Looking for a compact digital video camera for around £500

King Mustard

Active Member
In June 2007, I bought a Canon MD101 as recommended by various video editing forums. It was fine, but I want something that produces much higher quality footage, so I am now in the market for a new compact (so I can take it on holiday etc.) digital video camera for around £500.

I've been happy with MiniDV, but the quality has been poor due to the camera itself. Am I best off sticking with a MiniDV camera (a higher quality one of course), going for a HDV camera, or changing format completely (DVD, HDD etc.)?

Any actual camera recommendations?

Cheers lads and lasses!
 

senu

Distinguished Member
You are looking at Hi definition here
If you like tape, HDV is fine despite protests to the contrary
However AVCHD models recording to SD card or HDD are quite capable of very pleasing footage
Compact and £500.. Sony TG3 or Panasonic Sd 9 come to mind
There are long threads here discussing the Pros and cons
Do be ready for the ! joys of easy download ( via USB) and the pain of needing a powerful PC and new softwae to do anything with your footage though
Nonetheless, it is by now a reasonably familiar path as these kit hae become common
There are infact a lt of ne camcorders ( from Canon Sony and Panasonic as to make those sugestions a bit OOD if the newr ones are within your budget, and also compact
DVD camcorder.. :nono: No
Also I would avoid names outside the 3 above
 

King Mustard

Active Member
You are looking at Hi definition here
If you like tape, HDV is fine despite protests to the contrary
However AVCHD models recording to SD card or HDD are quite capable of very pleasing footage
Compact and £500.. Sony TG3 or Panasonic Sd 9 come to mind
There are long threads here discussing the Pros and cons
Do be ready for the ! joys of easy download ( via USB) and the pain of needing a powerful PC and new softwae to do anything with your footage though
Nonetheless, it is by now a reasonably familiar path as these kit hae become common
There are infact a lt of ne camcorders ( from Canon Sony and Panasonic as to make those sugestions a bit OOD if the newr ones are within your budget, and also compact
DVD camcorder.. :nono: No
Also I would avoid names outside the 3 above
From what I can gather, AVCHD record to memory card/HDD and HDV record to miniDV/HDV tapes?

I would love a memory card/HDD-based camera as capturing footage in real time (as is with tapes) onto a PC is serious effort, but if the quality isn't there, or the footage can't be edited in the same way (I edit frame-by-frame in Premiere CS4 at times), then I'm happy to stick with tape.

I am prepared to wait for longer rendering times etc. as I have a fairly competent system (Core 2 Duo E6750 processor, 4 GB PC2-6400 memory and a GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 (896 MB) graphics card).

EDIT: The HD footage from the Sony HDR-TG3 surprised me for such a small camera (good price too - £425), but surely the 30 minutes worth of high-resolution footage fitting on such a small (4 GB) memory card must be quite highly compressed? I mean, 30 minutes of captured standard definition miniDV footage is around 6.7 GB. I will only get a non-DV-based camera if editing is as capable as DV-based footage in Premiere CS4. The Panasonic SD9 has two prices Amazon UK, £397 for the 'Panasonic HDC-SD9EB-S' and £509 for the 'Panasonic HDC-SD9'. What is the difference?
 
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RenaultSport

Well-known Member
If your looking at AVCHD cams also look at the Canon HF100/HF10 range. Also, in terms of compression its not too bad. The HF100's for example to out at 17Mbps - this is fairly good for x264 (as its also 30mins for 4gb I assume the sony is running at the same rate)
 

King Mustard

Active Member
If your looking at AVCHD cams also look at the Canon HF100/HF10 range. Also, in terms of compression its not too bad. The HF100's for example to out at 17Mbps - this is fairly good for x264 (as its also 30mins for 4gb I assume the sony is running at the same rate)
I'm still confused at how 30 minutes of HD footage from these cameras take up a 4 GB, whereas 30 minutes of SD footage from my miniDV Canon MD101 totals 6.7 GB :S
 

pd33

Active Member
The Panasonic SD9 has two prices Amazon UK, £397 for the 'Panasonic HDC-SD9EB-S' and £509 for the 'Panasonic HDC-SD9'. What is the difference?

Have to watch out on Amazon (just my view) for market place sellers. The £509 one is not actually being sold by amazon themselves but by a trader who with "AG" at the end of their name makes me think they might be a german outfit. So possibly the same camera but amazon give it a fuller code? (although I thought I read somewhere there are black and silver versions of this camera and also an offer at Costco on them?).
 

RenaultSport

Well-known Member
I'm still confused at how 30 minutes of HD footage from these cameras take up a 4 GB, whereas 30 minutes of SD footage from my miniDV Canon MD101 totals 6.7 GB :S

Different forms of compression. Your SD cam most likely uses MPEG2 compression which is older and much less efficient than the newer MPEG4 compression that AVCHD cams use.

A quick quote i've found from NationMaster - Encyclopedia: H.264

H.264 delivers the same quality as MPEG-2 at a third to half the data rate and up to four times the frame size of MPEG-4 Part 2 at the same data rate.
 

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