Which camcorder?

sammy9

Standard Member
I'm looking to buy my husband a camcorder for Christmas and have a budget of around £200.

He was takling about buying one as we now have 2 young children and at the moment we are using the camera for short videos. Have looked at panasonic and sony but don't know really where to go from there. He is a very tecnical person and loves his electronics and he's very good with computers so would enjoy the editing. I want it to be a surprise for him so any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

M Stewart

Active Member
You don't mention how you would like to view the resulting video clips of your children. On a TV connected to the camcorder, or via DVD or BluRay disc. These make very different demands on the computer, and that also might need upgrading. A new/better camcorder might be just the start...
 

sammy9

Standard Member
You don't mention how you would like to view the resulting video clips of your children. On a TV connected to the camcorder, or via DVD or BluRay disc. These make very different demands on the computer, and that also might need upgrading. A new/better camcorder might be just the start...
Think we would watch them on disc and he's just purchased a BluRay player so I expect he would want to watch them on there. Just been browsing in our local camera store and one of the sales assistants recommended the
Panasonic HX-DC1.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
FWIW a £200 camcorder is not going to satisfy any techy person - (and you also), once you get used to Professionally produced BlueRay content.
The difference between a few home clips shoved together and a team-effort is enormous, but this doesn't mean you won't enjoy the family mementoes in the years to come (although the young-ones may not!).

Have you considered a modest stills camera with video-capability? They aren't as easy for filmaking, should you want to do a "community" vid - but it will be easy to carry and many are within yr budget....but few are better than just "HD" which means 720, not the 1080 that is regarded as the HD minimum for a new camera - even though only blueray can store above 720. Advertisers have created a great fog around these quality issues and there are many toy camcorders out there that are no better than movies via a mobile-phone, IMHO.

For long-term storage, many believe external hard-drives will outlive BlueRay discs. Partly because the cost of BlueRay is very high, so folk tend to rely upon one copy.

It's a very techy issue, yr Head buzzing?, I'll stop now.
 
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12harry

Well-known Member
FWIW a £200 camcorder is not going to satisfy any techy person - (and you also), once you get used to Professionally produced BlueRay content.
The difference between a few home clips shoved together and a team-effort is enormous, but this doesn't mean you won't enjoy the family mementoes in the years to come (although the young-ones may not!).

Have you considered a modest stills camera with video-capability? They aren't as easy for filmaking, should you want to do a "community" vid - but it will be easy to carry and many are within yr budget....but few are better than just "HD" which means 720, not the 1080 that is regarded as the HD minimum for a new camera - even though only blueray can store above 720. Advertisers have created a great fog around these quality issues and there are many toy camcorders out there that are no better than movies via a mobile-phone, IMHO.

For long-term storage, many believe external hard-drives will outlive BlueRay discs. Party because the cost of BlueRay is very high, so folk tend to rely upon one copy.

It's a very techy issue, yr Head buzzing?, I'll stop now.
 

sammy9

Standard Member
FWIW a £200 camcorder is not going to satisfy any techy person - (and you also), once you get used to Professionally produced BlueRay content.
The difference between a few home clips shoved together and a team-effort is enormous, but this doesn't mean you won't enjoy the family mementoes in the years to come (although the young-ones may not!).

Have you considered a modest stills camera with video-capability? They aren't as easy for filmaking, should you want to do a "community" vid - but it will be easy to carry and many are within yr budget....but few are better than just "HD" which means 720, not the 1080 that is regarded as the HD minimum for a new camera - even though only blueray can store above 720. Advertisers have created a great fog around these quality issues and there are many toy camcorders out there that are no better than movies via a mobile-phone, IMHO.

For long-term storage, many believe external hard-drives will outlive BlueRay discs. Party because the cost of BlueRay is very high, so folk tend to rely upon one copy.

It's a very techy issue, yr Head buzzing?, I'll stop now.
Yes my heads buzzing. What stills camera's would you recommend. We have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 which we are having problems with and he has said quite recently we need a new and better camera. He also has an external hard-drive.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Don't recognise that model, I guess the thing to do is to buy a Which Digital Camera and compare prices/features.

