Urgent: Cheap Camcorder to pair with my DSLR

faisal7

Standard Member
Well I've got a 400D for my still pictures but with the lack of a video option I was thinking of a Camcorder (already have a P&S but it has limited video capablities). I'm not looking to spend too much on it as my DSLR is a priority.

Anyway my Budget is from $200-280....nothing more.

My preference....
  • Screen: 2.5" or more
  • Format: mini DV
  • Optical zoom: Anything over 20x is fine even though I doubt I'll use anything over 10x unless I use a tripod
  • Digital zoom: never going to be used so don't care
  • Light: Built in preferred, but I'm guessing it'll be weak with limited range and won't be much help. Hot shoe for extra Light, don't really care as I might just use a torch with some wire tape...(but if its there then not an issue, just in case)
  • Image stabilization: I'm guessing I'll get the digital version of it at the budgetted price but if there's one with the optical version then I'm all ears for it....
  • Viewfinder, I don't know the latest trend in viewfinders in Camcorders, all I know they're not optical and used to be black and white. If color version is available then great other wise not really a preference.
  • Night mode: I like the Sony green night shot thing. I remember viewing videos made by a friend that were quiet funky though the quality was not that great. That option would be great (but I think its a sony thing only) but a general night mode will be nice.
  • Scene modes: more the better... :)
  • Size: small, but not compact. Don't want tooo many buttons cluttered on a small camera.
  • Weight: I guess the lighter the camcorder, the more shake (we get that with still cameras) but I don't want to be carrying a heavy one either as my DSLR equipment is heavy enough. So not feather light, but light enough for it to not make my backpack heavy and not make the wrist hurt after an hour of shooting.
  • Battery Life: More then 75minutes is prefered with the screen in use at full brightness with the battery that comes with it.
  • Memory card slot: unless it can help me take videos on it then great, but if its for only still images, don't care.
My questions:

Whats the resolution that I'll get from a Mini DV. I used to get 640*480 from my old JVC or was I doing something wrong.

If for example it says 1/6" 800K (PAL)/680K (NTSC) pixels CCD for a Sony DCR-HC38E...Does 1/6" mean the sensor size?? And what does the other numbers along with PAL and NTSC mean??? and whats dpes a 1.07 Mega pixels CCD on a DCR-HC48E mean??

I have used the DV cable to transfer my videos on to the pc using windows movie maker. I have the Pinnacle software and hardware but on converting, my video seem very pixelated in it, unlike the movie maker where it seemed better.

The models that seem to fit my budget that I've seen on paper:
(*all prices are for here so they might be a little over priced compared to what you will get online)
  • Sony: DCR-HC38E ($290*) and DCR-HC28E ($270*)
  • Canon: MD120 ($256*)
  • Panasonic: NVGS 85 ($270) and NVGS 60 ($243*)
  • JVC: GRD750 ($216*) and GRD770 ($297*)
  • Samsung: VP-DC175Wi ($325*), VP-DC375Wi ($230*) and VP-DC371Wi ($203*)
A little picky I guess but I've been spoiled by my DSLR ;). Sorry for the long post and I guess I'm asking for too much but there's no harm trying to get the best value for money especially when money is limited. Now we're having a shopping festival here and it ends on the 24th, so I'm in a little hurry to buy this.

Big thank you in advance to anyone who can help me out.... :thumbsup:
 

solidamber

Active Member
Hi welcome to the forum, Avforums is UK based so hopefully you can get some help on the technical side, but quite often the model numbers and of course the prices are different here, maybe there is a member on line from the Colonies that can give some advice. or try here as well http://avforum.com/
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
The OP is from the U.A.E, which is a PAL country, and the models listed are the same ones as in Europe.

Some general comments on your criteria:
- All these models are similar size, all fairly small.
- All come with fairly low capacity batteries, but you can buy more powerful ones.
- Memory card slots are for stills only
- Green nite mode is only Sony. The others have a night mode which uses a slow shutter, only useful if little movement.
- Built in lights are weak, you can add an external light.
- Where a viewfinder is provided, they are colour.

Whats the resolution that I'll get from a Mini DV. I used to get 640*480 from my old JVC or was I doing something wrong.

If you buy a PAL model, 720x576. NTSC is 720x480.

Does 1/6" mean the sensor size?? And what does the other numbers along with PAL and NTSC mean??? and whats dpes a 1.07 Mega pixels CCD on a DCR-HC48E mean??

Yes, 1/6" is the sensor size. 720x576 is just over 400K pixels, but you generally need and get 800K, to allow for image stabilisation, wide screen etc. Anything more than 800K (e.g. 1.07 MP) only helps for stills.

I have used the DV cable to transfer my videos on to the pc using windows movie maker. I have the Pinnacle software and hardware but on converting, my video seem very pixelated in it, unlike the movie maker where it seemed better.


Capturing DV using Firewire/DV cable is simply a digital copy, there is no loss. Doesn't matter which software you use for capture. You don't need (or want to use) capture hardware.

Do you care about widescreen? The Sony models listed are not true widescreen. The HC47 is.

I like the Canon MD120 best of that bunch.
The JVC 770 has received great reviews from a forum member here.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Yes, I'd expect it to be similar for quality. The new ones will be smaller, but not neccessarily better.
 

faisal7

Standard Member
hmm... i had a look at the Sony's...they feel tacky.
Canon MD160 or MD140...is it worth the extra over the MD120 not keeping in mind the picture taking memory card ability....
how is panasonic???
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Not much difference in terms of quality between the MD120, 140, 160.
Those Panasonics are OK, not true widescreen though.
 

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