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Best DV cam for cheapest price?
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moofman
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Dec 19, 2000, 10:08 PM
 
Hey,
what is the best DV Camera at a reasonable price? Less than 1500 is good, less than 1000 is great.

Thanks,
moofman
     
Quadzmodo
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Dec 20, 2000, 11:56 AM
 
Try the Sony TRV 320, TRV 120.. They may have been replaced with newer models, but I have the 320 and it's great. If you don't want the digital picture function I suggest going with the cheaper 120. BTW, the pics are that great you need a lot of light for it to just be acceptable.. quality is 640 X 480.
It's just my humble opinion.
     
timur
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Dec 20, 2000, 02:10 PM
 
http://www.pricewatch.com/ can help you find the best prices.
     
KAR
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Dec 20, 2000, 02:57 PM
 
I suggest Sony or Canon DV's. Sony works better with Mac's. See the read me with iMoive.

I use a Sony DCR-TRV20. Its about 1600.00 now. The TRV11 is the next model down and thats about 1200.00.
     
Edwin Sneller
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Dec 20, 2000, 04:31 PM
 
The Sony Digital-8 format is the best digital video camera for the money on the market right now. Except for the 820, you should be able to find the other models below $1000. The TRV 320 and 520 are both great choices.
     
yuhui
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Dec 20, 2000, 04:33 PM
 
Hi

Firstly, I assume that you're referring to a *camcorder*, as opposed to a digital camera. They're clearly different, although most digital camcorders can function as digital cameras too.

In my 1 year of DV experience, I've gone through 3 -- yes, 3 -- camcorders. The first was a JVC GR-DVF21U which I purchased for about $800 in Dec '99. This camcorder served me faithfully, it had an LCD screen and image stabilizer, which are the only 2 things that I look for since I'm not a pro user. It also had its own spotlight, which was a bonus. But -- and this is a big but -- JVC uses a Firewire interface that is incompatible with Apple's products, including iMovie and Final Cut Pro. I had to use Adobe Premiere (which, I think, really sucks) or Digital Origin EditDV (which is pretty cool, actually). So I sold it (at a major loss), did my research on Apple's website, and got myself...

A used Canon ZR. At first glance, this looks like a digital camera, but don't let its looks fool you, it's a camcorder through-and-through. And it worked pretty well, the display was sharp, it had loads of functions, and I could strap it around my neck and let it record while I walked. And for $460, I thought it was a steal... until I realized how much its battery life sucked. A single battery which supposedly could last more than an hour actually supplied about 1/2 hour of normal use. So it was time to get a *real* camcorder which reasonable battery life and support for Apple's Firewire spec. I did more research, mostly on Epinions.com, and bought...

Another used camcorder, the Canon ZR-10. I haven't actually field-tested this, but based on first impressions on opinions of others, this is a nifty camera. I'll probably buy a battery with longer life, but according to Epinions.com, the battery that comes with the camcorder gives a reasonable 1-hour+ of use. And is this thing compact! It has the shape of JVC's camcorder, but the size of the Canon ZR. And I bought this for $670, including a bag and tripod.

Now you're probably asking: where did I get these deals? 1 word: eBay. I checked out the lowest prices on the web (through mySimon.com) but could always find the lowest prices at auction sites. Of course, considering that my Canon camcorders are used, so it's probably natural for the prices to be lower.

Right now, I still have the old Canon ZR and now I have the Canon ZR-10. I'll probably keep the ZR as a backup and digital camera, with the ZR-10 as the 'legit' camcorder. Of course, if I ever run out of cash, you'll probably find my ZR on eBay.

Quick recap of my specific needs: LCD screen (any size), image stabilization, reasonable battery life (preferably at least 1hr per full charge), support for Apple's Firewire spec, and positive recommendations. Your needs are probably different, but remember to *always* do your research. You don't wanna burst your budget looking for the right camcorder.

