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Any suggestions on decent video cameras in the $400 range? I don't need it for recording sports or anything like that, but maybe family type events or vacations. Video cameras are one area I don't have a lot of experience with, so I appreciate any suggestions. The one thing I do know is that I'm not interested in one with a DVD for data nor do I want proprietary memory storage like Sony's Memory Stick. Thanks!

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Thanks el kido, but I need Video cameras. I know what kind of camera I want...a Digital Rebel XSI...but that will have to wait. :D

 

Oooooh! Lol. I use a Camera as a video camera, so I didnt even think about it.

 

Try this

Link

 

Its a little pricier but on Video Cameras I heard they suck if you cut corners. Reading the reviews showed this was the sweet spot

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First decide everything that you want to do with it. Meaning just record video and watch the video or do you want to do any editing with it or live capture.

 

The best all around choice is a video camera that uses MiniDV tapes. These all have a DV/firewire connection on the camera. Pro's only use MiniDV tapes for many reasons.

 

Based on my experience, many people are misinformed about video cameras and video tech. Many like and actually believe that a built in hard drive and/or dvd mini disc are advanced and MiniDV tape and using a firewire/iLink are out dated but the exact opposite is true. Stay away from these people because they do are not knowlegable enough about video gear.

A little reseach will prove this very quickly.

 

You CANNOT shoot live video directly to your computer without a firewire/iLink(sony)

 

Pros do not use HD's and dvds to shoot video. You might say 'I do not want to be a pro' BUT, there will probably be things in the future that you will want to do with video and find out that you need to buy another VidCam because you are stuck with the one that you bought.

 

Also Vista and Win 7 have the included/free Moviemaker which can very easily capture live video to edit, but only if your camera has a firewire port. USB does not work for this.

 

As you can probably tell, I have been working with images and video for quite some time and gained an insight into video cameras. I also use non linear programs to edit and work on video to create a nice final DVD or Flash file as final output.

 

So with that said, do yourself a favor now and buy a video camera that uses MiniDV tapes, HiDefinition and a CMOS image sensor. Try to stay away from a CCD type video camera. All MiniDV tape cameras have a firewire. Firewire is still faster than USB 2.0 for video capture. The other types of video cameras all have USB connectors like a DSLR or even a basic camera but none come with a firewire/DV jack.

The MiniDV tape units all have a Firewire/DV port AND a USB 2.0 port.

 

Your only concern with Zooming is the optical zoom, NOT the digital zoom numbers. Optical increases the sensor capture size whereas digital zoom crops the video and can make for bad quality video.

 

All the other features are basically eye candy and if you use even the free moviemaker in Vista, the other stuff will all be overidden by software. ie white balance/exposure color settings etc.

 

The best choice in the price area that you stated is the Canon Vixia series

 

Here is a link to the HV30 at newegg. It was $585.00 until a few days ago and I'm furious that I did not buy one because now it is $799. The HV20 is about $600. It uses Hi definition tape or MiniDV tape. Both have a CMOS sensor. You can check out the HV20 there also or search for the best deal. Any warranty service needed will be thru Canon regardless of where you buy it.

 

Canon VIXIA HV30

 

This is only my recommendation. You can buy whichever brand you want but stay away from any formats that deviate from the standards that I layed out above. SONY might be nice but they contiue to keep on creating bad proprietary formats (see BetaMax) and never seem to learn.

 

I bought a Canon mini DVD type video camera as my first for around $325.00 and learned the hard way how limited it was and wish I had never bought it.

 

The main thing is MiniDV tape and CMOS sensor if your going to spend over $400.

 

A nice starter non HiDefinition video camera is the JVC DRV-87OUS if you can find one yet or even a reconditioned one. JC Penney outlet stores had reconditioned ones as of last week for $129.00, which is great for what that camera can do.

 

ALSO, a video camera is by far superior in quality compared to a webcam and so you can use a video camera as a great webcam via the Firewire. (many people don't know that). This is also why the JVC camera for 129.00 was so good for people that wanted them as a webcam and not even for shooting video. They even included a software program for doing that.

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Thanks for your expert advice! I have a couple of questions though

 

So what exactly is the advantage of a tape vs hard drive? I can think of the following: archival, will not fail and require expensive replacement, better native quality.

 

Now if I want that video on my computer, I have to spend at least the length of the video in time to put it on my computer, then I have to encode it...not to mention firewire looks to me like it's going the way of the dodo with increasing USB speeds on the way. A hard drive based camera should allow me to just transfer a video over to my computer...ideally, anyways.

 

Forgive me if I get some of this wrong, just trying to figure out the best option.

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Firewire is faster than USB 2.0 for video. The stated speed of 2.0 is up to 480mbs but is severly limited by your system for many reasons, one is because it is shared with other stuff and the system controls USB.

You will never get the speed from USB that you do from Firewire.

 

It's hard to explain, I'll try to find a good link that explains why FW is faster.

 

Also Firewire allows the capture of video without a capture card. USB 2.0 can easily result in dropped frames during transfer.

 

You cannot capture video to a program with USB, only transfer video.

 

The tape format will remain long after the dvd/hard drive formats are gone.

