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Which Camcorder for me? HELP PLEASE

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by the_gaffer, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. the_gaffer

    the_gaffer
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    Hi all, :hiya:

    I'm looking into buying my first digital camcorder for the holidays...

    I used to have an analog Panasonic one that recorded onto little tapes that I could then put into a bigger adaptor and play in my VCR.

    I need a camera that:

    • That I can transfer via firewire to my laptop
    • That has DV In & Out
    • That I can use to convert my old tapes to digital and edit on laptop
    • that has a good picture
    • that has good sound

    I was looking at the Canon MV750i which does basically all that I want...but I heard that if I'm recording in silence (I.E. Scenary, interview...), I can hear the motor of the camera on the tape.... and that it can't be fixed. It is also "only" 800000 megapixels, and I know I can 1.3 for the same price on other models.

    I then was looking at the JVC GR-D93 E which has 1.33 megapixels but the zoom is only 10x compared to the Canon. It also doesn't have direct passthrough for old tapes.

    Otherwise, there's the JVC DR-DV500, that seems very big, and not ideal to carry around, it's zoom is also below the Canon's but has 1.33 megapixels.


    Basically, I need help choosing a model, I want to stay with the big brands, Canon, Sony, Panasonic. Can JVC be mentioned in the same breath as those 3?

    I've never actually seen any of these models, only seen pics and reviews on the internet.

    basically, I'd be happy to go with the Canon but the noise/800000 puts me off..
    I don't know how reliable JVC are and the zooms are small....

    If someone could advise me one of these or another model, I'd appreciate it. :confused:

    thanks

    gaffer
     
  2. BadAss

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    Whats your price limit?
     
  3. MarkE19

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    A few things to note about the features you list:

    the number of pixels on the CCD has got less to do with video, it is more for taking stills. DV video is at a fixed resolution and upping the pixels can only improve the video to a certain level.
    Anything above 10x zoom is going to be unuseable without a good quality tripod.

    The Canon cams are well known for picking up their own noise with the built in mic and as you say there is very little that can be done about this unless you can attach a good quality external mic (does this cam have a mic input jack plug?).
    Personally I always try to persuade people to get a Sony cam because quite simply they are the best. I know they are slightly more expensive, but IMHO it is well worth spending a bit more to get a great cam. There are a load of new Sony models, so you should be able to get a good deal on an old model if you can find one. Many users on here have found the old TRV-33 to be an excellent cam and I think that has all the features you require. Might be worth a look if you can find one.
    Otherwise if your old tapes are 8mm or Hi8 you could get a Sony Digital8 cam that can play the analogue tapes (some, but not all models can do this) out via the firewire connection to your PC. But these tend to be bigger than DV as DV is 4mm and the D8 is an 8mm tape.
    Possibly, if size is everything, you could get a Sony MicroMV cam. These are the smallest tape based cams around but I know just about nothing about them. I do know that a lot of the old editing software versions would not work with MV, but AFAIK all the latest version of the most popular progs works fine.

    Ho Hum, has any of that been any help or has it just added to the confusion?

    Mark.
     
  4. the_gaffer

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    Hi guys,

    thanks for the response,

    I'm currently living in Europe and am thinking of buying from pixmania.

    I'm looking at about £440 max.


    the review of the Sony DCR-HC40 on camcorderinfo wasn't very flattering...


    Also, are the memory sticks really that good? I keep hearing that SD Cards are the format that will stay....

    What other models/opinions could you advise?

    thanks

    gaffer
     
  5. Scott_Mac

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    Memeory Sticks are excellent.... Sony will continue to push them i'm sure. They are faster and more reliable than SD cards, but as Sony own the copyright they won't let it become mass market...

    As for Camcorders, the Sony ones are ok, good VFM, i however plumped for a Canon MV5i (this was 12 months ago)... i personally find it excellent, i certainly haven't noticed any noise from the mic etc... i've used it for holidays, live gigs, trackdays in my car. All of those are/were/can be very noisy events and it has performed faultlessly. My only complaint with it is the std battery is very poor.. lasting at best 50 minutes - i did buy a higher capacity one from eBay for £25, which although it ruins the svelte lines a little, it does mean i can do an entire trackday with one battery - or take it on a day trip on holiday with just the one.

