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Camcorders

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Guest X-QUORK

Have an inkling that I'd like to get a camcorder and know next to nothing about them. I'd like something that I can easily hook up to the PC in order to upload stuff I've filmed and reasonably good resolution would be good too. I don't want to spend more than a few hundred quid.

Any advice welcomed, thanks.

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I wanted one too until I realised that cameras now shoot in HD so bought a Canon Ixus 100 for less than £200.

Looks good even on my 47" screen.

With a 16gb SDHC installed it really is a handy thing. A mate has a Lumix FZ7 and the playback is phenomenal.

Just a thought.

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I've had an "old skool" Panasonic 3CCD camcorder for years. Brilliant camcorder that takes the mini-DV tapes. It is easy to use and produces great colours (the 3CCD helps as it has a separate sensor for red, green and blue). I bought a new JVC camcorder that was on offer, as it now records in HD and records straight onto a hard disk. I thought this would be better, because I didn't have to worry about carrying around tapes and the resolution (picture quality) would be better. No chance - the new camera feels cheap and I'm not happy with the picture quality. I now mostly still use my old Panasonic one, despite it being over 6 years old.

If looking at another camcorder, I would probably look at just the following manufacturers:

  • Panasonic
  • Canon
  • Sony

I would go for an HD one, but would probably go into a shop to demo it first or read the reviews each model receives carefully. I personally would look at 3CCD camcorders, but they are more expensive.

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DONT BUY SAMSUNG, they are the cheapest but they so plasticy that you will just end up selling it for a loss on ebay.

As deadman suggested buy a camera that has this capability, as most of the budget/mid range camcorders has less that

1meg resolution.

Dont forget that anti-shake is very very very important.

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Cheers guys. Also, which movie making software do you recommend?

If you have a Mac, iMovie produces great results and a novice can get the hang of it easily. Plus it comes free with the 'puter.

If you don't, over to someone else.....

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Cheers guys. Also, which movie making software do you recommend?

I don't really have much time to edit the scenes professionally. My Father-in-law is semi-retired and usually does this for us. He uses Adobe Premiere (not sure what version but it is at least 3 years old).

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Guest X-QUORK
If you have a Mac, iMovie produces great results and a novice can get the hang of it easily. Plus it comes free with the 'puter.

If you don't, over to someone else.....

PC user, but ta anyway.

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Cheers guys. Also, which movie making software do you recommend?

Ulead video studio. It takes some getting used too, ( what doesnt) but after that its pretty intuitive, and has everything you need to make near profesional films.

I think you can download a months free trial

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If you just want to take some video without geeking out too much you could start off with a flip.

Teeny tiny cheap thing that you can carry around all the time.

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Cheers guys. Also, which movie making software do you recommend?

Basic video editing can be done very well in Windows Movie Maker which comes with windows.

You'll need other software if you want to create a DVD format disc though.

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1. do you actually need HD? I know most manufacturers are phasing it out, but SD is DVD quality, and if you are watching on a 32" HD screen the benefits are minimal. Also the codecs used on cheap consumer cameras almost negate the benefits of HD. My opinion of course.

2. recording format? You'll prob want to go for an HDD for longer record times over SD card.

3. read the reviews - there are a ton of camera review sites out there, just find the model names on sale and then google them. This does take time of course. Browse the mags in Smiths. The compendium sections at the rear are usually 6 months out of date though...

4. things you don't learn until you've bought... eg spare battery- the battery that comes with your new camera may be good for only an hour, and when you look into getting a backup you find the manufacturer charges £60, and now your cheap handicam isnt looking so cheap. So you look into compatibles, and find your camera manufacturer has stuck some weird electronics in their batteries to prevent copies. Step forward JVC, and probably others...

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A very cheap method into making films is to buy one of those fuji finepix cameras you can get the S5200 on ebay for twenty quid , throw in an HDSD card and the fact that it uses AAA batteries and its acceptable quality for the price (I had an S5200 and an S5800 both were stolen on my trip) , they'll be better than the usual things you get for 30 quid which are

Infact one of my favourite youtube video makers uses an S5200 and has done for the last 3 years, his videos are good quality , its youtube that makes the recorded footage a bit watery...

The limitations however are that the mic is poor and also you can't change the zoom level once you start recording but for 30 quid (2nd hand) you have to have some compromises. And if you feel its not for you , you've only wasted a few quid. It also uses AAA bats , which you can get for a couple of quid and some rechargables.

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Basic video editing can be done very well in Windows Movie Maker which comes with windows.

You'll need other software if you want to create a DVD format disc though.

Although I'd love to agree with using Adobe Premiere, it's a bit like using a nuke to kill a pigeon. I use premiere at work and whilst it's a brilliant tool, it would probably leave you scratching your head alot. Better to stick with the above, Movie maker does everything you'll need.

