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Howdy, and welcome to the site.
I looked up your camera’s specs, and while it’s not really the calibre camera I’d use for pro work, for the occasional hobbyist you’ll probably be fine. There are a couple things to look out for with that camera though. For example, you won’t want to shoot in low lighting, as the camera is only rated by the manufacturer to 12 lux.
Lux is acutally a term that means luminance. In camera world, the higher the Lux rating, the more light the camera needs.
Some examples are as follows, to give you an idea of how many lux are in each situation:
100,000 – 130,000 lux
Full daylight, indirect sunlight
10,000 – 20,000 lux
200 – 400 lux
Very dark day
Moonless clear night sky
Moonless overcast night sky
So, you can see how quickly lux rating drop down. Your average living room at night, with one 60 watt bulb from a lamp is going to be about the bottom of your camera’s absolute tolerance for light. If you want to film outside, it’ll have to be during the day if you want better pictures.
Also, you’re camera is a single CCD camera. That means that there is only one chip collecting your picture. This is fine for consumer cameras, but if you want a super picture, look for 3CCD cameras. 3CCD cameras use a prism to seperate the image into red, green, and blue pictures, and send those to individual CCDs. The result is a very clear, crisp color with much higher resolution that a 1CCD camera.
I don’t see from pictures any way to plug a mic into the camera. That could become a problem someday, as camera mics are notoriously bad at capturing audio.
Aside from that, though, this would probably be a fun little camera to mess around with. Like I said, it’s not a pro camera, but for the occasional enthusiast/hobbyist, it looks like a nifty little camera. Getting a camera that records onto MiniDV was a good call on your part. The quality is much better for editing than the Hard Drive or DVD cameras on the market, plus, if you ever move into pro gear, your tapes will still work in the new cameras.
By the way, one last piece of advice: stick to the same brand of tapes all the time. If you buy Panasonics now, don’t switch brands. Each manufacturer makes tape a little differently, and switching brands can gum up your recorder.