View Full Version : suggestions for dv camera purchase

01-26-2003, 03:58 PM
hello all,

just getting into purchase mode for a dv camera and was wondering what experiences people have had with various online retailers. you know, cost vs service, etc.

been to the bizrates and epinions of the net and am seeing an alarming trend. with the awesome prices comes horrific purchase stories. hate to pay full pop but i think i would hate getting jacked even more.

by the way, looking at the canon elura 40mc. i'll be going to my local camera store to actually look at the options but i'm really likin' the elura's size and specs.


ps... if i get this cam, i'll possibly be looking to part with my miglia dir cut take 2. if anybody interested please post/email. seems like overkill to have both.

Dick Brillo
01-30-2003, 11:35 AM

I have not used that particular camera, but I do own a Canon ZR40. My only advice is to really hold that Elura in your hand and see how steady you can hold it. It is comfortable? Do you have to contort you body to keep it steady? I am leary of those small cameras. My father-n-law has a similar sized Sony and his footage is shaky. In fact, it is plain unusable, horrible--even with the stabilization turned on.

I like the form factor of the ZR series. It fits in your hand and the most used buttons are on the outside. On the smaller camera the same buttons are deep within sub menu and difficult to reach. In the field, this really sucks. I would miss good footage if I couldn't change the mode of the camera quickly.

I bought mine at BestBuy with the 4 year extended warranty. I can not recommend highly enough that you do the same. My camera is 9 months old and I have sent it in for repair twice. It was very frustrating, but that waaranty gives me piece of mind. I don't think the Canons are bad--I just got a lemon. The video I have shot is beautiful--the sound is another thing. Sound really sucks--from a pro perspective--on these little cameras. Being able to mount a shot-gun mic is certainly something I would want to do, another stick against the smaller versions (make sure you get an audio jack for external mics).

I got the ZR40 not because of my budget--it being the cheapest camera I could buy--but because it has the least amount of useless features on it. I want a camera that shoots DV video--not still shots. It is almost impossible to buy one doesn't take still shots--which look horrible by the way. Get the cheapest, lowest feature model, and you'll find it works more closely to a pro camera!

Good Luck,
Dick Brillo

01-30-2003, 07:43 PM
I found the Sony to be the best under $1000 camera.

02-01-2003, 12:20 AM
thanks for the replies,

Dick, would you say you inlaw's issues with camera shake are attributed more to being unable to the camera steady, ie... uncomfortable position, or the quality of the digital stabilization?

On a side note, how is the low light capability on your ZR? I keep reading reports on how bad mini dv's suck in this category but I'm not at all conviced the people complaining know what they are doing. Just trusting the auto to do it all?

I really like the size of the Elura but I need to get back into the stores and try it out again. I noticed that on the front they have placed the light/focus sensors in the stupidest spot. Right where you naturally want to put your fingers. In fact, in their brochure they show someone holding it whith their fingers covering them! I like the features of the Optura but like you, I have a feeling that a majority of the price difference is that 1.3 megapixel still shot. It does have the optical stabilization, larger ccd, and manual focus, albeit in a slighty larger package.

I've also decided to buy local. I've read somewhere that BestBuys, or GoodGuys will price match online authorized dealers, I need to check into that. I starting to feel that if I get the Elura I would want to be able to return it and/or upgrade/sidegrade if it doesn't work out for what i want.

tm, I looked at the Sony's and have read good things about them but damnit if they don't get a premium for em'! Personally I find the buttons a little too small and numerous for my taste. I'm also not sure if I like touchscreen in order to navigate menus. They do get good reviews though. Read somewhere that they are the camera of choice for skydivers!

thanks all, any more suggestions please pipe in.


04-10-2003, 10:29 PM
I have been using a Sony TRV 5e Mini DV for about three years.
It is a LARGE single colour chip miniDV. Because if its weight, it is easy to shoot hand held stable. I also tend to use a monopod, which I rest either on the ground, or on my belt to be able to walk around.

In low light it is excellent, and I have found I can increase (or ramp) the exposure over time in post production (as the sun is setting, for example) and that the camera records signal even when the light is to low to see image on the LCD. It doesnt clip, if I am making sense.

I have recorded over 150 hours, and playback must be about three times that time. That is about 500 hours of tape running, and in January I had the camera serviced for the first time, as the tracking of the film through the camera went off a bit. It is now perfect again.

Oh yeah, I have also dropped it about a metre onto hard surfaces with no breakages on 3 seperate occasions. (touch wood)

I video mix and VJ so I use all the in camera photographic and digital functions extensively. live. They are easy to access (could be easier) and I have given the menu selection button wheel a thrashing. No problems yet.

Check with the cannons that the quality of the recorded image does not drop when digital effects are selected, but not activated, as I have encountered this problem in the past.

Premiere and Final Cut Pro and Edit DV all have excellent camera control of the sony, except for having to manually hit record when dumping back to tape. Frame accurate placement of the timeline onto the camera is an issue, so for example dumping half a shot onto the tape, then trying to dump the second half of the shot onto the tape later, and having the to shots join seamlessly is impossible.

This may be the case with all cameras, though.