Entry Level/Mid Level Camcorder - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi!

I'm looking for a camcorder in the entry/mid level section, considering it's my first camcorder. It's purpose would be for making holiday and family videos mostly (I can't be more specific though).
It should be somewhere in the price range up to about € 350 (about $ 450).

Thanks for every help in advance!

Lovely greetings!
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 07:04 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

The Panasonic-V700 (click here) is well liked on this forum and gets good reviews elsewhere too.

There is a long discussion of it on this forum: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1403509/the-official-panasonic-hc-v700-owners-thread

Bill
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your response!

The HC-V700 is slightly out of my price range though. In Europe it's € 450-500. On Amazon (Austria) even € 700.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 07:18 AM
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Hi b3rt - at your price point, the best European models are the €349 Sony HDR-CX250E or the €315 Panasonic HC-V500. Here is a slashcam side-by-side comparison of the two cameras: http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-c9427a1d601510f7fe2ffddd234185de.html

Both will produce great high definition home videos - the primary differences between the two are that the Sony has an external microphone jack (which you might find useful for improving sound quality) - while the Panasonic has more manual exposure control.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brunerww View Post

Hi b3rt - at your price point, the best European models are the €349 Sony HDR-CX250E or the €315 Panasonic HC-V500. Here is a slashcam side-by-side comparison of the two cameras: http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-c9427a1d601510f7fe2ffddd234185de.html
Both will produce great high definition home videos - the primary differences between the two are that the Sony has an external microphone jack (which you might find useful for improving sound quality) - while the Panasonic has more manual exposure control.
Hope this is helpful,
Bill
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I clicked on those and Google Chrome translated it to English. Cool!
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3rt View Post

Hi!
I'm looking for a camcorder in the entry/mid level section, considering it's my first camcorder. It's purpose would be for making holiday and family videos mostly (I can't be more specific though).
It should be somewhere in the price range up to about € 350 (about $ 450).
Thanks for every help in advance!
Lovely greetings!

b3rt, you can get a Canon LEGRIA HF M506 for EUR 390,45:
http://www.amazon.de/Canon-Camcorder-Toch-LCD-SDXC-Kartenslot-Intelligent/dp/B006WZZMAA/ref=sr_1_11?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1347462631&sr=1-11

..or maybe you can find it cheaper somewhere else.

Here is an English description:
http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Camcorders/High_Definition_HD/LEGRIA_HF_M506/

(The US equivalent is the "HF M500".)

The HF M506 has an HD CMOS Pro sensor for great low light shots. (This is the same sensor they put in their pro camcorders.)
There is no built-in storage so you have to buy a couple of SDHC cards ("class 4 or higher"), which are not expensive these days.

You can search YouTube and Vimeo for HF M500 or HF M506 for tests.
HF M50/HF M52 are US models that are the same camcorder with internal storage and WiFi...a YouTube/Vimeo search for those will also yield a similar image as the HF M506 or 500..

Or search any of the camcorder names plus "review" to get reviews.

If you're interested in Canon and see cheaper camcorders with "R" in the name - these will not be as good as the HF M4... or HF M5... camcorders.
They are worth the extra over the R series, which don't have the pro sensor.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you all for all the good advice!

I'll check out all the camcorders you suggested and will check some reviews/youtube videos.
Maybe I'll be back later with more questions.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, here I am (already).

I've checked some videos on YouTube and I have a question regarding the SONY HDR-CX250E. I found two videos which were taken inside, so no noise from traffic or something else and theres a strange sound in the background. I'm not sure if it's coming from the camera or from somewhere else. You can hear that sound in both videos (they are from the same user, so it could be background noise as well, although I doubt that). If that sound is coming from the camera, I consider that being a bit annoying. Is such a behavior normal?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkCDzI0W7Jk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGSON31fcUE

I couldn't find any other videos for the Canon LEGRIA HF M506 and the Panasonic HC-V500, where it was silent enough (no background noise) to hear camcorder noise.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 12:43 PM
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Perhaps it is a symptom exclusive to that model. Those two videos were from the same user, try to find some other tests on sites other than YouTube or ask in the appropriate thread on this forum.

With the built-in mics, you will get some amount of hissing but not clicking. All the Canon and some of the Pansonic do have a mic jack to use your own microphone for clearer audio.
I'm not as familiar with Sony.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
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What about battery life? As I've never been working with camcorders, I have no idea how long a battery will last. Is it about 5h with highest resolution settings, or only half an hour? Or in other words: Is it a must to buy an additional battery if I wanna survive 1 day w/o charging recording about 30 mins?

I wasn't able to find anything useful on battery life for the camcorders you guys mentioned above either. Do you know anything about those camcorders? Which one lasts longer for example or is one known for very short/long battery life?
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3rt View Post

What about battery life? As I've never been working with camcorders, I have no idea how long a battery will last. Is it about 5h with highest resolution settings, or only half an hour? Or in other words: Is it a must to buy an additional battery if I wanna survive 1 day w/o charging recording about 30 mins?
I wasn't able to find anything useful on battery life for the camcorders you guys mentioned above either. Do you know anything about those camcorders? Which one lasts longer for example or is one known for very short/long battery life?
The online manual for the CX250 says, using the standard battery, it will record continously for about 145 minutes and, with the usual on and off use, about 70 minutes.

