Lots of questions!


topher bear

First of let me apologize for the length of post, but I do have lots to ask, and any advice is greatfully recieved!


I am looking to buy a new digital camcorder. I am new to the game so I would like to ask for some advice. I am knowledgeable about computers (being a software engineer and home PC building enthusiast) and have a Physics Degree so you can get quite technical (probably preferred, in fact! :)

What do I want of my Camcorder? Well, on the whole I only really want it for family moments and holidays etc at the moment, and I want to be able to display them on a TV (as well as computer) and, eventually, be able to project them onto a small home projection system (whatever might be around in, say 10 years time! – Memories of my dads old slide shows, and I’d like to be able to do the same for my children too!). I also like the idea doubling up as a Camera, as I won’t be able to persuade the wife in order to buy two new gadgets!

I’m not really bothered about getting perfect pictures at the largest size, although I would like reasonably good quality on my 24” Widescreen TV. This brings me to the other thing, the true widescreen capture. How does having a widescreen CCD effect the overall comparative performance (they only ever seem to quote total pixels and photo pixels in a 4:3 format) and how would a 16:9 recording be displayed on a 4:3 TV (I am not talking about the pseudo widescreen here, that to me seems worse than useless since my TV has zoom mode anyway, which will cut off the top and bottom itself!)?

What level of pixels should I really be looking at? And what about the cameras that do 640x480 photos, are their movies any good on TV? Especially considering they seem to use less pixels for the movie frame than for the still frame. How would they compare to an Analogue Camcorder?

I have been looking around at availability and seen the Panasonic 3CCD models. I am a little uncertain as to exactly how these work. I understand that the light is split in a prism to 3 separate CCD’s which pick up each primary colour, thus producing vibrant coloured pictures…great, but with the 1.77MP versions (e.g. NVGS120) that is 1.77 divided by 3, to give about just under 0.6Mp per CCD, so how is it possible to get a (claimed) 1532*1149 (or something like that) photo picture, if it just captures the same image in three places?

My current favourites are the Cannon MVX series, in particular MVX200 and MVX250i. Does anyone know anything about these models? They claim to have 16:9 widescreen, is this a true widescreen or pseudo?

What models might people recommend as good for my purpose?

Many Thanks

Topher Bear


Novice Member
Hi Topher,
Not the technical reply you were hoping for but,
If you only want to capture family moments and the likes, a 3CCD camera maybe over specified.
I'm not going to bore you:boring: with all the teccy jargon (because I can't;) ) but, My sony PC 330E has true wide screen that looks fab on a WS tele. When played back through a 4:3 it produces tall, thin people. There are 16:9/4:3 aspects are available. As the unit is a 3 meg pixel job, the stills are pretty bloody good. I compare them to my Olympus C-350 stills camera favourably. You also get a decent sized memory card with it, 64meg I believe. The whole package is nicely put together, with an excellent learning curve towards the functionality. Point and shoot with the one red button on the back, then lots of menus and functions to mess with as you progress.
You can pick one of these up for around £900 (RGB direct)
Hope this helps...:smashin:


Hi to everyone,

This is also not a technical reply, sorry, but just in case it might interest you ….

I also have a Sony DCR-PC330 and I'm very happy with it.
I agree completely with "thebrummy_one" post. Very good video quality and the stills are "pretty bloody good" (2016 x 1512 max resolution). It has lots of functionalities as well.

I can not compare this machine against other brands / models. Sorry for that. I'm only sharing my own experience.

Just a couple of remarks:

- I pass (via firewire) all my footage to my DVD Recorder (Pioneer 5100H-S). I then burn to DVD-R. All works very well and the PQ is excellent

- I use also my Sony PC330 to create a "kind of" a "Slide Show" of photos I take. I record the stills I want to miniDV tape (~5 seconds / photo), after that I copy external audio to the miniDV tape, then I copy all of it to my DVD recorder and then burn to DVD-R. I personally like to view my photos in this way (in the TV along with some background music). By the way, we get automatically a Chapter mark for each photo, witch is also very nice.

- I use a Sony DPP-EX50 photo printer to print my photos (made with PC330) at home. I must say that I prefer the quality of my own printings against the ones made in a local store by Kodak, although with a higher cost.

- I intend to make some comparison tests somewhere in the next 2 weeks, in order to compare the stills of my camcorder against the stills of a 4 MP digital camera (Nikon). I can post something after, if you want.

Hope it helps in any way.

Best regards.


Hi there topher,

I had different requirements to you but I just bought a Sony HC18E and am dead chuffed with it. It cost £328 from a local store but you can find it on Kelkoo for £320.

A similar camera, the HC30E, allows you to take pictures on Memory Sticks, and also allows you to do more video editting.

The camera is tiny, indoor footage seems perfect for my purposes (filming my baby daughter, family holidays, etc).

Probably not exactly what you're looking for. But I already have a digital still camera so I didn't need a good digital camera built in...

Anyway see you back on the house price forum...

All the best

Adam (Bear)

topher bear

Hi there Adam Bear!

Thanks to everyones responses. After trying a few out for feel and size, and reading a couple of reviews on the net and giving up on getting any real answers to my teccy questions, I opted for the Canon MVX250i. I got it on Saturday (about £600), and so far I am very pleased, colours are great on the TV, and great resolution quality, sound is also good (with almost no background camera noise, I really have to listen out for it in the quiet bits!) and some fandouby features I am still yet to try out. I haven't been able to work out how to take a picture while recording yet, which it claims in to be able to do in the advertising blurb.

It was a choice between the Canon and the Panasonic GS120, but since I wasn't 100% sure about the 3 (individually inferior) CCD's, I went Canon. just read today that someones experience with the Gs120, is that during motion, the video takes a slight lag time to catch up with the sharpness of image...all due to the computing wizardry done to make a 340K pxel CCD into an equivalent 1Mega Pixel one, so I am pleased that I made the right choice.

Topher Bear
(House Price Crash - Here I come!) :)
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