Hope that helped!
Yuhui
     
sokkerjeff
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Dec 20, 2000, 04:44 PM
 
If price is a key concern, don't overlook Sony's Digital8 format cameras(aka D8)....the low-end of this line can be had for around $700, I think. Unfortunately, I can't remember the model numbers off the top of my head. I have two of these camcorders, I use them extensively (sports video) and they are fantastic! Image quality is superb (500 lines of resolution). FireWire, S-Video, Composite Video and RCA audio jacks all built-in.

The Digital8 cameras record EXACTLY THE SAME FORMAT (DV) as the DV/mini-DV cameras - EXACTLY! (many people don't understand this). The main difference is that the D8 cameras record on Hi8 tapes, which are physically larger than the miniDV tapes. However, Hi8 tapes are cheaper, especially in bulk. The D8 cameras tend to be a bit larger/heavier than the consumer miniDV cameras, but they're still quite comforable. Frankly, I find some of the miniDV cameras too small - controls are tough to manipulate. The other thing about D8 cameras is that they all use only a single CCD chip. Most of the sub-$2000 miniDV camcorders (do you realize that in normal lingo these days, 'miniDV' and 'DV' are used interchangeably when referring to digital video) also are only single-CCD, so there's no difference there. If you do wind up wanting a 3-CCD camcorder (Canon GL-1,XL-1, Sony VX1000, VX2000, PD100 PD150), you'll have to go to miniDV/DV, but you'll have to spend well over $2000. Frankly, the difference in visual quality between a 3-CCD camcorder and a Digital 8 camcorder is extremely minute - most non-videophiles can't distinquish between footage shot on one or the other.

If you're planning to do video editing, the Sony camcorders seem to work a little bit better over FireWire than do the Canon's (but both do work)...

Well, that's my 2 cents....good luck! Whichever digital camcorder you choose, you'll absolutely love the quality.

Jeff

     
sokkerjeff
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Dec 20, 2000, 04:55 PM
 
Followup to previous post:

One other thing - batteries. The Sony camcorders (D8 on up to the high end DV/DVCAM pro-sumer jobs) all use the same battery pack format. When you buy the camera, you get one (or is it two?) one-hour batteries. They're great. But here's the cool thing. I've subsequently invested in an 8 hour battery and a 12 hour battery. While neither lasts quite as long as their rated capacity, they do provide at least 85% of it. This is no joke...they really do. Even when using the flip-out LCD to film, which roughly doubles the drain on the battery, I still get around 6 hours of filming on that 12 hour battery. If you film through the eyepiece, count on at least 10 hours!!! The 12-hour battery sells separately for around $150, the 8-hour for around $99.

Canon also has optional battery packs that extend the run time, but nothing to compare with the Sony's....

jeff
     
Shaman
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Dec 21, 2000, 04:01 AM
 
I use a JVC camera DVL-107 (the cheapest one - PAL) The price in Bulgaria is about 720 USD, so I think it will be not more than 650 in the USA.
Nowhere in the Apple docs was included that JVC will work, but I was surprized, that there is NO PROBLEM ! neighter with iMovie nor Final Cut or premiere, or Radius EditDV !
So if you want a cheap camera try the JVC, if you want a good camera buy a Sony ;-)
     
petek
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Dec 21, 2000, 01:54 PM
 
I use a JVC GR-DVF21U with iMovie 1 and love the camera, but will be upgrading the software soon. I paid $699 for the camera a year ago, and would probably buy the same one today (they're in the $500-600 range now) or maybe the DVF31 which has a bigger LCD.

I especially like the fact that the controls are all at your fingertips on one hand - no turning the camera sideways to select modes and effects. It's also turned out to be quite durable and reliable. The only objection I have is that the mic picks up some drive motor noise in quiet shots.

I have also used Adobe Premiere 5.1 LE with this camera, but had audio sync problems. As soon as I get a chance I'm going to try out EditDV, since iMovie is rather limited.

As to why this camera works fine with my Mac (beige G3 MT with OrangeLink Firewire/USB), when others report problems, I have no answer. (But I'm sure glad that it works for me!)

     
belgica
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Dec 22, 2000, 07:55 AM
 
Hello from belgium.

