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Old 08-01-06, 10:42 PM   #1
Pheard
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Video cam help

Just curious if anyone has like a camcorder and has any suggestions. I'm thinking of one of those hand held ones that fit on one hand, for this road trip were doing in a week. Any suggestions? My main concern is having a high enough quality camera that the quality isn't scratch or blurry. Suggestions?

I'm thinking something like this:



except a little less expensive
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Old 08-01-06, 10:58 PM   #2
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Check this one out:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=E501&cat=CON


They take PayPal in addition to the usual plastic. They also do COD's but charge an extra $10 for the service.

The flash memory is the cool part, as you can carry around a whole bunch of those little guys as opposed to cassettes, and there aren't any moving parts to break like there are in a micro drive. I have a Kodak camera which is primarily a camera and a camcorder second, and I can get 16-18 mins of very high quality video on a 512MB card with out any changes in the default settings (640x480, Highest quality setting). I could cram more on there, but that would mean resorting to the unmanly task of actually reading the instructions.
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Old 08-01-06, 11:20 PM   #3
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Basically heres what I need to know.

Does it take video?

Does it take sound with the video. (it says Built-in microphone and speaker, so I assume the videos have sound)

and is it good enough quality so that I can tell who the people in the video are.

What determines quality? the 640x480? or does the fps decide the quality. If so, what are the differences between a 600 and a 150 dollar camera. What makes the 600 one take better quality videos. All I care about is the video quality and sound.

I don't need the picture feature, and all that crap. All I want is good quality videos. So, if I was to get rid of all the features and get something with not alot of features and hopefully go for something with better quality I'd go for that.

like this:


http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000E1332M
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Old 08-02-06, 12:07 AM   #4
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The frame rate is what determines the quality of the picture. 30fps is pretty much standard, although I'm pretty sure you can get one that records at a higher rate for a lot more money. To make things even more complicated, it's possible to make a better video with a cheap camera set at 640x480 than with a better quality camera set at a lower frame size. Lotsa variables here, sorry. Being sure of the lighting and resting the camcorder on something that doesn't move while filming (so to speak) can make or break a video, no matter the quality of the camera.

Check out YouTube, Heggle, etc. The videos there are a good indication of the picture and quality available on the market today. All of them seem to be pretty good, certainly good enough to tell the difference between two jackasses who are trying to light off a firecracker in their mouths.

As for the price, you are paying for the brand name and the overhead of the store selling it, as well as the actual market value of the item, so it really complicates the comparison process. Going to one of those huge stores with 20 or 30 cameras side by side is probably the way to go there, at least until you get a feel of what you like or dislike. That's why I sent the link for Geeks: you don't pay for the showroom or the staff, because there isn't any.

You can almost certainly score a bargain off of eBay so long as you only consider ones that are new in the box. When it comes to electronics the term 'lightly used' really means that the owner had regular sex with it, at least when he wasn't using it as a hammer.
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Old 08-02-06, 12:11 AM   #5
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I need to be able to take 2+ hours of video. Are there any other cameras you'd suggest that take those small cds that can hold long videos?

I've accepted the 30fps, 680x480. My only other problem is length of video, can that camera you linked me too take long videos? if I bought a 1gb memory card would that allow me a long recording time?



