Is Mini DV really that bad?

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    • #91557

      I am in the market for a camcorder to film hunting. I am on a limited budget so I have been attracted to the used Mini DV section of camcorders since they are substantially cheaper than SD formatted cameras $400-500 in stead of $1000-2000. The Canon XH A1 in particular. Here is my question.. is it really a bad idea to buy a camera that runs tape? I will be needing to do some light editing of the film then sending it to a producer for the rest of the editing before it makes the tv show. I am not concerned about transferring the footage onto my computer. I plan on buying the card so I can connect the firewire cord as soon as I make a purchase. I need someone to talk me out of buying this camcorder although I really don’t want spend what I would need to get a newer sd camcorder.

    • #214753
      AvatarKevin Mc

      The only drawback I dealt with in my tape days was the capturing process – to get the video on to the computer. This happens in real time. So if you have 55 minutes of recorded video, it will take 55 minutes to copy it to your computer. Beyond that – it worked great every time.

    • #214755

      I have 3 Canon MiniDV Tape Cameras and I have shot weddings, corporate Video and a vlogg with these cameras for years. These use a 4 pin to 6 pin Firewire Cable to transfer Video. Like Kevin Mc Says the only really drawback is transfer time to the computer, which I no longer mind as I am Disability for brain issues and I have all the time in the world to sit and watch tapes transfer to my external drive trough my Computer. I use Sony Vegas Pro 10 for Video Editing, this Program has excellent Video Capture capabilities for my cameras.

      I have read much about these newer cameras that store the Videos to SD cards. Avoid them like a cancer or skunk, these cameras interpolate the Video which means it takes 1 frame, electronics within the camera then make the next 3 to 5 frames , then 1 frame from lens and repeat. This kind of Video is near Impossible to edit properly.

    • #214770

      I still use a Mini DV camera to shoot documentaries and commercial videos, its a Sony HVR-A1 High Definition camera. I have seen A1’s on ebay for $500. When buying second hand always check out the tape hour display as both the video heads and tape transport mechanism are subject to ware. The A1 is small, very portable and easy to use.

      I have had an SD card fail to record, I did not find out until I checked in playback, however in my experience If a Mini DV tape fails its always been obvious in the viewfinder during recording.

    • #214775

      Tape is fine – I too still have some excellent tape based cameras and although I use an external recorder normally – sometimes popping in a tape is perfectly acceptable.

    • #214870

      Hi to all.
      I was would like to make a question, i am also using DV tapes for my Panasonic DVX100B and is super, but I am looking for a replacement i do not recycle my tapes so now I have a LOT.
      Any good replacement for my DVX I am have two so i plan to sell one but i am looking for HD no 4K , any suggestions. Thanks

    • #214787

      Hi Rocky, Its so nice to find someone out there who has the same camera. I love my camera but I have a hard time getting the video tape to the computer without having problems. I’m using Final Cut Pro X 10.1 I was told to use final cut 7, I don’t want to go backwards as of now I have seen the new version of Final Cut Pro and I want to get it and learn how ot use it. What do you use for editing? Maria

    • #214788

      Hi Maria, I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 on a PC. By installing the right capture card and its driver cleared up all my download/capture problems.
      I can assure you that professional editors/studios using FCP and a fire-wire cable have download my A1 HD MiniDV tapes without a problem over the last 10 years.

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