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Thread: Recommend a Video Camera

  1. #1

    Default Recommend a Video Camera

    I'm planning to buy a video camera, but not sure what I should be looking out for. I guess whats' impt is value for money and a fairly established brand so that third party products can work with it easily (e.g. analogous to Nikon/Canon rather than Pentax/Minolta).

    Also impt is picture quality and a wide range zoom. Sensitivity in Low light is rather impt also.

    ANyone got any recommendations or can point me to an appropriate site (or forums) which may contain the information I'm looking for? Thanks!

  2. #2


    any recommendations?

    for a start, im tossing up between getting a DVD videocam vs a DVtape videocam...any ideas on the pro/cons?

  3. #3


    Popular brands i can think of are JVC, Panasonic, SONY and Canon....and...maybe Sharp.

    Panasonic videocams tend to have very close specifications to that of SONY cams but are cheaper and the Optical zoom is abt 15X, if i'm not wrong all SONY videocams have only 10X optical zoom.

    You might want to go for those with 3CCD for better quality...

    Things to look out for....are the Lines of resolution...(i dont mean the resolution on the LCD panel of the Videocam) refers to the capture quality of the video.

    If u need to snap stills....Megapixel ones are better.

    Oh and....some models dont have built in video-light, so if u take in the dark or night....get one with a built in video light and with a SHOE to mount an external one IF u need in future.

    (I made the mistake of not checking and mine didnt have one Nor does it has any shoe....)

    As for DVD vs DV tapes....DV tapes are cheaper.....and if u EDIT ur wont be much diff....since the Videocam will output the video VIA IEEE1394 to PC and after editing....u Covert MPEG and then to VCD or DVD format

    Unless u are too lazy to edit and wants to record Direct to Disc and then PLAY. Then THe DVD-RAM might be better... IF u have a player capable of playing from the DVD-RAM or DVD-R format from the videocam

    I find the tapes to Be more i find DVD to be more fragile...drop only...scratch or break...scary...

    Most 3rd party products like Batteries, Wide Angle Convertors, Teleconvertors are available for all the above brands.

    Though i find SONY tends to be more 'unique" in their products (not to mention expensive) than others.

    For serious videoing...check for other accessories like .... External video-light, Video light battery packs (those lamps drain a lot).

    A Extended Battery pack tends to last abt 2-3 hours, longer W/O the LCD on...using only the EYE-PIECE. Std ones...abt 1hr or so.

    If you cover Entire Days events like wedding..or Outdoor festivals..etc. Extra batteries are highly recommended.

    Since you are not a Canon
    I wont recommend the Canon (pro series)

    It can use Canon SLR lens w/an adaptor.. prices are like > $5000?
    Last edited by Winston; 7th September 2004 at 09:22 PM.

  4. #4


    Like choosing a still camera... what's your budget? U like compact type, mid sized or dun mind bulk and weight...

    So far Sony's new 3CCD cam caught my fancy... mabbe you may want to check on it's review.
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  5. #5


    Hi guys,

    Thanks all for the response.

    I guess budget wise, dont really have a budget, perhaps ard 2k? of course cheaper better. but the guiding principle for me is more of value for money. I'd buy the highest end thing without the law of diminishing returns occuring (ie for each buck u pay more, u get much less but it gets really expensive). so someting relative high end but not prohibitively expensive will be good.

    size wise, prefer something smaller, so can carry around easier. However, if there are much better features, dont mind taking on a little more bulk.

    I'm currently eyeing two models - the Panasonic VDR-M70 (DVD-Cam) and the Panasonic PV-GS400

    The GS400 looks good, but i'm still kinda drawn by DVD cams, as it appears to be easier to edit and dont need so much PC power to edit correct? My understanding from DVtape cams is that you have to output to PC, and the gigabytes really start to rack up from there as it is avi. after editing then stll have to compress/render into mpg2 before burning to DVD. whereas if i have a DVDcam, i can straightaway edit the mpg and then burn to DVD direct once its done. does it save the rendering/conversion time?

    of course DVtape should be better quality (correct?) cos it uses uncompressed data unlike dvd which is mpg2 already (much like comparing tiff and jpg)

    appreciate any insights into the two models i've picked, and more info on dvtape vs dvd cams would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Due to the size of the DVD, they can only do 30 mins on standard mode. I had a friend do the video for me during my wedding using DVD and I ended up with 6 DVDs (dinner included)... DVDs are expensive!

    Compared to a DV tape that can do 60 mins on standard and 90 mins on long play mode, I'll go with the DV... at least until the DVD technology improves...

    I've used Panasonic PV-GS400 before and I'll give it double thumbs up for the user interface... very well designed machine...

    Just me 2 cents worth...

  7. #7


    canon XM2, got L lens!

  8. #8


    im using panasonic gs15.. 24x optical zoom.. think its really value for money..

    got it for $900

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002


    Take a look at for pretty indepth reviews.

    I am using a Panasonic PV-GS70. So far very happy. This year it has been replaced by PV-GS200, and Panasonic also released a slightly simpler model PV-GS120. All these are sub US$1000 3CCD models.

    If your have a higher budget then you might want to consider Panasonic PV-GS400 or the Sony DCR-HC1000 (3CCD with swivel body design like the Sharp Z7U).
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.


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