Really need help with deciding which camcorder to buy!!

Arsnlrule

Standard Member
Hey everyone! I've decided to ask on here because this forum has helped in the past, and hopefully will with this.

Ok, basically this is what I want;

High Definition,

Good fps, enough to make smooth, really slow motion videos,

Really good quality video, I don't mind paying a bit extra for very good HD,

Some type of a built in Mic,

Price range anywhere from £300-£1200,

Zoom isn't TOTALLY important, but I would like around x8 Optical Zoom,

LCD again, isn't totally important, but I would like a decent size, bright one,

Another thing I'm not too sure about, is whether to get a pure camcorder, hybrid camcorder/camera or hybrid camera/camcorder. I did intend to buy a camcorder, as I'm mainly going to be recording, as opposed to still images. But it would still be nice to be able to take decent photos as well.

So that is it! I'm not an expert in this field, so if there are any specs/aspects of it that I've missed, please, point them out!

Thanks in advance, anyone who helps me out with this!!
 
Go with the Panasonic SD700 - its one of the best HD camcorders out there at the mo.
That'll set you back around £600 (Amazon).
With the rest of the money, you can get yourself a good SDHC card (Class 6 at least), and some other kit, like a good tripod etc.
Also, it leaves you plenty for a dedicated point and shoot camera, like the Panasonic Lumix range. IMO camcorders shouldnt be used for still images. Stick to what they are really made for ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cduVGEh62uc

Also, remember you'll need a decent spec system to edit the HD footage....
 
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G Canavan

Member
This is the thing about HD camcorders great picture quality but to be able to do anything with the recordings you need to spend a couple of grand on a computer and software that's up to the task that's if you can get compatible software as in the Panasonic's case.
 
True, the Panasonic camcorder I mentioned does come with software, but its pretty basic.
It all depends on what you want to do - if you want to simply stitch a few clips together with a few text overlays, you should be fine with a decent spec system. For longer, richer, projects, you'll want something pretty high powered for times when you need to render, like a quad core CPU etc.
 

Arsnlrule

Standard Member
Computer details;
3GB RAM, Pentium dual core processor, it's a Sony Vaio laptop, which runs HD gameplay recordings pretty well. I also have Sony Vegas Pro 9, on which I edit my montages. Would this be adequate?

P.S. I'm kinda new to camcorders, but not to editing. I have edited a few montages before in HD on my laptop. Which basically includes syncing, speed ups/slow downs, sound editing, and multiple effects. Can I ask what format this camcorder records in? And is it directly transferable to a computer?

P.P.S. What would you say as regards this one? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-1...ontrol/dp/B0031RG4EA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

It's an upgrade of the one you mentioned, is it really worth the extra £250 odd? What exactly does it give, as opposed to your one?
 
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Its an AVCHD camcorder. Ive not used Sony Vegas before, but it should be able to import AVCHD fine.....
Also remember you'll need LOTS of space for HD video files, especially when they are uncompressed from their AVCHD format as you import them into your editor!
 

mikethelaserman

Active Member
The dual core laptop should be just about OK for editing, but it won't be fast : expect around 4 hours processing time for an hour's worth of video.
Previewing (in the editor) is likely to be jerky, since laptop graphics cards are often a bit basic.

The editing software supplied with Panasonic cams is clunky and limited, but does the job and most importantly, retains the good picture quality from the camera. Not all editors give good output quality, so make sure you try before you buy - all the mainstream ones give a free trial download.

The 700 comes in three flavours : no memory ("SD"), some memory ("TM")and a big hard drive ("HS"). The actual camera bit is exactly the same.
Some don't like the hard disc models (becuase the mechanical disc can fail), but there is an SD card slot available, even on the HS model.
You have to count the cost of SD cards and make your own mind up on this choice.
 
Computer details;
3GB RAM, Pentium dual core processor, it's a Sony Vaio laptop, which runs HD gameplay recordings pretty well. I also have Sony Vegas Pro 9, on which I edit my montages. Would this be adequate?

P.S. I'm kinda new to camcorders, but not to editing. I have edited a few montages before in HD on my laptop. Which basically includes syncing, speed ups/slow downs, sound editing, and multiple effects. Can I ask what format this camcorder records in? And is it directly transferable to a computer?

P.P.S. What would you say as regards this one? Panasonic HS700 Full HD 1920x1080p Camcorder With 3MOS: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

It's an upgrade of the one you mentioned, is it really worth the extra £250 odd? What exactly does it give, as opposed to your one?
It's exactly the same camcorder but has a built in hard drive. Remember a mechanical HDD is more prone to failure, increases the weight of the camera, while also uses more battery power. The amount of recording you get through these HD camcorders is limited at the best of times, I wouldn't reduce it any further with a built in HDD. A good sized memory card will be much better.
 