The problem I see is the quality difference between the TV-BlueRay player and what you'll get from a £200 camcorder - it won't be terrible, but it will limit the quality and this will show every time you look at it.
 
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Bob++

Novice Member
Can't you up your budget a bit? If not then think of it as a starter. Consider how the cam will store the footage. SDHC is versatile and could be used in any future upgrade. Think about editing; he will soon get fed up with the free programs out there but they will do for a start.

BTW you have a BR player but can you record BR? If not, does your TV have other inputs like USB or HDMI?

I think that after you read a few of the past threads in a similar vein, a trip to Comet would be in order...:)

Let us know what you get him and point him here for post Christmas advice.

ps - just a thought, but you could give it to him a bit early so that he can record the kids opening their prezzies:)
 
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chrishull3

Well-known Member
For what its worth and although i use fairly expensive cameras myself i think a
£200 cam will give good results ,dont worry abour blu rays they are fine unlike external hard drives which have failed for me and can be tempermental,most people choose a card cam rather than a hard drive cam.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
A recent poster is "over the moon" with a £79 camcorder from LIDL - it appear (he say) to be an old Fuji model, but he's happy - and it's a lot better than no footage...eh?

I'd not spotted the BD was a player-only, although it will raise the game....
 

sammy9

Standard Member
The Panasonic SD 40 was the one I was looking at, then I went into Jessops and was advised to look at the Panasonic HX-DC1, but not really sure about that one.

I'm now thinking of increasing the budget and looking for a camera which does videos, again its deciding which is the right one. Thinking of going up to £350ish as we do need a new camera too.

Thanks to everyone who's replied and any further suggestions/advice would be appreciated.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
FWIW I use a Sony NEX5, but the NEX3 is about £100 cheaper, DYOR although it doesn't do 1920 x 1080. There is a replacement model with touch-screen (Arrgh, fingermarks), which will be more expensive....

It's a 16Mp (or 14 - anyway it's a lot) and I use it 95% for video. It is only a x3 zoom, but that covers almost everything - and you can "move-in" which will improve the audio - which is fabulous - it's difficult to fault provided you fit a "dead cat" (furry wig, to the top-plate) that makes wind noise all but history. mine came with a separate charger and I bought spare batteries (2hrs) for £10 ea.
However, it lacks some "camcorder" features, but it does have some "Still" tricks that are good - like sweep panorama - you swing the camera and it takes 6-shots then stitches them together... magic! and I don't have to use the computer, which I used to. Another trick is the fold-out display LCD - so you can take pics from over people's heads, very useful if there's a street-display and you can't push-in (really you need a long-handle to gain extra height, or a tall husband). Also by folding the other way you can get down to ground level for kids games....you have to spend a lot more to get that feature elsewhere.

The video quality is stunning, with the right playback and I regularly project mine at video-club to 10ft wide. Mostly they complain I don't make enough "cuts" - a regular gripe amongst v.Editors.

However, I do warn you it lacks many camcorder features.....but it depends what you want. If hubby has any SLR lenses these will fit via an adaptor, in manual mode....I regularly use a (like 70-300) but you need a rock-steady tripod as there is no stab, without the Sony lens.

Specwise that HX DC1 is prob. good enough, but don't expect stunning....Amazon sells under £100, so there isn't much left for the lens, which is 5x zoom - perfectly OK. But many dislike the "pistol-grip" style....try it......by taking in your own SDHC card 16G, class 10. £15 Amazon - that's what I get. Take it into the shop "to see if it works on your home PC" . Put a dab of nail varnish on it for ownership, just in case. Beware of paying too little, many store on-line are overseas - and folk here regularly complain about delays, poor service etc. Trading via Amazon give you some peace of mind - pay no less than the middle price, I'd say.

BTW I had many years of stills experience, so vid was mostly a matter of learning a new craft...still doing it, but at least I have a very adaptable camera. The stills are very good and it has a "defocus background" routine that makes your subject stand-out, like a £1k DSLR. If hubby is techy, he'll love the challenges.
 

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