I bought 6 months ago a Panasonic NV 150 (in/out).
Works like a charm with my PowerBook G3 Wallstreet thru a Ratoc FW card.
I got a 10% rebate, leading to less than 1000$. I bought a bigger battery and a bag, then price raised to around 1050$.
Not the smallest one, but good price for in/out.
A friend of mine has the JVC 107, around the same price. Works well with his iMac DV.

HTH

Philippe
     
iFred
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Dec 26, 2000, 11:19 AM
 
I use the bottom of the line Sony Digital 8 camcorder, and love it. It's got good auto controls, but stiil allows you to manual focus and iris. I got it on sale in the summer for about 699 (US). GET EXTRA BATTERIES!!!!

ifred
     
Thunderbird
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Dec 30, 2000, 12:22 AM
 
I have a Sony Digital 8 camcorder, and have been very happy with the quality. However, you should be aware that although the DV format is the same with Digital 8 vs. miniDV, the cameras are not. The mini DV cameras have better lenses and better resolution, and thus the picture is a little better. The Digital 8 cameras are nice if you have had a Hi8 camera in the past and don't want to throw out all of your old tapes.
     
Archangel
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Dec 30, 2000, 11:16 PM
 
I bought a Canon Elura 2MC back in October and I love it. It's perhaps the smallest miniDV camera out there. Seriously, it can fit in the pockets on my jeans. It's very light too (under a pound w/ film and batt.). My only major quibble with this camera is that the battery life is short. I will definitely be buying more/ better batteries soon. Oh yeah, also, I still haven't been able to access the still images off of the multimediacard. Other than that, I would highly recommend the Elura2 if you want a camera you can take anywhere.

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scottiB
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Jan 1, 2001, 11:50 AM
 
I have a Canon ZR-10. It's a great camera for stepping into the world of iMovie. It can be had for less than $800 US: works flawlessly; small; 60-65 minutes of battery life; many inputs/outputs (FireWire, S-Video, composite (RCAs-the same cord used with the iBooks),. Quibbles: low-light use is marginal, pre-empting the digital stabilization; must remove the camera from the tripod to change tape.

My two bits after goofing with a DV camera for 5 months: factor in price of an extra long-life battery; see if a seperate, battery charger is included (I must charge the batteries through the camera), look for higher optical stabilization rather than digital; disregard most digital zoom values, concentrating on optical; miniDV tape is preferable.

Have fun; I'm having a riotous time!!

[This message has been edited by scottiB (edited 01-01-2001).]
I am stupidest when I try to be funny.
     
Leo the 3rd
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Jan 2, 2001, 09:44 PM
 
I'm new to DV too and went for the Canon ZR10 from Onecall.com. For me it had enough features to cover my beginner needs. I agree with the others that an extra battery is a helpful (extended time model) and DV tapes can be had reasonably (I got mine locally for $6.92 a piece). Unless you're wanting to do broadcast hi-quality stuff (you'll need a nice 3CCD unit), then the 1 CCD units will do fine. Technology moves fast, so enjoy the current cameras cause there's always something better on the horizon, but you may miss out on the fun now.
     
Archangel
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Jan 2, 2001, 10:36 PM
 
Originally posted by scottiB:


My two bits after goofing with a DV camera for 5 months: factor in price of an extra long-life battery; see if a seperate, battery charger is included (I must charge the batteries through the camera), look for higher
optical stabilization rather than digital; disregard most digital zoom values, concentrating on optical; miniDV tape is preferable.

[This message has been edited by scottiB (edited 01-01-2001).]
That's sound advice to anybody buying a new DVcam. I would say the exact same thing.



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Apple_John
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Jan 3, 2001, 06:54 AM
 
Panasonic pv-dv100, only $1000cdn = ~$670us. Best DV

I have a dv400, $1200cdn. It is the best single CCD DV under $2500cdn. The only downsides are its size, use mmc and no RCA input.
     
drillerkiller
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Jan 3, 2001, 03:56 PM
 
I love my Canon ZR10.
     
villalobos
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Jan 29, 2003, 08:23 PM
 
Anybody has experience with the Sharp DV camcorder (namely the VL-AX1U)? It seems to offer nice specs for a very reasonnable price. Wondering if the picture quality is good.

villa
     
   
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