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camcorder

Posted on 2006-06-21
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What or how do you think i should test to a camcorder before i buy it?
It will be something like Sony DCR-DVD105 or HITACHI DZBX35R that record directly onto dvd.
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Question by:Visual3DMaya
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by:markps_1
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ID: 16955703
test it going to review sites like http://reviews.cnet.com/Camcorders/2001-6500_7-0.html?tag=ont.cam  and picking the one that has the qualities you are looking for ;-)
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by:knoxzoo
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If they have one on display in a local store, they'll usually give you a full demo.  Make sure you film lights, dark areas, dark areas within bright areas, bright areas within dark areas, people, etc...   Another good test is to take along a friend in a rainbow shirt, or a color chart and film it.  Play it back on the camera, and on a tv.  When you're satisfied with the results, that's the one to grab.

JVC and RCA typically have "warmer" colors, meaning they lean more toward the red hues.  Sony, Sharp, Hitachi, Samsung and Canon tend to lean toward the "cool" end of things, meaning they lean more toward the blue hues in their recordings.  

Good luck, and happy hunting.
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by:markps_1
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It all depends on what you are looking for on a camera... price? quality? features? check the great prices at http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?Cat=978

Cheers!
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by:knoxzoo
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Oh, yeah!   If you can find a store that has some color neons running, make sure you film them.  You'll understand when/if you see it.

Also, take along a standard remote control.  Hold the remote in front of the lens and push the volume or channel button.  If you clearly see a white light, with maybe a slight blue tint, it's a good CCD.  If it's yellow or reddish, move on.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16956106
Color neons like UV neons?
Neons works in a frequency of 50Hz i think, so i dono whether it's possible for such usual camcorders to film them ok.
So, infrared light should appear as white light? Where can i read anymore about this? :) cool info that you say
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fredshovel earned 210 total points
ID: 16956125
The next mini-step from MiniDV digital tape was DVD -- But now they have reasonably priced Hard Drive camcorders that can hold around 20GB.
The next consideration is horizontal lines of resolution -- still in the budget range you can shoot for around 525 lines, which is around Standard Definition Television resolution.
About 15 - 20x optical zoom will get you fairly close.
Then I personally would want the additional feature of 'analogue in' -- meaning you can simply plug in your old analogue VCR tapes or old 8mm camera tapes and digitise them inside the camera whilst outputting via firewire or USB to your PC to edit and/or make DVDs.
And lastly I would look for a microphone input so you can use lapel mics or your own choice of microphone or even take a microphone level output from a mixer for say a video clip.
I'd also shoot for Firewire over USB2, but alas most models are now only offering USB2 -- whilst the professional world stays with Firewire.
I got all this in a little JVC (including Firewire) for USD$499 -- except that it was MiniDV (digital tape) -- doesn't affect the quality, being tape, but you have to wade through the tape when capturing and in playback -- instead of accessing files on a HD.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16956274
I've done well i posted this Q :)

Then I personally would want the additional feature of 'analogue in' -- meaning you can simply plug in your old analogue VCR tapes or old 8mm camera tapes and digitise them inside the camera whilst outputting via firewire or USB to your PC to edit and/or make DVDs.
>>>and does that better than a capture card maybe, also regarding to video-sound syncronization?

I dono what is the best. At first sight it seems a hard drive camcorder. Though a dvd-ram media camcorder might be more fiable in time, if bad block, i can change it. I'll choose the one that take less power or accu lasts longer.
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by:fredshovel
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<and does that better than a capture card maybe, also regarding to video-sound syncronization>

I've now used 3 different digital cameras (in the past 4 years) to do A/D conversion (at least 2x were JVCs) -- I've never seen any losses at all, or had sync problems (I use Firewire) --  but if you've got a capture card  I don't see why this wouldn't do a similar job.
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by:markps_1
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 I have a Sony DCR and an ATI VGA wonder capture card....

