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Old July 9th, 2004, 08:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 2
Dubious Newbie

Hello All!

I am new at this (blush) as I have not had the motivation to upgrade to a new camcorder before now. Now I have all the motivation in the world - my wife is newly pregnant with our first child! I say boy, she says girl, but either way the heartbeat says "strong like bull!" :0)

Anyway, back on track. I have enjoyed reading the many forums here so I know I can trust your solid advice.

I am looking to upgrade to a new improved cam. I have done hours of research, and am struggling with my decision. I think I've narrowed it down to a few choices: the new Pany GS400 and the Canon GL2.

My main requirements are a solid, small and lightweight camera - about 3 pounds or less would be ideal for family vacations, etc. But I also want the most bang for the buck, something to match my awesome Vegas software. And of course the low light issue.

If you had around $2,000 to spend, what would you buy? Is there a perfect camera I'm missing?

Thanks for your advice.

- Eliot
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Old July 9th, 2004, 09:39 AM   #2
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Location: Mendota Heights, MN
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There is no perfect cam - each has their advantages and disadvantages - just decide what's most important to you.

If you're considering the GL2, I'd recommend you take a look at the Panasonic DVC30. It's more compact and has a metal body vs. the GL2's plastic body, and it weighs slightly less. It also has 1/4" chips giving it better low light performance than the GS400. Minimum prices I've seen for the DVC30 from reputable on-line retailers are from $1900-$2100. It comes with lots of manual control if that's what you're after. If you want more point and shoot, probably not the cam for u. BTW, Pana also has a free tape rebate going on now with this cam if you buy from an authorized dealer.

Another thought, if you want to only make hi-quality 16:9 video, I'd pick the GS400 or Sony PDX10. Any of these cams can make great images.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 10:08 AM   #3
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Location: Barcelona
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In my experience, the GL2 does not make the best family vacation cam.
It doesnīt pass unnoticed in many places. And it sure becomes a drag to carry around for a while.
Of course it depends on where you go,
If I was going to a Safari or the Easter Islands for vacation, Iīd be happy to carry my XM2, but If you are going to Disneyland.. it will be too big.

I agree with Gary that you should take a look on the DVC30, I havenīt used one myself.. but It sure seems to be a great cam, and will probably will complicate your decision making process a little bit :)
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Old July 9th, 2004, 11:09 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
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That new 400 is supposed to be smaller than the Sony TRV950, isn't it? For a home movie/vacation type of camera, my feeling is that smaller is better. You want something you don't mind having with you all the time, something you can hang around your neck while your wife's piling all the baby stuff into your arms, something you can stick in her purse and say, "Here, hold this while I go to the bathroom," and then conveniently forget about it and she'll carry it for you until she remembers why her purse is so heavy.

I think it's also important to have a small camera that you can leave loaded with a battery on, sitting on a shelf someplace handy, so you can grab it and get those cool shots you will miss if you have to go get the camera bag, get out the camera, put on the battery, load a tape, etc.

Any of the ones mentioned would be good; some are bigger than the others. Getting 1/4" chips is better in lower light, but smaller chips = smaller camera, and the difference in low light performance, while it's there, isn't a deal-killer, in my opinion.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #5
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Location: St.Thomas, Ontario, CANADA
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I really agree with what everybody here is saying. I have a GL2 and a Sony TRV38. For family stuff, I always reach for the TRV38, it is so much easier.
I can stuff it and my Canon G3 still camera in the same bag when we go on trips and I can wear it around my neck all day without problems.

Not sure I could do that with the GL2.

I be looking at the GS400 strongly as it is very tiny.
Toogood Studios
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Old July 9th, 2004, 02:49 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 2
Thanks so much for all your advice!

You have all made me think, and in doing so, I'm pretty sure I've possibly made a tentative, unbinding decision. Maybe. :0)

I am using a dinosaur of a camcorder now, probably 10 years old! I'm not sure I'll have the time or inclination to learn all the Pany DVC30's manual controls (not effectively anyway) - even though I really prefer the spec's on this camera. Does it not have true 16:9 mode? I never saw it mentioned anwhere.

So I'll probably submit a preorder for the new GS400. I think it will best suit our needs - plus, let's be honest, I really like Bill's rationale about my wife's heavy purse! "I don't know honey, must be all your makeup."

Does anyone have any experience with either of these retailers?:


(An Office Depot Company, and a representative assured me they're an authorized Pany dealer).


Or should I bite the bullet and order from B&H?

Thanks again. It is very much appreciated.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #7
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Old July 9th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #8
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