    The JVC units look good, but the lens quality isn't up there with the Canon ones IMO.

    Cheers

    Scott
     
  6. the_gaffer

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    Hi Scott,

    thanks for your reply...

    The noise noticed by some were in quiet conditions, like when doing an interview, wedding in a church or scenary...

    Basically, the internet is a vicious thing as there is so much information out there...
    I have one site saying camcorder X is very good, and another saying it isn't...

    I'm sure that if I just went into an electronics store, I'd buy a camcorder that I was happy with and did all that I need.

    People keep telling me that Sony and Canon are the best... and I still don't know what to buy!

    I've been looking at the DCR-HC40, and have read that it's a good allrounder, or that they can hear the "motor noise"... :mad:

    I still don't know if JVC is in the same bracket as Sony/Canon/Panasonic.

    There's also the Canon MVX200i and 250i that seem interesting...

    Basically, I just don't want to make the wrong decision as it's quite a lot of money... and I want a reliable camera for my holidays....

    Any advice would be helpful...

    I need a camera that:

    That I can transfer via firewire to my laptop
    That has DV In & Out
    That I can use to convert my old tapes to digital and edit on laptop
    that has a good picture
    that has good sound
    that has a good stabilizer (all my other films seem to "shake" alot)

    I have a Canon A40 2MP digital camera, is it worth buying a camcorder that can take pics? will they rival with the one I've already got?

    thanks

    gaffer
     
  7. Scott_Mac

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    I don't really know what the equivalent to my Canon is, but it does everything that you requirements are... the D/A Convertor works very well (i have copied VHS onto a tape, then exported tht through Firewire to my laptop - you'll need a fairly good laptop for video editing btw!), it has all the DV inputs you want, the stabilizer works - though its still a bit shakey when zoomed far in, but thats pretty normal!

    I very much doubt a Camcorder pic will rival a dcent digi camera... even my Olympus 1.3Mp takes better stills than my Canon MV5i... though it does them, and takes them ok.

    http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/30622/art/canon/mv6i_mc.html?srcid=597

    Eh voila....

    I certainly can't fault it, and i guess thats better than mine as its the replacement!
     
  8. Scott_Mac

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    Oh and as for the noise.... i can't really comment, i used it to do some footage at my nephews christening, but the tape is still in DV format, so can't say i noticed the noise.

    I'll go and have a look to see if i can find it!
     
  9. the_gaffer

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    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, it just seems expensive for what it is...

    only 800'000
    10x zoom


    I'm sure that it's a great camcorder, but the MV750i seems similar for a lot cheaper...


    I'd be interested to know about the motor noise though...


    I really don't know what to get...

    HELP :lease:

    gaffer
     
  10. Scott_Mac

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    Well its up to you... i paid more than that for mine and i'm very happy with it. You pays your money and all that.

    I can't speak for the other cameras out there as i haven't tried them... i have seen friends cameras and there isn't THAT much difference.... 10x zoom has always been amplpe for my needs - sure its a trade off of the size of the unit... you could always move closer to what you are filming if its a problem :D

    As said above the no. of pixels isn't that important.. like i said my digital still camera gives better stills, but thats what its for, so IMO expected. You already have a decent camera, the Canon would allow you to take them if desperate - the stills i have taken have printed out perfectly in 6 x 4 on photo paper.

    At the end of the day, its up to you, and as you say if you went into a store and bought one you'd be happy.

    I highly recommend the MV5i... but then again i reckon the 750i may fulfil your needs... i'm sure it is similar, just less compact. That was a necessity for me, as there is limited space in my car to mount a camera for when needed, if you are less reliant on size, then get the 750i.
     
