Video Cameras forum

General discussion

Camcorder for vacations

by blackstaffx / June 23, 2007 10:46 AM PDT

I'm looking for a MiniDV camcorder for vacations. My criteria is good OIS and indoor lighting (at least 2 lux). I originally wanted a camcorder with good stills resolution, but I gave up on that because that requires me to buy a very expensive camcorder. My budget is between $250 and $400. I've narrowed down my choices to two - the Panasonic
PV-GS85 and the Sony DCR-HC48. Both have comparable specs according to the criteria I find most important and are within my budget, so I can't decide between the two. I'd appreciate any help. Thank you.

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If you are married to Optical Stabilization,
by boya84 / June 23, 2007 2:03 PM PDT

then you are getting the Panasonic. The Sony HC-48 uses Electronic Stabilizaton.

Also, if you HAVE to have 2 lux support, then the Panasonic is it... the HC48 is rated at 4 lux.

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=11039188

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelDetail?surfModel=PV-GS85&catalogId=13401&cachePartner=7000000000000005702&modelNo=PV-GS85&itemId=110044&catGroupId=25002&surfCategory=Digital+Camcorders&cacheProgram=11002&storeId=15001&displayTab=S

Personally, in the range you specify, I'd be looking at the Canon ZR800. It has the best optical zoom of these camcorders (35x) and has an external mic-in jack that the HC48 and GS85 do not have. And it is rated to 2 lux...

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Thanks for the suggestions
by blackstaffx / June 24, 2007 1:56 AM PDT

I did consider the ZR800, but that model is known to have poor low light performance. Also, I do realize that the HC-48 is 4 lux during the day, but it does achieve 0 lux at night. I realize I wasn't specific more about illumination - my criteria is to have at least 2 lux at night. So between the two I am interested in, the only real difference is price, where the HC-48 is ~$80 more expensive. Finally, although I do highly prefer OIS over EIS, I have not read a single bad review over any HC-48 IC issues, which makes me think their EIS system is pretty good. Appreciate any further thoughts.

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The HC48 does "0 lux"
by boya84 / June 24, 2007 3:08 AM PDT

when "Super Night shot" mode is on... this uses a built-in infrared emitter and the video is monochromatic (green/white... not black/white).

Typically, when one uses the camcorder at home, things are close and zoom is not used, stabilization is not necessary. If you zoom in on something far away, then stabilization is needed - better yet, use a tripod (or monopod) along with whatever stabilization method is in the camera. You are right, the differences between Optical and Electronic are minimal - and will only be apparent when zoomed in all the way (by the way, turn digital zoom OFF regardless of the camera you get. It is useless.)

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DVD Camcorders
by blackstaffx / June 24, 2007 2:26 AM PDT

Also, what are some good DVD Camcorders in my price range? Is there a significant advantage of DVD Camcorders versus Mini DV ones?

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On your DVD-based camcorders... my opinion:
by boya84 / June 24, 2007 3:11 AM PDT
In reply to: DVD Camcorders

Also, what are some good DVD Camcorders in my price range?
None.

Is there a significant advantage of DVD Camcorders versus Mini DV ones?
Yes. You are comparing the worst quality capture storage media with the best quality capture storage media

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Found DVD camcorders in my price range
by blackstaffx / June 24, 2007 9:51 AM PDT

Sony DCR-DVD108, 208, 308, and 408

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I understand there are DVD-based camcorders -
by boya84 / June 24, 2007 11:48 AM PDT

but if you are looking for good quality video to edit, you do not want to get a DVD based camcorder. MiniDV tape or hard drive based - but not DVD based. Look through these forums - you find it littered with people who could not get their DVD-based video into their computers and if they did, wondered why the quality is so bad. You will also find lots of folks having issue even getting to the video on their DVDs from their cameras.

If you want to live with swapping out a disk every 20 minutes (or turning over a double sided disc) or poor image quality when you bring the video into your computer to edit or messs around with trying to figure out whether you need to finalize or not depending on the DVD type you use, by all means, get one.

Personally, if someone GAVE me a DVD-based camcorder, I'd donate it somewhere (I would feel too guilty selling it to someone else). That is all it is good for... Then, I would turn around and spend my own hard earned money on a miniDV tape based machine.

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Took your advice
by blackstaffx / June 24, 2007 12:45 PM PDT

I avoided the DVD camcorders. I decided to buy the Sony DCR-HC48. It was a really tough decision, but it had some extra stuff the PV-GS85 didn't have like a remote control and USB cable (although the Panasonic does have a mounted light). Also, I think overall the Sony is looks nicer than the Panasonic. Thanks for your help.

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how do you like the Sony DCR-HC48
by JanetG123 / August 29, 2007 6:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Took your advice

How do you like this camcorder? I'm considering the same. The part that it didn't have a built in light bothered me...but I like the part about remote control. Have you used the remote? How does it work?

My videoing will be family shots inside and outside at vacations. Any feedback you have would be appreciated!

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