View Full Version : which video camera to buy?

10-20-2002, 09:39 PM
I have been asked to help someone purchase her first camcorder. Before yesterday i knew nothing about them, and now i may know less so iam looking for info. I am thinking she is looking to spend less than a grand and since she is only 17 years ols i know she is looking for a consumer camera. She wants it to be small and easy to use, but decent quality since she is off to college next year and plans on doing something with video and still photography as a career. It seems to have come down to a couple choices, and they mayor not be obvious choices ..and if there are better ones out there let me know. Seems the Canon DR 20, or DR45 seem to be nice middle of the road affordable miniDV cameras under $599. And for another 300 hundred dollars you can move to a Sony MiniDV that seems to have much better pixel numbers and gets into something called streaming USB....is this something to consider, or is firewire still the standard? Please offer any advice and info no matter how basic as i have only just begun researching this.

10-21-2002, 07:47 AM
If you have not visited this site http://www.dvspot.com/ you might nose around there. I don't have this type of camera. I do have a digital still camera, Canon A40, and very pleased with it. I bought a bundle which came with a USB CompactFlash card reader. Very slow even tho digital still shots, each about 1MB size, and especially when downloading 50 to 100 shots. A FW Lexar CF card reader solved that problem. Sure don't know anything about streaming USB tho. k

10-21-2002, 08:24 AM
Some info about Sony USB Streaming here http://www.greggman.com/edit/editheadlines/2002-05-30.htm k

10-21-2002, 01:28 PM
Nice page kaye, thanks! The sony is the one i am lookign at, and will dig into it deeper tonight.

11-01-2002, 09:15 AM
Hey tm311,

Have you decided on a miniDV camcorder yet? If so what make/model? k

11-01-2002, 12:06 PM
hey I bought a sony trv140, I figured a way to stream the video in by firewire thru BTV and then import into pixela if your looking for a low cost deal its not bad picture quality is very good.

11-01-2002, 06:49 PM
She has not made the purcase yet, but i think this is the one to get...... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh1.sph/FrameWork.class?FNC=ProductActivator__Aproductlist _html___246973___SODCRTRV27___REG___CatID=1871___S ID=F1782C768A0

They sell it for $760 plus shipping...no tax.

I don't think there is a better camera out there for under a grand.

11-02-2002, 09:16 AM

To address a point you mentioned at the first, is she intending to use this camera as a combo for still and video, or primarily video?

As a still photographer, but also a Canon XL1 miniDV owner, I can tell you that she will be disappointed in the wide end of the lens coverage on any miniDV camera.....it's just a matter of CCD size. That will be the next breakthrough in digital cameras (I hope).....still and video. I am always trying to widen my shots with XL1 and am frustrated by it, and it has 16X zoom, and is wider than lesser cameras.

If she already has still equipment, assuming 35mmm, I would recommend the digital route for still as being a film scanner and/or flatbed scanner with transparency adapter. The dedicated film scanner for 35mm would be preferable for that format, but,if she uses different, and larger, film sizes, the flatbed would be her option. Prices for dedicated 35mm film scanners are steadily lowering, and even the low end of these are good...such as Minolta, Olympus, Polaroid, and Nikon....and better than flatbed. Software is important, especially in flatbed...I prefer Epson packages there.

My point is, hard film to digital is still the way to go for the advantage it gives you in WIDE ANGLE OPTICS, not to mention quality,though that gap is narrowing in digital stills, especially at high end. She will be disappointed in quality of stills from the camcorder, most likely.


[This message has been edited by jmikey (edited 02 November 2002).]