Consider that most people won't watch a video longer than 3 to 5 minutes. Or, maybe 10 minutes if it is really good. The fun and challenging part of video is to first shoot a hours worth of footage that is good enough to edit into a great 5 minutes.

If you watch almost anything on TV, you will see the standard (that we have been "trained" to watch) is an edited collection of 3 to 5 second clips. So if you shoot 10 second clips for raw material intended to be trimmed and combined, an hours worth of video is 360 clips. That can turn the fun of editing into a lot of work!

My point is that a typical camcorder battery will last around an hour and that truly is enough for "holiday and family" videos. That said, I carry an extra "off brand" spare made by Wasabi for backup.

Bill
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3rt View Post

What about battery life? As I've never been working with camcorders, I have no idea how long a battery will last. Is it about 5h with highest resolution settings, or only half an hour? Or in other words: Is it a must to buy an additional battery if I wanna survive 1 day w/o charging recording about 30 mins?
I wasn't able to find anything useful on battery life for the camcorders you guys mentioned above either. Do you know anything about those camcorders? Which one lasts longer for example or is one known for very short/long battery life?
The included battery with a camcorder is just meant to be a starter battery/which will typically be under an hour..
You should always get an extra battery/preferably two.

There are extra-life batteries. For example, the BP-819, for Canon models before 2012 will give you 4 hours. The BP-827 even longer. These batteries are bigger and heavier.
There are plenty of no-name generic options on sites like ebay.
Keep in mind that generic batteries will void the manufacturer warranty, versus buying name brand batteries,
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3rt View Post

Well, here I am (already).
I've checked some videos on YouTube and I have a question regarding the SONY HDR-CX250E. I found two videos which were taken inside, so no noise from traffic or something else and theres a strange sound in the background. I'm not sure if it's coming from the camera or from somewhere else. You can hear that sound in both videos (they are from the same user, so it could be background noise as well, although I doubt that). If that sound is coming from the camera, I consider that being a bit annoying. Is such a behavior normal?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkCDzI0W7Jk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGSON31fcUE
I couldn't find any other videos for the Canon LEGRIA HF M506 and the Panasonic HC-V500, where it was silent enough (no background noise) to hear camcorder noise.
I could not identify the noise source. It may have been the camera, but that seems very unlikely.

Most camcorders are set to operate with AGC, or Automatic Gain Control. The purpose is to find any available sound and amplify it to an audible level. In normal use it will record "normal" sounds at "normal" levels. In a quiet setting, it turns weak sounds into "normal" levels. You end up hearing everything. AGC works well at a basketball game and terrible when shooting flowers waiving in the breeze.

One solution is to turn AGC off in quiet settings. Another solution is to lower the levels in editing. Frequently you will see video where the automatic sound track is replaced by music.

Unexpected sound and noise ruins a lot of holiday clips. The gorgeous river canyon and river sound is drowned out by a passing truck or the very moment the sun dips below the horizon, your wife exclaims "Isn't it spectacular!".

Be sure to buy a camera from a company who will willingly take it back if it has a flaw or does not suit you.

Bill
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!

I guess I'll stick with the Canon LEGRIA HF M506. Because there's no bag or sleeve included, I might as well go for this camcorder bag from Amazon basics.

I'll try to stick with the standard battery at first and check how long it lasts and how it is able to satisfy my needs. I don't really like bigger bulkier batteries. I hope I don't have to get one. I'd rather get an additional battery (or two) if needed.


I know that this is not the right forum for that kind of question, but can you recommend a video editing software for beginners? I mean I don't want to be able to add some crappy effects and words sliding through the video only. But on the other hand I think I don't want a professional video editing suite either, because having too many functions and options will take all the fun out.


P.S.: These forums are great! *thumbs.up*
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3rt View Post

Thanks!
I guess I'll stick with the Canon LEGRIA HF M506. Because there's no bag or sleeve included, I might as well go for this camcorder bag from Amazon basics.
I'll try to stick with the standard battery at first and check how long it lasts and how it is able to satisfy my needs. I don't really like bigger bulkier batteries. I hope I don't have to get one. I'd rather get an additional battery (or two) if needed.
I know that this is not the right forum for that kind of question, but can you recommend a video editing software for beginners? I mean I don't want to be able to add some crappy effects and words sliding through the video only. But on the other hand I think I don't want a professional video editing suite either, because having too many functions and options will take all the fun out.
P.S.: These forums are great! *thumbs.up*

Good choice. You'll really like the image quality.
Canon recently updated their camcorder batteries, If you eventually get another battery, make sure it is compatible. For example, the batteries I mentioned won't work the 506.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 12:07 PM
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Sony Vegas Platinum is good editing software. As far as beginners, it has a "show me how" tutorial function. You click on something you want to know how to do, for example import media (videos), and it will flash on the spot that you're supposed to click. It won't let you continue until you get it right.

After you get the camcorder, look up the software programs you are interested in, download the trials and play with them before you buy. It's important to do that, because once you open software, you can't return it.

Sony Vegas trials are fully functional for 30 days; there are also programs made by Adobe, Cyberlink and others.

The Canon HF 506 will come with Pixela software. It's a basic editor, maybe it will be enough for now.
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