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Need a new miniDV camcorder - make model?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by elfranko, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. elfranko


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    Hi there - we've just bought a new pc with a Sony DVD RW +/- drive and a firewire input. It's got huge amounts of HD space (120gb + 80gb), so I will be transfering all of our old VHS cassette homemovies of our children growing up (About 7 or 8 four hr cassettes since 1995) to dvd. From now onwards, it will be a heck of a lot easier to have a new DV camcorder. Okay, now I have seen the rules about asking the same old questions, but these are specific to me and I need to know the answers before I make a near-on £500 decision.

    I have seen countless brands and models, each supposedly better than the other. I've decided on mini-DV and it's firewire support. Here are the specs I am looking for in a camera - I hope someone can help! Firstly my budget is £500 max.

    a) MiniDV - firewire out. Do I really need it back in? I mean I will only be capturing video that I want to transfer to the PC and eventually DVD, so I won't need this option, or is there some other use for it?
    b) USB - do I really need this? This has been been a deciding factor for me, but does it just do the same as firewire?
    c) Has to have a swivling colour LCD - standard now I presume?
    d) Sound has to be reasonable, but I'm not a budding Danny Boyle so I won't be doing a remake of '28 Days Later' with it or anything.
    e) Battery has to be reasonable.
    f) Does it matter where the cassette is loaded ?? Saw that in another thread.
    g) It doesn't need inbuilt digital stills.
    h) Brands - are Sony camcorders that much better than say Sharp or JVC? I've seen in an Argos sale a Sharp VLZ1H which doesn't do firewire in. Anyone rate this at all?

    thanks for any help!!


  2. MarkE19


    Aug 10, 2002
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    Rainham Essex
    a) Firewire in can be good if you are running short of disk space when editing you can copy footage back to DV tape. Not that vital though as you have a DVD writer.
    If the cam also has AV in then you will be able to capture your old VHS movies to the PC. You can not capture analogue footage directly to a PC, you will need a converter and so why not use the camcorder?
    b) USB is for transfering stills from the cams memory cards and often to use the cam as a web cam. Do you need it? You choose.
    c) Most, if not all DV cams will have this.
    d) The smaller the cam, the lower quality of the mic (and other components) on the cam. It's all a compromise between size & quality (IMO). Personally I would never get the small palm cams, but that is just my opinion.
    e) Nearly all camcorders will be supplied with low capacity batteries. But all camcorders can have the battery replaced with a higher capacity/spare battery.
    f) Side loaders are preferable to bottom loaders. When tapes are loaded on the bootom of the cam it tends to be awkward to get to the cassettes and if on a tripod you need to remove the cam to change tape.
    g) You probably wont find a digi camcorder that does not have a stills capture, but if not required just don't use it.
    h) I've had a couple of cams, and they have all been Sony. Just my choice as Sony tend to have the features I require, but they do tend to be more expensive and are not to everybodys taste.

    To be honest your requirements have not narrowed your choice down by much :rolleyes: . The real feature that will is size.
    I would suggest you go to www.pricerunner.co.uk and see what that turns up. Then go down to a local Jessops and see if you like the way the cam feels in your hands. Then they will pricematch the cheapest internet site you found if you have all the contact details on you.


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