Perpetual "what video camera should I get" thread

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Okay. Christmas is coming. I have to pick out a camcorder that my wife and I want my in laws to buy us. I don't know the price but I'm guessing sub $1000. Considering they bought her an iBook last year they may be willing to spend that much this year?





I did search and found some old threads.



http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=28987



http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=30734





I just thought I'd refresh the effort.



How important are 3 CCDs. It seems like 3CCDs are still too price for home users.



I think I'm leaning toward Sony or Canon.



Opinions?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Okay. Christmas is coming. I have to pick out a camcorder that my wife and I want my in laws to buy us. I don't know the price but I'm guessing sub $1000. Considering they bought her an iBook last year they may be willing to spend that much this year?





    I did search and found some old threads.



    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=28987



    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=30734





    I just thought I'd refresh the effort.



    How important are 3 CCDs. It seems like 3CCDs are still too price for home users.



    I think I'm leaning toward Sony or Canon.



    Opinions?






    I'm glad this came up, b/c I'm in the market as well. Same price range ~ $1000. I have been reading all the reviews I can get my hands on, but the more I read, the more indecisive I become.



    I think I have narrowed it down to the following camcorders (also Sony and Canon) - can anyone give me any insight about these machines?



    Sony PC 115

    Sony PC 330

    Canon Optura 300

    Sony TRV 80



    Two more questions...



    1) Any idea when Canon and Sony typically refresh their lines?



    2) When you go to cnet or a comparable site, they list a bunch of online stores that sell camcorders at a price quite a bit less then what you'd find at the Sony/Canon site, Best Buy, or Circuit City. Are these sites dependable?



    Thanks in advance!!!!
  • Reply 2 of 22
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Those are gray market dealers. They are not "authorized" dealers and may get their stuff from other markets, e.g. Canada. I don't consider them to be outright bad but ... i have heard of people getting the "Japanese" version of the product they thought they were buying.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    i got a cheap sony trv14 - no special effects (i prefer doing that in post production with FCE), even no dv in!, cause i do burn my final movies as dvd.-



    sony has a very good pic quality (carl zeiss optics), and it has this very nice stamina effect (long running battery).



    well, and of course, sony fits well with apple ;-)



    if you#re looking for good quality to a low price - sony.



    -------

    3 chip camera?



    well, for semi-pro it is a must! better colors, better solution, much more light sensitivity (english?).

    cameras a bigger, heavier, pricier ;-)

    -------

    what was important for me. i don't want to pay for this "also usable as a digi cam/still camera" feature! not usefull, low pic quality.-
  • Reply 4 of 22
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Not many opinions huh?
  • Reply 5 of 22
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I agree, Sony is expensive but top quality. I have the TVR-330 and the only thing I dislike about it is there is no light/flash. But I got a light attachment and it's now complete.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MilesWho

    I'm glad this came up, b/c I'm in the market as well. Same price range ~ $1000. I have been reading all the reviews I can get my hands on, but the more I read, the more indecisive I become.



    I think I have narrowed it down to the following camcorders (also Sony and Canon) - can anyone give me any insight about these machines?



    Sony PC 115

    Sony PC 330

    Canon Optura 300

    Sony TRV 80



    Two more questions...



    1) Any idea when Canon and Sony typically refresh their lines?



    2) When you go to cnet or a comparable site, they list a bunch of online stores that sell camcorders at a price quite a bit less then what you'd find at the Sony/Canon site, Best Buy, or Circuit City. Are these sites dependable?



    Thanks in advance!!!!






    refresh at beginning of the year....
  • Reply 7 of 22
    well, here are a few things. For sony cameras you will rarely find some one who actualy sells them at th MSRP unless you want to get ripped off. Even highly reliable stores will sell the sony cams for under the msrp. the thing is to look at how much lower. Shop aorund. when the deal looks like its too good to be true it usualy is. For example, bhphoto will sell a vx2000 for around 2200-2400 where as royalcamera will sel em for 1350-1600. MSRP is 3k.



    the thing about a single ccd cams is they are not that bad if you are doing mostly home and light hobby work. Only prosumers would say u have to get a 3ccd cam. But if you are looking, there is a JVC model for like about a grand. its the GU3000 or someething like that. Its been a while since i was shoping for cams.



    the other thing you need to do is really just define where the shots will take place. For me i was shooting in very dark areas, so i needed a camera that can handle very low light. I actualy turned down the XL1 just because i have shot with it b4 and have seen the results it gives me in the condition i will be in. The new vx2100 is what I want, but more than likely will get a vx2000. try to find a camera that fits in to the stlye that the recipients wil be shooting in. pros and conns section of the review should help there.
  • Reply 8 of 22
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    A good 3ccd camera is a big difference.



    I have a Sony TRV900 and I like it . . . it is pretty good

    but I have seen its shots against those of a Canon XL1 and the difference is unbelievable



    Canon GL1s are good too, at about the same qality as a TRV900 (or is it 950 these days?)

    but if you can afford it get the new JVC HD camera
  • Reply 9 of 22
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    This will be a gift that the in-laws will be buying for the wife and me. So I looked at some at Best Buy today and decided they could buy me a sony.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    mmmpiemmmpie Posts: 628member
    Ive got a Canon 530i ( latest model is 630i - I think ).

    It should be heaps less than $1000.