  11. the_gaffer

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    i agree but the 750 has that NOISE :mad: :mad: :mad:

    otherwise, it'd be perfect....


    gaffer
     
  12. Scott_Mac

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    Get the MV6i then ;)
     
  13. the_gaffer

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    lol yeah,

    but for the price, I could get one with better specs...


    lol

    I'm lost...

    gaffer
     
  14. Scott_Mac

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    better specs don't always mean better performance.

    Without paying silly money (and even then not a massive difference) I haven't seen a better picture than mine.
     
  15. the_gaffer

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    have u had chance to check out the noise?

    gaffer
     
  16. Scott_Mac

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    Listening back on the DV tape i can't hear anything - posibly cos i can't hear it over the motor noise anyway... but i can't honestly hear anything.

    Haven't got my Firewire cable here so can't kick it off onto my Laptop for proper listening though....
     
  17. baggers

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    Sony HC40
    I also read the not so good review on Camcorderinfo.com and i am now confused about which camcorder to purchase. The review in the current issue of Camcorder buyer gave it 92% and a very good review. Also i have seen a couple of references to motor noise not mentioned in either of these reviews. It makes me consider whetger these reviews can be trusted at all.
     
  18. the_gaffer

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    OK Guys,

    I'm edging towards the Sony HC40,

    I tried it out in a store (there was no tape in though) and it seemed good...

    The zoom was a bit hard to master and it seemed to take a few secs to focus.

    It fealt a bit flimsy too....


    Is it a good cam?

    Will it record the motor noise like the Canons?

    Is it the best in my budget for what I want to do?

    and how good are pixmania?

    Please help

    gaffer
     
  19. HGMonaro

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    arrghhh.. just wrote a huge reply and it got swallowed!

    quick version...

    I chose the Canon (730 model because I didn't think the couple of added features of the 730 warranted the extra $ for me). The 750 has a longer zoom, but I reckon a wide-angle camcorder zoomy would be a better idea.

    I choose it because it rests in my hand very comfortably. It's very similar to my 12yo Canon Video8 camcorder, in fact it's basically the same which helps in the comfort stakes. I tried the smaller Canon and smilar JVC but didn't like how they sat in my hand... I decided they were too small to hold still. The 730/750 are long enough to be supported by your whole hand. Never looked at the Sonys as I've never been excited them (my sister has one) but that's not to say they're no good.

    Regarding the mic recording motor noise... I haven't noticed it but then I haven't recorded anything that it would show up with, or watched much back on the TV where you might actually hear it.

    Finally, although the analogue to digital pass thru conversion function was a desirable feature (comfort level was the main criteria) for me, maybe an alternative device to do that could be an option.

    phew... I think that turned back into the long version!
     
  20. bowenjones

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    If you're edging towards the HC40, you might also like to consider the
    Sony TRV33.
    The TRV33 is the model that was replaced by the HC40. A lot of people
    consider the HC40 to be a backwards step from the TRV33.
    I decided to get the TRV33 after a lot of positive feedback from the guys
    on this forum and I wasn't dissapointed! Excellent picture and sound quality
    together with loads of features and superb build quality.
    Do a search on this forum if you'd like to know a bit more about it.
    This camcorder is now discontinued but there are still a few companies that
    stock it. I found this one on pricerunner (Edgware-HiFi).....https://vault1.secured-url.com/secu...lnumber=DCRTRV33&protype=camcorders&x=51&y=14
     
  21. the_gaffer

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    :hiya:

    I got the HC40 from pixmania, :smashin:

    got it with the fp90 battery aswell, as I'll need a backup... :rolleyes:

    should get it in a couple of days, :clap:

    I'll tell you how it goes, :lesson:

    best wishes, ;)

    gaffer :D
     
  22. baggers

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    The Gaffer - HC40 - Could you confirm or otherwise if there is excessive tape noise - thanks.
     
  23. the_gaffer

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    OK guys,

    Finally got the camera from Pixmania with a FP-90 battery yesterday...

    First off: The battery is not a Sony but a third-party brand, is it important? is it as reliable?

    Now my "mini" review of the HC-40, as I've not had the time to fully test it yet...

    Got everything out of the box.... it's really tiny compared to my analog camcorder.

    switch it on, really impressed by the touchpad LCD, big, bright, works well.

