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Need Advice on Best Prosumer Camcorder for indoor baskeball

I could really use some advice and direction on what is the best entry level prosumer camcorder to record indoor basketball games. Many of the gyms are low light and of course basketball itself has a great deal of motion to capture. I'm looking for something that is relatively easy to figure out and also provide good quality under low light situations. Would like to keep the price under $3000.00 Also, would love if possible to be able to set up the camera on a tripod and be able to view the whole court and not have to hold or move the camera to follow the action but I might just be dreaming as far as that is concerned. Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Must be able to edit video also.

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Starting at around the $3K mark and descending...

... and in no particular order... the "low light" means lenses 70mm filter diameter or better; imaging chips 1/4" - usually in a 3-chip configuration. For your stated need, I would prefer CCD over CMOS.

I'll stay in high definition, but each of the camcorders listed can do standard definition or high definition.

Sony HDR-FX1000
JVC GY-HM100
Canon XHA1
Sony HDR-FX1

Whether they can see the whole court depends on their placement - there are wide angle add-on lenses available if needed. All consumer, prosumer and pro grade camcorders can be set up on a tripod.

All allow point-and-shoot, or moving to manual mode if you want.

Of the four listed above, the Sonys and Canon use miniDV tape. To get the video into a computer, connect the camcorder's DV port to the computer's firewire port. Put the camcorder in Play mode. Launch the video editor. Click on Import or Capture. Easy. Don't reuse the tape and the tape is the archive. No extra steps to make an archive.

The JVC records video to SD cards. Since you did not tell us what computer operating system or editor you are using, we don't know if that video can be used directly or if transcoding is required first. Extra steps for archiving the flash memory stored video.

The Panasonic AG-HM40 uses AVCHD compression. Fast action and lots of compression do not get along too well.

bhphotovideo is a good, reputable, and reliable source... there are a few others (like Adorama)...

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follow up question

Thanks so much. I am currently using Windows Vista 32 bit operating system. I am most familiar with Windows Movie Maker but have had issues with it as an editor for video. Purchased Adobe premier and could not get Adobe to work at all for me. I am open to buying a new software editor if need to, but will the SD card for the JVC work with Windows Vista or Windows 7 (I do have a laptop that is windows 7 that I could use) However, if transcoding is required, I might would rather go a different direction. Thanks again!!

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Using the bundled - free - MovieMaker

with a prosumer or pro cam is a bit of a bummer. I will defer to others who frequent these boards on what MovieMaker can deal with - Last I checked, it had issues with HDV format video. The MovieMaker page at microsoft.com can tell you.

Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere are the usual acceptable suspects.

Since you have not provided much detail about the computer hardware you are using, we don't know if yours already has a firewire port - and if not, whether there is any available expansion slot to add one if needed.

As for the SD card and the JVC GY-HM100 - the actual storage media is not the important part. The video file type stored on the storage media and whether the video editor you choose can deal with that video file type is the important part... Details on that are available at the product page at JVC.com.

How are you planning to keep the video for the long term?

"Purchased Adobe premier and could not get Adobe to work at all for me." Interesting - Can you please elaborate? It is normally quite the workhorse assuming the computer's CPU, RAM and available hard drive space are of an appropriate configuration. I have found that going with "minimum requirements" or less will be problematic - so exceeding the minimum requirements, especially for high definition video, is pretty much always strongly recommended.

I gave up on Windows as my primary OS many years ago. Perhaps others who frequent this board can better assist you.

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Thanks,

yes, I do have a firewire port on my desktop and that is how I have been transferring my videos from my current camcorder, however, I have not been having it in HDV format.

As far as Adobe premiere-- I have spent hours trying to get it to work. I have contacted customer support but not much help. I have even tried it on one of my newer laptops which is a pretty good workhorse and meets all requirements and can download video and edit video but it either freezes on playback/record or just will not burn a DVD. So, I have basically given up on Adobe. I might try Sony Vegas.

I have been keeping my footage archives on the original dv tapes but my edited movie on dvds are either on the hard drive or have been erased.

One last question and I appreciate your time and help.. 2 of the 4 camcorders you mentioned in your 1st reply had CMOS instead of CCD, nameley the Sony HDR-FX1 and the Sony HDRFX1000.. You stated you preferred CCD over CMOS, Thus, would you recommend for my purpose the Canon XHA1 or JVC GY-HM100. I'll be glad to provide you with exact specs for my computer if it would help, but it will have to be later on tonight or tomorrow...

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I guess it is what it is...

Bummer on your experience with Premiere - I actually liked it when I used it - Not enough to go back to that operating system, though.

If you are using MovieMaker, I don't think it can deal with HDV (maybe the MovieMaker Live version with Windows 7 can - but I don't think earlier versions will). So I guess that leave Sony Vegas - I believe there is a demo version available for download form sony.com so you can try before buying.

http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/trials

It is pretty crippled, so just a heads up.

On the HDR-FX1 - I have one and it is a 3CCD rig. They are discontinued (replaced by the HDR-FX1000 3CMOS cam). I must have typo'd there - the HDR-FX7 is what is currently available. But to answer your question, yes, that leaves the XHA1 (small LCD panel, but good workhorse) and the GY-HM100 (records to flash memory, may require transcoding for editing, archiving problematic).

"Exact specs of your computer" are not necessary. With a CPU (CoreDuo, at least) from within the last year or two, 4 gig RAM (more is better) and LOTS of available hard drive space (external drives are fine - I use a couple of external 500 gig drives for video project files only), you should be fine.

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