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Author Topic: camcorder help - hd, flash or mini dv?  (Read 2666 times)
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Brian O
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« on: December 30, 2009, 03:51 PM »

So after 10 years of filming my kids and vacations, my sony camcorder is becoming more and more problematic and I need to buy a new one but after reading review upon review, I can't really figure out what to do.  My current camcorder records to 8mm tape and we plug that directly into our DVD player and burn the tapes to DVDs and that works great.

Everyone is recommending HD camcorders but I've read they can be sensitive to movement and bouncing / bumping around in a travel bag (ie vacation).  Flash drives and memory cards, I hear compress the video creating the worst picture quality.

Mini dvds, seem to be a pain.

I like the mini-dvs for backup and quality of picture but that seems to be dead / dying technology.

I don't need HD quality and I don't need the ability to make great videos on my computer.  My main goal is to store memories of the kids and family vacations and gatherings.

Can anyone offer any real insight on the benefit of flash, hd or mini-dv technology and / or recommend a good camcorder in the $400 range.
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 12:06 PM »

Don't worry too much about reviews on picture quality. These new digital camera's have raised the bar so high that a poor review in comparison to some high dollar top end model is going to be so many levels above your current cam you will be tickled pink. A bit over a year ago somebody posted a vid here that was so good we asked what they shot it with, it was a sub $100 Aiptek HD pocket cam which records to an SD card. I was so impressed we bought the upgraded model with a 3x optical zoom and honestly unless you have a top of the line HD TV you will not be seeing the resolution these things are capable of. In their highest res mode of 1080p they play the video fine but you'll need a quad core computer with 4 gig of Ram & a high end video card to play them on your PC, that's how much detail they capture. They have optional recording modes down to 320 x 280 for you tube type video's, sounds like you would be satisfied shooting in a DVD quality mode, that's 2-3 steps under what they can.

Look for the features you want, again a viewfinder option really is a must and hard to find anymore. You can not properly steady and aim a camera using the playback screen and holding it at arms length, not to mention not being able to see those screens under sunlight. Get something with a tilt screen for those times you may find it helpful, like when shooting from overhead in a crowd etc. Look for good low light shooting and focus. Anti-shake / image stabilization.

Read the customer reviews rather then tech reviews that many sites have now. Is it easy to use? are they happy with it? how many have had "Out of box" issues? If it's a new model reliability ratings will be hard to come by, if it's older then you'll find postings from customers if the camera's are dying after a few months.

I haven't looked into them myself so I can't steer you to a specific one, I would think the ones that record to a flash memory would be more reliable having no moving parts but that's just my opinion, no proof to back me up.

Happy hunting


"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

"People do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" George Bernard Shaw
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 04:43 PM »

I want one of those teeny flash 'corders. But I do not have any idea which one to get.
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