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Old October 14th, 2003, 11:35 AM   #1
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Advice on MiniDV cameras

I'm looking for a small miniDV camera.

The main use for this camera is to use as a VTR, so i can use a external NTSC monitor or TV while editing, and also as a support camera (since it's smaller and appropiate for some difficult takes).

I actually use a trv-17 for that, but i'll have to replace it soon. I don't want to buy a VTR because they're more expensive even without any, well, shooting feature.

I can't stop thinking that B&H has an offer on the GR-DV3000, a former $2k camera, for $695. This camera has better optics than many consumer miniDVs.


I'd like to hear, if there is any owner of this camera here (or other suggestions), if this camera has the pass-tru capabilities of typical sony, that is, if i can monitor by the analog output whatever is entering the camera via firewire, such as, to record a VHS tape from the PC firewire thru the camera to a VHS deck.


I'd like to know of other good camera suggestions for this purpose, too.

Thanks

Emilio
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Old October 14th, 2003, 12:31 PM   #2
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Any camcorder (Hi8, VHS, MiniDV, etc.) with analog outputs can be hooked up to a TV or monitor as long as you can hook the camcorder to your computer via firewire, which you seem to have.

I have been looking for a "deck" camera that can also be used as a back up and have found many people recommend the Canon ZR10 or ZR20. I found a ZR10 for $320 so far, but am waiting to see if I can get it cheaper on ebay. Also, for a bit more dough, the Elura and Optura series from Canon are good.

Also, someone recommended going to Best Buy and asking if they have any camcorders that don't have box or the boxes are opened, etc...apparently they will give you a deal, but then you may or may not be dealing with defects. But, if you just need a player, then bad optics or LCD doesn't make a difference. Haven't tried this yet, but plan to...I'm always shopping for a deal!

I have yet to see a post about a mini dv camcorder under $500 that someone is just head over hills in love with and can't live without (like the DVX100 or XL1s). Maybe it is because one doesn't exist after you have experienced the higher end prosumer cameras.

I would say figure out what exactly you want and what you can live without and price cameras accordingly. Good Luck!

Clay
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Old October 16th, 2003, 11:23 AM   #3
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You mean any camera with firewire and analog output will 'mirror' firewire input thru analog output?

I had doubts about that because sony insists so much in their cameras having "analog/digital conversion with pass-thru", and usually you don't find this "feature" in other brands... so i was afraid it's a specific feature.


Then I guess this 'a/d converion with pass-thru' from sony cameras is only for the inverse connection, that is, for sending video from analog source to the firewire to the computer?
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Old October 16th, 2003, 12:48 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Emilio Le Roux : You mean any camera with firewire and analog output will 'mirror' firewire input thru analog output?

>>>I think this is correct, but am not 100% sure. I don't know why a company would put a firewire output only and not expect any need for input, then conversion for output to analog. I think that as long as you have a firewire output from camcorder, it works both as input and output. And, if you have analog RCA out, it will convert for "mirroring" out to a TV or Monitor. Is this what you are concerned with, or the opposite?


Then I guess this 'a/d converion with pass-thru' from sony cameras is only for the inverse connection, that is, for sending video from analog source to the firewire to the computer?

>>>I'm fuzzy on this. Computer digital to Camcorder, Camcorder analog to TV (or video). Are you asking can you go from an analog video source to camcorder to computer and have it be digital?

Clay
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Old October 16th, 2003, 05:25 PM   #5
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Sony's analog-digital passthrough goes both ways.

DV --> composite/3X RCA
DV --> S-video out with audio out on composite/RCA
and vice versa
This conversion is done on the fly. You do not have to record to tape first.

NEARLY all Sony cameras have it. I believe it used to be that all their cameras have it. Now they have watered down their lower end cameras so they don't have this feature.

I believe other manufacturers are realizing this is a great feature and are putting it onto their cameras. Some cameras don't have analog-digital passthrough and they don't have analog in. For example I have a Samsung SCD51 that lacks these features.

If you aren't sure if X camera has analog-digital passthrough then do a google search for that camera. If that doesn't work then you can download the camera's manual off sites like henrys.com.
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Old October 16th, 2003, 05:54 PM   #6
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thank you for your advice.

In fact, I have many camera manuals, which I find very useful when evaluating.

But the problem is that usually, the camera manuals don't specify if there is a pass-thru from firewire IN to analog OUT.

The most useful info for me would be the tests from camera users.
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