 

Hard drives basicly capture video is pure digital form so the quality is usually not as good as tape. Compare both types and you will notice the grainy effect in the pure digital video from a HD or miniDVD disc.

 

1 MiniDV tape = approx. 1- 60GB hard drive worth of video. for the $3.25 tape it is the safest and lowest cost backup of your video.

 

Firewire is faster due to the architecture. It's hard to explain simply.

 

The simplelest way I can explain it is that Firewire can sustain 100% speed. USB 2.0 cannot.

 

Read this:

USB vs Firewire

 

USB vs Firewire Wiki

 

Another thing is that many people do not understand how big video files are before compression.

A 2 HR movie can be over 100GBS in size. When you get it to watch it has been super compressed by whatever Codec is used.

 

You need super speed to capture 50 or 75MB per second without dropping frames.

 

Vid cameras with MiniDV Tape are the only units that have both FW and USB and they also have an analog port so that you can plug the camera into a TV and watch your video right after shooting.

 

I can try to send you an eBook that can explain more if my email will allow this size attachment.

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Thanks for your expert advice! I have a couple of questions though

 

So what exactly is the advantage of a tape vs hard drive? I can think of the following: archival, will not fail and require expensive replacement, better native quality.

 

Now if I want that video on my computer, I have to spend at least the length of the video in time to put it on my computer, then I have to encode it...not to mention firewire looks to me like it's going the way of the dodo with increasing USB speeds on the way. A hard drive based camera should allow me to just transfer a video over to my computer...ideally, anyways.

 

Forgive me if I get some of this wrong, just trying to figure out the best option.

 

Firewire is far faster then USB, not to mention you do not have the issues of the uSB bus being saturated when firewire is used.

 

I have used both over the years, and would not even consider giving USB a second look.

 

Firewire is far batter, faster, doesn't require special drivers or encoders for whatever the device you purchase decides to use.

 

Firewire MiniDv are a standard, nothing proprietary needed, will work with any OS, and the majority of capturing and editing software. In other words, it just works.

 

Say you buy that whiz bang camera with a hard drive and are away form your computer with the proprietary software and drivers needed for it, and you want to quickly get the video edit a small portion of it and make a DVD for a friend. Are you going to start installing drivers and software on others computers?

 

Or perhaps that whiz band proprietary USB camera is discontinued and future software no longer supports it, or maybe the latest whiz bang OS doesn't work with that software, or even worse the USB driver doesn't work...................

 

Not an issue with firewire. plug it in and go :lol: I don't care whether it is a MAC, Unix, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD...................firewire just works.

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I'm aware that Firewire is faster than USB, but wasn't aware of the differences in data transfer. It will be interesting to see where FW and USB go in the future.

 

I'll look around for some more cameras, but do like the idea of using tapes better than a hard disk or flash memory. I still have a while to make a decision, but I'm MUCH more informed now. Had I not known all this I would have likely gone for a hard disk based camcorder.

 

Thanks for the tips guys!

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As a fellow video editor, I agree with almost everything Computer Crasher is saying.

HiDef, CMOS, great optical zoom, MiniDV is everything you want in a camera. I used a sony HD for a while in my video editing career. It sucked, I sold it on ebay earlier this year, and bought a great cannon model..(don't remember off the top of my head)

 

Firewire is definatly the best. I use it for almost everything now. External Hard drives, iPod...pretty much any device I can get my hands on, i make it firewire.

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I just thought I would add another point about using MiniDV/Firewire.

 

This type of file for the most part is a somewhat RAW file. The major benefit of this is that you can create/convert your video to any other format with relative ease. Mobile phones, Web pages, print media, DVDs or anything.

 

Any video editor knows that converting formats to fit other needs can be a huge pain and hairlosing experience. (I've lost a lot of hair over the past few years due to video tech).

 

So by using MiniDV/Firewire gear, you WILL avoid most of the headaches that many people have had and posted about even in this forum in the past.

 

It is my understanding that with these files, you can even work with them with relative ease in the self contained LINUX application that comes standard with most if not all new LINUX releases. I have not had much experience with the LINUX app but from what I know of it, it is quite powerful. From my observation, either most LINUX users don't use the apps OR are not aware of it. I would bet that soon when Linux users learn about it in detail, it will become a huge public hit.

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what IS the linux ap?

 

but could someone explain why in video recording cmos sensors are better than ccd? in still photos, i've always gone the reverse way with ccd sensors over cmos. everything i've done has shown better results with ccd. *i've found this link.... http://www.dalsa.com/corp/markets/CCD_vs_CMOS.aspx *

 

and personally, for my video needs, i would go with a HD unit simply so i don't have to carry around tapes. but i don't exactly have a large use for video recording. most of which is done on my camera, lol.

Edited by wdeydwondrer
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i was just saying for my nonexistant video needs, i would opt for a all in one type device *shrugz*

 

if i were into it, or needed one for serious use, i'd probably look at thoose options, lol.

 

still curious about thoose sensors though, why cmos seems to be better

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but could someone explain why in video recording cmos sensors are better than ccd? in still photos, i've always gone the reverse way with ccd sensors over cmos. everything i've done has shown better results with ccd.