    I load a tape... the camcorder starts whining... it's quite annoying.

    I start to film, optical zoom is good. forget about digital zoom, it makes picture horrible.

    backlight works well, as does the digital effects like trail and old movie.

    the camera seems to take a few seconds to focus on things, is that normal?

    I then transfer it all to my laptop via firewire, no problems as XP detects it automatically.

    I switch camcorder off and play back the film... THE WHINING IS HORRIBLE, YOU CAN HEAR IT WHEN PEOPLE SPEAK, PLAY MUSIC....

    I'm quite disapointed by the sound. I didn't buy the Canon for this reason!
    I wonder if all digital camcorders at this level do a noise?

    I then switch it back on later and consider sending it back for a refund... AND HAVE A BRAINWAVE .
    AS IT'S ALWAYS THE SAME NOISE, WHY NOTE USE A DEHISSER?
    I TRY ONE AND IT REMOVES ABOUT 80-85% OF THE HISSING NOISE.
    I'M SURE I CAN GET IT EVEN BETTER THOUGH

    I used Acon Acoustica http://www.acondigital.com/index_english.html
    I was wondering if someone could create a preset with it that would remove hissing and the CLICK noise when I zoom?

    Otherwise, is there any better programs out there?
    What's best, 16 bit or 12 bit sound?

    So to conclude, I am happy I found the dehisser as it "repairs" the camcorder's major problem!

    Hope this review helps, please answer my questions

    gaffer
     
  24. baggers

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    DV Spot review said no motor noise, Camcorderinfo.com didn't mention any noise problem, camcorder buyer magazine gave it 92% and made no mention of motor noise as a problem.

    Conclusion: Reviews cannot be trusted, only real purchasers reporting the facts.
     
  25. the_gaffer

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    Hi,

    I tried it again last night,
    to be honest, the whining is not that bad but can still be heard.

    You can make very reasonable sound quality if you mess with Acoustica or Pinacle Studio 9 that evens specifies that it removes "camera whine"...

    I think I'll probably buy Studio 9, so it's not all bad...

    The camcorder's very good... I think I'm just used to "clear analog" sound and picture, my problem is probably with digital...

    anyway, it's a good purchase...

    Can someone please answer my questions?

    gaffer
     
  26. Roy Mallard

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    16 bit sound (usally using the higher 48khz sampling rate) is capable (in theory) of giving better sound than cd's.

    Obviously the sound for cds is generally professionally recorded and mixed, but the potential is there...

    12 bit is only really used for people who need more than one audio track on camera (usually tracks a1 and a2, one can be purely ambient sound, another can be music or voiceover, these can be mixed on playback between all ambient audio or all music/voiceover, or various steps in between) in practise you have much more control using a package like pinnacle studio.

    There is a good hiss & noise filter on a programme called 'goldwave' which is tryout software, and can be downloaded free. It is not a plug in for pinnacle, there may be one available...

    A note on sound recording on camera:

    Unless you have a more expensive camcorder (usually the top end three chip models) you do not have an audio level control, so the camera is adjusting the level automatically.

    The camera tries to make everything sound midrange (usually about 70% of max volume before distortion point), to do this it bumps the audio record level up when there is little noise, this makes even very quiet things (like camcorder motors) seem very loud.

    When the ambient audio is very loud the camera will clip the level, so what tends to happen is that on playback footage from a rock concert sounds as loud as you using the camera in an empty room.

    There are a couple of things you can do to diminish this problem:

    Record audio seperately from the camera and control the level manually then post-synch it in the edit stage, time consuming, complicated and more expense.

    Buy a more expensive camera with audio level control (cheapest route pansonic mx500/gs4000 £1100ish), requires more input from user (but if you are really serious about the sound!).

    Third route is to watch where you position your camera, if you record in an open space away from walls or corners the reverberance should be reduced so the camera motor is not the first thing the camera hears when it is deciding what level to set.

    As great as minidv cameras are, they are built to a price, although you get loads for your money there are some concessions, one of which is usually audio control.

