Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › help buying a new camcorder, first time.
- This topic has 13 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 14 years, 4 months ago by Anonymous.
February 7, 2007 at 9:39 PM #42638AnonymousInactive
The Panasonic AG-DVC7, does a pretty good job, for a 1-chipper, when given sufficient light, and the shoulder-mount is great! All prosumer cams should have a shoulder mount.
February 7, 2007 at 9:39 PM #178858AnonymousInactive
i planning on buying a camcorder specially for making movies, I’m still on the learning curve so i don’t know if i need something too expensive. I really liked the sony hd ones but i heard that the format is still not to editing friendly and that you need a good computer to get all from it. can someone give me some advice and recommendations? X-D
February 7, 2007 at 10:51 PM #178859AnonymousInactive
Going with HD might be more than you want to deal with right now (as a first-time videomaker). It will require more from your computer… besides, not everyone has HDTV, and only a very few have HD players right now. In the long run, you could save a lot of money by learning video production in standard definition, then moving to HD when you have a better idea what you want (and HD prices are lower).
But first I should ask: Are you talking CONSUMER camcorders, or PROSUMER camcorders?
BTW, when you say "specially for making movies", I assume you mean ambitious projects, like dramatic movies, as opposed to vacation movies and birthday parties. If you do want to make dramatic movies, the camcorder MUST have a mic input (the built-in mics just don’t cut it for serious work). And things like zebra-stripe exposure indication and manually-adjustable mic levels are very desirable.
BUT FIRST …… you have to wiggle your big toe …. err, I mean decide if you really need to start with HD. 😉
February 8, 2007 at 2:55 AM #178860AnonymousInactive
thanks for the advice, i think ill go with standard and yeah i meant prosumer camcorders, is the JVC Everio GZ-MG505 a good choice? although is not too cheap or can you recommend me some others?
February 8, 2007 at 5:18 AM #178861AnonymousInactive
I’ve seen good movies shot on a $300 Sony DV Handycam.
But if you’re wanting a more ‘prosumer’ model, I would check out the Panasonic AG-DVC30, Canon GL2, or the Sony DCR-VX2100.
The JVC Everio GZMG505 is still in the consumer area.
February 8, 2007 at 10:54 AM #178862AnonymousInactive
The 3 prosumer camcorders that elderban mentioned are all very good choices (I’ve been very happy with my Panasonic AG-DVC30), but those models cost somewhere around $1800 :'( . The Sony model is actually OVER $2000 😯 .
A couple years ago there were 3 excellent high-end consumer camcorders: Canon Optura XI, Panasonic PV-GS400, and Sony DCR-DC1000. They had the good features for serious movie-making (mic input, manual control of mic levels, manual focus, zebra stripe exposure indicator). But now, none are current models. You might pick one up on eBay (but only buy from a seller with thousands of transactions, and at least 98% positive rating).
Now, I see that there are some consumer models with mic inputs (a good start). The only one I could find with manual control of mic levels is the Panasonic AG-DVC7 (about $1000). It’s sort of a prosumer model. It’s a bulky shoulder-mount design… looks like one of those news camcorders. Hey, the size of the thing might impress your actors 😉 .
The JVC model you mentioned records to a built-in hard drive, using an MPEG2 format. I’m just a bit skeptical about using a hard drive camcorder if you plan to do editing (and maybe effects) on your movie. That would be a double dose of lossy compression. Has anyone reading this seen a comparison of final image quality on movies shot with hard disk vs. miniDV, and then edited and finally put onto DVD?
Gee, I’m beginning to sound negative, which wasn’t my intent. 😕
Anyhow, if this camcorder is just a temporary step, until you’re ready for HD production, then just be sure that whatever you get has a mic input, plus some manual controls like focus, exposure and white balance.
Have fun! 🙂
February 8, 2007 at 3:38 PM #178863AnonymousInactive
my sony hdr hc1 does hd…but also does standard dv…Therefore I could recommend buying a hidef camcorder.
use dv untill you can set up a computer to handle the hidef ( I store my originals on hard drives and burn to standard dvd right now) then start burning hi def when the burners come down in price.
February 10, 2007 at 10:55 PM #178864AnonymousInactive
the PANASONIC PV-GS400 seems like a great option but i have only found one right know on ebay and the bid its already on the 1000 mark. The newer version, the PANASONIC PV-GS500 is easier to get and cheaper, is there too much difference in those two? 😮
February 11, 2007 at 10:41 AM #178865AnonymousInactive
I went to cnet.com to see their review of the PV-GS500. It does have a mic input, but doesn’t seem to have any of the other special features a serious moviemaker wants. Quoting their summary:
"While its predecessor had prosumer aspirations, the Panasonic PV-GS500 is strictly for casual videographers who want top-notch video on autopilot."
