View Full Version : Camcorder Recommendations needed

01-29-2007, 01:39 PM
:photo: I have no clue about camcorders (it goes further but we'll leave at that :eek: )

Anyway. With the little one the wife and I want a camcorder to catch those special and not so special moments. I'm guessing I want something that will record and then I can put on cd and play on tv to send to family or storage.

Honestly I have no idea though. I've read up a little and it seems that canon and sony are the way to go, but I dunno about HD, minidv, minidvd/dvd :confused:

I guess my spending range is up to $600 or 700:help: :photo:

Thoughts, Tips, etc. Discuss... :cheers:


01-29-2007, 01:47 PM
I am on my 3rd Camcorder and am real happy with this one. It's a sony.

Things I would efinitly look for:
1) Digital - Better quality
2) Firewire output - fast video transfer to your PV
3) Analog input - I use this to hook a VCR to my camera and my camera to my computer. This allows me to convert analog VCR tapes to Digital format on my computer.

After that, it come to features you like. I like the steady shot by Sont and the night lighting.

Digital vs optical zoom is similar to that of a Digital camera.

Make sure you buy a lens glass UV filter to screw on the end to protect your lens from being sracteched, unless yours has a self closing lens cap.

I had all these older Video tapes of the gamily and kids I have since converted to DVDs. The Analog input was what enabled me to do that.

01-29-2007, 02:15 PM

I have a Sony Handycam (I think that is what it is called), Hi-8 with the Steady Shot and Night vision. It is probably 5-6 years old and works great. I bought a couple of the extra high capacity batteries and never run out of battery capacity, always run out of tapes first.

Some thoughts...If you don't want to fuss with transferring the video to either VHS or DVD then I'd look into one of the "newer" ones that uses DVDs (after reading up on them and making sure they are easy to use, copy, edit as they appear) or I'm pretty sure they sell ones now that use memory sticks. If you don't mind the transfer piece then you could go with a tape version. I think they still sell them :)

Get the best clarity and feature one you can afford and need and then consider what else you'll need for transferring, making copies, batteries, etc.

One thing to consider is that CDs/DVDs really do have a shelf life compared to your good old fashioned VHS tapes. So, if you are looking to keep the stuff for a long, long time you may want to consider the advantage of tape based storage and or backup copies of the vids on a separate HD.

Good luck!!

P.S. Any thought to using it while 4-wheeling? I've got one of those little wireless "eyecams" (http://www.rctoys.com/rc-toys-and-parts/DF-Eyecam/RC-PARTS-WIRELESS-VIDEO-KITS.html) that then sends the signal to a camcorder that I was thinking would be pretty fun to mount to the Fj40 and/or LX to record off road trips :)

01-29-2007, 02:19 PM
I am confused.

I was under the impression that CD/DVDs were long term permenant storage. Video tapes would deplete as they are based on magnetic storage that disappates over time or quickly when stored next to a big magnet.

01-29-2007, 03:13 PM

I threw my reply up here (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?p=25675#post25675) :thumb:

Jenny Cruiser
01-29-2007, 07:07 PM
I've got two Sony MiniDV camcorders both were $1K or more new. I've handled two dozen of the $300-$600 cheapies and there's no comparison. Higher end Sony is great, but if I could do it over again I'd prolly go Canon. Their higher end is more expensive, but they're better camcorders. I'd look for an HDD camcorder if you have a computer/DVDR to burn DVDs. I'm waiting for a decent HD HDD camcorder in my price range to go with the 1080p HDTV I've been thinking of. 2010 is not that far away.:D

01-30-2007, 12:11 PM
Wes, we're on our second camcorder. Here's (http://butterflyphoto.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=DCRDVD305) what we bought (although this may not be the exact model). It's a Sony unit that records directly onto mini DVDs.

These are really easy to use. My wife now has no problem firing up the camcorder when the kids are doing something cute.

Once finalized, you can pop the mini DVD directly into any recent DVD player and it will play -- no wires or hookup required.

