Very true! The image quality will be in the lens system and ccd chip, not what format the tape is! I have a Sony
TRV320, I don't think it's big or ugly, Personaly I don't like looks of the Sony MiniDV cams. I find that some of the very small MiniDv cameras are hard to hold. All of this said, I feel that Digital8 is slowly fading away, 4 years ago Sony had 8 camers in this line now there are only 2. If you have 8mm tapes and want to get into digital this is a easy way to go. The TRV 480 is the one to get. John
I posted a message here about a month ago concerning <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-7594-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=57471&messageID=682461">MiniDV video transfer size</a>. Basically, my question at that time was: is MiniDV necessarily better than Digital 8? Now I have an answer and a puzzle.
I have a Sony Digital 8 camcorder TRV260 that has only 290k effective video. I capture video through Ulead Video Studio 7 to my PC at 720x480 resolution and burn to DVD. Those DVDs I made from TRV260 are very nice, almost TV-quality.
However, TRV260 is big and, as everywhere I read, people all say MiniDV is a much better format comparing with Digital 8. One of the MiniDV camcorders I was considering, for example, Sony DCR-HC85 has much better video (1080k effective video). Eventually, I bought a HC85 and, guess what, it's not better than TRV260 at all in terms of video quality. All video capturing softwares I have only allow maximum capturing resolution at 720x480, which is about 346k effective video similar to what a low end MiniDV camcorder can do but much lower than 1080k as HC85 is supposed to be able to do.
My puzzle: if the best resolution TV and video capturing software can handle is only 720x480, why bother with MiniDV? Digital 8 is just good enough. Why everybody still say MiniDV is better than Digital 8? Sure, MiniDV tape is smaller than Digital 8 tape. But video quality is not necessarily better. HC85 is a nice toy. But for most of the time, I prefer to use my TRV260 and keep my HC85 at home.
Thanks to R. Proffitt who taught me about NTSC and marketing ploy.
To those who still can't decide whether MiniDV or Digital 8, go for Digital 8 if you don't mind carrying a big, ugly Sony. Its video quality is much better than many low end MiniDV camcorders.