HDD camcorders are without viewfinder, so MiniDV...?

CineManno

Standard Member
Hi everybody,

I'm kinda lost in choosing a camera. Can't even decide on the type: HDD or MiniDV.

I actually preferred the HDD types, but they are all without a viewfinder. Isn't this troublesome in the summer, when the sun is shining into the LCD display?

(the exception is the new Sony SR1, but this is immediately the most expensive around)

So this lead me back to MiniDV camera's. But even here there's a large amount to choose from. How am I ever gonna make a choice. The whole idea of buying and rewinding tapes looks so old fashioned. And in this case shooting video starts to cost money, like photo camera's did in the time we used film. This slows down the learning curve as you don't try out as much as you would like to.

Basically I think I will be point and shooting, but I'm quality consious. So which one?
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
The whole idea of buying and rewinding tapes looks so old fashioned. And in this case shooting video starts to cost money, like photo camera's did in the time we used film.
After getting rid of VHS and camera film, it does seem like I've gone back it time with the HC3, but it's not that simple a comparison. I can store every photo I ever take on one Hard Drive (so taking photos is now free) but the same isn't close to true with filming HD, and storing 1 hour of HD on a tape that costs £1.30 (10 tapes for £12.99 amazon, 20 for £25.98, free post) is a lot cheaper than buying Hard Drives to store it all (and you'd want 2, to back them up.

Also, the built in hard drives aren't big enough to store more than a few hours, so you could be out of space a little earlier than you'd like on holiday, where you'd easily pick up some miniDV tapes.

But if you won't need more than the hard drive space when on holiday, and you can store all your footage in the short term without breaking the bank, it does seem nicer, PC HDDs will come down in price, and it is the way forward.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Hi everybody,

I'm kinda lost in choosing a camera. Can't even decide on the type: HDD or MiniDV.
.................

Basically I think I will be point and shooting, but I'm quality consious. So which one?
In terms of quality I think they are now very similar

Tape still wins in the archiving stakes as the recorded tape itself is a backup of the original, and can just as easily be used to back up an edit, is relatively cheap , easy to find ( on holiday :rolleyes: ) and robust ( within limits)

Mini DV tape with starting material as DV AVI is also arguably of "better " starting material for editing on a PC if desired as it suffers less "generational loss" during multiple renders during editing

While Im quite sold on the concept of a HDD for shooting ( and I think it is the way of the future) , Im also aware of the above considerations including the need to empty out the HDD from time to time: Even ending up on recordable DVDs is questionable as long term storage so keeping them on HDDs ( external) seems to be the only other realistic archiving option, even if editing is not desired

You can certainly take a laptop or other device to put your footage on from HDD while on Holiday ( same applies for Digital images from stills as you rapidly fill up the memory cards::rolleyes: )

Both for SD and Hi Def recorded on HDD the amount of compression required means editing the footage is a bit of a technological challenge, for now. Mpeg2 editing ( for SD) has only become mature lately and there is currently no editing software available for AVCHD .

Im no Pro, but while I do think HDD recording is an attractive technological advance, It is also the case that there are currently no Pro or even "Prosumer" SD or HD HDD camcorders even though some of them seem to be at the High end Prosumer , Semi pro price range .
For SD, no HDD camcorder has any of the features a Semi Pro would warm to and the same seems to be the case for AVCHD.
While HDV ( Mini DV tape based) is not a "Pro" format , given the specs of some of the camcorders designed to use it you would be forgiven for thinking it is

Suggests to me tape is going to be around for a while
 

CineManno

Standard Member
Thanks guys. I missed the SR90, so at least that's an alternative.

I am aware that MiniDV is better quality. If that wasn't the case, the choice wouldn't be so hard. But when you edit it to DVD quality of ~8Mbps, would you still see the difference?

And about the tapes, a collegue of mine just bought the HDV-HC3, but the 'official' recommended HDV tapes are over 10 euro each, ouch! Will normal MiniDv do just as good for HD camera's?

But it is just the idea of having all the material sequential. Now with my digital SLR, I shoot a lot and throw a lot away. I can foll around more with the camera. With tapes it seems you can't. I store all photo's on two different Cd-R and hope one of them lasts. I probably need to reburn it in a few (5) years to be sure. Tape will probably last longer. And you're right about the option to take more tapes with you. I have a portable CD-R burner that doesn't need a PC to burn my photo's during holiday to free my Flash card. But I don't know how to back-up the HDD of the camcorder without a laptop. How long would 30GB last?

Choices choices....
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Thanks guys. I missed the SR90, so at least that's an alternative.

I am aware that MiniDV is better quality. If that wasn't the case, the choice wouldn't be so hard. But when you edit it to DVD quality of ~8Mbps, would you still see the difference?
MiniDV is better " starting" quality for editing :
If you run raw footage from each type of camcorder direct to a TV/ Display you'll might be hard pressed to tell any difference

However the end quality ( eg DVD at 8Mps) is not dependent only on whether source is DV AVI or mpeg. Unless there is no editing, or mpeg is "smart rendered", it (as a format) stands a greater chance of looking worse due to generational loss of PQ from rerenders. However there are rubbish MiniDV camcorders and excellent HDD mpeg camcorders: You often get what you pay for..:)

And about the tapes, a collegue of mine just bought the HDV-HC3, but the 'official' recommended HDV tapes are over 10 euro each, ouch! Will normal MiniDv do just as good for HD camera's?
Yes ,this has been covered in previous threads

But it is just the idea of having all the material sequential. Now with my digital SLR, I shoot a lot and throw a lot away. I can foll around more with the camera. With tapes it seems you can't. I store all photo's on two different Cd-R and hope one of them lasts. I probably need to reburn it in a few (5) years to be sure. Tape will probably last longer. And you're right about the option to take more tapes with you. I have a portable CD-R burner that doesn't need a PC to burn my photo's during holiday to free my Flash card. But I don't know how to back-up the HDD of the camcorder without a laptop. How long would 30GB last?

Choices choices....
Indeed :D

30Gb does seem a lot for a holiday but on my last holiday we went to Disneyland with the Kids and taped "Lion King" and "Tarzan" performances fully (1 hr each but hoping to edit down to highlights of 10 min each) .

With a bit of discipline you can shoot very frugally but as with the example of your DSLR, remembering limited space on the HDD can stifle spontaneity. The actual amount of time you can get varies from camcorder to camcorder and at which quality ( High quality , Standard quality , Extended Quality) you record at. The manufacturers will usually quote the longest ( and poorest quality ) time you can fit onto the HDD

With video, you increase your chances of getting half decent footage , the more you shoot even as a Pro ect.


Good Luck:thumbsup:
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Hi-Fi products of 2020, Plus Best of the Month for TV Shows & Movies
Top Bottom