new camcorder purchase - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to purchase a new camcorder. I have a 12 year old Hitachi EV-510A that uses 8mm cassettes that is still working fine. After reading this forum and a couple of others I have decided that the miniDV may be best for me. I was looking at the DVD based camcorders but was totally put off by the fact that the DVD's only last 2-5 years before they start to deteriorate? Am I correct in reading this?

Now DVD's seemed the most convenient in that you film, finalize it then just plop it in your DVD player...sounded great, except i have stuff going back to the 70's that were in the family and still bring out on occasion to watch. So i would like it to last longer than 5 years...am i wrong on this, do recordable DVD's last longer?

I have decided on miniDV's as the medium, i'm looking at the Canon ZR-850, i found it very resonably priced at Abes of Maine. Are there others i need to look at as well. My budget is less than $400.00. My use is family video's (father of a new boy :-) nothing more than that. I don't care if it takes pics i have a digital camera for that. I will be doing some taping indoors, so low level light is a priority but not a deal breaker.

I would also like to begin to do some editing. What is the minimum i need to perform this. Can i purchase a dvd-recorder, plug in the camcorder and write onto a DVD and keep the tape as my master.
Thanks...
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenaussie View Post

I am looking to purchase a new camcorder. I have a 12 year old Hitachi EV-510A that uses 8mm cassettes that is still working fine. After reading this forum and a couple of others I have decided that the miniDV may be best for me. I was looking at the DVD based camcorders but was totally put off by the fact that the DVD's only last 2-5 years before they start to deteriorate? Am I correct in reading this?

Now DVD's seemed the most convenient in that you film, finalize it then just plop it in your DVD player...sounded great, except i have stuff going back to the 70's that were in the family and still bring out on occasion to watch. So i would like it to last longer than 5 years...am i wrong on this, do recordable DVD's last longer?

I have decided on miniDV's as the medium, i'm looking at the Canon VR-850, i found it very resonably priced at Abes of Maine. Are there others i need to look at as well. My budget is less than $400.00. My use is family video's (father of a new boy :-) nothing more than that. I don't care if it takes pics i have a digital camera for that. I will be doing some taping indoors, so low level light is a priority but not a deal breaker.

I would also like to begin to do some editing. What is the minimum i need to perform this. Can i purchase a dvd-recorder, plug in the camcorder and write onto a DVD and keep the tape as my master.
Thanks...

If you are buying online make sure to google them and check their ratings.
Abes of Maine is a terrible reseller:
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Abe_s_of_Maine
I would stay away from them.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GodobeHD View Post

If you are buying online make sure to google them and check their ratings.
Abes of Maine is a terrible reseller:
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Abe_s_of_Maine
I would stay away from them.

thanks for the heads-up. Is there someone you can recommend...also, does anybody have any opinion on the original post.
thanks..
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 04:02 PM
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B & H Photo is always a good safe place to purchase video gear. Be careful about ordering a camcorder on the internet. Your name indicates that you live in a PAL country. All USA companies sell NTSC camcorders. B & H is one of the few USA companies that sell both PAL and NTSC camcorders. Be sure you are getting the type you think you are getting.

I don't think any reliable source has proven or said that recordable DVD's only last 2-5 years. I think that is way too low an estimate but nobody knows just how long they will last. Maybe 2-5 years is possible if you mistreat them or store them in hot humid conditions or in cars that turn into ovens on sunny days. I expect my burned DVD's to last 20 years but I have no proof of that. I keep my original tapes which should outlast burned disc's.
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I would also like to begin to do some editing. What is the minimum i need to perform this. Can i purchase a dvd-recorder, plug in the camcorder and write onto a DVD and keep the tape as my master.

Absolutely, this is what I do. Just be sure to get a DVD recorder that has a built-in hard drive. Those allow precise editing before burning the DVD PLUS they allow high speed copies to be burned. A 2 hour DVD can be burned in 8 minutes (7 DVD's in 1 hour) when needing to burn multiple copies for groups of people.

