obvious?

I will be getting a new HD TV soon so i assumed (perhaps wrongly) that i should get an HD camcorder so that I can see better quality recordings.

Now my thinking is that I will shoot videos in HD, save on PC and burn to DVD. Am I not able to burn copies in HD?

I do not want to store all videos on PC as this will eventualy take up a lot of memory. I planned to store then on DVD.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Ahh i see. Have I overlooked the blindingly obvious?

I will be getting a new HD TV soon so i assumed (perhaps wrongly) that i should get an HD camcorder so that I can see better quality recordings.
HD does really look strikingly better , but budget HD can sometimes be a let down:rolleyes:!.

Now my thinking is that I will shoot videos in HD, save on PC and burn to DVD. Am I not able to burn copies in HD?
You can but your DVD player wont play them. You can watch them on the PC, via a PS3 or burn AVCHD disc and watch on a Blu ray player as HD
There is also the WDTV media player whic for £70 allows you watch a lot of files on a USB storage. I have 2 blu ray players and the WDTV device .. it is great
Some folk have even better ( Popcorn Hour ect)

I do not want to store all videos on PC as this will eventualy take up a lot of memory. I planned to store then on DVD.
DVD as primary archive can be dodgy
I see them as a secondary backup and playback
You would be better served by an Ext HDD. 1T cost £70 now and that wouls keek a lot of video
You could even play off your EXt HDD direct to HDTV with a media player like the WDTV or PS3
Your HDD on the PC will fill up quickly but you can avoid using it anyway
And
Yes you will need a more powerful PC ..:cool:
But you can still do a few things with what you do have
 
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dapex

Active Member
Mike, if you start recording in HD you need to have the pc and the AV equipment to match it. I plan on filming to SD cards, backing up to PC but to be honest then when I want to watch the footage I will have to drag it off the PC ontp an SD card again and then plug the camcorder into the TV (or maybe USB stick into the xbox360)
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Crikey. What a lot of kit to watch a few movies of the nipper. Why is life never simple? :)
To be honest, the kids watch a lot more but because I take videos and need to "preview" them the kit happened
FWIW the kit may spru an interest in taking more than just the child...:)
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Mike, if you start recording in HD you need to have the pc and the AV equipment to match it. I plan on filming to SD cards, backing up to PC but to be honest then when I want to watch the footage I will have to drag it off the PC ontp an SD card again and then plug the camcorder into the TV (or maybe USB stick into the xbox360)
I would suggest you get an Ext HDD and the WDTV ( unless the X box 360 is a good media player as the PS3 is) I dont have a games console and the WDTV at £70 is cheaper( and smaller)
And frees you from needing to use the camcorder unless this use is very infrequent
 
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Mike-H

Standard Member
I spend all day at a PC. Not sure I need all the extra hassle and time sat at my PC at home.

Going to think about this a bit more. HD for the future or normal def for simplicity??

You guys have been really helpful. This is a pain in the bum as I thought I had it sussed.
 

loz

Distinguished Member
If your editing requirements are simple - e.g. just deleting unwanted footage, combining footage - then you can usually perform this in-camera.

Also, if you have a model with internal memory as well as taking SD cards, you can usually copy the edited footage from internal to the card.
For archiving and playback only, then cheap SD cards may suffice, and you can cram quite a bit of footage, especially after editing out the unwanted stuff, onto an 4gb SD card costing only a few quid.

Some camcorders also allow you to burn directly to a suitable DVD recorder - though only in SD

So, it isn't absolutely necessary to use a PC as the only mechanism to edit and archive your footage.

As a footnote, being a Panasonic user, I have ended up with a 3x TVs, a DVD recorder, and a Bluray player, all with SD card slots capable of playing AVHCD footage.... who needs a PC :)
 
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senu

Distinguished Member
If your editing requirements are simple - e.g. just deleting unwanted footage, combining footage - then you can usually perform this in-camera.
This is true
Some camcorders also allow you to burn directly to a suitable DVD recorder - though only in SD
I would imagine all camcorders do this .. they all have AV out

So, it isn't absolutely necessary to use a PC as the only mechanism to edit and archive your footage.
True but
1) You would need a good few SD card in the long run
2) HDDs are very cheap per GB even compared with the cheap SD cards.

I got a 250Gb small( pocketable) ext USB HDD ( doenst need power supply) for £47.. , for the purpose of archving the AVCHD files Ive accumulated over the past year , "testing" various models . ( I still use Tape HDV for myself..:boring:, I know!)
A "proper" 1T model would cost even less per GB..
I however also have jpeg images on mine and with the WDTV Media player am able to view my pics as Hi def Images on HDTV

As a footnote, being a Panasonic user, I have ended up with a 3x TVs, a DVD recorder, and a Bluray player, all with SD card slots capable of playing AVHCD footage.... who needs a PC :)
I wonder how many SD cards you have??:rotfl:

You definitely make the point though : Certainly even with a PC without much grunt, there is the ability to transfer to a storage medium such as HDD or data DVD and with a setop DVD recorder, you can bypass the PC for creating SD DVD video but if you need to make AVCHD disc for BD player playback a PC is needed ( but as illustrated, a BD player is not a must ,as there are alternatives)

Sticking to the OPs main theme. I would not avoid HD , it is " the future" and your HDTV will show you just why but be prepared to accept that £350 is scrapping the bottom of the barrel for Hi Def quality
 
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loz

Distinguished Member
True but
1) You would need a good few SD card in the long run
2) HDDs are very cheap per GB even compared with the cheap SD cards.

