help. I need to choose a camcorder for my grandparents... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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So mom put me in charge of finding a good camcorder for my grandparents' anniversary. They are somewhat tech. savvy considering that are grandparents, but not too extreme. The price range is 300-400. They will just be using it to film grand kids, sports events, etc. you know, regular grandparent things. But other than that I don't know much of any thing else. Id assume they want something easy to use and compact. So which style would be best for them? DVD, mini DV, High def, Hard drive, Flash memory? Any help you could give me would be awesome thanks.
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 11:33 AM
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High Definition and solid state are the main things that most people look for in a camcorder.
For your price range, the Sanyo FH1A for $420 is the best recommendation.
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 12:02 PM
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That's tough. Obviously every set of grandparent's are different, but thinking about the technical capability of my parents, I think I would option to get them a HDD based unit that would just hold all their recordings so all they had to do was plug it into the TV.

Second best would be to get them a camcorder that would record and finalize to DVD media such that the resulting discs could just be played as is in a normal DVD player.

Anything else would be too difficult to get much use out of.

As it is, I elected to just get the camcorder for myself and periodically send them edited DVDs of their grandkids.

-Suntan
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 03:14 PM
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If Best Buy is really advertising the Canon HF 20 at $499,- for Black Friday, that would be the best deal around. If that stretches the budget too much there's indeed the Sanyo Xacti HD2000/FH-1, but budget in 32 gig of memory, as that's what's the build-in capacity on the Canon HF-20.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 03:39 PM
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[quote=donaldk;17566887 If that stretches the budget too much there's indeed the Sanyo Xacti HD2000/FH-1, but budget in 32 gig of memory, as that's what's the build-in capacity on the Canon HF-20.[/QUOTE]

I don't like anything made by Sanyo, but as a reminder, the best deals on memory for the year are found on Black Friday.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies guys.
As i was looking around, I kinda figured HD isnt that important and in our price range, Id rather have a higher quality SD camcorder.
I came across these two, and the reviews seem positive but I dont know Sony or JVCs reputation when it comes to camcorders so I was looking for a little more input.
here are the 2 models in question:
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camc...-33490491.html
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camc...-33485107.html
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 07:23 PM
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That's way too much money for SD camcorders that records to low bit rate MPEG2.
The FH1A should be the cheapest camcorder you should ever consider. The picture quality is infinite times better than those 2 camcorders. $420 is an extremely good price for that. If that's still too much than get the older HD1010 for $329 although the FH1A is much better. You can actually hook up the Sanyo camcorders to an external hard drive and transfer footage and than view the hard drive's library. You don't need a computer.

Back in 2005, I was going to the Azores, Portugal in the summer and I really needed to buy a new camcorder to take with me and my choices were the $1,500 Panasonic GS400 or the $2000 Sony HC1. I ended up choosing the Sony because of HD and I'm extremely glad I did. I've said this a lot in the forums but these are you're memories and it's best to record them as clearly as possible. I believe in that back in 2005 and now that it's almost 2010, I believe in that stronger than ever. In several years you'll wish it was an HD camcorder that you bought.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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i looked at the HD1010 because 400 is the absolute limit on price. but i was reading reviews and it appears it is not easy for a newcomer to navigate. im just looking for a an easy to use, quality camcorder.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 11:27 PM
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The HD1010 was $350 very recently at B&H but they have a Christmas special for $329. They can always keep the camcorder on auto.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...efinition.html

Even HD video capable still cameras from Panasonic has far better picture quality than the SD camcorders that you posted. Those are other options that you may consider.
Read this thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1188757
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 12:06 AM
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I know it's seldom discussed as a camcorder replacement, but in this case, it might also be an option: A highly-reviewed point-n-shoot camera with a good video mode. Example: Panasonic ZS-3

Price: $300 (at B&M Costco, including memory + leather case).
Full Specs: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0901/09...ctz7.asp#specs
One Page Review: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q209...zoom/page5.asp

In a nutshell: for the price point, decent stills, very good 720p AVCHD video mode, good optics (Leica 25-300mm equivalent), decent stereo mic, good OIS and same chip and IA mode found on Panny AVCHD camcorders all wrapped into a tiny pocketable body and extremely simple to use for both taking photos and videos (litterally point and click/shoot in auto mode).

So what wrong with it compared to the classic camcorders?
- Almost no manual video settings.
- Video recording on a P&S isn't taken seriously as an option due to lack of ergonomics and features.
- Only 720p30 (the 60p mode is a marketing lie, as the camera's CCD doesn't support more than 30p)

I used one for a couple of weeks since I'm looking for something very compact that can do decent HD video and photos that I can bring along with me all the time (unlike my SLR or even my HD camcorder) and thought that it was great unit for the price. I returned the unit because I felt like I got lied to about the 60p mode, which was one of my requirements on what I sought, but I still wonder if I shouldn't just have kept it. I guess I'm hoping Panasonic will release a new version of it this year with either a true 720p60 or a 1080p30 mode.

Anyways... just wanted to throw this as another option for your grand parents.
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 12:07 AM
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Great Paulo! You just beat me to it by a few minutes.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 12:40 AM
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I'd say a bit more than a few minutes. Their pretty much the only other options available.

The current B&H and Amazon price for the ZS3 (12x zoom) is $275.95 and for the FZ35 (18x zoom) it's $324.95.

Since Panasonic did the same thing to the GF1, it seams unlikely that they will put a true 720 60p mode or even a 1080 30p mode in their cheaper cameras that soon.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 01:08 AM
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What I meant was that I started writing my post before you added the link to the ZS3 to your post.

As for a real 720p60 or 1080p30 modes in a P&S, you can bet that they're coming soon with <$175 toys supporting both those modes like the Kodak Zi8. I guess we'll see how aggressive Panny will be in 2010 soon enough. Anyways... one can always hope.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 03:17 AM
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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so I looked at your other deal you posted, the Panasonic SD10K, and it too seems like a good deal. Is it better than the HD1010? Also what can you tell me bout the flash memory? say x amount of gigs gives x amount of recording time. what kind of card does it take? (mini sd, micro sd, standard, etc) thanks
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 11:30 AM
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Since it looks like the camcorder is out of stock, you're most likely stuck with the HD1010.
The biggest differences is that the picture quality in general and the low light capabilities should be much better on the HD1010 but the Panasonic does have a far better stabilizer. I would pick the HD1010 anyway if it was me. It has many HD modes including 1080 60i, 1080 30p,and 720 60p.

As for the memory card, SDHC class 4 is the minimum recommendation and you'll fit a little over 1 hour in an 8 gig card.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-20-2009, 04:40 PM
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Sanyo FH1 is about as good as it gets for $400-ish. Granted that there should be some pretty good deals in the next 45 days-ish. Samsung HMX20C was about $400-ish last Xmas. The newer models went with a much smaller sensor. I wouldn't bother with a HD1010, its VERY different from an HD2000 and ancient in comparison. Might as well get an HV30 if you're into ancient tech. Dubs as a DVR and Webcam and other features that a lot of camcorders lack.

What specs are you hoping for? 1080p? 720p? 8MP+ stills? Long battery life? Built in recording capacity? Best auto settings? (The sanyo's auto settings kind of suck, but it's a capable camcorder with a little coaxing). If only you could get the grandparents to buy you a red one, and you give them your old camcorder in exchange...

Casio, Samsung, Sanyo, and a few other not quite as popular brands are better bang for the buck. But it really depends on what features you can't live without, and which you can. Aiptek's if you want to go cheap, but you get what you paid for. So the grandparents are tech savvy. Are they also photo / video savvy? Or will this be the undiscovered country?
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