Easy to duplicate and send to relatives.

MiniDV tapes do provide a slightly better image quality than what gets recorded to a mini DVD. However, Sony has done a really good job minimizing this, and the difference is not visible to my eye.

Harder to edit than tape. But, for the record, I found that I didn't ever do much editing when I had my first camcorder, which was a JVC miniDV unit.

01-30-2007, 01:11 PM

You forgot one of the "Pros" :hill: - Edited as appropriate


These are really easy to use. My wife now has no problem firing up the camcorder when the kids are doing something cute.

Once finalized, you can pop the mini DVD directly into any recent DVD player and it will play -- no wires or hookup required.

Easy to duplicate and send to relatives.

The mini-DVDs make great little frisbies when the little ones get bored

01-30-2007, 01:30 PM
Those are great cameras. I have the Digital 8 tape one. I save the tapes and then edit on the computer later.

It's funny, when you have a baby, you take hours and hours of tape, when there 5 you take less, when they are 12 you have to remember where the camera is sometimes.

I had 3 2 hour tapes of Rachels first year. 15 years later I edited them down and converted it to a DVD. That 6 hours of tape was edited to about 30 minutes.

01-30-2007, 01:38 PM
When the stork dropped off our little guy, I picked up a JVC 30GB HD HDD camera. Now, I'm no video pro, but this thing works great for capturing the 'moment'. it's got a setting for widescreen, too. Plenty of bells and whistles, including a SD card slot for stills or for video - removable media. It was in the neighborhood of $800 about 9 mo. ago.

It's no sony with Zeiss optics or anything, but does all I need to. AND it's wicked small.

Cons...maybe....Hard Drives are more delicate than discs. I'm militant about using neck strap, etc so I don't drop the sucker.

03-26-2007, 11:10 AM
Thanks Cardinal. I've looked at the minidvd and and they seem to be trickeling down to all the low end stuff. The minidv(tape) doesn't seem to be all that popular for consumer products (up to 1Kish). I don't really care about still's with Camcorder and I'm intrigued about the HDD with a scan disk card...

All the mid to high is now HDD. I thought I was going to get the canon dc230 (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=171&modelid=14788) but now i'm thinking DCR-SR42 30GB HandycamŽ Camcorder (http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/20INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?ProductSKU=DCRSR42&Dept=cameras&CategoryName=dcc_DICamcorders_HardDiskHandycamCamcorders)

Really, this is not easy choosing a camera. :rolleyes:

Jenny Cruiser
03-26-2007, 12:21 PM
The mini DVD recorders are cool because you can just pop the disk in your DVD player and you're good. They're limited on storage space and MiniDV tapes have better video quality. I've played around with the Sony you mention and it's a decent camcorder. It's really light and pretty small. The touch screen is nice. You'll want to get a couple extra batteries if you go with it since you'll be using the lcd a lot. There's no viewfinder. Depending on how large your TV is you might consider the DCR-SR200 40GB Handycam. When you play it on your TV you'll notice the image quality is better. I'd like to get the HDR-SR1 AVC HD 30GB Handycam, but I'll wait till they come down a bit.

One cool thing about the Sonys is they have laser link for wireless image transfer to your DVD player or TV. Not having to mess with any wires is nice at times.

03-26-2007, 01:08 PM
I don't have a HGTV.. My brother in law was giving my wife **** yeaterday on the phone wondering how we could possibly watch planet earth on a non HDTV.

I told her I really didn't even care if they turned off our tv for good. I could live without it.

Maybe I should just go back to the canon minidv which is below $500 and call it good.

03-28-2007, 09:29 PM
I have a JVC from wallmart for $260 recorded on miniDV tapes. Worked great for 18months. Got a bunch of video of my kids that cute and worth the money. I couldn't decide what to get and went cheep. I'd do it that way again. I get sand in stuff, put them through a spincycle in the washer, drop them in a sink full of water. I'm also great at scratching discs, so are my kids. I've had ambitions of getting the video on my computer but not sure what I'd do with it.