Camcorders forum

General discussion

Too many options to choose a suitable camera

by wulderenzulder / November 8, 2004 7:56 AM PST

Hi folks,

We're looking to buy a digital video camera. Googling didn't help much, since we have some particular needs.

A brief overview:

budget: not more then necessary
goal: recording relatively short speaking exercises from groups with the possibility to play instantly back the recorded stuff on PC and/or beamer (projector).
criteria:
-the smaller the better
-lightsensitive since it should work under not so ideal light circumstances
-sound should be reasonable since what 'll be recorded comes from a certain distance (i.e. when someone speaks from the back of the room, it should be recorded as well)
-as handy as possible

Other issues:
- After a few talks in different stores, we still don't have an idea of what to choose. You have dvc's in every price range. My experience with hardware says "choose somewhere in the middle for the best purchase, the cheapest are often outdated and the expensive ones are not allways worth their price". Is this the case with digital video cameras?
- What kind of recording device should we consider?
- The PC is a very recent and powerfull portable, capable of playing/burning dvd. But it's possible that it will be replaced by a Mac in the near future, so it's obvious that it should also work with a Mac.
- Since it's a camera for my dad (who isn't exactly a techno-who-kicks-on-lots-of-buttons-geek) it would be nice to have a very userfriendly camera.

Any advice / considerations / tips / recommendations would be highly appreciated.

Best regards,

Rik

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Collapse -
my choice
by frankzxcv / November 8, 2004 2:20 PM PST

well i have a sony trv38, and here's why I bought it:

it has a large (3.5") LCD screen-- I haven't shopped for a year, but the time, that was comparably big to the usual 2.5. for an older person with bifocals etc., that will be helpful.

it has the usual firewire port, a USB port, AND it has a analogue Audio/video out. I use that AV out for corporate stuff, it easily hooks up to a video projector, looks great.

It also has the image stabilization hich works very well.

Onboard mike is great. Sometimes it works better (because it picks up LESS background noise than my sennheiser.

the playback functions are touch screen on the LCD. you get a lot of fingerprints on the screen but otherwise it's okay.

I think it's possible for these things to be TOO small. the TRV38 is a regular hold in tour hand size.

most of these cams are fine in average light. they seem to see what the eye sees. this camera has an awesome low light feature. you can literally see in the dark. I don't use it much tho.

some overkill, this camera has oodles of sub menus, more than I have ever bothered to explore. It is occasionally handy to hit a button and have a still photo of a video frame. I don't use it to edit video on the fly or add a different audio track or build a frame for a stil photo. the still photo function is handy but not great looking.

My only real complaint about this camera is, you have to unscrew the tripod mounting shoe to change tapes, which can be a real problem when hurried.

this cam was pricey-- about 850 I think. but I am very happy with it.

hope this helps- fj

Collapse -
Re: my choice
by wulderenzulder / November 9, 2004 6:01 AM PST
In reply to: my choice

Hi frankzxcv,

Thanks for your advice. The post has cleared some things out.

Rik

Collapse -
forgot to mention
by frankzxcv / November 13, 2004 3:07 AM PST
In reply to: Re: my choice

happy to help. glad much of my suffering was not for naught.

one other thing, on this cam the analogue audio/ video OUT jack is also an analogue (stereo) audio/ video IN (how they do that amazes me) so it's easy to convert vhs tapes to minidv format and load them into your computer that way. (it comes with a cable that goes from 3 RCA plugs to a 3-way mini plug) I have never explored far enough to see if it would convert in real time, I just xfer from tape to tape. but I think it will do that.

mini dv is amazing. the tape has time code, so you can log your tapes and do batch transfers automatically. and I can't tell the difference between most footage I shoot with this cam and broadcast quality stuff I have.

--fj

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