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Help buying camcorder for Dad

by shellgirl / October 17, 2006 1:33 AM PDT

I need help choosing a camcorder for my Father In law. My father in law is in his mid 60's and does not know alot about technical things, but we want to buy him one for Christmas. He likes to video family events both indoor and outdoors. I don't know how to choose what type of camcorder that is easy to use and easy to play back at home or when visting relatives.
I was thinking of getting a DVD but I am not that familiar with the differences between mini DV and DVD. We want to spend around $400. So far I am looking at the sony DCR-DVD105 or Canon Elura 100. Any other suggestions on models or types of camera woudl be easy to use for someone that does not know alot about technical things?

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They are both good cameras...
by boya84 / October 17, 2006 12:40 PM PDT

MiniDV image quality is better.

By the way, multiple posts won't get different answers...

MiniDV tape provides flexibility in storage option that a hard drive based camera does not allow for. There is a lot of good information in this thread

Also in this thread, there's a link to a VERY comprehensive list of cameras, pricing and very thorough reviews.

What matters is what is being taped... What are you or is he going to edit the video on? When you run out of tape, take the full one out, put a new one in. When you run out of hard drive space on the camera, you need to copy it somewhere or delete video from the camera hard drive.

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Suggestions for a good mid price range Mini DV camcorder
by shellgirl / October 18, 2006 12:07 AM PDT

Do you have suggestions for a good mini DV camcorder? I am so out of the loop on these now. I still have a VHS-c camcorder so while I am looking into getting one for the father in law, I guess I may be looking for myself also. We want to spend around $400 he will be shooting family video, trips, etc. He would like a decent picture and sound. He tends to play back video at family events and get togethers. I don't think he will do much in the editing or anything with it on the computer. He just wants to shoot and play back on tv but now that everyone is into dvd players, I don't know how they play mini dv on the television. Can you tell that I am not technical!

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No matter which media you pick,
by boya84 / October 18, 2006 12:23 PM PDT

he's going to have to do something.

MiniDVD: In order to play a miniDVD in a DVD player, he will need to "finalize the disc" when he is done filming in order to play the DVD in a DVD player. If he wants to make copies, that typically means dumping into a computer and exporting out to the camera, again.

MiniDV tape: Plug one end of a cable, supplied with the camera, into the camera and the other end into either a VCR or a TV. You *probably* can do this with the MiniDVD, too. The upside with the MiniDV tape is it's quality is better - and basically all you are doing is treating the camera like a video player. Rewind the tape, press play. Done. No finalizing, the video jack is yepplow and matches the yellow jack on the VCR or TV... Right (red) and left (white) audio jacks match the red and white jacks on the VCR or TV. Same as the cable you could use on your VHS-C camera today - but you can't use the VHS-C adapter anymore.

Defining "decent picture and sound" is really subjective, but for around $350-$400, it is likely any miniDV-based Sony, Canon or Panasonic camcorder in that price range will meet your requirements...

Some additional recommendations:

Include a tripod or monopod with the camera gift - and use it.
Turn digital zoom OFF (use only optical zoom)
Consider getting an extra battery.
Get a bunch of blank MiniDV tapes
Look for "bundles" that include a carrying case, tripod and other "extras"...

If you had loftier expectations, items like external mics and a video light and high-capacity batteries and zoom lens and wide angle lens and all sorts of other stuff would be added to the list. But you are looking for point-and-shoot easy fun that will result in "decent quality".

In this price range, the Canon Elura 100, Panasonic GS59, and Sony DCR-HC46 - but uyou would be wise to look here
and follow the link to Look down the right side price column and find your price and check the ratings...

I hope this helps.

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Thank you for great info
by shellgirl / October 18, 2006 12:48 PM PDT

Thank you so much for your great info. I really needed a quick overview of how the media would be played back for TV viewing. Now to just decide which one to choose. I will look at the link provided and do some more research. I have been doing my research for a few weeks but it really gets confusing and everyone has a different opinion on what is the best.
I really hate buying electronics for a gift but I know he would not do all the research and probably would not go out and buy one for himself, so I hope he appreciates whatever we purchase for him.
Thanks again!

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You are very welcome!
by boya84 / October 18, 2006 12:56 PM PDT

Let us know what you decide on! We REALLY are interested... at least I am...

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