Here is the deal...  If your computer is not too fast I would recomend using the camera to do the A/D.... with the capture card your computer has to do uses 10 times more processing power than when capturing via firewire. You'll need a fast enough processor to capture in a descent quality. (I havea P4 2.8 with 2gb of memory and it is the bare minimum. )  I use Dscaler to capture the videos since it is the ONLY software I've found taht syncs the sound correctly.   On the other hand to capture from the camera the information comes ready from the firewire connection. To download the video from the camera i use WinDV it is quite tiny software that DOESNT drop any frames.  And it is also free!

  Encoding is a BIG deal... if you capture either from your camera/firewire or from TV capture card you'll need to encode (mp4, for DVD) the video what usually takes up to 10 hours for a 1.5 hours movie on a 3.0GHz computer! so look for a solution that has hardware encoding...

  But the real choice is to use  external or internal video capture and real time encoders that do a better job than the simple TV capture card..  check this article http://pcworld.about.com/magazine/2110p117id112029.htm

cheers!

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by:PUNKY
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First of all, check return policy of the store! If they allow 10 or more days to return with full return amount paid, then try it. Nothing to loose it.

Second, I would recommend the Sony branch. I had one and love it. But, compare quality between DVD direct burn with tapes (miniDV), the tape is better than. Choose one that has CCD, high optical zoom, better close-up images, etc.

Finally, find it lovely or not depending on you. Many out there in market now, pick what you like is most important part.

Good luck.
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by:markps_1
ID: 16956398
oops I've said mp4... it should read mpeg-2
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16958301
You cannot drop frames or loose anything when transfer digitally.
The problem cames from analog to digital.

fredshovel
when you transfer your old tapes, for the sound you use separate line in audio, for video svc in?
Also, you use another analog player that outputs the audio-video, and in the same time camcorder sends the digital through firewire?

PUNKY
But, compare quality between DVD direct burn with tapes (miniDV), the tape is better than.
>>>How could a miniDV be better than a DVD?
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by:knoxzoo
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Re:  IR - Reading more about IR being white, I don't know where you'd read more about it.  A lot of this is just knowledge you pick up working in the industry, which I did for many years.  An IR light is great for filming at night too.  You end up with what is essentially a black and white video, but you see everything, without messing with night vision or startling night critters.

Re: Color Neons - I'm referring to the ones used in signs.  Where they spell out the name of the company in bent neon tubing.  I don't know where you live, but in most large American cities, a lot of stores have "Open" signs that are made the same way.  And, a lot of stores, and bars, have brand name signs made of the bent, colored, neon tubing.

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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16960937
I know them, have a great effect, i'm not sure of their technology, i think they work at 100Hz.
Why have they something to do with camcorders, maybe the contrast between their glow light with env light?
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by:knoxzoo
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Some CCD's and MOS's reproduce the light fantastically.  Others leave it looking like a blurry, colored paint line.  The better the capture device, the better the neon will look, and everything else.
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by:markps_1
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'You cannot drop frames or loose anything when transfer digitally.
'The problem cames from analog to digital."
         
              http://www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=WinDV

  Actually you can.... Even though it is digital you might drop frames because the video playback is in real time. If your computer doesn't' capture the data fast enough it drops frames to keep up with the incoming stream. That means you can't do much on your computer while it is capturing the DV signal. on the other hand WinDV is a tiny application that uses 16mb of memory buffer... so you can browse the web, and do other things while the video is being captured and no frames will be dropped.. Besides that win DV has a few features that are A+ like time stamp AVI splitting and recording on the superior AVI-2  mode.  here is the link to win DV http://windv.mourek.cz/
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by:fredshovel
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<when you transfer your old tapes, for the sound you use separate line in audio, for video svc in?
Also, you use another analog player that outputs the audio-video, and in the same time camcorder sends the digital through firewire?>

Just video out + audio L/R of the VCR/Analogue Camera and video in + L/R into the digital camcorder (via provided cable with minijack). All cameras that come with 'analogue in' provide you with a lead that's RCA video + RCA Left + RCA right audio to a single minijack with the corresponding TRS (tip ring sleeve) configuration. You always have to go into the menu and change one setting on the camera to accept A/V in. Then Firewire out.
As I have miniDV tape I simply choose DVD for the capture (if I'm going to make a DVD) as that encodes straight to MPEG-2 (DVD format minus a little authoring) -- no need to capture in AVI.

