Help Needed Choosing Between a MVX460 or DCR-HC96E

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by stgromit, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. stgromit

    stgromit
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    My Dad is looking to get a new MiniDV Camcorder. He wants it for everyday general usage, so as well as outside shots, there will be plenty of shots inside the house of family events, etc.

    He has a hard time learning new technology, so needs a camera that is easy to use. Whilst manual controls will be a plus, the truth is the camera will probably be used 95% of the time as a simple point and shoot camera.

    I've narrowed the choice down to the MVX460 and the DCR-HC96E. I also looked at the Panasonic NV-GS range but ruled them out as the ones in my price range don't have AV-input and also seem more inclined to people who want to have more manual control over their camera.

    From the reviews it seems like the Sony will have a better image and will cope better in low light situations, but the Canon has better focusing, a much larger optical zoom, a night light and a standard mic socket. The Canon is cheaper but seems to come with a high risk of getting one with the motor noise poblem.

    (As an aside, I'm not exactly sure what is considered 'low light' when judging whether a camera is good or not in those conditions. i.e. Is just shooting indoors in a normal sized living room illuminated by a standard 100W light bulb considered low light?)

    I'm currently leaning towards the Sony, but before deciding I just wondered what people's thoughts were on how these cameras handle (I know it's subjective, but I'm interested in people's opinions). Some reviewers say the Canon is kind of fiddly with all the controls on the back and a not very well implimented joystick. Others say that the menu structure on the Sony isn't intuitive, and I am kind of worried about how easy a touch screen would be for my Dad to use, who has big, clumsy fingers. There again, perhaps he won't have to use these controls much if he is just point and shooting?

    Also, how is using the touchscreens on the Sony in practice, do they get dirty/damaged over time, do I need to get a transparent screen protector for it?

    Another thing that would be useful to know before finally deciding is which of these cameras has better image stabilizing?

    Apologies for the long post, but any input would be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    The first thing to consider is can you find either of these camcorders for sale? Both are excellent, unfortunatly both are discontinued with no replacement. The Sony was discontinued more recently so I think it is easier to find.

    Assuming that both are available and you have a choice… The MVX460 is highly recommended as excellent value for money; the HC96 is generally priced higher (+£100 or so). If you ignore money, I’d take the HC96.

    If your Dad is mainly going to shoot in auto mode, then the touchscreen isn’t an issue. You will get fingerprints on it, but you can clean it off. Once you’ve set any initial settings (e.g. the clock, widescreen or not, etc) he’ll never need to use the menus if shooting in auto mode.

    Image stabilizing between the two is similar. Both use EIS.

    The larger optical zoom on the Canon is available as it has a smaller sensor; the physics of lenses and sensors makes it harder to have a greater zoom with a larger sensor (and the Sony has the larger sensor). Unless you are using a tripod 10x zoom is more than enough – it will be a challenge to hold this steady. The larger sensor on the Sony helps with the low light performance.

    Low light? Well in tests they often test at a few specific light levels, there is no single definition of what is “low light”. But any indoor shooting (unless you have special lighting) will benefit from a camcorder with better low light performance.
     
  3. senu

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    Redsox is our resident guru in these matters
    I dont know these models but Ill try and answer a few questions

    As an aside, I'm not exactly sure what is considered 'low light' when judging whether a camera is good or not in those conditions. i.e. Is just shooting indoors in a normal sized living room illuminated by a standard 100W light bulb considered low light?)
    Probably, camcorders generally do well with better illumination : It is hard to say what a Normal sized living room is suffice to say that in addition to the bulb, the colour of the room , shadows ,ect contribute to how much light is available to the camcorders sensor. The less light there is the more the camcorders electronics up the "gain" by amplifying it . This then leads to the image having "grain" ( digital noise)

    Also, how is using the touchscreens on the Sony in practice, do they get dirty/damaged over time, do I need to get a transparent screen protector for it?
    They are surprisingly very hardwearing . Im not sure a screen protector would not get in the way of responsiveness
    As for "big hands" Many of the controls are changed when the camera is not being used to shoot so it may not matter

    Another thing that would be useful to know before finally deciding is which of these cameras has better image stabilizing
    I would guess that implementation of electronic stabilisation is similar at similar price points
    It is good video shooting practice to use a tripod as often as is practical ( even indoors for casual family events) . This will hopefully mean dependence on IS is less and the videos much more watchable

    I think the reviewers have to justify thier pay:D. Although there may be a brand design philosophy, the reviews are comparative and invariably most people learn to use whatever they have so I would imagine that any brand design differences are " six or a half dozen":)

    PS:I was posting at the same time as Mark so pls feel free to ignore any repetition
     
  4. stgromit

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    Thanks Redsox & Senu, I *really* appreciate you taking the time and trouble to reply - you've been a great help. :)

    As it sounds from what you say that the handling wouldn't be a problem with either of these cameras, we've decided to play safe and spend that bit extra and go for the Sony due to it's better low light capabilities. Hopefully, it should be arriving tomorrow. :thumbsup:
     

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