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New to camcorders - Advice needed please on hdd cams

by glencurtis1977 / March 3, 2007 4:49 PM PST

I'm glad I've found this forum. I'm all confused looking aroung at camcorders. I'm due t ogo on holiday to Bangkok and Singapore in April and would like to get a camcorder for our holiday footage. I did think about buying in singapore, but I thought with the internet now, It may be just as cheap to buy at home (UK) - Is this right?
Anyway, I have looked at mini-dv in the past, but I have now pretty much decided to go for hard drive version instead and I will edit and burn from my PC.
I have looked at the JVC range mainly - the GZ-MG57EK looking quite good to me. Then again, what do I know! I'm not really bothered about a top of the range as my budget has limited me. I'm looking at spending between

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A couple suggestions...
by whizkid454 / March 3, 2007 10:15 PM PST

When you buy over the internet, you can get some very attractive deals. Then again, those deals could be scams just waiting to take your money. You must be very careful which company you buy things from online. I have heard many horror stories from people who bought an item and either never received it or it was broken, etc. If you feel safer purchasing it from a retail store or a place where you can actually have it in your hands once you buy it, go ahead. If you are looking at any particular website to buy from, check to see that they have a physical address (street, city, etc.) which 'usually' means they are a legit company. Before buying, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)( to see how the company fared in their customer satisfaction.
Now to the camcorders, I assume you will have a computer like you said on which you can empty your recorded video once (and if) the camcorder's hard drive fills up? That way you can keep on shooting. I would highly recommend to stay away from JVC's line of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) camcorders. They have not done well in video quality and the format of the videos are in .mod which is a very difficult file extension to edit on the computer. Perhaps, a Sony might fit your needs a bit better. I would either recommend the Sony DCR-SR52E or the DCR-SR72E.
DCR-SR52E: 1MP CCD sensor, 25x optical zoom, 30GB HDD---Price not yet set
DCR-SR72E: 1MP CCD sensor, 25x optical zoom, 60GB HDD---550 GBP
I think the SR52E will be much closer to your price range. The only main difference between the two listed is their HDD capacity. About 7 hours of video can be stored on the SR52E or about 13 hours on the SR72E. There is also a DCR-SR32E, but I wouldn't recommend it because the video quality is not nearly as good as on the other two listed above.
About megapixels in camcorders: Basically, a video is a series of still frames stitched together to form a moving image, correct? Many electronics have a limit on how much can pass through their "brain"(processor) at any given time. If we tried to pass 5MP video through the "brain" of a camcorder, it would be way to much data for the camcorder to handle. That is why standard definition video is less than a megapixel per each frame of the video. High definition on the other hand is about 2MP per each frame of the video. Here is why we can't compare a still camera to a camcorder because still cameras which can take 5-10MP stills only take one or two at a time, whereas, a camcorder which can take .3MP stills will take 60 per second. At the moment, all electronics have their limits and we will probably never be limitless.

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by glencurtis1977 / March 3, 2007 10:25 PM PST

many, many thanks for that advice.
i am thinking of buying from the likes of amazon, who i have had good dealings with in the past. yes, they are slightly dearer than other options but as you point out, it is worth it sometimes.
as for the sony cameras i will now look into them and get some prices. i'm glad you pointed out the limits of the jvc. i was pretty much set on a jvc - they looked good to me!
thanks again for taking the time to reply

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You're very welcome...
by whizkid454 / March 3, 2007 10:42 PM PST
In reply to: thankyou

Amazon 'can' be a great company to deal with. There are those times, though, where things don't work the way they should with Amazon. I've had one or two problems. My word of advice is to be cautious. I really hate how so many people get ripped off because they do not check out the company first.

Yes, specs can be very deceiving in the electronics world. I wouldn't blame you for thinking that as many people do. That is why a hands-on review by an unbiased source is the best way to see a camcorder's strengths and weaknesses.

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by glencurtis1977 / March 3, 2007 10:50 PM PST
In reply to: You're very welcome...

I'm just looking into the sony 52 model. looks like it is available from tomorrow which is good. and also less than

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by whizkid454 / March 3, 2007 11:09 PM PST
In reply to: cheers........again!

The SuperNightShot mode on the Sonys does make the picture look black and green. It uses an infrared sensor to see in dark conditions. It works pretty well assuming you don't need color. Once again, you're welcome. Hope this all helped you. Happy

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it has
by glencurtis1977 / March 3, 2007 11:15 PM PST
In reply to: Yes...

yes it is all very helpfull - many thanks for taking the time to reply. thankyou

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by kardors / March 9, 2007 12:56 AM PST
In reply to: Yes...

Sorry to butt in here, but I have been looking at these cameras too and it looks to me like none of them have a viewfinder? The camera you have (the 100) has one, but I think it has been discontinued hasn't it? I can't imagine trying to shoot pictures without a viewfinder, espicially in bright sunlight.

Thanks for your thoughts

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by whizkid454 / March 9, 2007 5:14 AM PST
In reply to: viewfinder

The SR100 does have a viewfinder. I do like it a lot and am sorry to hear Sony stopped putting them on their newer models. Of course Sony is giving their speeches about how much better the LCD screens nowadays that they wont glare in sunlight. Pff, yeah right. It's a negative aspect, but to some people, it might not be a big deal at all.

Good observation though. Of course Sony wouldn't advertise that they didn't put a viewfinder on them. Wink

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It is the size
by ChrisJBSC / March 13, 2007 8:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes...

It is the size of the CCD that matters. 1/5 is bigger than 1/6". 3xCCD are bigger than a single CCD.

A quick summary of the different ranges (BUT individual cameras in the range could well be different!) are:
- Sony: Great for automatic use. You willet used to.
need to be prepared for being sucked into the proprietary interfaces.
- Panasonic: Great for manual control. Less easy for the beginner to
- Canon: Camera maker, who knows a thing or 2 about making devices for end-users! Typically has an easy mode as well as advanced user functionality.

Try going into Jessops (with a printout of the different cameras and prices you could get from Amazon!). Try out every camera - some will fit your hands, some wont. And buy there.

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