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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16964769
fredshovel, when you convert old tapes to digital, digital camera that you use first records on its minidv tape or outputs directly on firewire as it receives analog video signal?

Also look here, what's your opinion, minidv format better than dvd?
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-DC40-Camcorder-Review.htm
"But major differences between MiniDV and DVD camcorders become all too apparent in video quality."

Optura line: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1675042,00.asp
"A solid camcorder that shoots good video, with many features"

markps_1, do you think using USB instead of firewire will fix the drop frame issue?
I think those drop frames will disappear to dvd-ram format cameras as it works like a fat32 hard drive with its error correction.
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by:fredshovel
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Converts direct in real time -- no tape.

On the firewire Vs USB2 issue -- have a look at what the pros use: I'll give you a hint: it's not USB2.

I choose MiniDV because I knew what the quality was like -- the ENG (Electronic News Gathering) broadcast guys still use this on some assignments, so that was good enough for me.
And I didn't want to mess around with plastic DVD media. In my opinion it was a temporary marketing solution -- they all knew hard drives were coming and in the future it will all be solid state -- look at what Panasonic are doing in their pro and ENG camera range.





 
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16965534
I have all DVD, MiniDV, and HD camcorders ... The 30 Gig HD JVC Everio, The Sony DVD Cam, and old one but lovely MiniDV Canon which is giving very good quality (even there is many steps to do to convert such data into DVD, CD but never mind about it). Try them out and judge by yourself, though.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16967671
fredshovel,
And I didn't want to mess around with plastic DVD media.
>>>i'm not referring to media type, i'm referring to what format gives the best quality, (minidv) or mpeg2?
And more, how can you like tape instead of dvd with its random access, etc?
Hard disk and dvd media should have the same Mpeg2 format in my opinion.
The tape quality must be better because of non compressed format, so if camera allow to rec on dvd media in a non compressed format would be the best. Have you met such camera?     for PUNKY too.
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by:fredshovel
ID: 16971695
<And more, how can you like tape instead of dvd with its random access, etc?>
I fully understand your point...and I'm not trying to convert the world...but I did make this point on my initial post:<but you have to wade through the tape when capturing and in playback -- instead of accessing files on a HD.> I personally don't like the vulnerability of the media and all reports suggest that DVD cameras are losing something in the MPEG-2 compression compared to the quality of MiniDV -- I've read that it's something to do with MiniDV using intraframe compression and the MPEG-2 encoders in DVD cameras not using intraframe compression.
My decision was based on price (almost double at the time for a Hard Drive recorder) -- and the fact that I don't mind having the tapes for archiving purposes ( a bit old-hat though).

<so if camera allow to rec on dvd media in a non compressed format would be the best. Have you met such camera?>

From a marketing point of view a non compressed format would greatly reduce the storage time on a 4.7G DVD and turn off consumers who are shooting videos of things like football matches (80 minutes), and their kid's concerts etc. There's probably writing-to-the-disk complications also -- once again, in my view, given the vulnerability of this media. You only have to take the analogy of burning to DVD on our PCs: " Oh, you can't burn that fast, you have to burn at 4x, not 16x or you get errors...bla, bla."
Like I said, "I don't like the media".

Cheers







 
   



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by:knoxzoo
ID: 16971766
I still use mini-DV tapes.  They work well, take up little space, work as long term archive storage (shelf half-life of 36 years), and readily tranfer their info to your PC or Mac for editing/burning/viewing/etc.  Hard drive systems are nice, but if you're on an extended vacation, you can't just toss in another tape.  DVD's make great frisbee's, but I'd never trust my video to them.  A decent bump during recording and the DVD's toast.  Same for hard drive, just more expensive when it happens.  Bump a DV unit and it just shows the jitter of the lens moving while it keeps right on filming.  No worries about closing out the disk so it can be used elsewhere.  I can deal with rewinding or fast forwarding the tape to a scene until I can get it on my PC, on the rare occasions I find it necessary to do so.