We need to separate DSLR's from Video here. When I said CMOS was a better choice, this was for Video not still images.

 

If you don't understand the benefit of Firewire/iLink, then you don't need it. Firewire is cross platform and in most cases does not require proprietary software to work with output. DV is a huge almost lossless file which is what you want for editing.

 

On the other hand, DSLR's require proprietary software to perform tethered shooting depending on the model you are using. I prefer Nikon gear and they require a $200 program for this via USB.

 

To my knowledge, miniDV is the only format that carries FW.

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Good info Computer Crasher :tup:

 

I've been looking to upgrade my video camera and was looking at getting flash memory (SD) but you may have changed my mind.

 

Newegg now has the HV30 back down to $599 and I'm seriously looking at it. I have no experience with video capturing or editing but would like to burn video to dvd. Using XP is there additional software needed for this? Will software needed be included with the camera?

 

Sorry bacterozoid, I don't mean to take over your topic. :b33r:

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CC, i understand the benefit of firewire, just i would never use it, that's all. lol

 

but transfering abilities and recording media asside, i was asking for an explanation on the sensors. you've already said cmos was better, i'm just curious as to why. way the light's captured.... cmos have a faster back end to it....

 

bonzai, if u buy new, there is usually software included. i don't believe you get anything like an adobe movie editer, but there's usually something. and i believe that xp comes with a movie editor built in, but no idea if it's worth it's weight.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16830120240 looking at it, seems to support FW, but doesn't include the cord. one of the reviews says along the lines of order a 4 to 6 pin FW cable. the 4 pin end looks to be on the camera. they also make note that the video editing portion of the software is near useless. over all though, that looks like one heck of a camera, WAY more than i'd ever use, lol. your pc up to hd editing?

Edited by wdeydwondrer
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I believe there is software that comes with the camera. Basically with a DV camera with firewire, you can use any non linear editing program for your video. I saw the lower level of adobe premier for around $100. This type of program might be good if you want to spend $100.

 

From what I understand, Windows Movie Maker is installed with Vista and may be available with XP SP3. People are using it but I have not at this time.

 

If you already have NERO 9 ultimate, try using it because it has several tools to work with video and also contains the burn engine for your output. Its a good program for editing and making custom DVD's.

 

I can look for some free programs and post back with them but the program that comes with the camera or is available from Canon should work good.

 

You can also navigate thru Digital-Digest and find links to many open source programs that all work great for specific purposes. I must have 10-15 programs that I found there to accomplish various tasks as needed. They also have some excellent info and tutorials if you navigate thru the site for anything you need.

They have tools for encoding, re encoding, and converting anything to anything for final output.

 

If your not sure about some of the software, just post back here or start a thread and people can help you with which ones are good and which are bad. Some of the free Open source stuff available there are great.

 

That camera Vixia HV30 for $599 is a steal. I think I might order one this week. I compared all the top end cameras up to $1000 or even higher and that one appears to be the best. The next step is over $3000 and up. The HV40 will be out by June but I don't think the HV30 will go any lower at any time even after the HV40 is out. If you want to wait until June, then wait for a price on the HV40. I think the list price is less than $100 more than the HV30 and maybe they will have a special new release deal.

 

This is probably good for Bacterozoid because hopefuly he will know exactly what he wants in a video camera and why he wants it. I made the mistake of buying the Canon DVD camera for my daughter and now am sorry that I did.

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Heres a link to kind of explain CCD and CMOS

 

Video Tech

 

I guess an easy explanation is that CMOS provides more processing power and speed from within the camera with less power. Also CMOS uses less power which can extend battery life. If your out shooting video and do not have extra expensive batteries, then CMOS can give you more shooting time.

 

I wanted to convert old 8mm film/movies to digital and the best solution is to recature the movies directly via firewire to a raid-0 array.

 

Like I said, you need to keep DSLR's separate from Video Cameras more so when it comes to CMOS or CCD's. You may feel that you don't need DV now but if you decide to do more with video later, I would hate to have to buy another video cam for doing it.

 

For Images, I prefer Nikon gear. For Video I like Canon DV or HDdv gear. Canon makes good gear so the choice is up to the user. I would not recommend anything other than Canon or Nikon because I feel that those 2 are the best in the market.

Edited by COMPUTER CRASHER
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i've only used canon, parents are still shooting w/ film and only use nikon, as well as an ex of mine that went for a photography major. just a bit high on the price for a casual camera user.

 

as to me using DV, i don't even own a video camera, just use the movie feature on the canon, LOL

 

i guess power consumption could be enough to five cmos a win on the video camera. from my research here, doesn't look like the end result in quality is too much different on high end sensors from either wing.

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With tape "minidv" you are dealing with uncompressed raw film data. In other words HUGE file sizes. The tape has to run in order to retrieve it.

 

Of course it may take a while if the tape is full, but the benefits of having raw "uncompressed" data means no loss do to compression, no wierd formats to deal with, no proprietary applications to work with it, no draw backs that I have found yet.

 

My next cam will definitely be a high def cam, but it will still use dv standards.

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