Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › Hard Disk or Mini-DV
- August 25, 2008 at 6:34 AM #42911hamzterParticipant
Hi, I am new to the videography world, and I have been post editing since January. My buddy let me use his JVC GZ-HD7U hard disk video camcorder. I have been using for the last 2 months. I am real comfortable with the controls for the most part. The only thing that I do not like with it is the indoor shooting with low light is not very good.
So I am in the market to get a camera soon to do weddings, indoor events like concerts and action video. My 2 questions are:
1. Should I stay with a hard disk DVC or go with Mini-DV media?
2. What DVC would help me out on the indoor or low light problem?
I am trying to stay in the under $1000 range but my budget can be at about the $1500 or so price range. I see that the GZ-HD7U can be had for about $600, but I wonder if there is something else out there that can work for me.
thanks for the help,
“Should I stay with a hard disk DVC or go with Mini-DV media?”
It’s your call. Personally, I’d record to tape unless you have a camera that records to some sort of memory card, such as a P2 card from Panasonic or an SxS card from Sony. I dunno what it is about hard disk drive cameras, I just don’t trust em. I’d want to know my footage is recorded securely. Tape is almost always reliable; however, MiniDV is highlysusceptibleto drop out, and P2 cards are a proven technology. Robust as hell they are.
If you choose to go with a camera that records to a miniDV tape, I suggest a Sony camera that records the DVCam codec. It records to a miniDV tape, but at a faster rate, so it is less like to have drop out. A 60min tape will last 40 minutes though.
“What DVC would help me out on the indoor or low light problem?”
I’ve heard that Sony is notorious for shooting well in low light, and it just so happens that I was shooting last night outside in a parking lot. The only light available were the parking lot lights (I wasn’t shooting anything important, otherwise I would have used a lighting kit), and it wasn’t very bright at all, but the footage came out so good for the conditions. I had to boost gain quite a bit (I think 12dB) and the footage still isn’t grainy.
So based on what you’re looking for, I’d suggest the Sony PD170. It can record the DVCam codec, which I suggested above, and it’s a powerhouse in low light shooting, as I explained in my example from shooting last night. I think you would be VERY satisfied with this camera.
As far as the price goes, the PD170 is like, $3000 new in B&H. When I was looking for one, I looked for a used one on Craigs List becase I don’t see a reason for me (or anyone) to drop 3 grand for an SD camera. I found my used PD170 on Craig’s List for $1800, but afterward I’ve seen them for as low as $1400. If this camera is a little out of your budget, I highly suggest trying to save up a few more dollars just to get it because it’s such a good camera. I’m very pleased with mine.
If you get a used one, I’d also suggest you get it professionally cleaned from a Sony authorized service center. And be sure to meet up in person to purchase the camera. You want to make sure it’s working properly before you hand over 1400-2000 dollars.
From what I’ve read, although SD only, the Sony VX2100 is the low light camera of choice of many wedding videog’s (normal operation – not night shot – in as low as 1 lux).
But, as I said, it’s not HD.
Yes, the VX2100 and the PD170 are very similar. They’re practically the same camera, but the PD170 has XLR inputs, which I find handy. If you don’t need XLR inputs, then definitely go with the VX2100. It will be cheaper than the PD170, whether used or new.
Thanks for pointing that out birdcat. I forgot to mention that.
Thank you all…
Well, I found out that my budget is $700 so now I don’t know what to do… Sony sounds good, does it work well with Final Cut Pro?
The biggest complaint I’ve encountered with the HDD Cameras is the editing/codec issues. MiniDV has a lot going for it, Tapes make a good archive, you can switch tapes in the middle of a wedding when otherwise your HDD (don’t care how big it is) is full. Mostly, when you sit down to edit, your computer doesn’t choke on some strange file compression issue, it just digests the SD MiniDV. BTW I shot a VX2000 sony for a while and it IS a great camera. Maybe an HV-20 might be in your range, awesome HD, shoots to MiniDV and makes a good tape deck when you become more rich and famous. Me, I shoot an HX-A1 Canon and am continually amazed at how well it works.
Producer, San Francisco