NEWBIE: Which miniDV camera to buy?



Hi all,
Ok I'm fairly new to this computer video stuff so I'm going to throw myself at your mercy - last month I shot some footage with a mates camera (Sony) then used videowave and pinnacle studio to edit it together with soundtrack and titles and all that malarky & well ..... I loved every second of it.
So I want get on the boat as it were.
This means I would love your advice on which dv camera & any other equipment I might need. Now I have a few boundaries:

a. as I'm only just begining this venture into the world of CV I don't want to spend an absolute fortune in case in 3 months I lose interest and end up with a very expensive shoulderbag

B. ... but in the same way I'd rather not buy rubbish which I need to replace within 3-4 months.

I was hoping to spend around £300-500 on the camera - and as i want to edit the video do I need a firewire card (do these come with cameras?) - or can i simply use USB - here I am a little confused..... - Basically I want to be able to get the video in the best quality to my pc so I can edit it.

anyway I've checked quite a few cameras online, read many reviews but i'm still at a real loss as to which would be the best bet for me .....
I've been looking at:

Sony DCR-TRV140 Digital8 Camcorder
Panasonic NV DS29 DV Camcorder
Sony DCR-TRV240 Digital8 Camcorder
Canon MV500 DV Camcorder
Sony DCR-TRV16 Mini DV Camcorder
Panasonic NV DS30 DV Camcorder

anyone know about these cameras or better equivalents

I've been told by several people that sony's Digital8 format is not true miniDV or something and is a poor format to opt for , is this true .... ?

I suppose my three main criteria within my price range are
picture quality
transferability (to pc)

ok I'm starting to rant now - hopefully some wonderful person can point me in the right direction so that I can get my film making career started. If you need any more info, just post

All advice greatly appreciated



I have recently purchased the Panasonic NVDS30 - all I can say is absolutely brilliant. Picture and sound quality are second to none - even in a lot higher price bracket camera. It cost me £399 with free 48 hour delivery. I have captured images, edited them with Adobe Previer V6.02 brought the images back to tape and the quality is astounding.
Some reviews that I have read have been critical of the lack of feature - excellent pictures, excellent sound, zoom microphone, fully automatic or choice of manual shutter speed and aperture, white balance, optical and digital zoom, backlight, video light, zero lux infrared, six effects - what more do people want.
Serious editing is best performed in software anyway - dozens of features that most people never use are just a 'come on' for newbies - its got all that you will need.
All this for £399 - I am one very, very, very happy user and I highly recommend it.
Hope this helps.


Hey thumper

For editing you will need a firewire card and a connecting cable between your camera and PC. You will also need the editing software for your PC. Firewire cards are fairly cheap (NZ$100 approx 20-25 quid). NB: USB is of more use for getting still images off your camera. It is WAY too slow for editing movies.

Definately go for a true DV camera, not digital 8. As rumney said, don't worry too much about all the fluffy extra's that camera's come with. You can (and should) do your editing on PC.

Good luck

Chris 'kiwiranger' Parke


After quite a bit of deliberation I think i have decided on the Panasonic NV DS30B DV Camcorder - which I have found for £389.99 - which is pretty good I think

One other question - a friend of mine is going out to singapore next week and says he might be able to pick the cam i want up cheaper over there - does anyone have any expererience of this - will it be much cheaper?, will it work here?, warranty? - basically - is it a good idea?

cheers for all ur help


OK, two sides to this:

good side: It should be cheaper, model sold in Singapore will be PAL and you won't have any problems with power supply etc (although you will need to buy yourself a UK plugged figure 8 power cable, or an adaptor for the Singapore power plug).Also, model sold in Singapore will have DV in and DV out, whereas some UK models are only DV out.

Bad side: It is highly unlikely that Panasonic UK will honour any warranty you get.

If you can live with that, then go for it.


Standard Member
i did a similar thing when i bought my canon mv 450i cam a year back- i got it in new york about £250 cheeper. i too was a bt worried for compatability probs, but its been fine. i'm assuming your in the uk, if so dixons ect to plug adapters, and as your using your pc for editing, it should be plane sailing!
happy videoing!!


If you've not got yourself a firewire card yet, go to where there is one for £13.50 inc. Delivery.
I got the same thing last month and it works great !!
You also get a cable included which plugs right into the camcorder.

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