this is looking nice

http://sector29.com/PRODUCT_PAGES/20...9-SCD-353.html
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Old 08-02-06, 12:17 AM   #6
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I have no ******** idea how much those 8cm disks hold. In any event, that means you're holding a combination camcorder and dvd burner, which has gotta influence the asking price. A flash/memory card is written digitally, and is a lot cheaper.
Since the length of the video is important to you, check to see that the beast will accept at least 2GB cards. My camera only goes up to 1 gig, part of the reason it was $150 instead of the newer version of the same camera that goes for $450.
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Old 08-02-06, 12:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheard
That one uses a cassette mainly and uses a memory stick as an adjunct. It is therefore not all that different than the one I first sent you with the mp3 crap, ie extra features that drive up the price and/or lessen the quality of the other features. Plus, I've had a bunch of trouble working on Sony laptops, so I'm not the best guy to reccomend anything Sony, who are the people behind both the DV and the memory stick
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Old 08-02-06, 12:44 AM   #8
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I started trawling through eBay, and quickly developed a headache. I did see that JVC unit you have a picture of above for $100 less than the link to the ad you posted. I realized that I have no idea what your budget is, what you'd find acceptable, etc.
For long recording, you might need to go with one of the microdrive units. I saw one with a 30GB drive. A video (a movie like you'd rent from the store) runs at about 6MB/minute, so a 30 gig would go for about 85 hours before filling all the way up.
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Old 08-02-06, 10:10 AM   #9
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Well my budget I would say is 200, mainly because I may have to buy at least a gb memory card after getting the camera.
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Old 08-02-06, 11:01 AM   #10
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Video cameras use the flash memory for some crappy video and even crapier still pics. They transfer via USB. The tape or DVD media will be transferred via fire wire. IT will be of much better quality.
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Old 08-02-06, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
Video cameras use the flash memory for some crappy video and even crapier still pics. They transfer via USB. The tape or DVD media will be transferred via fire wire. IT will be of much better quality.
As I stated earlier, my Kodak is a camera first, and a camcorder second. It takes very high quality still pics with flash memory. I only play around with the video part (want a vid of my cat taking a nap?), so I'll defer to your opinion here.
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Old 08-02-06, 09:56 PM   #12
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So getting a camcorder that takes mini dvs, prolly is better quality.
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Old 08-03-06, 03:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheard
What determines quality? the 640x480? or does the fps decide the quality. If so, what are the differences between a 600 and a 150 dollar camera. What makes the 600 one take better quality videos. All I care about is the video quality and sound.
There are three factors that determine the quality of the video:

1. resolution, 720x480 is standard on miniDV and home DVD standards. It works to keep the image-ratio correct with the non-square TV pixels.

2. frame-rate, 30fps (actually 29.97) matches the TV signals, find a camera with "progressive scan" if you can, moving images, especially fast scenes will come out a lot cleaner.

3. compression, many standards exist and in general, the smaller the storage-medium, the higher the compression has to be and the lower the quality. MiniDV is the highest quality with 90-minutes on a 18.4gb tape or 20gb HD. DVD is next lower in quality at 30-minutes on 1.4gb compact DVD. Flash-storage is the worst quality trying to squeeze 60-minute onto a 1gb flash card.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
Video cameras use the flash memory for some crappy video and even crapier still pics. They transfer via USB. The tape or DVD media will be transferred via fire wire. IT will be of much better quality.
He's got the right idea. There's basically two types of video cameras:

1. toy-quality, 15fps 640x480, 0.3-megapixel CMOS, USB, AVI/MPEG4-format cameras with flash memory. To fit video onto much, much smaller flash cards, the image is highly compressed with MPEG4. While MPEG4 can theoretically have higher quality than MPEG2, it requires a tonne of CPU power and dual-pass encoding. Doing it in real-time, even at a slower 15fps requires serious trade-off in quality in order to fit it onto a small flash card. The lower image-quality compared to the #2 cameras below is easily apparent when you compare video frame-by-frame.

2. high-quality, 30fps 720x480, 1-megapixel+ (native) CCD, firewire, DV-signal cameras. These can store info on miniDV tapes or 20gb hard-drives like the JVC Everio series. This is the highest quality storage at 12.5gb/hr. Some of these cameras use DVDs, which highly compresses the data into MPEG2 which is lower-quality than DV (30-minutes on 1.4gb compact DVD). It also isn't as handy for editing later as you don't have precise single-frame editing precision with MPEG2.

So I recommend the #2 type of camera with mini-DV or hard-drive storage for highest quality. DVD in a pinch if you want quick previews and fast media swapping. Panasonic and Canon are good values in the $300-600 range. Sony and JVC seems to have the top-quality images, but JVC has sporadic quality control, some models are great, others are crap. Here's a good site on getting info on camcorder: http://www.camcorderinfo.com

Now there's the #3. top-quality, 60fps 1440x1080, 3mp+, 3-chip prosumer HDV cameras in the $1500+ price-range, but you don't really want to hear about those...

BTW - That JVC GR-D370US looks like a great camera for the price. You can find it as low as $275 if you shop around.

Last edited by Mothra; 08-03-06 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 08-03-06, 09:58 AM   #14
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So you suggest that jvc one at target? I've decided on a mini dv style camcorder definitely, mucho thanks mothra for helping me out.

I'm trying to figure out for that jvc camcorder. It says 1.5 hours of time on the battery. Can I use aa batteries when that dies? I need to be able to keep adding batteries.

Last edited by Pheard; 08-03-06 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 08-03-06, 10:15 AM   #15
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Screw video. Save yourself some money and buy a note pad and a nice pen. Writing is cooler, anyway.
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