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Old 08-18-10, 01:29 PM   #1
rominl
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Default HD Camcorder talk...

I really don't know much on HD camcorders so I want to come here for more help. Searched but threads are kind of old and given how fast things change on these stuff, might as well do a new thread.

So with baby coming soon, I am in search of a HD camcorder. There are wide range of models and prices and what not, so I don't know what's good and what I actually "need". I guess my criteria is....

1) HD of course
2) quick shooting (pick up and shoot)
3) prefer to have internal memory + SD slots
4) video format easily converted into DVDs or computer files for viewing
5) small and light, you get the idea
6) reasonable zoom, but don't think I need all the bells and whistles on features
7) picture quality is always the key

So anyone with ideas what I should look for? I looked at the Canon HF S20 (S200 has no internal HDD). Size and weight look awesome, but is it worth the $870 price tag?

How about Panasonic HDC-TM700K? What about other brands? I don't know much about other brands, but in general I am not a fan of Sony.

Any help is appreciated!!
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Old 08-18-10, 01:50 PM   #2
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how about a flip HD? probably not as high quality in video but seems super handy and has a built in USB port.
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Old 08-18-10, 02:34 PM   #3
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People still buy camcorders? Many point and shoot picture camera's do HD video now and is good enough for your typical family home video. If you want something nicer a mini dslr type of camera with HD video function like the Sony NEX is good too. Panasonic has a GH1 that's pretty nice for video too it's good enough for professional use by film makers so it should be good enough for home videos.
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Old 08-18-10, 02:41 PM   #4
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After spending far too much time researching camcorders 18 months ago, i ended up buying the Canon HF 100 (1080i HD recording onto SD cards) last year slightly used on ebay for $500: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/suppor...rs/vixia_hf100

Great cam, beautiful picture quality (especially over my old vhs-c cam)! Quick motion can be an issue on it, but otherwise, great cam! It's the size of a coke can and records to SD cards... so nice!

Be warned - each camcorder has their issues (low light noise, terrible zoom, image stabilization, quick motion blur, etc). Read plenty of reviews before plunking down your $$.

With any newer HD camcorder recording to memory cards, they mostly record in AVCHD format. You need a beefy computer and newer vid editing software to edit these files. I render 8-11 frames/second (avchd -> mpeg2 (for dvds)) with the following setup:

c2d 2.33ghz
2gb ram
win 7 64 bit home premium
Pinnacle Studio 12 video editor


I plan on eventually upgrading to a 6core amd, which, from the test I've seen, boost rendering frames to around 19-28frames/sec. I've seen some just over 30frames/sec too. No more rending overnight!

Last edited by MrMut; 08-18-10 at 02:47 PM..
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Old 08-18-10, 02:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetfire View Post
how about a flip HD? probably not as high quality in video but seems super handy and has a built in USB port.
i looked at those too, i was wondering about the picture quality and zoom capability?

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Originally Posted by ba-b4 View Post
People still buy camcorders? Many point and shoot picture camera's do HD video now and is good enough for your typical family home video. If you want something nicer a mini dslr type of camera with HD video function like the Sony NEX is good too. Panasonic has a GH1 that's pretty nice for video too it's good enough for professional use by film makers so it should be good enough for home videos.
good question, thought about that as well. i have a nikon d90 which can shoot video just fine, i was also thinking if that's sufficient for me to shoot video clips if necessary. but i wasn't sure if the video quality is going to be as good as camcorders (mine for sure doesn't do 1080p). and another problem is i think with my slr, i can't re-focus during a shoot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMut View Post
I bought the Canon HF 100 (1080i HD recording onto SD cards) last year slightly used on ebay for $500: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/suppor...rs/vixia_hf100

Great cam, beautiful picture quality (especially over my old vhs-c cam)! Quick motion can be an issue on it, but otherwise, great cam! It's the size of a coke can and records to SD cards... so nice!

With any newer HD camcorder recording to memory cards, they mostly record in AVCHD format. You need a beefy computer and newer vid editing software to edit these files. I render 8-11 frames/second (avchd -> mpeg2 (for dvds)) with the following setup:

c2d 2.33ghz
2gb ram
win 7 64 bit home premium
Pinnacle Studio 12 video editor


I plan on eventually upgrading to a 6core amd, which, from the test I've seen, boost rendering frames to around 19-28frames/sec. I've seen some just over 30frames/sec too. No more rending overnight!
but i guess if i don't do rendering then i am ok? i mostly want to make sure whatever video format i can easily burn them on dvd (as dvd video) or playback on computers

thanks again guys!
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Old 08-18-10, 02:55 PM   #6
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Well, if you go with a cam that only does avchd recording, then unfortunately, you'll need to render the video from the raw format (avchd) to mpeg2 to put it on dvd's. Just like if you wanted to put the video on youtube, you would have to render the avchd down to a usable format for it. You may not specifically press 'render' on your pc, but it'll do it anyways and it does take awhile... I render all my vid overnight at the moment.