Dave
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Dave
thanks for the reply. It was this http://www.film-to-video.com/index.html website that i found on the avsforum that gave me the 2-5 year shelf life of the DVD-R/+R. Although when reading it again i noticed it didn't say anything about the DVD-RAM. I was definitely set on getting the DVD camcorder or a camcorder with a hard drive. But the more I think about it, and talking to a few more people and now reading what you have said, the more convinced that getting the miniDV is the better option for me. It has a higher resolution than the others, other than the HiDef choices out there. The technology has been around awhile so editing and such shouldn't be a problem as well as moving into a DVD format when i'm done. With the tapes, i can keep the raw footage for a longer time as a master and use the DVD's whenever i wish to enjoy them...seems the most common sense to me...and if you're correct in that they will last as long as 20years then that would be great as well...win, win...

Now to just decide which one to get...and i will look into B+H...just as an asside, i actually live near Baltimore....yes i am Australian, just far away from home :-)

thanks again..
john
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-19-2007, 09:23 PM
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Thanks for clearing up my concern about PAL/NTSC, John. The 2-5 year claim on that web site is one person trying to impress people with wild claims. You have use your own judgment about what to believe or question about things you read on the internet. Nobody would bother burning DVD's if they believed that. I believe his 2-5 year life span statement to be pure garbage. Nobody knows what their real life span is yet but I know 2-5 years is nonsense when it comes to the average DVD. There probably are failures in 2-5 years in 1 out of a million DVD's but nothing anyone should worry about happening to a lot of what they burn. That said, I still want my original master tapes stored safely in a cool dry place until my heirs clean out my house and throw all of it's contents into a rented dumpster. By then I just won't care.

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post #7 of 9 Old 02-20-2007, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Dave,
I've been doing a great deal more reading and research and i feel a great deal about the medium. Here's another article that backs up what you stated http://www.larryjordan.biz/articles/lj_dvd_life.html . So i guess it basically comes down to spend a couple sheckles more for quality...seems fair to me. But still, i am glad i started down this road because now i do believe that the tape is better for me and then burning them onto a DVD...

john
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-22-2007, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenaussie View Post

I would also like to begin to do some editing. What is the minimum i need to perform this. Can i purchase a dvd-recorder, plug in the camcorder and write onto a DVD and keep the tape as my master.
Thanks...

Yes, You CAN. I wouldn't. I copy to a dvd-recorder hard drive, do what editting I want to do, then dub to the dvd. See Dave's post. Some, but not all, dvd recorders have dv input. In case your selection doesn't, be sure your camcorder has s-video output.

I would suggest the minidv camcorder. If possible, get one that loads tape from the side rather than the bottom, so you won't have to remove the camera from the tripod to change tapes. 3-ccd would be great, but a bit beyond a $400 budget.

I think, could be wrong, but I think the mindv tape is in true dv format, whereas dvd's undergo compression in their writing process. Meaning, if you had a camera recording to dvd, your source would be in the Mpeg2 compressed format; with tape, your source is in dv format. Today, it may not make much difference, in the future, it may be nice to be able to start with dv format.

Check cnet.com for product ratings, resellerratings.com for product and for seller ratings.

Good luck.

Richard

I stand corrected. I've read somewhere, on CNET I believe, that miniDV is also MPEG2.

Richard
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-07-2007, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, after a great deal of hemming a hawing i finally made my purchase. I ended up spending a few more than i expected and ended up with the Panasonic pv-gs320 with the 3ccd. I ended up getting it locally for about $50.00 less than the retail price.
Now i was also looking at the Sony DCR-HC48 as well as the Canon zr-850 and i also gave the Sony HDD DCR-SR40 a quick once over...i know they're not as sexy or probably as good as the 800 to 1200 dollar camera's but for what i'm using it for, those choices fit the bill.

I guess it came down to the video quality, without a doubt everyone i talked with said the 3ccd camera's were the way to go...so after picking it up, getting comfortable with each of those, I ended up with the Panasonic.

I have played with it for a day, getting some great shots of the wife and kids, playing with the settings, shooting in different light and i'm extremely happy with it. Even in low light, which supposed to be one of it's weaknesses was far more impressive than my 12year old Hitachi...now i'm not ready to write a review yet, i want to play with it for a couple of weeks more then if anyone is interested i'll write a review.

One thing though, i wish i could of taken all three home with me and given them all good run but that re-stocking fee, i just didn't want any part of it. I understand where they're coming from though...so i'm not disparaging the other brands, it's just i like what i ended up with so far.
I will definitely write something up in a couple of weeks. Hopefully by then i will also have my computer set up so i can edit and record to a DVD and see how that goes.

john
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