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Best camcorders for Macs?

by kellogg / December 6, 2006 5:29 AM PST

Buying my first camcorder, for use with a Powerbook G4 (which will probably be replaced with an iMac with Leopard next year). I don't plan on buying anything fancy and hope to keep it to around $300-$400. Is there any camcorder in that price range that seems to work better than others with Macs? Or, is there any reason to think the JVC GR-D650, which seems to suit my needs, wouldn't work?

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Anything with
by boya84 / December 6, 2006 6:06 AM PST

a FireWire port - also known as DV port... or IEEE1394 or i.Link. The camcorder manufacturers (JVC, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Samsung and the rest) never put a FireWire cable in the box, so you need buy one... 4-pin-camera... 6-pin-computer. Don't go cheap. I use a Monster FireWire cable... 6 footer was $25. Gold contacts, works great.

According to the GR-D650 manual
See page 9, under "Connectors" - The DV port is near the USB port... Item 21.
Also note on Page 12 - no i.Link cable.
See page 44... Note the "(optional) DV cable"...

From what I can tell, this JVC is a bottom loader. If you use a tripod (which you should), this makes changing tapes a bit of a challenge. I use a Sony HDR-HC1 and have learned some "work-arounds"... but they are not efficient. My son uses a Canon Elura 60 on his G4 PowerBook - take a look at the Elura 100. It is a top-loader... and 20x optical zoom compared to the JVC's 15x...

Other tips: Use a tripod. Turn OFF digital zoom - use only optical zoom. Have fun.

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Now that!, is some good advice!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 6, 2006 9:25 AM PST
In reply to: Anything with

I like the Panasonic and dislike any of the DVD type cameras

Firewire is currently the only way to go with a camera connected to a Mac.


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Check out this list from Apple
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 29, 2007 9:54 PM PST

This is the latest list of camera's that Apple have tested with iMovie 08

This is the list

Hope this helps

Apple tech support claim that iMovie 08 will NOT accept video & Audio up the USB ports. However, on Friday I was using a Sony HD based camera and imported video from it into iMovie 08.
iMovie could NOT see the camera when the camera icon in iMovie was pressed. It could only see the built in iSight camera. Importing ok up the USB port but no live recording with that camera. It did NOT have a Firewire port, by any name, on the Camera.

Also on some Hard Drive camera's, if there is SD as well as HD content on the drive, the SD content has to be erased before iMovie will import the HD content.


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Firewire/DV port question
by csiegrist / December 29, 2007 9:08 PM PST
In reply to: Anything with

I just purchased a Panasonic SDR-H18. The video transfers to my computer fine using the software in the box ImageMixer. but i can not get it to imovie or because it shows up as a ".mod" file. does anyone know what that is and how to send these movies to my clients so they can view them on their PCs? I am using a MAC. Also I am assuming this camcorder does not have a DV port because it says nothing about it in the manual. Obviously I am a newbie to camcorders. Can you give me any advice? Thanks.

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a couple of items...
by boya84 / December 29, 2007 11:06 PM PST

1) You need to install StreamClip...
and scroll UP...

2) Once in iMovie, you can save as various formats and compressions. QuickTime files will include a ".mov" extension. The version of iMovie being used will depend on the export method, but the broad instruction is when you are in iMovie with the project active, under File, select "Share" or "Export"... and follow the steps.

If the files are large because you want your clients to see good, high quality versions of the video in a window bigger than 2"x3", consider subscribing to a file upload service like "".

3) The SDR-H18 is a consumer-grade, hard drive based, camcorder and does not save in DV format - miniDV tape based camcorders do - as do external hard drives like those from FireStore. If you have people paying you for video service, you would be wise to ditch this consumer grade, internal hard drive based, camcorder and move up (in video quality) to miniDV tape. No, this camcorder does not use Firewire for video transfer, hence no DV port to which the Firewire cable would connect.

4) "MAC" is an acronym in computer networking for Media Access Control (among other things);
Apple makes Macintosh computers and an Operating System nicknamed "Mac" (not an acronym)...

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