HELP for novice please.


keith stocker


I'm a novice in the camcorder world and would really like some advice please.

I'm off to the USA soon and I'm keen to pick up a camcorder. I've done some research and have an idea of what I should look at getting, but any suggestions and comments welcome.

I want something small and easy to use, but would like some quality, so considering Mini DV, however I would also like possibly to have 'still' camera facility, so looking at something that has SD storage. I want to do PC editing, so I'll need DV in/out, is that right?
I'm into extreme sports, so would like a camera that I could attach a 'head camera' extension to, so I can film as I jump off cliffs, etc.

What makes and models should I be looking at?
What problems should I expect?
Is there a problem with TV compatability if I buy in the states?

Thanks in anticipation of your help.



Hi Keith and welcome.

Buying from the USA has been asked on several occasions before, so do a search to find many of the pros & cons. Here are a few that I can remember off the top of my head:

When you bring it back to UK you could get charged import duty & VAT. This will wipe out most or all of your savings.
The cam will be NTSC and in UK we use PAL. Mant TV's will be able to play NTSC recordings from the cam, but you will not be able to record to a standard VCR.
Any DVD's etc that you create from edits done on the PC will still be NTSC unless you have expensive conversion software.
If something goes wrong with it you are unlikely to get it repaired in the UK for free.

there are other point s to consider so I still advise searching on here for it.

MiniDV is the standard medium for digital cams and IMO the best. Sony do a small MicroMV, but this is not as readily available and not always compatable with PC editing software.
You will need a cam with both DV in/out and AV in/out if you want to connect an external camera to it for fixing to a helmet etc.
Most cams will have a stills picture facility. The quality is not normally anywhere near as good as a dedicated camera and will put the pics onto some sort of memory card, dependent on make. Sony will use Memory Stick not SD.


keith stocker

Hi MarkE19,

Thanks very much for the info.
I was concerned about the PAL - NTSC thing, and the VAT, Duty, etc.
Do any manufacturers produce Mini DV camcorders that are compatible to both PAL and NTSC? My girlfriend has a SD Camcorder made by MUSTEK, and it allows you to select when you connect to the TV.

With all these cons I'm a little put off buying in the states, where should I look in the UK? Is Ebay the place?
Any guidance would be very much appreciated. :thumbsup:




PAL & NTSC are video colour format and therefore are not affected by photos. You just need the digicam to output the correct format for your TV. With video the format is actually recorded to the tape. For this reason I don't think there are any cams that can record both formats,well not at a reasonable price.

If you know the cam you are after a good place to start looking for good prices is any camcorder mag or look online at http://uk.pricerunner.com/
You can then buy online or get along to a local Jessops and they will pricematch the best UK internet price you find as long as you have all the contact details with you at the time.

Good luck,
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