If you go with a lower quality camera that records straight to mpeg2 (lower quality than avchd), then you won't have to render anything for DVD's if you don't edit the video. If you edit the video, you may have to render it together (it'll be quicker though with straight mpeg2 files)

just for reference on the size of videos in AVCHD, 8GB of the 1080i video on top settings = roughly 50-60 minutes of video. The sizes are huge and it helps to have a more powerful pc not to just render, but to edit the videos.
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Old 08-18-10, 05:18 PM   #7
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good question, thought about that as well. i have a nikon d90 which can shoot video just fine, i was also thinking if that's sufficient for me to shoot video clips if necessary. but i wasn't sure if the video quality is going to be as good as camcorders (mine for sure doesn't do 1080p). and another problem is i think with my slr, i can't re-focus during a shoot?
I think the Nikon D90 as well as other full DSLR's which have a video function would not be suitable for home videos. Main reason is lack of autofocus, and too much shallow depth of focus. Mainly film makers use dslr's for video using fixed zoom and focus. Even if the dslr has autofocus the lenses themselves will be noisy.

The GH1 has quick autofocus a slightly smaller sensor than a full DSLR and has a lens built for video. There recently have been hacks to the firmware that give it all sorts of neat tricks. Sony's NEX5 is much smaller and also has full HD video with a video friendly lens in a smaller package. The pics from that camera aint too bad either.. might even top your D90. Look into these to see if it meets your needs so you don't have to carry around both the dslr and camcorder.
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Old 08-19-10, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rominl View Post
So with baby coming soon, I am in search of a HD camcorder. There are wide range of models and prices and what not, so I don't know what's good and what I actually "need". I guess my criteria is....

5) small and light, you get the idea

Any help is appreciated!!
Congrats Henry

my personal exp:

Given that this is your first one, you want to capture every moment/candid shots as possible.
I started out with a (panny) camcorder but I felt it was cumbersome, slow on start up, just never liked it. It's not like you're going to have the camera constantly on (or are you?)
A small point and shoot was perfect and more than enough to me. Video is good and I had it in my pocket readily availalble

Keep in mind in the first year or 2, you're not going to be shooting that long b/c the baby is not going to stay still for that long.
Plus, you also need your other hand to handle the baby.

Also, you can flip the switch and take a picture (as mentioned above without having to carry a camcorder and camera).
Well, as a matter of fact, most camcorders can do this now, but I don't think their picture is all that great.

Well, those are my experiences.
Good luck and best wishes to the both of you
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Old 08-19-10, 12:19 PM   #9
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Henry...I've been this route before and I've reached the end of my journey. Having been sick and tired of having multiple devices to do certain things, my latest upgrade (Canon 7D) has resolved the necessity of multiple devices. You're a Nikon guy and there are many choices with Nikons but my point is, get a DSLR that can do both. I love being able to quickly switch between modes. Great stills of my kids and if for some reason i want to film them right away, an easy flip to record mode is all i need to capture full 1080p.

One thing that's always bothered me with stand alone camcorders is that they are never wide enough for me. With a DSLR, I can use a 10-22 on it and it's awesome!
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Old 08-19-10, 01:07 PM   #10
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you get what you pay for, so it depends on the quality you want. and in general better quality is going to mean bigger camcorder because the LENS (and sensor or sensors) must be bigger to let in more light.

so henry, you're going to have to make a trade-off of ease of use, cost, quality, weight/size. you can't have it all.
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Old 08-19-10, 01:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rominl View Post
i mostly want to make sure whatever video format i can easily burn them on dvd (as dvd video)...
who burns dvd's still? just stick it on youtube or facebook to share with friends and family!

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Henry...I've been this route before and I've reached the end of my journey. Having been sick and tired of having multiple devices to do certain things, my latest upgrade (Canon 7D) has resolved the necessity of multiple devices. You're a Nikon guy and there are many choices with Nikons but my point is, get a DSLR that can do both. I love being able to quickly switch between modes. Great stills of my kids and if for some reason i want to film them right away, an easy flip to record mode is all i need to capture full 1080p.

One thing that's always bothered me with stand alone camcorders is that they are never wide enough for me. With a DSLR, I can use a 10-22 on it and it's awesome!
well since i have a 7D too and the 10-22 i must agree with you. however, i don't think it's easy to use and zooming/focusing can be a challenge. but under most circumstances, it's great, and the quality is spectacular.

i'm about to get a droid x phone too which can do HD recording so we'll see how that works out.
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Old 08-19-10, 02:20 PM   #12
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who burns dvd's still? just stick it on youtube or facebook to share with friends and family!



well since i have a 7D too and the 10-22 i must agree with you. however, i don't think it's easy to use and zooming/focusing can be a challenge. but under most circumstances, it's great, and the quality is spectacular.

i'm about to get a droid x phone too which can do HD recording so we'll see how that works out.
LOL! Well, once you get the X, that'll be another thing we have in common.

I've had my X since launch day and let me tell you, the camera/HD recording is nothing to be excited about.
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Old 08-19-10, 02:38 PM   #13
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ah more great info, thanks definitely more to think and more hw to do!

and damnit paul, i hate it when i can't get the best of both worlds!
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Old 08-19-10, 02:43 PM   #14
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You can probably find some good info here, http://reviews.cnet.com/best-hd-camcorders/
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Old 08-20-10, 11:59 AM   #15
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if the 7D was smaller, i would jump all over that for photos and HD vid. But it's pricey and kind of bulky compared to a small HD camcorder (size of a coke can) and a decent point and shoot for photos. Actually, a lot of the HD camcorders can snap photos as well... not sure how the quality is on them.
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Old 08-20-10, 11:59 AM
 
 
 
 
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