Question HD Camcorder which one and how much

_Dragon_

Active Member
My brother has had his first child and he will be getting her christened soon So he wants a decent HD camera to film it and then for any future outdoor events or just at home recordings.

He hasnt giving me a price range yet.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Just look at the upper end of the consumer camcorder range from the big three Canon, Panasonic and Sony. I use Panasonic and the top HD camcorder there is the HC-V770. It has the advantage of being able to be controlled via Wi-Fi and an App. One of the advertised benefits is remote baby sitting so baby can be watched from another part of the house.
There are two 4K cameras above this but I have found that the HD cameras produce excellent images.
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Question: Dont any of the HD cameras have built in flashes? I was looking through jessops and on the features they all say no to built in flash.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Yes they do. But do check with the actual camera before buying.
Most cameras have two modes: video and stills. My experience is with Canon and Panasonic. The Canon being the older camera (2005) has a small flash tube and a LED video light. The Panasonic HC-V700 has a similar set up with the flash inside the lens casing and the video light just outside. The HC-V750 combines the video and the flash into one LED inside the lens casing. By this I mean that the light is behind the filter ring mount so if I screw in a filter, the light reflects from the back of the filter glass and ruins the shot - a real nuisance. I have to remove any filter before using the camera inside or at night.
With the Panasonics the video and the stills are recorded on the SD card but in different folders. So both video and stills can be downloaded directly from the card.

In practice you cannot trigger an independent flash from a camcorder but you can fit all the cameras with LED based video lights which give excellent lighting at close quarters.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Question: Dont any of the HD cameras have built in flashes? I was looking through jessops and on the features they all say no to built in flash.
A flash would be useless for video, it would have to flash for each frame (either 25 or 50 times every second) and be accurately synchronised with the camera shutter. A few camcorders do have a built in flash, but they can only be used for still photographs.
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Thanks Terfyn. Nice little info you put there.

grahamlthompso you just made me realize that i had asked something that doesn't go with camcorders,The word i should of used is light instead of flash,So when its used indoors it gives some light in a darken room.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Thanks Terfyn. Nice little info you put there.

grahamlthompso you just made me realize that i had asked something that doesn't go with camcorders,The word i should of used is light instead of flash,So when its used indoors it gives some light in a darken room.
Some camcorders do have built in lighting. it's really only suitable for close up work as they are of limited power. You can easily add one to your camcorder if it has an accessory shoe, or use a bracket with one on it connected to the tripod socket.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Without a price, it's really difficult - but then so is trying to keep baby in the frame with aunts and others creating mayhem when all you want is a steady shot. Oh and babies sleep a lot and only play on the floor, so a good set of knees will be needed - and/or a low-level holding device, so you can film at baby's level.

Lighting indoors can be tricky - in the past it was all but impossible without plenty of extra lighting, but modern camcorders are surprisingly good - and you can increase the lighting in the room quite easily by changing bulbs to the next higher rating. I would suggest separate lights are likely to be brighter, although the convenience of something built-in may appeal it will severely restrict yr choice. Also, you may discover it's not strong enough and it will load the battery for sure. There are many multi-LED panels available from about £30 and these should outshine anything "Built-in" Also note that I read here that at least one camcorder shines the light very close to the lens - so it is inside the filter ring....with the prospect that will induce flare. While close to the lens is otherwise "good" - Ideally a ring-light ( surrounding the lens), these are almost absent from Mfrs accessories - and those that are available are fiendishly expensive. In short, you probably don't need a built-in light which is why few come with them.

+++ We really need to have that Budget . . . .
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Cheers yea budget will be good, ill be seeing them tonight so i can ask what he wants to spend,probably no more than £400,even that might be a bit to much.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
I made the point about flash clearly. Camcorders take stills, they have a flash facility for the illumination of still photos. Obviously the flash does not work with the video but nowadays some cameras use one LED for both functions. Obviously a compromise.
Because, as Harry said, modern cameras are more sensitive to poor light conditions, the in-built light is effective at short range. In fact I would recommend it for use with a baby as the (excellent) LED array lights would tend to upset a baby with their glare.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
I don't think using the same LED is the compromise - I've seen LED that can be seen in flash-mode huge distances ( but of v.short duration ). In video-mode it would need to be steady at a lower level. If the Mfr was very clever the brightness could vary against some predetermined focus-point so it removed the "inverse sq law" that make on-camera lights difficult to control although digital exposure is able to compensate to an extent.
My concern was that these built-in LEDs are shining though the attached filter, with the likelihood of a reflection spoiling the image.
One-up from Budget LED panels, they have a "Dimmer" so there is no need to be concerned about dazzling the baby - and daylight is 1million times brighter anyway . . . Also the LED arrays "should" offer a softer light being physically a much larger source. I guess it's all down to the filming Conditions and Budget.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
That's a decent Budget for a "reasonable camcorder"

1) buy the same as friends have ( so they can help with the Settings Menu ), within the Budget constraints
2) Sony and Panasonic are popular, possibly with Pana being marginally more expensive because they use 3-CMOS sensors whereas Budget camcorders don't - and neither does Blackmagic, or DSLRs - IMHO the need for 3-CMOS is almost impossible to justify for amateur users and I suspect it's a hangover from days when the vacuum tube sensors were terrible.
Buying New is a good idea unless you have a good knowledge of Video and the offered model in particular.
Read reviews and/or visit a local Movie-making Club and get advice from camcorder users.