    As far as consumer camcorders go, I dont think you could ask for much more, however I note the following negatives.



    a) The standard battery could only shoot about 50min, so not even a whole tape. So I got a nine hour battery.



    b) Its light, untill you put a nine hour battery in it.



    c) The orientation is hand pointing up. This can get tiring, you might want a hand pointing forward orientation ( more like holding a joystick ).



    d) The internal microphone picks up tape mechanism noise ( a common issue ). So you'll want to get a real mic. Unfortunately the mic shoe has no power or audio connectors, so you need to run external cables. The next model up has these features.



    e) The tape mechanism points down, and is obstructed by a tripod, not really a big deal ( for me ).



    f) Cables werent complete out of the box - no firewire.



    g) Cant charge from firewire cable.



    h) Requires usb cable to access the sd card. I think that just stupid.





    Thats a few negatives, but most of them arent that bad really - they dont affect my day to day usage ( except for the weak included battery ).



    On a positive note, it has pretty good controls, not to hard to operate. It has a manual zoom function. It has 18x optical zoom, higher on better models. Its pretty small. Its quite attractive visually ( unlike Sony's IMHO ). It can digitise analog video sources, and send them across firewire. The screen isnt too bad. Its not overloaded with too many crap features. It works really well with my Mac.



    I consider it to have been an excellent buy.

    It cost me 1500 Au $, if I had twice as much then the better canon models address a lot of the ergonomic issues ( size, orientation ).
  • Reply 11 of 22
    Okay, this is going to sound really dumb. I don't shoot video...at all, but I've gone through similar quests for a nice digital SLR/film SLR/lenses. The question I have, which I've always wondered about, is: with video cameras, digital or non-digital -- how is it that they seem to be so much more sensitive than still cameras? And with this, can the sensitivity be varied similar to adjusting the equivalent ISO on a digital camera's CCD or changing the film on a 35mm/medium format camera or putting on a faster/slower lens/changing aperture?



    This has always fascinated me --- watching certain movies and television shows that have so many scenes that would be difficult or near impossible to shoot with a still camera. Video cameras must have a shutter speed at least 1/30 sec, right (with a slightly slower shutter for production films and some TV)? Is it that the lens aperture on video cameras is capable of being much more wide relative to the glass itself? I'm clueless...so somebody please give aid!
  • Reply 12 of 22
    resres Posts: 711member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fred_lj





    This has always fascinated me --- watching certain movies and television shows that have so many scenes that would be difficult or near impossible to shoot with a still camera. Video cameras must have a shutter speed at least 1/30 sec, right (with a slightly slower shutter for production films and some TV)? Is it that the lens aperture on video cameras is capable of being much more wide relative to the glass itself? I'm clueless...so somebody please give aid!




    Actually they use lens apertures no lager then what you use with your 35mm camera, and they can't decrease the shutter speeds. So how do they film that darkly lit bar scene? They cheat.



    It may look like it was dark when they filmed it them, but the shadowy bar, the street scene at night, and all other supposed poorly lit locations are actually brightly lit with flood lights.



    They also shoot scenes during the day and use filters to make it look like night. As I recall all of the night boat scenes in Jaws were shot during the day.



    Ah, the wonders of movie magic.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    an electronic image digitizer has many ways to improve "actively" light sensibility. have you ever seen in all these funny "glases" on the soldiers' helmets in irak, afghanistan etc...?



    a standard betacam (used for tv documentation) has a "push up" switch, which gives the camera more sensitivity of 4/12dB, which is a lot.



    some chips in the cameras are also sensitive for infrared light, on consumer cameras called "zero light shoot" - so, with your eyes (or your analog camera) you don't see anything, your videocam does.



    i'm not sure, but also: the optics/chip ratio is on a videocam better than on film...?
  • Reply 14 of 22
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    the Panasonic GS70 is worth checking out. it's a compact 3CCD with a nice leica lens for a bit more than 1000$. But worth it, no doubt.



    Only USB2 support tough, so ibook compatibility is not very good...
  • Reply 15 of 22
    resres Posts: 711member
    In the under $1000 range I'd get a Sony (the Canon ZR series looks good on paper, but the built in microphone picks up a lot of nose from the drive mechanism)



    I've been very happy with the Sony DCR-TRV22 that I picked up a few months ago.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Canons have great lenses but bad mics



    Sony has poor manual controls and ok lenses



    but basically I would suggest one or the other
  • Reply 17 of 22
    I'd get one you're willing to carry. I have a fancy 3 chip sony and I pine for a small consumer camera. Why? Cause I'd leave the small consumer camera in my backpack and always have it with me. The best camera in the world won't get the magic shot if it's sitting in your apartment.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Well my spies tell me they bought a Sony from Best Buy so if there's a problem I can take it back for a different one.





    You know I was checking Apple's iMovie support list and some Sony models were not there. Does the list need to be updated or are some common cameras really not supported?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Well my spies tell me they bought a Sony from Best Buy so if there's a problem I can take it back for a different one.





    You know I was checking Apple's iMovie support list and some Sony models were not there. Does the list need to be updated or are some common cameras really not supported?






    sony still sells some video8 cameras, which is a different format than mini-dv. iMovie just supports dv cams.-
  • Reply 20 of 22
    knappaknappa Posts: 106member
    Has anybody had the opportunity to test one of the new cameras from Sharp ? I saw a review of one of them, but it was in Italian. And since my Italian is a bit rusty (let's call it very rusty), I couldn't figure out whether it was compatible with a Mac out of the box or not... I'll try to find the links though...





    Review of Sharp cam in Italian



    edit: added link / corrected spelling
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