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Old May 24th, 2020, 12:02 PM   #1
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Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

Hi,

I'd like to get a digital camcorder for taking family and vacation videos and definitely want to get one with a remote control. For years I've used a Sony DCR-TRV 250 and that did well enough but would like something with better picture quality and doesn't require tapes. I found a good deal on a new Sony DCR-SR200 but that is not high def so how much does that matter? One thing that might be a problem from a review about it says: "the SR200 does not have a USB port or video output options on the camera itself making the data transfer process tedious" so would that be a real problem? I want to load videos to a computer.

Also found a used Canon HF200 HD Camcorder with SDHC slot. Would that be easier to deal with? And a used JVC Everio Camcorder GZ-MG21U HD Drive. And a used Panasonic HDC-HS100 60GB HD Camcorder. Are any of these particularly better overall than the others?

Or can someone suggest something they feel is better than any of these? I don't want to spend much over $100. I see Ordro cameras from China for under $30. What would be wrong with going that route? If the main thing is they can't be repaired they can be replaced for less than I ever paid for repair to a Sony DCR-TRV 250. Also see what looks like it might be an Ordro from a US seller for $85 and these are all brand new with a remote.

Thank you for any help or suggestions!

David
ME, USA
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Old May 24th, 2020, 05:11 PM   #2
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Re: Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

Two questions
1) Why do you need a remote?
2) Are you planning on editing your footage?

If you can stretch your budget a bit, Sony and Canon have offerings in their Handycam and Vixia line. I've seen their entry-level offerings at or below $200, and you're getting a quality product from a recognized brand. I prefer SD cards over hard drives, as you can easily upgrade your storage very cheaply, and play back the cards on almost any computer with an SD card slot or even some televisions (without needing to connect your camcorder).
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Old May 24th, 2020, 06:04 PM   #3
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Re: Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

My first thought was "why not use a good smart phone for filming video?" if it's only for family clips etc. The quality is very good these days and it fits in your pocket, plus nobody will tell the difference if you shoot in landscape mode my holding the phone horizontally. Data transfer via USB is standard. You can also use it to make calls.

Your budget of $100 is a bit of a concern and you're likely to spend more than $100 of your own time messing about just to work within that constraint.

Reckon you should just get yourself a decent smart phone if you don't have one already.

Andrew
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Old May 24th, 2020, 07:44 PM   #4
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Re: Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

HF200 is a good option. Mic input, earphone output, 50x optical zoom. I have the HF20 model (SD card memory only, no internal memory). I use it as a travel camera for recording oral histories.
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Old May 25th, 2020, 03:34 PM   #5
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Re: Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

Hi David,
Picking out an “new-to-me” used cam is a daunting task due to all the models out there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Harrison View Post
I'd like to get a digital camcorder for taking family and vacation videos and definitely want to get one with a remote control. For years I've used a Sony DCR-TRV 250 and that did well enough but would like something with better picture quality and doesn't require tapes.
A lot of good comments, and questions, above. The transition from consumer tape drive to HDD then magnetic SD media happened fairly fast, only in a very few years. In 2006 it was hybrid HDD and SD card, then by 2008 cams were all magnetic on-board memory and removable memory. The other thing that happened at the same time was resolution went from SD to HD. For the price point you’re looking at, something with Hi-Def HD and SD card memory would, to me, be the baseline, along with what Ed mentioned, mic input and earphone output as they provide a pathway forward for raising the bar with your video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Harrison View Post
I found a good deal on a new Sony DCR-SR200 but that is not high def so how much does that matter?
Given the stated budget the incremental cost by springing to HD is so little, HD would be minimum. Everything sold in the past several years has been 4K, for both cams and TVs.

On Wikipedia there is a good “List of Canon camcorders” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ders#HF_Series that will help to compare models and features for the Canon series. Tried to find a similar one for Sony but couldn’t, and didn’t try for Panasonic or JVC.

The main market place for older cams at the price you’re looking at is going to be eBay and craigslist, Looking at eBay “Solds” will help with finding out what the going price range is. On eBay today there seemed to be a fairly big difference between the advertised price and those that have actually sold. This can bring up a whole new area, like, how to buy something on eBay. With the states opening up and going into summer, cam prices may be higher.

With regard to some more unknowns, there are questions about what other kit (camera gear) do you have at present, and where might you want to go with doing more video, raising the bar on capability. One suggestion to add to the kit is a microphone for the cam (like the Røde Stereo Videomic for example); hence, the mic input. It’s been said that Two-thirds of good video is good audio.

As for buying a cam, sometimes buying someone’s old kit isn’t much more. While looking at some of the eBay items there were some packages with more than just the basic cam. A while back I picked up a cam for my wife that included a very nice mic lavaliere, wired remote control (cam already had a remote), camera case, memory card, extra Sony battery and Sony travel charger. All these pieces if acquired separately can really add up.
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Old May 25th, 2020, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Help choosing an inexpensive digital camcorder.

Alex I’ll take Camcorders for 100
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