I got a 250Gb small( pocketable) ext USB HDD ( doenst need power supply) for £47.. , for the purpose of archving the AVCHD files Ive accumulated over the past year , "testing" various models . ( I still use Tape HDV for myself..:boring:, I know!)
A "proper" 1T model would cost even less per GB..
I however also have jpeg images on mine and with the WDTV Media player am able to view my pics as Hi def Images on HDTV

Are there any HD camcorders that act as a USB host (I think that's the right term) and hence could copy footage to a USB HDD, bypassing the PC? Or possibly a USB HDD that acts as a host so can copy from the camcorder directly?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Most camcorders are USB mass storage devices anyway , not requiring drivers other than the windows built-in ones
I think there are some HDDs with USB facility for media storage on the go but they cost too much for what they do and even a modest PC ( or laptop) will be far more cost effective even if all you do is connect the camcorder on the one hand and a bog standard USB HDD on the other merely using the PC as intermediate " interface" if not host for the transfer
 

ronaldkwok

Active Member
Are there any HD camcorders that act as a USB host (I think that's the right term) and hence could copy footage to a USB HDD, bypassing the PC? Or possibly a USB HDD that acts as a host so can copy from the camcorder directly?
The Sanyo HD2000 (and other similar models) can move files from camcorder to a USB HDD and vice versa directly without using a PC. But the HDD must be self-powered and not powered from the USB. My Blog posts have details on this.
 

arthurdentpc

Active Member
Interesting thread, I'm going through the same debates myself. It's time to ditch the 4yr old JVC miniDV camcorder (good as it is) and move to HDD. (I had a Panasonic VHS-C for 7 years before that, so I don't update that often :D ). I have a similar £300ish budget. The question is, do I go better quality SD or budget quality HD.

I have no HD DVD burning capabilities, and I'd need a new laptop to even consider it, so the budget would be shot to pieces. So for the forseeable future, the footage would be burned onto SD DVD and stored on an external HDD.

So my current thinking is to buy a budget HD, store the files, and "at some point in the future" revisit the footage and burn it to HD.

Against that, would I be bothered at that stage to re-record all the stuff ? Possibly not. Also, any camcorder has probably less than 5 years life in it before it becomes obsolete, so it may be better to get the quality SD camcorder now, and fully update to HD camcorder and burner "at some point in the future".

So my current thinking is to get a good SD HDD camcorder.

Repeat :D.
 

dapex

Active Member
Interesting thread, I'm going through the same debates myself. It's time to ditch the 4yr old JVC miniDV camcorder (good as it is) and move to HDD. (I had a Panasonic VHS-C for 7 years before that, so I don't update that often :D ). I have a similar £300ish budget. The question is, do I go better quality SD or budget quality HD.

I have no HD DVD burning capabilities, and I'd need a new laptop to even consider it, so the budget would be shot to pieces. So for the forseeable future, the footage would be burned onto SD DVD and stored on an external HDD.

So my current thinking is to buy a budget HD, store the files, and "at some point in the future" revisit the footage and burn it to HD.

Against that, would I be bothered at that stage to re-record all the stuff ? Possibly not. Also, any camcorder has probably less than 5 years life in it before it becomes obsolete, so it may be better to get the quality SD camcorder now, and fully update to HD camcorder and burner "at some point in the future".

So my current thinking is to get a good SD HDD camcorder.

Repeat :D.

just remember that if you record in SD you cant then convert it into HD in the future.... At least if you record in HD now and have to watch it in SD you can in the future burn it to blueray or whatever... I was going to go SD but I know I will kick myself in a couple of years when blu-ray recorders are common place and all i have is SD footage...
 

Giblets2

Active Member
just remember that if you record in SD you cant then convert it into HD in the future.... At least if you record in HD now and have to watch it in SD you can in the future burn it to blueray or whatever... I was going to go SD but I know I will kick myself in a couple of years when blu-ray recorders are common place and all i have is SD footage...
I agree, get the camera now and worry about the HD output at a later stage.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Interesting thread, I'm going through the same debates myself. It's time to ditch the 4yr old JVC miniDV camcorder (good as it is) and move to HDD.
Why ? you can have both unless you find the JVC lacking somewhat
I have no HD DVD burning capabilities, and I'd need a new laptop to even consider it, so the budget would be shot to pieces. So for the forseeable future, the footage would be burned onto SD DVD and stored on an external HDD.
So my current thinking is to buy a budget HD, store the files, and "at some point in the future" revisit the footage and burn it to HD
This is sound thinking. but there are ways of watching HD without the ability to burn BD discs. I think BD burners and discs are quite uncommon compared to the no of Hi def camcorder users out there
Also you can spend £70 on a WDTV media player( or similar ) and watch your AVCHD footage on HDTV bypassing the PC and saving up ...
Against that, would I be bothered at that stage to re-record all the stuff ? Possibly not. Also, any camcorder has probably less than 5 years life in it before it becomes obsolete,
Obsolete? Maybe not The standards dont change that rapidly
so it may be better to get the quality SD camcorder now, and fully update to HD camcorder and burner "at some point in the future".
So my current thinking is to get a good SD HDD camcorder.
HD is here now 2009 , not the future ( 5 years time) , Why would you want anything you record now not to be the best it can. SD can be great but not from many of todays consumer models
I have 2 HDV camcorders which can record SD natively, record HDV and capture as SD or capture as HDV then downconvert in software
I almost never record in SD and this is as of 3 years ago
I really dont think SD in 2009 is worth it unless it is one of the Prosumer kit for Semi Pro type prductions
I dont any SD consumer kit now is any better than they were 5 years ago apart from not using tape and more to the point ..Do they still sell non HDTVs in the shops anymore?
 
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