DV (or mini-DV) is just the way to go.
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by:markps_1
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16973730
I've read that it's something to do with MiniDV using intraframe compression and the MPEG-2 encoders in DVD cameras not using intraframe compression.
>>>that's interesting to know. Can not it be set different MPEG2 compressions?
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by:fredshovel
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ID: 16976630
No, it's the nature of the beast. Don't forget that this is the domestic market. You'll soon see DVD camcorders disappear. If you want to really have look at what the industry is doing, have a look at HDV. Not to be confused with HD (High Definition) -- but a High Definition standardard agreed upon by the biggest manufacturers in the industry to deliver HD standard to the 'prosumer' market. The basic difference between HDV and HD cameras is:
The resolution is slightly lower than 1920 x 1081 (full 1080i HD spec) -- its 1440 x 1080 (still great) and instead of using a raw input to record (as pro HD cameras do) it uses -- wait for it ....Standard MiniDV tape -- and...wait again...it compresses it using MPEG-2 compression utilising both intraframe and interframe compression.
These cameras are going to take a big scoop of the market tht encompasses prosumers, news teams and amateur 'film' makers.
 
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by:Visual3DMaya
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by:fredshovel
ID: 16976789
The above is a DVD camera -- not HDV.

HDV was developed by JVC -- as was the camcorder itself -- The standard was agreed upon and is supported by the majors like: Canon , Sharp,, Sony , and of course JVC.

As I haven't used any of these cameras I couldn't recommend one -- but I'm sure they're all very good, and it would just be a matter of choosing the features -- and the price range -- that suits you.



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by:PUNKY
ID: 16976874
I have JVC HD Camcorder, it works just fine. Sony and Canon have HD camcorder as well, but look at CCD option when buying these HD camcorders.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 16976885
What you mean CCD option?
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by:fredshovel
ID: 16976950
<I have JVC HD Camcorder> Which model do you have?
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16977075
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16977084
The post above is what I have, and here one with CCD:

http://www.jvc.com/product.jsp?modelId=MODL027663&pathId=119&page=1

I tried it and it is very good.
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by:fredshovel
ID: 16977277
This confusion is probably going to happen: but when referring to HD in cameras HD means High Definition not Hard Drive -- when it's a hard drive camera it's usually referred to as 'hard drive', not HD.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 16977402
Oh! I sometime confused them too. Yes, you are right. HD is High Definition (not hard drive). My bad.
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by:fredshovel
ID: 16977457
I've also used the short form of hard drive. Look at this: <I got all this in a little JVC (including Firewire) for USD$499 -- except that it was MiniDV (digital tape) -- doesn't affect the quality, being tape, but you have to wade through the tape when capturing and in playback -- instead of accessing files on a HD.>
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by:knoxzoo
ID: 16985558
Hard Drive is typically referred to as HDD, Hard Disk Drive.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 17028052
PUNKY you have a 2.2 Megapixel CCD, fredshovel i dono what Effective sensor resolution has.
A 2.0 megapixel effective sensor resolution, is somewhat lower than some similarly priced camcorders. For example, the  Sony HI8 , a Hi8-based camcorder at around $270, has a 3.2 megapixel effective sensor resolution.
What i was thinking at have low resolutions:
http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/Sony_Handycam_DCR_DVD105/4505-6500_16-31649591.html
http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/sound-and-vision/vision/camcorders/588932/details
May be that the reason why you two have better image and not the media you use?
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by:fredshovel
ID: 17028058
Cheers  Visual3DMaya,
I think you're on the road to a good career -- you certainly like to pursue a topic to the 'enth degree, which is a strength.
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by:Visual3DMaya
ID: 17028074
Thanks and it's too big the difference between Effective sensor resolutions, maybe the costs are very sensible at this components. It's obvious to me that the sensor is one of the most important part like the size of the objective too.
That latest criteria was when i chose my photo camera.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 17028758
Honestly, when I bought these camcorders or cameras, I used to bring back to stores couple of times before decide to obtain one! :)

Try different vendors see how the performances, quality, and how much we like it ! Nowaday, I believe that it is hard to choose these since technologies are fast and so much better!

Good luck and thank you.
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