11-02-2002, 09:32 AM
I realize that this camera will not produce any true still image quality, and i have explaned to her that the still quality will be fine for email and small prints(its basically a 1MP still camera) And i also know the limitations of the CCD, however it does have the largest CCD of any sub 1k camera. it will be her first camera and in a couple years she will have theoption of upgrading to something better. I am basically trying to get her a starter camera. Do you think she would be better off with this camera as compared to a lesser Canon miniDV or a Hi-8 camera? Something in the range of your X1 or even a more expensive sony m-DV, i believe is not in the budget. The still image is a side benifit and not thereal purpose of buying this camera.
While i am not a comercial photographer, i am in the business of commercial digital printing and have some real hands on experience with both shooting and printing with cameras such as the olympus e-20, Nikon d5 and d-100 as well as the fugi s2 and Minolts dimage7, so i know the limits of the digital ccd, and like you i eagerly await an improvement, because while the quality of digtal enlargements in the commercial world IS improving i still think with the added sharpening and image manipulation of PS, the cameras themselves are not even close to the quality of film. but as one who does NOT miss breathing chemical fumes i will gladly use that sharpening filter any day of the week!!!!! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message has been edited by tm311 (edited 02 November 2002).]

11-03-2002, 06:31 PM
Geting ready to order the Sony DCR-TRV27 Mini DV Camcorder from B&H Photo for $759. Anyone have any objections speak now or forever hold your peace!!! Went into the local store yesterday to take a look at it and get some advice from the retail help....what a JOKE!!! I can't wait to go in tomorrow and let the owner( someone i know from seing him often enough around town) that once again he lost a sale not only on price but because his sales staff is incompetent!!! Price is good...no sales tax and shipping is reasonable...should have it Tuesday.

11-12-2002, 01:29 AM
Hey TM,

Did you get that camera?

What do you think about it? I'm going to have to make the leap to work on a project in the next month or 2, and for right now it'll have to be mini DV.


11-12-2002, 06:39 PM
I did buy it last week, and have not had a chance to load any footage from it to my computer. But from all my research and looking around if you are looking to spend under a ggrand the sony is the one to get. I should get a chance to look at some files this weekend.

11-15-2002, 04:03 AM

Have been barely hanging on since I wrote last, but see you got Sony which was hard to argue against since it does have memory stick capabilities. I did not get chance to respond to your Hi-8 inquiry, but I would have said "Hell No" definitely.

At first, I thought Canons in the price range you were talking about, had better zoom range than Sonys, but that was not the case, so, I think you did best thing. I hear fewer problems in forums with Sony and Canon so they are obviously better equipped with computer interfacing. I do know that I have been disappointed with Canon's Customer Service, but, don't know if Sony's is any better.

For xample, e-Cost refused to budge on item they say was mis-packaged by Canon, and, Canon said e-Cost switched items in package. It was a $30 item which Canon would ship for 8$ standard ground, which I declined out of principal, and, when I ordered it from B&H, it was the same item that came in original battery-charger/AC-DC converter package...it's a simple cord and interface plate that allows battery charger to work as AC/DC power supply for camera. I don't know who's right or wrong on it....Canon or e-Cost...they were both eager to blame the other, but, to eliminate the variables, I won't buy from e-Cost anymore, although I spent $5,000 there, and, the next miniDV camera I buy, will not be a Canon...will be a Sony, most likely

Just for some more info...the 16X zoom that comes with the Canon XL1 and XL1S is one of the worst lenses made. It's non-stop focusing collar will drive you crazy as you focus past infinity, and the high-price auto-focusing system doesn't 'fare any better as it regularly decides to de-focus at critical moments, it's so confused. Don't believe it?....look it up. Coupled with a poor standard viewfinder that will not even register the Blue Angels at the top of a loop, the definition is so poor, and, coupled with the aforementioned infinite turning focusing and zoom rings, it will disappoint you.

Of course, you can opt for the $1000+ CRT viewfinder for better focusing defintion, or buy the optional 14x manual zoom ....with infinity stop....for about same price, or more, as 16x that comes as "kit" lens. Less powerful.....lot less headaches, though.

Sorry, about the rant, kiddies, but, I inhaled too many darkroom fumes as a child trying to perfect printing on Agfa #6 with no temperature control.

I know she's thrilled with camera.