Video Cameras forum

General discussion

Newbie needs help picking out a camcorder!!!

by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 4:57 AM PDT

Thanks for any help! Keep in mind I have very little knowledge of digital cameras and camcorders. I was looking at a specific camera (mentioned later) and wonder if it fits my needs:

Budget

Not looking to exceed 600 dollars.


Size

Fairly small, average camcorder size.


Features

I'm not too familiar with how important megapixels are. Perhaps some suggestions/explanations? I'd appreciate it.

Standard zoom should be good. Maybe a little extra.

Image/Video quality should be decent for making short movies (home and actual) within the 10-20 minute range.

Not really knowledgeable on shutter modes. Again, suggestions/explanations welcome.


General Usage

I'll use the camera mostly for youtube quality videos I will make. I plan on making home movies and short movie projects I'll be working on. I'd say about a 6 or 7 in quality if 10 is the very best. Maybe even a 5 will suffice for all I know. The resolution of the camcorder I have in mind is 720 x 480. Is that sound?

I more than likely won't make any big prints of stills, mostly just standard.

I plan on making a lot of videos indoors (in a fairly well-lit room)

I probably won't be making many action photos, but maybe every now and then.


Miscellaneous

Not sure brand-wise. I hear Sony is pretty good.

I actually have a camera in mind but not sure if it totally meets my requirements. It's the Sony DCR-SR45 30GB Handycam

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A few ideas...
by whizkid454 / September 10, 2008 6:32 AM PDT

First, the SR45 is an entry level hard disk drive (HDD) camcorder. It records to a built-in hard drive like the ones used in computers. The benefit of this type of storage is that you are able to store hours and hours of video during one session. (I believe that number is 7 hours on the highest quality setting for the 30GB.) I would recommend you backup your videos in case you would use them later. Doing this requires you to either use a computer hard drive or burn DVDs. It isn't a good idea to wait until the drive is full to backup because you probably would not be able to empty the contents until you got back to your computer and you don't want to risk losing all of the videos.

The other type that is recommended is well is miniDV. This is a tape format that has been around many years. It provides very good video quality. The benefit is that you end with "automatic archives" of your video because they stay on each tape. The (personal) downside to this format is you must continually buy tapes. You shouldn't reuse them. And those are also another set of items to carry with you on a day trip or what have you. Also, transfer time to the computer is in real time, for example, one hour of tape will take one hour to transfer to the computer, whereas, one hour of HDD camcorder video will take about 10-15 minutes.

Looking at your choice, it doesn't have a viewfinder, but it does have a rotating LCD (most camcorders do now). Megapixels aren't as important as usually thought. The entire system including the sensor, lens, and processing engine determine the output quality. Sony is widely respected in its sensor design whereas Canon is respected for its superior lens designs.

Some suggestions to mull over:

Canon ZR950, Sony SR45, Sony SR65, Sony HC96, Panasonic GS320, Panasonic H60

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Thanks
by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 7:03 AM PDT
In reply to: A few ideas...

So it sounds like this would be a good choice for me.

Thanks for the reply.

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Oh, another thing...
by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 7:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

Also, I read that my choice only records in MPEG2 format. Is that true? I don't mind that IF I can covert the videos without damaging the quality too much and can use a simple video editor like Windows Movie Maker.

Are there any other good camcorders that record to an HDD that use a more universal format (and maybe include a viewfinder)?

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And...
by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 7:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Oh, another thing...

What about the Sony DCR-SR100? It seems to be the same with the same specs but with a viewfinder. Same deal?

Sorry for a triple post, seems this forum doesn't allow edits to you posts?

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I use that same one...
by whizkid454 / September 10, 2008 9:09 AM PDT
In reply to: And...

It has worked great for me. I've had it since launch in 2006. Yes, it has a viewfinder and a rotating LCD.

And to your other posts, yes, all HDD camcorders use MPEG2 for file format. If you have Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, you would be able to work with the video with no problem in Movie Maker. If you have XP, you'll need either a MPEG converter or a program that can use MPEG2 files. If your looking for some software ideas, Sony Vegas and Pinnacle Studio and Corel VideoStudio are some ideas.

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Your last post...
by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 10:02 AM PDT
In reply to: I use that same one...

Are you referring to the SR45 or the SR100?

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SR100
by whizkid454 / September 10, 2008 10:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Your last post...

nt

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Digital Camera?
by Powerpunk 5000 / September 10, 2008 10:40 AM PDT
In reply to: SR100

Okay, so the SR100 seems to be my best choice. On the other hand, I was looking to see if there was a DIGITAL CAMERA (you know, pocket size) that would fit my needs AND shoot decent videos. What I found was the Casio Exilim EX-V8 8MP Digital Camera, and if the specs listed there are true and the stills are of good digital quality and the videos really can be shot at 720x480, then I think this is the perfect camera for me. I'd appreciate some true insight to this camera if anyone is knowledgeable about it.

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It might be better...
by whizkid454 / September 10, 2008 10:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Digital Camera?

If you ask in the digital cameras forum. They may have some other suggestions for you. I'm not as up to snuff with the newer cameras.

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