Video Cameras forum

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Travel Camcorder

by nadiyah1 / March 26, 2007 11:11 PM PDT

I'm taking a long trip through Asia and having a hard time figuring out which camcorder is best for high quality video and stills as well as low light situations. My budget is max $500, though I would prefer to spend less and I'm limited to the selection at

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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by boya84 / March 27, 2007 2:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Travel Camcorder

At, you have the following under $500:

Canon ZR830 @ $299
Canon ZR850 @ $329
Canon ZR800 @ $279
Panasonic PV-GS85 @ $327
Panasonic PV-GS80 @ $264
JVC GR-D750 @ $283
JVC GR-D770 @ $313

Here at or, do some homework. Which one has the lowest LUX rating and the highest mega-pixel still-image rank?

You will also want an extra high-capacity rechargeable battery or two, a sturdy case, a monopod or tripod... any you may want an external mic... and upgrade the memory card (the one included in the camera will not hold many images). You will also want lots of miniDV tapes.

If your computer does not already have a FireWire port, that will need to be added. You will also need a FireWire cable as they are not typically included in the box.

Tell us what you find, we'll tell you if you are headed in the right direction.

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you also have
by boya84 / March 27, 2007 3:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Travel Camcorder

JVC Everio GZ-MG130 @ $499
Sony DCR-HC48 @ $399
Sony DCR-HC38 @ $369
JVC GR-D796 @ $329

and perhaps a few more... Please note that there are NO recommended DVD camcorders. You will be wise to stay with miniDV tape in this situation unless you are planning to take something else on which to store captured video... With miniDV tape, when you fill a tape, pop it out, lock it, label it, pop in a new tape and resume capturing video.

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narrowing it down
by nadiyah1 / March 29, 2007 3:02 AM PDT
In reply to: you also have

Thank you so much for the advice. I've spent some time looking up specifics and so far, it seems that the sony dcr-hc48 is a pretty good option with its 1.1 mega pixel ccd and jped images up to 1152x864. I do wonder if the difference in low light situations compared with the canon zr850 is worth sacrificing 10x of optical zoom.

From what I have gathered and think I understand, the Panasonic pv-gs85 and pv-gs80 will be a major decline in the quality of still photos. As will the jvc gr-d770 and 796, and the samsung sc-d363.

Do you have any suggestions from here? Am I reading things right?

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For you - I'm thinking
by boya84 / March 29, 2007 7:25 AM PDT
In reply to: narrowing it down

either the HC96 or the ZR850...

Whether the low-light vs optical zoom trade is acceptable to you - is, well... up to you.

Honestly, either machine will be fine for your needs - from what you have described. Remember to add in an extra battery and a case. You might want to get the tripod when you get there - and consider leaving it there unless you will be packing it in luggage for cargo - carrying a tripod or monopod on the plane with carry-on luggage will be frowned upon. These items, and an extra memory card for stills and blank miniDV tape will eat up the rest of your budget.

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by nadiyah1 / March 29, 2007 2:40 PM PDT
In reply to: For you - I'm thinking

Thanks again for the suggestion, but I just wanted to make sure, i'm comparing the hc48 not the 96. My main concern now is that I've read that just because a camera has a lower lux rating doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of the night video will be good, only that it will be able to record. If the quality isn't good, then I dont really want to spend an extra $80 to record shadows in the dark!

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I realize $80 is $80,
by boya84 / March 29, 2007 11:10 PM PDT
In reply to: vs

but if you are limited to the Dell site, then you have some sort of credit or coupon... so pick one. No matter which you pick, you can either second-guess yourself forever or have fun with what you got and know you made the right decision. You won't be shooting a full-length movie with it. If the video is THAT important to you, you would not be getting either of these camears or limiting yourself to the Dell website availability.

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