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Old April 27th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #1
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Looking for HD Camcorder advice...

Hi all,

I'm hoping that I might be able to get some advice. I'm looking to purchase a camcorder and I'm having some trouble finding models that suit my needs. First thing I should note - used is fine - as long as the camcorder meets or exceeds my needs, I'm not picky on used/new. Second thing - my budget is $800 with an ABSOLUTE CAN NOT EXCEED max of $1200.

The camcorder will be used for:

Recording graduations for the school I work for - all graduations are indoors and some have very low light (there is a period during the nursing graduation where the main lights are off so all lighting is via candle and light coming in from the windows)

Recording tutorial/training videos.

Special event situations (various lighting)

Most camera work will be done via tripod there may be some hand held work, but it will not be the majority of the work done by this camera. (ie: OIS is nice, on most camcorders today, but if it's only "fair" in terms of functionality that's OK as it will almost never be used - but I'd prefer better then "just doesn't work" OIS quality like, for example the JVC HD7 (this coming from things I've read, not from personal experience) )

Minimum requirements (these are the bare minimums of what I NEED, anything above and beyond are gravy features that would be nice):

Mic input (stereo mini jack or XLR is fine. I almost prefer stereo mini jack so I don't have to replace my existing Rhode mic - a mic input is an absolute must)
HD 1280x720
Ability to record to a single medium for > then 1 hr lengths (ie: dSLRs that have HD capability are ruled out due to only being able to record for 5-15 minutes at a time)
Manual controls for: Focus, iris, gain, shutter speed. Manual focus I prefer ring and not joystick controlled focus like what would be on an HF100
Viewfinder
Accessory shoe - doesn't have to be a hot shoe, but I do need an accessory shoe
In terms of size, something between say, the size of a JVC HD7 and a Panasonic HMC40 (these two models are only being used for sizing, not endorsing either as one I plan to get - especially since the HMC40 is only fair at low light it seems and it's near $2K, so it's outside of my budget) - just for reference I've used a canon HF100, and it feels small to me and a little hard for me to control - I'm not sure if it's really a size issue or a weight issue.


Things I would like, but aren't required:

1920x1080
native P mode (ie: native 24p, not 24p inside of 60i)
Headset connection for monitoring audio during recording (usually I can get away with just using the meter on the LCDs as an indicator or connecting a/v out to a small tv, but I really do prefer a headset jack)
extensive audio control


Other notes:
HDV or solid state storage is ok - I'm not averse to either. Both formats have benefits and drawbacks. The biggest benefit to me of SS storage is larger capacity for longer single sitting record times and ability to transfer the data off at faster then real time for later processing.

I would like a CCD based camcorder. I know this may be a stretch as most camcorders in my price range with my other requirements will probably be CMOS. Mostly this is due to rolling shutter - unless the camcorder happens to have a global shutter. This is important to me as there are times where I will have to record faster moving objects or bright flash objects (ie: welding) and I'd prefer as little distortion as possible.

I am not biased to any manufacturer. I just want a quality camera that won't break the bank ;). I'm not using this for broadcast. I have used Sony, Canon and Panasonic cameras before.

My editing platform is Mac w/ Final Cut Studio 2 (will probably upgrade to FCS3 either later this year or early next year)

Most footage will either end up on DVD or will be for computer playback, but will be sized for 1280x720 for computer playback.

I'm hoping someone can suggest some models for me to investigate.

Thanks in advance - please let me know if there is any other info that would help you all suggest some models to look into.
Tony Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 28th, 2010, 02:32 AM   #2
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"I'm not picky on used/new."

You might not have much choice with that budget. Is this $1200 max figure for the camcorder alone, or are you expecting to get all those other knick knacks (tripod, batteries, mic, etc) for this price?

CCD's are going to limit your options IMO. There are a few PDX 10's around for good prices, and it's a nice camera that i owned for a couple of years. Come to think of it it's not HD.

Canon has loads of small HD camcorders. The HV20 is superb but shoots to tape rather than SS, but various SS models have followed, but probably not CCD.

Sorry, i thought i could help you Tony, but i'll let someone else take over as i'm struggling to come up with something that ticks your various boxes.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #3
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Hi Dom,

Yeah, I know - my list of needs may be a bit big for my budget at this time - I may just have to wait 6 mo to a year until I can save up more. I was just hoping that *maybe* there might have been a good, albeit slightly older model that would do 720p that would meet my main requirements :(

This budget is for camera and its' basic accessories - ie: ac adapter, single starter battery, etc.; Tripod, mics, extra cables, etc. not included.

Last edited by Tony Harris; April 28th, 2010 at 08:08 AM. Reason: feet = meet - obviously too tired when I originally wrote this.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #4
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Tony, if you can live with CMOS you'll have a much better choice and IMO, the shortcomings are not that big a deal.

Good luck.

D
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Old April 28th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #5
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Well the cmos vs ccd was in the desire rather then need - I can use CMOS, and have used it for most things honestly. If the imager itself was out of the picture - what would you suggest?
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Old April 30th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #6
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I did finally make a choice. I scrounged up a little more money and have purchased a BStock Panasonic HMC40. It meets the VAST majority of my desires and the ones it doesn't meet I'll find a solution to when the time comes.
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