BTW, when they say "predecessor", I assume they mean the PV-GS400.
If you want to go the inexpensive route for now, and save money for an HD "dream camera" in a couple years, find an inexpensive consumer model with a mic input, such as the Canon Elura 100. Videomaker calls the Elura 100 Best Consumer Camcorder of the Year. And it does have a mic input (but no manual level adjust :'( ).
From what I’ve seen, Canon gives exceptional value for mid-range consumer camcorders.
Otherwise, get the DVC7 (about $1000), or spend a little more and get a prosumer camcorder like the GL2, DVC30, or VX2100. (bhphotovideo.com has a USED EQUIPTMENT department.)
Good luck! 🙂
February 12, 2007 at 7:33 PM #178866AnonymousInactive
While the JVC GR-HD1 High Definition Digital Video is in my price range. I think I am going to go with the Panasonic AG-DVC20 3CCD 1/6" Professional MinivDV Camcorder. I just feel the 3 ccd’s are worth the extra $239.95 over the Panasonic AG-DVC7 Professional 1/4-Inch CCD Mini DV Camcorder.
I am woking with my local historic society with aspirations of producing some Ken Burns style documentaries for cable, DVD and the Internet. The venue’s we are producing for do not demand HDV and I do not feel the material we are working with would not stand up to the scrutiny of HDV. While the Mathew Brady type photo’s from 1800’s may stand up to some panning and scanning in HDV, I doubt the instamatic brand photo’s of the 60’s and 70’s would.
I also have to agree with Ken H. Because I have so much to learn about the basic elements of camera work, lighting, editing and audio recording, I really do not feel I have to be an early adopter on this one. I am still on Sony Vegas 5 which was a big expense for me from …what was it originally …Sonic Foundry for $99. Vegas 5 appears to allow you to render in HDV, but I am just getting comfortable with the AVI-MPEG2-MPEG4 and DIVX formats in relation to the software.So I think I will wait for the release of Vega 12 before I drop more $$$ and head into the HDV arena. However I am afraid that anything I do today in standard definition will be as dated as a Handy film in tommorrow’s High Def world…. but that may add to the charm of it all:-)
As for the tempting convenience of a hard drive camera, it would mean editing an MPEG2 file which I am leary of. Oh, but how nice to just cut and paste a two hour video ready for DVD.
February 13, 2007 at 12:24 AM #178867AnonymousInactive
Just one parting bit of info. The DVC20 does not seem to have a video input, which means no recording from VCR or other device. (Well, of course it could record from something having FireWire.) The DVC7 does have the video input. Maybe you would never need it, but I thought you should know.
Good luck with your movies! 😀
February 25, 2007 at 6:55 AM #178868AnonymousInactive
I too am beginning to look for a camera. My budget is around $1000. Actually, I was looking for a playback deck for miniDV. I really had my heart set on the JVC (forgot the model) that has both miniDV and VHS/S-VHS in the same unit. I have heard many opinions that JVCs firewire protocol is glitchy. This coming from users of this deck. So I decided to find a cheap camcorder to fit the needs. Then I changed my mind again. If I’m gonna buy a camera, I should get something good!
This thread made me look a bit more at the Panasonic AG-DVC20. I does have audio and video line inputs. Actually, is has firewire, composite and s-video all capable of in and out, plus a stereo mini mic input and headphone out. Very nice. And it looks somewhat pro. However, one of the reviews claims that most manual features are performed through a menu. (Excuse me, I need to throw up).
I was looking at the GS500 but it lack video inputs and a headphone jack. Not to mention the menu/manual options thing. I’m convinced 3ccd is the way to go. I’ve used a local access tv stations Canon GL2 for years. I wish I could afford 1 but I can’t. Why can’t manufacturers make a camera where commonly used manual features have their own dedicated button on the camera without charging an arm and a leg (sometimes 2 legs). I use manual focus, manual white balance, and manual exposure ALL THE TIME! The GL2 has this (at twice the price).
Can anyone input as to a 3 ccd unit with these manual controls on the outside of the camera (not in a menu) for around $1000-$1300?
I’m hoping to find a store that carries the DVC20 so I can pick it up, hold it, and go through it before I buy it. I see the manual focus ring in the picture but what about white balance and exposure? Where are these controls?
Thanks in advance for your replies and suggestions.
February 25, 2007 at 11:27 AM #178869AnonymousInactive
You can download the DVC20 operating manual (in PDF format) from the Panasonic website.
Click on "Support", then "Professional Video", then "Documentation", then Operating Instructions "click here".
For model number, enter AG-DVC20.
March 16, 2007 at 4:26 PM #178870AnonymousInactive
Some consider the Panasonic PV-GS400 the holy grail of recent camcorders. It’s been very highly rated by just about everybody and everything of it’s size has been compared to it since. That’s why it’s still so pricey even used on eBay.
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