Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › help buying a new camcorder, first time. › The 3 prosumer camcorders
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! 🙂