    Post-script:

    As a guide, I recently bought a spare anton bauer lithium battery for my main sony camera, I could have bought 2 sony HC-40's for the same money.
    I'm not saying this to be condescending, just to point out that everything has it's price.
     
  27. the_gaffer

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    Hi Roy,

    thanks for your input...

    So basically, does that mean that I should be using 16bit or 12 bit then?

    pinacle studio 9 actually has a noise reduction thing but I don't know what levels I should be putting it on.. maybe you could help?

    Is a non Sony battery OK (as that's what pixmania ent me)?

    How do you format/erase a whole tape? I can't find the option?

    Can I record over the same tape without losing quality?

    thanks

    gaffer
     
  28. MarkE19

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    Stick with the better quality 16bit unlessyou need the 2 stereo sound tracks, which IMO is unlikely.

    Trial & error I'm afraid. See what works for you!

    Third party batteries can save you a fair amount of money, but some are not up to the same quality. It wont do the cam any harm and may well work as well as an origional Sony battery, so go with it as you already own it. If its ok then next time you need a battery you can get another one, else you know what to avoid next time!

    Put the lens cap on on record the whole length of the tape. Some say this is a good idea as it gives a continuous timecode, but will cause a lot of wear & tear on the cams heads. IMO - why bother!
    To format the tape quickly you need to degauzze it. This is putting it in a strong magnestic field that as with all magnetic media will remove anything on the tape (ever left a cassette too close to a TV screen or speaker?). I work in the computer industry and we have a degauzzer for data security, but they will cost several hundreds of pounds to buy!

    AFAIK most DV cams have an erase head, so yes you should be ok and not loose any quality. Saying that though DV tapes are available for around £3 each online, so why risk it. IMO you may as well only ever use a tape once. Also the tapes don't last forever and if they do break they may well damage the cams heads making for a very expensive repair. The quality of the tape will probably start to drop after only a couple of recordings due to tape stretching etc.

    Mark.
     
  29. Roy Mallard

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    Did the camera come with a sony branded battery in the box or a pattern (non-branded) battery?.

    I use non-branded batterys for my smaller cams without a problem, however if the battery that was supplied with the camera was not an official SONY item, you may want to ask pixmania why.

    It should still work, but theres something not right about what should be a brand new camera coming with anything other than the manufacturers battery.

    If it was an add on battery you bought as an extra, as long as it wasn't listed (& priced) as the official sony item, there shouldn't be a problem.

    Striping tapes.

    This is the fancy name for pre-recording a signal over a blank tape.

    This is not essential, it used to be used by linear editors who needed a master tape with a continuous timecode that they could edit onto.
    With DV it is not as you will usually edit on a pc non-linear system.

    Timecodes are still important (more for professional users), but not as imperitive as on reel to reel insert editing.

    It is very good practise to let the camera record for 10 seconds before you shout 'action', and for 10 seconds are you shout 'cut'. This gives enough pre-roll tape to ensure that a) there are no timecode breaks and b) you don't inadvertantly record over some essential footage.

    I'm with mark on the tapes, buy in bulk, use once, rewind to start and keep in case. This way you reduce the risk of getting magnetised dirt into the camera and you begin to build up an archive of footage (you'd be surprised how useful this is).
     
  30. the_gaffer

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    Hi,

    Concerning rerecording over a tape, it's just that I've tested the camera and filmed for about 10 mins and It'd be a waste to not use the remaining 50, that's why I want to know if it's a good idea to rerecord over it.
    :lease: Help


    Why don't they include a "format" option like you can on memory cards?

    So that I don't record over something that I've already recorded, if I press "End Search" each time before recording, will it go to the end of the recorded tape? What happens if I remove tape and reinsert it, will End Search still work?
    What happens if I rewind and watch a bit of my tape, then press end search, will it go to the end so that it doesn't record over what I've already done?

    Is it not possible to set an option that bans recording over already recorded stuff without confirmation?

    Can someone please answer my other post on editing and storage (it's on the first page of this forum)

    thanks

    gaffer
     

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