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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #1
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Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

My Sony HC7 has given me so much trouble lately that I have to do something about it. I could pay about $300 or more to have it fixed, but given the problems I've had with this camera I don't want to do that.

I've been looking at the Canon HV40 and the price has come down considerably. I know MiniDV is pretty much history in the consumer market so I'm wondering if I should purchase another MiniDV camera or something else. AVCHD? DLSR?

What would you recommend for a prosumer hobbyist that uses his camera for family activities? I edit HDV with Sony Vegas, I like the MiniDV format and I still have plenty of new unused tapes. The HV40 is currently selling in the mid $600 range.

Thanks.

Last edited by David Jasany; June 7th, 2011 at 07:56 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Nope, not a chance. :)

For family activities (and this will probably be my next personal use camera), I'd think about a Sony NEX5. Super compact, great stills and video, and you can adapt some serious lenses to it if you ever have the need.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Save your cash for a nanoFlash. If the tape factor is all that's going wrong with your camera, this solves it. You can record in XDCAM HD 422 straight off of the HDMI port on your HC7. Works up to 100Mbps Long GOP in Vegas 9 and up to 280mbps I-frame in Vegas 10.

I own an HC7 myself and the images with -2 sharpness applied are still really good. As much as I want to use tape for archiving, dropouts on tape are making me move towards the nanoFlash.

If you can't afford a nanoFlash, a Focus Enhancements CF recorder would do fine too.

The TL;DR: Yes I would, but I'd use it with a nanoFlash or other Solid State recorder.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

You must be kidding! In 2011??? Up your budget just a bit and get a decent flash camcorder.

My $.02...
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Old June 7th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

If all you're using it for is hobby/family stuff, you might even take a look at Sony's top end P&S cameras released this year...

While I have CX550's and Alpha SLR/SLT's, in all honesty I reach for a DSC-TX9 most of the time anymore, will be upgrading that to the TX100V shortly, with 60P video... The HX100V and HX9V are also "top of the line", but the already discontinued WX10 floored me with what it could do (about 90% of what the "top" ones can)... I paid under $200, to upgrade the "wife cam".

While the form factor is a bit awkward for video, these little P&S cameras do quite well for stills, and the video function is pretty "up to date in KC". There are easy ways to steady them, and you're looking at under $500, even for the most expensive one once the "hard to get" factor goes away (they aren't producing a lot with the disaster in Japan).

All of this depends on what you "really" need in a camera of course - do you use dual audio/mics? Do you shoot in absurdly low light? Do you need alternate frame rates? Do you need to impress anyone (clients) with the size of your camera?

I'd be hard pressed to tell someone to go buy a dedicated video camera unless they have a "business" (meaning it will generate income). A P&S, while it won't have all the adjustments and bells and whistles, sticks in your pocket in most cases, so in the end you have it with you and end up taking more shots/clips... the image quality will likely match or surpass your HC7 in many cases.

Oh, and unless you have a large tape archive to deal with, I wouldn't buy a tape based camera today, though I still have a couple in inventory until I get done dumping tape!
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #6
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Just to pile on, I think there are two things you really need to avoid these days... tape and standard definition. FireWire as well. So make that three things. You want HD, flash-based recording media, and an inexpensive card reader.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #7
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

I've got to agree with the others...I wouldn't touch one today if I had cases of tapes sitting, un-used.
The suggestion about a Sony NEX is a really good one; I've been shooting with one for the past 8 months or so, and am continually surprised by the quality of video it produces. I've invested in a couple of adaptors to use my Nikon lenses with it, and the results have been extraordinary. It's a lovely little camera to use.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #8
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

To add to Chris Hurds list, I would also point out most any tape based consumer cam is also going to have an older technology sensor. Even at equal cost, I think you will get a better, more light sensitive sensor with lower noise with a more current flash (AVCHD) based cam.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 01:15 AM   #9
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Yes, I would buy one.

As a prop.

For film about a late '90s, early 2000s videographer.

:)
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Old June 8th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #10
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Thanks for all the comments. I agree it's time to ditch MiniDV and to look at other technologies. Thanks for mentioning the Sony Nex 3 or 5. It looks like an interesting camera that possibly could fill my need for both photos and videos. I plan to give the Nex a serious look as well as competing products as this market develops.

