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Digital Video Camera Question
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James L
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Apr 3, 2004, 04:28 PM
 
Hey all,

I apologize if this thread has been posted in the past, but I am looking for a budget digital video camera for use with iMovie and FCE / FCP. I have looked at Sonys and Canons so far.

I have just started to look at various options, so please consider me completely uninformed. I do know, however, that I would like the following options:

1) Compatibility with the above applications (iMovie, FCE, FCP).

2) Ability to connect to my iBook / Powerbook through firewire, as I have read about USB connections dropping frames. Is this true?

3) The ability to connect an analog signal, such as a vcr tape, through the camera and into the computer. I want this to be able to digitize some video I have on VHS tapes.

4) I would like, but it is not necessary, to be able to use an external microphone with the video camera for better audio (for example, if I was videoing my freinds band I would like to be able to shoot the video, and take an audio feed from the pa system into the camera).

Thanks all, looking forward to any information you may have!
     
littlegreenspud
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Apr 4, 2004, 04:12 PM
 
Hi,

Both Sony and Canon make excellent mini DV cameras, Canon get my vote as they are easier to use.

Most mini DV cameras work with iMovie etc. Just take your iBook/Powerbook to the store and try plugging in the camera you are interested in. Most cameras use Firewire to transfer to your computer, Sony call it iLink, it is the same thing.

If you want to record from old VHS tapes the camera must have AV in, though this might mean recording to a mini DV tape then transferring on to the computer, I don't know if they pass-through the signal.

With your friends band question you might find it better to do a proper recording and then use that audio when editing the movie on the computer.

One last thing, if you don't have a DVD burner you should get a camera with DV in as well as out. Then you can edit the movie on the computer and send it back to the camera onto a new tape, and then finally on to a VHS from the camera!

Good luck
     
urrl78
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Apr 10, 2004, 08:07 PM
 
If you have the cash Canon's GL2 is very compatable with my 17" Powerbook.

Here are some video frame grabs of the GL2:

http://homepage.mac.com/bhardy3/PhotoAlbum8.html

Some of these pics look more like photos than video frame grabs, but no; unless specified these are actual video movie frame captures converted to .jpg format.
     
Axo1ot1
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Apr 10, 2004, 11:56 PM
 
The GL2 is not a good buy. You an get a much better camera with much better connectivity for the same or less.

For people to help you on this topic you need to share what your budget is going to be.

I'd say that based on those features you listed that you should expect to pay in the neighborhood of $2000.
     
willab
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Apr 11, 2004, 06:22 PM
 
Originally posted by Axo1ot1:
The GL2 is not a good buy. You an get a much better camera with much better connectivity for the same or less.

For people to help you on this topic you need to share what your budget is going to be.

I'd say that based on those features you listed that you should expect to pay in the neighborhood of $2000.
Do you mind listing a few comparable cameras?
Dual 1.8 GHz G5
PB G4 1.67 GHz
     
Axo1ot1
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Apr 11, 2004, 07:37 PM
 
Well I haven't been shopping for a camera lately, but last summer when I was the best bang for your buck camera with 3 chips and XLR input was the Sony PDX-10, which is about $500 less than the GL2 and shoots native widescreen. It also comes with a much better microphone than the GL2.

Sony also just dropped the PD-170 which is a pretty nice camera. It has better low light abilities than the PDX-10 and comes with a wide angle adapter. They have the same audio unit though.

The Panasonic DVX-100a is more expensive, but its picture is really great and it has all the connections he needs.
     
buddhabelly
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Join Date: Apr 2002
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Apr 12, 2004, 12:03 AM
 
Did you guys even read his post? He said budget video camera. IMHO $2000 is an awfully big budget.

1) Compatibility with the above applications (iMovie, FCE, FCP).

99.9% of DV cameras will work with all the apps you mentioned.

2) Ability to connect to my iBook / Powerbook through firewire, as I have read about USB connections dropping frames. Is this true?

AFAIK, firewire is the ONLY way to connect 99.9% of DV video cameras.

3) The ability to connect an analog signal, such as a vcr tape, through the camera and into the computer. I want this to be able to digitize some video I have on VHS tapes.

Again, most current cameras offer this feature. Canon and Sony included. I'm pretty sure even the lowly ZR series (not the ZR-20, which I own) can do this.

4) I would like, but it is not necessary, to be able to use an external microphone with the video camera for better audio (for example, if I was videoing my freinds band I would like to be able to shoot the video, and take an audio feed from the pa system into the camera).

It would probably be easier to record this to DAT or directly to harddisk and sync the A/V when you edit. You will end up with cleaner sound and easier editing process. Also keep in mind that all DV cameras have issues in low light conditions. Plan wisely.

Axo1ot1 is correct with the sony. I still believe it's the only one on the market that used the full sensor resolution for shooting 16:9 without an optical converter.

One of the first decisions you need to make is what you expect out of your camera. If you want the best possible image quality, you really need to look at 3-chip cameras. I believe that sony has one starting aroun $1499.

You also may need to decide if you can live with a single fixed lens, or need the ability to swap lenses for different uses. The xl1 is about the only game in town at a "resonable" price.

If these issues are not something that really concerns what you are trying to do, ie this is hobby or something, then you can start looking at even cheaper cameras, like the Canon Optura Xi or even Optura 20. Sony also has a few at this price point. What I like about the Optura is the manual focus ring. This is a huge feature for me.

Anyways hope this has helped a little bit.
     
brianb
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Apr 16, 2004, 06:05 PM
 
Budget cams I would start by looking at the Canon ZR series.

range from 300 to 800 dollars depending on options
     
   
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