Something yr Bros probably not thought about: "the Audio" - this is a minefield in itself but will be helped if the camcorder will allow a 3.5mm jack input for an external mic and headphone socket to monitor the recording. These tend to be on the more expensive versions as it will be obvious those Buyer is interested in Audio quality - whereas in Budget camcorders audio is sometimes somewhat lacking/noisy/etc. Several DSLRs fall into this trap also, FWIW.
If I could grumble; then £400 is on the borderline - it's £200 too much for a cheap-and-cheerful and £150 too little to be serious. However, an extra Battery and some 32G Memory cards plus £50 tripod should be allowed for too.
Let us know what he chooses - and how it measures up, etc.
Try to avoid being blamed for any shortcomings - it just could be the Operator....!
Good Luck.
 
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Terfyn

Well-known Member
with Pana being marginally more expensive because they use 3-CMOS sensors whereas Budget camcorders don't -
There is only one camera in the Panasonic range that uses 3 sensors and that is the 920.(DYOR) The rest use one sensor. I would suggest the HC-V770 EB which is going on Amazon for £399, I have the older 750 and it is an excellent camera.
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Im going to say about the HC-V770,Im sure he will use it alot and make good use out of it,I did say he could of had my mini DV camcorder as that did me well for my kids partys etc,But he said he wants to have something more up to date.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Well the options available with the 770 are many. He may be able to do a Picture in Picture using an App on a Smartphone. The camera has slow motion, time lapse, ability to take stills, a good zoom range, external mic socket and lots more going for it. I don't think he will be disappointed.
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
A big thank You both for helping out,My brother likes the look of the 770,One of the things that caught his attention was the info on slow motion,He said he had to have that as it would be good for the church and good old fun. He has a good pc for messing around with the videos he just uses windows movie maker but wants to pay for a good editing software,He was thinking of something like Sony Vegas.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
I use Corel VideoStudio Pro X8. I suggest it because it is intuitive, easy to learn and is supported with many on line tutorials. I would suggest the free download but it is incomplete. Now £47.99 from Corel.
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Cheers, ill pass that on im sure he will be fine with that,I know im going to get asked so ill ask now, what size sd card would be best to get and which one? it would be handy to get some spare battery's is it alright to get non genuine ones.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Cards:- It will depend on how much filming he will want to do in one session. I use 32Gb Class 10 cards, I have two ready formatted. I use the 7DayShop as supplier and have bought their cards which seem to work well. I have only ever had to replace one. I always download the video files from the SD card into a Named Folder in my PC "My Video" folder after each shoot and then clean the card by re-formatting.
Really 16Gb to 64Gb are OK. The Class 10 is an essential requirement for the Slow Motion option but I have filmed in normal mode with a Class 4. In practice the Class 10 cards are more readily available these days. He MUST format and re-format the cards in the camera as the formatting process sets up certain folders on the card which store the video and stills.

Batteries:- To date it has been difficult to get the VW-VBT190 and 380 batteries from a third party supplier, Panasonic have tied up the supply. But I believe that there are some now coming on the market. I bought a second genuine 190 and a mains/12V battery charger (readily available around £8-£12)
Now Panasonic have made this range of camcorders rechargeable at 5V input from a USB type charger. In practice this means that you can charge the cam battery from any respectable USB charger including car chargers PLUS you can run the camcorder from the same USB source. Some users have now bought these battery charger packs used to recharge phones etc. They give good reports.
You can also get the DC lead which connects the camera to the USB charger from Panasonic Accessories (£3-£4)
 
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_Dragon_

Active Member
Cheers,So on the sd card side its class 10 but what read/write speed? If possible could you post a link to one on the 7dayshop site? cheers
 

_Dragon_

Active Member
Thanks,allways wondered what class was didn't know it was the speed. He will be getting it next week,im sure he will have lots of fun with it before the big day.

Out of interest can you put the files straight onto a usb stick and play it through a HD tv Or bluray player without any converting.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Simpler to connect the camera to the TV with an HDMI lead and use the camera playback mode.

I have always edited the video files into a continuous video and rendered it to AVCHD before downloading to a SD card for my Blu-Ray player.
Only one way to find out - try it. I would guess that you would have no control over the playback with raw video files but technology changes.
 

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