MiniDV camera research
August 27, 2008 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions and research sites for DV camera?

I am beginning a for-work acquisition research quest to determine the best route to go for getting a video camera. We have already ruled out high-end, 640x480 is fine. We do need advanced fiddly controls - white balance, exposure, that sort of thing.

A digital connection that allows us to direct-capture to hard drive is a requirement. On or off-board audio recording does not matter, but I would tend to err on the side of audio-in-jacks for outboard mics. Mini-jacks are fine.

We will be using the camera to create short marketing-support videos which will not require outside shooting or the use of models or actors. Think simple product demos.

First decision point: should we even look at still-and-video point and shoots? I lean away, thinking that the fiddly controls won't be sufficient.

Second decision point: any pointers to that evergreen of the obsolescence-oriented geeks-n-gadgets publishing market, the current-models comparison for miniDV cameras?

Thanks very much and I look forward to your wisdoms.
posted by mwhybark to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
 
Do you have a budget? The strongest recommendation that I could give you is to look for a 3CCD camcorder as this will give you the best color and picture possible. Models that offer this are very likely to feature the advanced adjustments that you are looking for. I'd definitely shy away from the point-and-shoots that do video because even though the resolution is rather good, the controls aren't terribly good and the sound pickup is usually rather awful. Also, if you go for a mid-range to higher-end camcorder - it will offer still image capture that gives you respectable JPEGs. Another feature I'd look is analog-pass through which will allow you to capture analog video to your computer through the Firewire 400 port on the camera.
posted by cgomez at 6:31 PM on August 27, 2008


There have been some previous asks about video cameras.

First decision point: should we even look at still-and-video point and shoots? I lean away, thinking that the fiddly controls won't be sufficient.

My (several year old) Canon point and shoot camera has a video mode, but the output is very low quality - the video mode is an afterthought. Technology might be better nowerdays, I guess.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:55 AM on August 28, 2008


Just this week Nikon announced the D90- the first DSLR with a native video mode. You get to use all the lenses you own, plus all the normal shooting controls are available in video mode.
posted by pjern at 2:03 AM on August 28, 2008


I might point out that the D90 video mode referenced above is up to 720p HD- and the video quality should be right up there with a $17,000 Red One digital video camera.- for $999 (body only).
posted by pjern at 2:05 AM on August 28, 2008


Hm. 640x480 is what I'm after, no interest at all in HD.

Budget is $200 to $300, maybe to $500 but I can't imagine what features would push it to that level.

The only non-HD MiniDVs with 3CCD guts are Panasonics, that I could see. My test shots were all with a Sony DCR-TRV19. That line is up in the 30s and 40s by now, I'm thinking that's where I'm going.
posted by mwhybark at 9:00 AM on August 28, 2008


The 3ccd panasonics are fine.

I think, for what it's worth, that the d90 hype is a little premature.
posted by history is a weapon at 11:04 AM on August 28, 2008


the D90 video mode referenced above is up to 720p HD- and the video quality should be right up there with a $17,000 Red One digital video camera.- for $999

You realise, of course, that the Red One has a 4520 x 2540 pixel sensor - three times the vertical resolution of 720p. Of course, for 17 thousand dollars you'd expect an impressive spec sheet.

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posted by Mike1024 at 1:18 AM on August 29, 2008


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