I already have a very nice prosumer compact, a Canon G11, but unfortunately when I bought it I didn't have a need for it for videos. So I'm stuck with its SD and monoural capabilities. Even the G11 successor, the G12, only does HD at 720p 24fps. If I want 30fps, it's back to SD.

I might play around with my G11 and see how it does for video. Given my need is personal use, and my delivery format is DVD, this might suffice for now. But I really hate to take steps backwards in the quality of my projects, especially in audio.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 06:44 AM   #11
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Depends. If you have tons of recorded tapes (as I do) having a new HV40 may make a lot of sense. Are all your old tapes archived? Will you have a way to go back and retrieve footage? For me having a working camera that plays tape is VERY important.

Secondly will your computer handle the newer formats? HDV can be edited on a pretty mundane system. There has been more than one DVI member that made the camera switch only to find out the price of the camera was just a start because of the computer upgrades necessary to get the new codec to work. Make sure you download some footage to test on your current set up.

And most importantly budget. You say you have a ton of blank media and the HV40 does shoot very nice footage. Your present computer handles it just fine and at $600 it's a deal. If money were tight, my computer was marginal and I had no way to capture my old tapes, you may find the HV40 the perfect camera for your situation.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 07:30 AM   #12
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

I've been looking at the Canon HV30 & 40, both used and new. I'm surprised how much eBay bidding activity there still is on these models. I guess it's coming down to when I should or must replace my MiniDV workflow, either now or later. I don't want to put much money into MIniDV which is why I looked at used models or even getting my HC7 repaired. I thnk the cost of repairing my HC7 might be about the same as buying a used HV30.

As for my archived project tapes, my HC7 should be able to capture them provided the mechanical problems don't get any worse.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #13
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?


Damm, and I thought this may have been a chance to off load my Canon XL1s and AH a1.

Move forward and invest in a decent memory card camcorder or HDSLR
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Old June 8th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #14
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Your question should have read “Should I buy a MiniDv camera now?"

A friend asked me over to his daughter’s birthday party and I took my new Canon HF G10 along. Before leaving their house I noticed they had a PS3 so after I arrived home, I captured the footage, made about 20 cuts, 2 cross fades, one title and burned it to a Blu ray. The next day I saw him and gave him the disc.

Both his wife and daughter called thanking me, they loved it. That was last Monday.

Last night about nine my friend calls and I can hear the frustration in his voice. He just needs a little help. He’s sure it’s just something simple and could I tell him how I captured/edited/and burned the Blu Ray? And oh by the way if he tries to just play the footage from the camera on his 5 year young laptop it freezes.

Without saying anything he went out and paid a premium for the Canon HF G10. Since I left their house after nine and had the disc in his hand before lunch the next day and knowing I need my 6 hours of sleep, how hard could it be? When he found out the software I used runs over $1500 the thud I heard on the other end of the line could only be him passing out.

His wife balked at the $1000 he said he spent and he remarked that if she really knew the cost her head would explode. Worse yet, when she asked him if he had talked to me prior to purchasing the camera he lied to her and said he had. I suspect I will be dodging her for quite some time. I did tell him if she cornered me I would give her the $1000 he said he spent for the camera. Cash.

I think we all need to be cognizant of the fact that what some of us do on a day to day basis with the newest cameras, software and computers is not typical. If you do work for hire having $10,000 in computer hardware and software is easy to do. If you are a hobbyist that’s a tough nut to crack.

For me, buying an HF G10 and the XF100 with the Canon .mxf codec wasn’t an issue. A quick trip through the Canon utility (XF100) and right into the Premier time line and I was off and running. They are great camera but for some people that same journey can be a nightmare.

If my HDV camera broke and I wasn’t in a financial position to upgrade my computer to handle the newer formats I would buy another in a second. That’s a decision only you can make.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 01:40 PM   #15
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Re: Would you buy a MiniDV camera now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Just to pile on, I think there are two things you really need to avoid these days... tape and standard definition. FireWire as well. So make that three things. You want HD, flash-based recording media, and an inexpensive card reader.
Not so sure about FireWire, it still provides a constant data transfer speed. I am also told it makes less demand on processing for audio cards. At least that was what I was told when I purchased the FireStudio Mobile audio interface.
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