Arsnlrule

Standard Member
Well firstly, I was thinking of getting a 2500 battery also, to extend the battery life, also, how much battery life does the hard-drive use up?

Secondly, a 16gb SDHC card is around £16, and since the highest quality recording takes up a lot of space, so I'd have to keep changing the cards around and I think it will take away a lot of hassle just to buy the HS700 one.

Your thoughts?
 
Battery life with a camcorder taking only SD cards is probably around 1-1.5 hour mark. Im not sure what it would be with a HDD though, since you have an extra spinning disc and moving head etc to power up, hence it will probably be quite a bit less.
Another drawback with HDD based camcorders is that they are more sensitive to sudden movement (if its dropped for example) or to scanners in airports etc. Also if the HDD goes bad its a major part of the camcorder gone!

Remember AVCHD is a compressed HD format. It will fully uncompress when you import it into your editing package. You can fit several hours video onto a 16GB card in its naturally compressed state.
Also bear in mind that you can use SDXC cards as well, which go to 64GB if needed!
Personally, I would buy several 16GB cards, or 2 32GB cards, since if you lost a 64GB card with all your video on it, you'd be devastated!
 

mikethelaserman

Active Member
If my HS20 is anything to go by, the battery life of the hard disc models is only very slightly shorter than for those recording on SD cards.
You can download the user manual for the 700 series from the Panasonic website : the battery life that they quote seems pretty accurate.

Personally, I got the hard disc model because that was the one I could get very cheaply (already deeply discounted and mine was ex-display so even cheaper). No way would I have paid so much extra for the HDD - £75 maybe but £250 NO!

The hard disc model does have a slight benefit in use - the extra mass makes it it bit easier to hold the cam steady. Again, not worth paying a lot extra for!
 
Battery life that manufacturers quote are almost always unachievable. They measure the battery life under controlled conditions. Will you be recording the footage, then playing back to see what you caught etc? Playback also obviously uses battery life - do manufacturers allow for this in their battery life measurements? They probably measure it by setting the camcorder to record until the battery dies - no stopping/starting or zooming etc in between.

Its like a manufacturer measuring the mpg from a car. Very rarely accurate or achievable in real life situations. It should only be used as a rough guide, not an accurate measurement.

Back to HDD vs SD - I guess its down to whichever is most suitable for you. Personally, I rarely connect a camcorder to my system. I find it much easier to simply remove the memory card and insert it into my system, rather then take out the USB and power cables, connect it all up, and so on. Also, if the camcorder dies for any reason, thats possibly all your video on the HDD gone as well (if not gone, then certainly time consuming and a pain to get back) - not so with SD.
Ive had a HDD camcorder die on me in the past. I have to open the camcorder up, remove the HDD, find and purchase an adaptor that would fit the HDD, then connect it to my system to get the video. I wont be going down that route again.
 
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Arsnlrule

Standard Member
Hey guys I urgently need your help ASAP. I had recently decided on getting the Panasonic SD700, but someone said the Canon EOS Rebel T2i was better and cheaper.

Can someone PLEASE reply back with the differences between the two ASAP, as I am buying it tomorrow, and need to know which one to get. Thanks guys!!
 

Joefromwhathead

Standard Member
Hey guys I urgently need your help ASAP. I had recently decided on getting the Panasonic SD700, but someone said the Canon EOS Rebel T2i was better and cheaper.

Can someone PLEASE reply back with the differences between the two ASAP, as I am buying it tomorrow, and need to know which one to get. Thanks guys!!
Personally I would get the Panasonic. Far less complicated to edit, better sound, and still does 14.2mp shots if you want. You can always save the pennies to get a DSLR and lenses later. Auto focus will work correctly on the Panasonic too
 

Arsnlrule

Standard Member
Sorry for being so full of questions, but it's kinda a lot of money, and I wanna be certain it's what I want.

How is it less complicated to edit? I'm gonna be transferring the video from a card onto the computer, and editing it via Sony Vegas Pro 9.

Where did you get the info that it takes 14.2mp images? On all the sites I looked at, it says it takes 8mp. Do you know of anywhere I can view image stills taken from the camcorder? I've looked everywhere.

I'll take it that the panasonic DOES have a better mic, as a camcorder would do.

Again, sorry for asking all these things so suddenly, and I know I might come off as a impatient douche, but I just really want to know a lot of details on this.

You're a saint if you reply before 01:00am GMT!!
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Did you read my post on your other thread?:rolleyes:
 

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