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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old May 23rd, 2009, 11:39 PM   #1
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After a quick guide to budget camcorders.

Hi everyone, very long time no see. Hope you're all well.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good guide to low price consumer video cameras, or can suggest a good buy?

Since I've been away the consumer market has exploded and there's a billion and one models out there so need to try and trim that down somehow.

I just need something to record family events, kids and things like that, doesn't have to be too high tech. I want tapeless (can you still buy tape in consumer cams) and some manual controls would be nice but not necessary.

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Aaron
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Old May 25th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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Buying consumer camcorders

Since you're posting in AVCHD group, you're probably looking for a HD device. All major players are making them, and they all are decent for the money. It does seem, though that Canon seems to be ahead of the pack with the image quality, and Sanyo gives you most bang for the buck at the lower end, with excellent low light performance.

You'll probably have to do your own research and make your own decisions.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 01:20 AM   #3
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There are a lot of good models around, Aaron. I just bought an old model, the canon hf-100 for U$550 from bhphoto. Unfortunately, the price of this camera is going up again. Myfriend who is in the USA now says it's between U$600-650 now! I just told him to get the hf-11 w/c has a built in 32gb memory for U$700.

I don't know your budget but if it is in the U$500-700, there's a lot to pick from Canon, Sony or Panasonic. The newer models are in the U$1,000 range. I don't know if that is your price bracket. The newer models, especially from Sony looks very good (the xr-500/520). But of course we are talking U$1,300 range here.

Most models nowadays are fairly decent. In fact, very good for their price and what they can do. The HF-100 I got for example was a good deal. If you can find a sony sr-11/12 for a good price that is also good. You don't have to get the latest. Last year's model are very good buys. And by next year, today's latest will be bargains again, and so life moves on. Of course, we can't be postponing our purchase for some future benefit while events pass us by :-) Draw the line now and buy what is in your budget. You can't go wrong now as most manufacturers have solid products nowadays.

Whatever you decide, don't forget that the tag price is not the end of your expenses. Camera makers often give you poor battery life, so add another U$50-100 to the extended battery. Maybe another U$35 for a 16gb sdhc card.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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Thanks guys.

My budget is probably in the US$5-600 range, although with the NZ exchange rate of late, it will probably be in the US 50K range soon :)

Anyone else have any opinions on what to look for?


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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Canon hf-100

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Koolen View Post
Thanks guys.

My budget is probably in the US$5-600 range, although with the NZ exchange rate of late, it will probably be in the US 50K range soon :)

Anyone else have any opinions on what to look for?


Cheers
Aaron

Well, I buy my stuff from BHPhoto and the canon hf-100 is now at U$600. There is a price increase. I got mine for U$550 a month or so ago. I told my friend who is there in NY now, just to get the U$699 HF-11. He's going to buy memory anyway, and the HF-11 already has a 32gb memory built-in. Like you, he wanted it at U$600 tops. But I convinced him to get the HF-11. He'll probably hit U$800 because of the extra battery extended battery.

You can go for the FS-11 or FS-200. They are cheaper at U$350 whereabouts. The reason is the sensor is smaller at 1/6". Without a doubt you are going to take a hit in low light situations. But then again, if you want to stick to your budget, you have to take a hit in low light performance.

Panasonic has TM-20 for U$599. Sony has CX-100 a 1/5" sensor for U$499. I can't see any other models that is worth it.

For me, the best in the lot is still the HF-11 or HF-100. You can get the HF-100 for U$600, then just get a 16gb card for U$35. Get a generic battery bp-819 and its charger for U$50 at Amazon. If you get original, it's about U$90. But of course, you are now over your budget. I figure, if you want a decent camera for years to come, just get a decent one now and take a bit of a hit price wise.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mel Enriquez View Post
if you want a decent camera for years to come, just get a decent one now and take a bit of a hit price wise.
A good sum-up. From my experience, you normally and almost always get better longevity out of your camera if you choose carefully and pay a little more now rather than go for the cheapest.

I second Mel's recommendation. The Canon HF-100 appears to be your best bet. The Sony CX-100 will save you some US$100 compared to the Canon. It has better automatic modes (as do most Sony cams) but the expandability with accessories is very limited and the image quality is considered slightly inferior.

Anyway you choose, try it in your hands first and see how it feels if you are actually shooting something. Feel is important too.

Wacharapong
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Old May 25th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wacharapong Chiowanich View Post
A good sum-up. From my experience, you normally and almost always get better longevity out of your camera if you choose carefully and pay a little more now rather than go for the cheapest.

I second Mel's recommendation. The Canon HF-100 appears to be your best bet. The Sony CX-100 will save you some US$100 compared to the Canon. It has better automatic modes (as do most Sony cams) but the expandability with accessories is very limited and the image quality is considered slightly inferior.

Anyway you choose, try it in your hands first and see how it feels if you are actually shooting something. Feel is important too.

Wacharapong
Thanks for seconding my pick, Wacharapong. :-)

Yes, I know that the hf-100 is not the best by today's models. But it was one of the best last year. So, that says a lot about it. It just didn't turn bad just because the hf-s100 came out. A shame that the price went up. We were poised to buy it at U$530 when the Passover came. After that, it was U$549. Now it is U$600! It could be the strong yen-weak dollar?

I am not familiar with the CX of Sony, but if you say it's ok, I guess it's a good choice too. I guess I am just happy with my hf-100. I used the HV-30/20 and A1 about a month ago, and I just wish the sensor of the hf-100 was 1/2.6" so it could handle low light better. But I guess, that's what the newer model hf-s100 are for :-) But at U$1,000, wow, that's a lot of change I could use! And I did use the difference to get myself a quad core PC. You are going to need that to edit those pesky highly compressed avchd files.

Without a doubt, I am almost sure, if the OP picks the hf-100 or hf-11, he will be happy. Again, it's not the best, but for the price, and what it can do, I am simply happy with it. I will keep this one till its busted (like I will keep my vx-2000). No more tapes!

My friend emailed me from NY this am and he said he was able to get my Rode Videomic from bhphoto. I'll have it by next week he comes home! Hurray! Now I have good sound too!

Now, it's time to save up for "the camera." I am eyeing the GH1. :-)
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