HDD vs. miniDV

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    • #39604

      Hello videomakers,

      My wife and I want to get a camcorder… no no no, it’s for the kids! πŸ˜€

      We would like to keep the price down and not spend more than $500 USD if possible. It’s our first camcorder and we don’t really know what to look for and I was hoping some of you kind people could give us some recommendations.

      Here’s a short list of what we’ll use it for:

      1. EASY to use (point and shoot).
      2. Stabilizing feature (I think I’ve heard something like that… haha, no, not a tripod).
      3. I would like to play around with Photoshop Premier Elements.
      4. High optical zoom would be nice.
      5. Some sports filming: surfing, hockey, football (soccer).

      I’ve looked around here before and read somewhere to stick with miniDV as apposed to the newer HDD camcorders. I can’t find the thread anymore but what was the reason for this again? I think it had to do with HDD camcorders compressed the raw data resulting to lower quality for editing or something like that? Does that make sense?

      Anyway, if you could give us some recommendations we would sure appreciate it.

      Thanks in advance!

      edit: spelling

    • #170995

      Thank you Hank,

      I’m glad to hear you found some joy back in your life, I know all about how a divorce can take that all away. :'(

      I agree with you that we’ll have fun with even an entry level camcorder and your comments have encouraged me to not get carried away comparing features; "oh this one is only $50 more and comes with this and than this one is only $50 more than that one" can quickly get out of hand! πŸ˜€

      Thanks again! I’ll have a look at the Canon Optima series.

      edit: for some reason I can’t find any information on Canon’s Optima series anywhere… hmm… anyone?

    • #170996

      there are some hybrids out there (including canon) that are touted primarily as still cameras that will meet your video/cost considerations.
      Don’t rule them out without trying them. (s2/s3/pro1).

      the main reason digital still cameras and digital video camera splintered into different categories, was the very high cost of memory.
      Now that a 4-8 gig card can be had fairly cheap, a camera that takes 4-8 meg stils, and does video at 480×640 30fps (usually mpeg 2)(with image stabilation) can really do it all for family use.

    • #170997

      I don’t remember Canon having an "Optima" series. Maybe Hank was thinking of the "Optura" series. That was Canon’s high-end consumer line of camcorders. Very desirable! πŸ˜‰
      Unfortunately, the makers of consumer camcorders (Canon included) seem to be eliminating their high-end standard definition models. They are offering some nice (but pricey) high-end hi-def models.

      But there’s good news! πŸ˜€ Canon still makes the Elura 100, a very nice mid-priced (about $400) standard-def camcorder. It has a 1/5" CCD, 20X zoom, and a mic input. There’s a review of it here on the Videomaker website.

      Good luck! πŸ™‚
      Ken Hull

    • #170998

      Thanks Ken,

      I’ve looked at the Canon web site and found the newer Canon ZR-850 is over $120 less. Give or take it seems to have the same features (less MP < more Optical zoom). Am I missing some feature that makes the Elura a worth more?

      Canon Elura 100: $ 399.95
      Canon ELURA 100 Mini DV Camcorder, 20x Optical/800x Digital Zoom, 1.33 Megapixel CCD, Color Viewfinder, 2.7" LCD Screen

      Canon ZR-850 $ 279.95
      Canon ZR-850 Mini DV Camcorder, 1.07 MP CCD, 35x Optical/1000x Digital Zoom, 1152 x 864 Still Image Resolution, 2.7" LCD Screen

      All the features sound pretty nice but I have no clue what they all me. Haha

      Which one would you go with?

      Thanks again all!

    • #170999

      The Elura 100 has a slightly larger CCD, which tends to make for better quality images. Also, it has a mic input, so you can use an external microphone. You might be happy with the internal mic for a while, but if you do much video, you’ll eventually want to use an external mic. The specs for the Elura 100 say it has AV in and out connections. This would allow you to hook up the camcorder to your VCR and record your old analog movies to digital. The ZR-850 doesn’t seem to have AV inputs. And generally speaking the Canon Elura models have been a quality line of camcorders (just below the high-end Optura line).

      And I’ll add my own observation about zoom ratios: To get an outrageously high zoom ratio (like 35X), there’s got to be some optical design compromizing going on. The higher quality camcorders have zoom ratios like 10X, 16X, or 20X. Notice that only the inexpensive models have 35X or 40X zooms. BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I’ve wanted more than about a 10X zoom.

      Just my 3 cents worth, πŸ˜€
      Ken Hull

    • #171000

      Thanks Ken, well there you go… I fell for the hight zoom ratio marketing ploy. πŸ˜€ I thought the ZR-850 did have a mic input but it seems only the ZR-800 does. Either way, thank you very much for you help!

      Looks like we will be getting the Elura 100. πŸ™‚

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