If you do go with Premiere be prepared for a hefty price tag (you can always source it in the 'usual' places though)

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It depends what you're after of course. A Canon HV30 is a good mix of point and shoot easiness with a nod to more serous camcorders for around £700.

If you want a more 'cinematic' look with control of depth of field the Lumix GH1 is an SLR-esque still camera with an HD movie mode.

While for a 'few hundred pounds' you can probably get a HiDef model no probs you need bags of hard drive space and a reasonble potent computer for editing so at least budget for a big Firewire/SATA hard drive.

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It depends what you're after of course. A Canon HV30 is a good mix of point and shoot easiness with a nod to more serous camcorders for around £700.

If you want a more 'cinematic' look with control of depth of field the Lumix GH1 is an SLR-esque still camera with an HD movie mode.

While for a 'few hundred pounds' you can probably get a HiDef model no probs you need bags of hard drive space and a reasonble potent computer for editing so at least budget for a big Firewire/SATA hard drive.

After the buzz about the video on the 5dmkII canon are supposed to be pulling out all the stops to make video on the next lot cameras really awesome.

They should be releasing them in a month or two?

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Can I ask what model it is? Might have a look on fleabay!

I've had an "old skool" Panasonic 3CCD camcorder for years. Brilliant camcorder that takes the mini-DV tapes. It is easy to use and produces great colours (the 3CCD helps as it has a separate sensor for red, green and blue). I bought a new JVC camcorder that was on offer, as it now records in HD and records straight onto a hard disk. I thought this would be better, because I didn't have to worry about carrying around tapes and the resolution (picture quality) would be better. No chance - the new camera feels cheap and I'm not happy with the picture quality. I now mostly still use my old Panasonic one, despite it being over 6 years old.

If looking at another camcorder, I would probably look at just the following manufacturers:

  • Panasonic
  • Canon
  • Sony

I would go for an HD one, but would probably go into a shop to demo it first or read the reviews each model receives carefully. I personally would look at 3CCD camcorders, but they are more expensive.

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Hi spent hours researching a similar purchase last year. My criteria was:

• wanted a HD not tape

• ability record in hi-def

• proper widescreen mode

• low-light recording.

The last one (low light) is the decider. I wanted the machine to get a good record of the kids as they grow - lots of stuff outdoors, but the real funny stuff they say/do is normally inside - and even the best lit house is considered a relatively low light level compared to being outdoors..

So, the best thing to do is to ignore the actual size of the sensor, but to go for one that records onto 3 separate ones for Red, Green and Blue. You're better of with 3 smaller chips, than one massive one.

Factoring all that in, there was only one brand that did it all = Panasonic, I went for a HD9 (which has probably been updated now) but I can't fault it - superb picture & audio is very good too. About £500 I think it was.

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Can I ask what model it is? Might have a look on fleabay!

I have a Panasonic NV-DX100. It has a colour viewfinder and a 2.5in pop-out screen. I mostly use the viewfinder.It has a fully auto "idiot" mode that sorts out the focus and white balance etc for you. It does give the option for manual over-ride, but I don't think I've every used it. 12x optical zoom and 24x digital zoom. It does have anti-shake technology, but you still need to have a really steady hand (or use a tripod) when zooming at greater than 8x.

The small battery doesn't last long (around 1 hour). Try to find one that is supplied with the big external battery pack (CGR-B/814) that clips to your waistband (or pop it in your backpack etc).

I bought 2 of these 2nd hand from eBay in 2004. One for me and one for our Father-in-law, as we were getting married and we did the video ourselves. I also did a wedding video when my brother was married. I've always been happy with the picture quality of this camcorder and both are still going strong (although the Firewire port is broken on one). They weren't cheap in 2004 - around £400 each in excellent condition complete with the big battery packet etc. I had a quick look on eBay, but didn't see any. The NV-DX110 here on eBay is virtually the same.

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I have noticed that all latest camcorders have no optical veiw finder or povision for an external mike. I don't really see the point of HDD when you cant focus and alighn a decent frame in bright sun light or have decent sound reproduction. Is the a cheap way of buying a camera with the facilties still available. Any comments or sugestion whould be appreciated

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I have noticed that all latest camcorders have no optical veiw finder or povision for an external mike. I don't really see the point of HDD when you cant focus and alighn a decent frame in bright sun light or have decent sound reproduction. Is the a cheap way of buying a camera with the facilties still available. Any comments or sugestion whould be appreciated

Hi def on cheap consumer cameras is a sales gimmick in my opinion. Its like the megapixel count on stills cameras. ive got a 4MP prosumer Nikon from 2003 that takes much better pics than my more modern 8MP Canon or Ricoh.

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