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SD, Night Shots Quality, Good Image Stabilization

by mmsoliman / August 1, 2010 12:59 AM PDT

Can you help recommending a camcorder that meets my criteria here please:

- Standard Difinition.
- No internal HDD, trying to minimize the moving parts and weight too.
- Fairly decent quality night shots, heard JVC are the best for that! please enlighten me.
- Reliable Image Stabilization. Optical or Digital! what whould you recommend.



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Start with a budget...
by boya84 / August 6, 2010 11:26 PM PDT

What is your financial pain threshold?

Over or under $1,000?
Over or under $2,000?

Optical stabilization is better between the two - physical stabilization (tripod, chair, rock, camera crane, etc.) is best.

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budget and recording scenarios
by mmsoliman / August 7, 2010 12:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Start with a budget...

Im just starting; so I'm not going to go crazy. I'd like to keep it under 700$ a little more shouldn't be an issue though.

I will mostly use it for recording bike ride and car drives so its going to be mounted on the car dash or the bike handlebar. thats why I m thinking physical stabilization is not viable in these cases. but thanks for the suggestion. I'm not expecting any image stabilization to completely eliminate vibrations effect here.

let me know your thoughts!


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by boya84 / August 7, 2010 2:38 AM PDT

If by "night shots" you mean some sort of zero-visible light capture, I think your limited to Sony - some of their camcorders have a built-in infrared emitter providing "NightShot" or "SuperNightShot", monochrome video capture. The built-in IR emitter's throw is effectively around 8 feet but you can add an external IR illuminator (from Sony) to extend that a bit.

The HDR-HC9 is miniDV tape based and meets the technical requirements - assuming your computer has a firewire port (or you are able/willing to add one if the computer has no firewire port) - but it is more than your stated budget.

The HDR-CX500 series also meets your technical requirements - with the exception of $. Be aware that they save AVCHD compressed MTS files so your computer needs to be fairly beefy and the video editor should be pretty current and specify AVCHD file compatibility with the computing hardware environment.

If "night shot" is a different definition (as in "low visible light" level), the the Canon HF S series is worth a look.

The issue with high compression (AVCHD) is that it and fast action don't get along very well. For fast action you really want less compression (DV or HDV) applied to the video stream and at your specified budget, that is miniDV tape.

Consumer camcorders using flash memory and HDD for high definition video storage all use AVCHD compression to MTS files (or in JVC's case, TOD files).

Have you looked at any DSLRs that can capture video? I don't have much experience with them, but their video looks pretty good (assuming audio is not that big of a deal for you).

How about a "helmet cam"? The "VholdR ContourHD 1080p Full HD Helmet Camera" made it to my short list - though I expect its low-light behavior will not be very good at all...

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