How do you decide what MiniDV camcorder to buy?

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Richie
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How do you decide what MiniDV camcorder to buy?

Post by Richie »

I'm confused!
I'm trying to find a camcorder for my Dad but I don't really know where to start looking?! (a search of the forums hasn't helped me much).

I need to find one that has the following:

- MiniDV
- colour monitor screen
- widescreen format recording
- can take still digital pics
- price range between £600 - £800

If anyone can point me in the right direction for the best possible camcorder I can get with the above specs I'd be most grateful!

Cheers
Richie
nigel_williams
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Post by nigel_williams »

I've got a Panasonic DV35 which is nearly 2 years old and it's excellent. Things to look for:

DV In/Out - Many cameras only do DV Out (so you can edit via Firewire on a PC) but not In as it involves some crazy EC tax.

Stills are at VGA resolution on mine, not great but OK. Sony do a Mega-pixel snapshot version.

Check the Optical zoom too, 10x or 15x is good.
Leigh
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Post by Leigh »

Originally posted by nigel_williams
I've got a Panasonic DV35 which is nearly 2 years old and it's excellent. Things to look for:

DV In/Out - Many cameras only do DV Out (so you can edit via Firewire on a PC) but not In as it involves some crazy EC tax.

Stills are at VGA resolution on mine, not great but OK. Sony do a Mega-pixel snapshot version.

Check the Optical zoom too, 10x or 15x is good.



another vote for panasonic, ive got a DV15, well pleased with it :)
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Post by Guest 1661 »

The "crazy EU tax" your referring to is that its tariff classification changes if it can do input as well, attracting a higher rate of import duty. Several though only have the input functionailty there but disabled by the firmware, so can be hacked to make them input functional again. Rather like remote hacks for region free in a way.
TimK
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Post by TimK »

We found that the camcorder's design is as equally important as its technical specs. The missus and me had to try out loads of different ones before we found one that felt 'natural' to both of us. Finally ended up with a Panasonic DA1, but that was a few years ago.
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Post by Guest 12714 »

I purchased a Panasonic MX5-B recently from Lets Go Digital this was an £800 DV camcorder for £400 in their specials section as was just being replaced and was re-furbed by Panasonic, it is however much better than a normal £400 camcorder. It has digital still at 1megapixel which is not very high quality but is quite OK, these are stored on a smartcard.

It is tiny howver which was the main idea.
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Post by Guest 14124 »

You could try the reviews over at http://www.whatcamcorder.net

Lots of modern DV camcorders can easily be DV-in enabled by a little widget or hack. Take a look over at http://www.lynxdv.com.

Bear in mind how you are going to edit stuff.

If you use a PC, budget for the firewire card and editing software etc.

BTW My JVC GRDV150 has a widescreen mode but not all do so if this is important you need to check carefully.

Pices vary wildly. Check places like http://www.unbeatable.co.uk or http://www.empiredirect.co.uk for some reasonable prices. Could save £100's over Comet etc.
Richie
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Post by Richie »

cheers for the replies people :clap:

I looked at uk.pricerunner.com to get the best prices - quite useful.

based on up to date reviews and "best buy" guides at sites like those you guys have mentioned, I think my Dad will go for the Sony DCR-PC9. It's list price is £1300 but can be had for £877 online (he decided to up his budget a bit!).

I am concerned that it doesn't shoot widescreen but it seems that very few of them actually do! (I thought this was almost a standard feature - guess I was way off there!)
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Post by Guest 4140 »

I bought one a couple of years ago and couldn't believe that nothing on the market shot in genuine widescreen. All you can have is an option to plonk black bars top and bottom so that you get a non-anamorphic 16x9 picture on the TV. Can't believe there isn't a market for genuine 16x9 picture and I can't believe many people buying camcorders now still want to shoot things in 4:3.

Does anyone know why the camcorder market is so behind the times?
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Post by Anthony.S »

Richie,
You or your dad will not be disappointed with the Sony.
I have the PC100e and it is total quality.
TimK
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Post by TimK »

Originally posted by rgfinch
I bought one a couple of years ago and couldn't believe that nothing on the market shot in genuine widescreen. All you can have is an option to plonk black bars top and bottom so that you get a non-anamorphic 16x9 picture on the TV. Can't believe there isn't a market for genuine 16x9 picture and I can't believe many people buying camcorders now still want to shoot things in 4:3.

Does anyone know why the camcorder market is so behind the times?

I don't think this is quite true. Our old Sony Hi-8 camcorder had the option of recording in 4:3, non-anamorphic widescreen or anamorphic widescreen and this was bought in '97.
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Post by DVDWotcha »

Originally posted by Richie
cheers for the replies people :clap:

I looked at uk.pricerunner.com to get the best prices - quite useful.

based on up to date reviews and "best buy" guides at sites like those you guys have mentioned, I think my Dad will go for the Sony DCR-PC9. It's list price is £1300 but can be had for £877 online (he decided to up his budget a bit!).

I am concerned that it doesn't shoot widescreen but it seems that very few of them actually do! (I thought this was almost a standard feature - guess I was way off there!)


Woah, hold up on the PC9. Make sure your sure about it. You may be able to pick up a PC110 or even an older PC100 for a good price.

The main drawback I saw with the PC5 size cams is that they don't have buttons and stuff for some of the menu options. A lot of it is driven from the touch screen, which isn't all that helpful if your in bright sunshine and can't see the damn LCD !!!

I'd advise checking these things out at your local dixons before you decide.

And no most camcorders don't do true anamorphic widescreen... for the main reason that they don't have an anamorphic lense. Most do do closed matt widescreen capture though (i.e. they mask off the top and bottom).
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Post by Guest 10049 »

Originally posted by DVDWotcha
Woah, hold up on the PC9. Make sure your sure about it. You may be able to pick up a PC110 or even an older PC100 for a good price.


And you could get a PC110 here for £899
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Post by DVDWotcha »

If you can get a PC110 for under 1000 quid you have a real bargain on your hands. Damn fine camera.
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