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The best hard disk camcorders?

Discussion in 'Digital camcorders' started by wouterv, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. wouterv

    wouterv Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I finally put aside some money to buy myself a decent camera. I chose for a hard disk camera instead of the MiniDV type for the convenience of use. I was not persuaded about the superior image quality of miniDV cameras.

    Recently I have been focusing on the Sony DCR-SR30(E). It seems the offer the best price/quality based on my very limited knowledge.

    However now I start doubting. I can't seem to find good and reliable information on compression / compatibility of the video files. Is there anyone who can help me recommend a decent camera which files are easy to use and rework on computer?

    One more question, I see that here in Europe it is possible to get the Sony SR30 (american version) much cheaper than the SR30E (PAL version). Will this cause any problems or can I solve that problem by just installing different software?

    I appreciate any inputs, and look forward to start my digital adventure soon :)

    Walter
     
  2. TPFKAS

    TPFKAS Regular member

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    First: if you want to edit your video on your PC, hard disk camcorders are NOT convenient, because they use MPEG compression which is difficult to edit.
    Secondly: miniDV camcorders are definitely superior to hard drive camcorders because they use lower compression.

    If you plan on doing a lot of video editing and quality is important for you, the best choice is still miniDV.
     
  3. stclares

    stclares Member

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    I disagree, my camera is a JVC MG21 Everio. I admit it is at the lower end of the price range. I believe the amount of software for editing Mpeg files is limited but if you use the Cyberlink software supplied with the camera you can edit and produce very acceptable DVDs easily.
    The files download to a PC via USB quickly.
    If quality is what you are after the route now is HD, which is expensive. If you want a camera that is inexpensive, easy to use and compact being a satisfied user, I can recommend the Everio range.
     
  4. TPFKAS

    TPFKAS Regular member

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    Well you can disagree but my statements are not opinions but plain facts responding to the statement of the first post.
    1. MPEG is much more difficult to edit, because it contains intra frame compression.
    2. miniDV tape uses DV compression which is a much lower compression rate than MPEG, even if the highest quality is used.

    Of course there are happy users of Hard Drive camcorders; if not they would not survive on the market. Reason is that everybody sets his own priorities. Based on these individual priorities the road will lead dor some to miniDV, for others to DVD camcorders and for others Hard Disk camcorders. And for those with enough money to spend it will lead to HighDef ;-)
     
  5. Westv

    Westv Member

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    HD is a higher compression rate than MiniDV, or Mpeg2 or 4.
    It looks great initially, but if you start processing and effecting it, the results deteriorate quickly. Color shifting etc. is more limited because the data just isn't there. If you want to make interesting video, go with miniDV or Mpeg. It can be edited easily with the proper codecs, or bundled software. It used to be hard, but not anymore.

    Best strategy is to always go with 3ccd, from there you will have the best color capture, in whatever format.

    After that, you can choose by price.

    Those with more money than know-how, always seem to grab for HDTV.;)
     
  6. Molder

    Molder Regular member

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    100% agree!!!

    M
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  7. Westv

    Westv Member

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    Editing in MPEG is not that difficult, five years ago it was, not anymore. Lots of software out there to edit.

    When you output MiniDV, unless you watch in MiniDV only, e.d. you carry your camera/player around everywhere, and you give a cassette duplicate to everyone you know then of course MiniDV would be the best quality.

    But that's unrealistic.
    The reality is you will be compressing, you will be posting online, making DVD's, converting back to tape etc.

    If you have to process, then you will always lose a bit of the quality.
    The first things to go will be shadow detail followed by highlights. Eventually you'll wish you had the most saturated chroma levels, that is the advantage of 3ccd over even the biggest cmos single sensors.

    First 3ccd, then MiniDV w/3ccd best non-pro quality for most overall use.
    One could argue using a good MiniDV with a FireStor Hard recorder is the best most dependable outfit. (That's what I like to do.)

    The next is 3ccd to Hard Disk recorder. The benefit is no tape transport problems, really small sizes. And the signal is robust enough to do some serious effects and color adjustment.

    I bring both when I record things I want to keep, Sometimes the 3ccd Harddisk recorder gets better images than the 3ccd MiniDV, it depends on settings and shooting conditions.

    HiDef looks cool, but it's still a compressed format, processing and working it is not what it was designed to do. It's for easy record and playback. The best birthday party images ever, but when you process, you lose a lot.
     

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