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Old December 6th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #1
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Best HD camera for....under 200??

Hi guys, sorry if this has been asked before, but here goes.

My mother-in-law is looking to ger her husband (my father-in-law) as small camcorder for his Xmas.

Her budget is 150-200, she asked me if I could look into it.

I don't have much experience with the new lot of small AVCHD camcorders, other than the expensive ones from Sony (X520) and canon (HF100)

If anyone has any reccomendations that'd be great

Cheers

James
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Old December 6th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #2
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Umm,

try these:

Camcorders, Video Cameras, Digital Video | B&H Photo Video

Of course, you get what you pay for, and the most expensive camera here costs about what the battery for my HD camera does.

The HF-S100 would be about the bottom of what most people here would consider a starter HD camera.

Best of luck.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #3
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Starter camera

HF-S100 isn't quite the starter camera. It is for a video enthusiast (i.e. not an ordinary person who wants the cheapest), a person who knows a bit about shooting video and cares a bit about quality.

The cheapest HD Canon is HF-200, and in he US, it sells for about $550. Unfortunately, that's still around 330. The only kind of thing one could possibly get below 200 would be one of those HD mini cams (Flip Mino/Ultra HD and similar).
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Old December 7th, 2009, 12:01 AM   #4
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For that price, theirs the Aiptek AHD Z700, the Kodak Zi8 and the yet to be released Vado HD Gen 3.

For a little bit more, theirs the Panasonic TZ7. It's a point and shoot camera that takes decent HD videos, excellent pictures, has a great stabilizer and on top of all that a 12x zoom.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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I recently bought a Sony HDR-CX100, which has been selling for about $500 CDN in recent weeks. Unfortunately, that amount is closer to 300 pounds than 200. But this is probably as cheap as a decent HD camcorder is going to get. I've found the footage it takes to be very good; and it's small, well constructed, and easy to use.

Regarding the Panasonic TZ7 --- I own a Panasonic TZ3, and had considered getting the more-recent Panasonic ZS3 (N. American version of the TZ7). It shoots 720p30 footage, and records decent sound (for a digicam). It also has a nice, wide lens, and good OIS. But the CCD sensor in that camera (like my TZ3) produces intense vertical purple and green streaks when very bright light is in the frame, which caused me to reconsider purchasing it.

A friend of mine bought a Kodak Zi8, which he has been quite happy with. That camcorder should be in your mother-in-law's price range.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 01:02 AM   #6
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I hope your not saying that because your TZ3 had issues, the versions from 2 generations later should also have the same issues. Even if it has some issues, would you say it's really worse than the cheap CMOS chip inside the Kodak Zi8?
The TZ7/ZS3 has been praised in many places. Just look the the ratings on Amazon compared to the Zi8. The percentage of 5 star ratings for the TZ7/ZS3 is significantly higher than the Zi8.
Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3 inch LCD (Black): Electronics
Panasonic Lumix TZ7 Digital Camera - Black 3.0 inch: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo
Amazon.com: Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera (Black) NEWEST MODEL: Camera & Photo
Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera - Black: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo

I will still recommend something like the Kodak Zi8 or the Aiptek GVS/Z700 if that's all you have but you get what you pay for. They ZS3/TZ7 is really a far, far better value.

Last edited by Paulo Teixeira; December 9th, 2009 at 09:03 PM.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses guys, Paulo, thanks for the links.

Does anyone have any experience with the Sanyo Xacti VPC-TH1?
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Old December 9th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #8
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I would say the best video recording camera for around that price is the Panasonic TZ7. I own one and I think its a great little HD camera. Some of the images that come out of it are very impressive for the size and price. Its a perfect camera for someone who wants to just be able to record nice looking video for fun. Its so handy to carry around in your pocket, I use it to record my blogs while Im out filming with my big camera.

I did a review of the camera if you want a little bit more info:
YouTube - A Review of the Panasonic TZ7
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:57 PM   #9
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Actually I am saying that the problems in the TZ3 exist in the TZ7. Users of the very new FZ35/38 have been complaining about the same problem occurring under the same circumstances. I've had a chance to play a little with both cameras in a store, and can confirm that in video mode the streaks will appear if a very bright light or reflection appears in the frame. It's a characteristic of the CCD sensors used in these digicams. One workaround people have found that minimizes or eliminates the problem in the FZ35/38 is to attach a 3EV ND filter to it. Alas, the TZ7 has no filter threads. This streaking effect will only occur in specific circumstances, but I do think potential buyers should be aware of this issue, especially if they intend to use it as their primary or only camcorder.

FWIW, if I was going to buy a compact digicam right now it would be the TZ7. It is indeed a good value, and can take good video shots with decent sound. It is also a fine still-photo camera. Cameralabs.com has a very good video review of the camera that would be worth looking at. The review mentioned above is also a good one.

The Sanyo TH1 is supposed to be a decent camcorder. But I've heard that the IS on it is very poor.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 11:17 PM   #10
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Hi guys, thanks for all the suggestions, really helped narrow it down.

I ended up ordering the 'Toshiba GigaShot A100F 100GB'

It was reduced to 199 on play.com , seemed like a great price for an entry HD camcorder for someone with no desire for lots of manual controls, just point and shoot.

Cheer again

James
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