Cheap good camcorder, or else!
September 19, 2004 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Digital Camcorder / Digital Video Camera: Looking for a quality review/comparison site. Also, any recommendations? Below $1000, primarily automatic over manual, recording family indoor (some children's sports). Thoughts on simple video editing software to DVD, method of transfer, anything else I should keep in mind?
posted by Feisty to Technology (11 answers total)
I'm a fan of dealcam for prices (you'll see how far that $1k goes.)

Now, the rest is mac/pc stuff.

I'm assuming you don't have a Mac (otherwise you'd have the tools.)

I like Sony's Video Vegas + DVD. Now, that being said, I've never used it. I work in the higher end of this stuff...but from what I've heard/seen VV is a great deal.

You'll need a piece of hardware to get analog sources in - I don't have a suggestion here, but I will say, stay away from Dazzle at all costs.
posted by filmgeek at 8:19 PM on September 19, 2004

Love the Canon ZR-80 I got from J&R Musicworld for about $350.
posted by terrapin at 8:35 PM on September 19, 2004

I've used Digital Photorgraphy Review. There side by side comparisons and reviews are very useful.
posted by obedo at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2004

Unfortunately, DPR doesn't cover camcorders/videocams. It's a strictly digital photography site.
posted by DaShiv at 10:33 PM on September 19, 2004

Do you have a Mac or PC? You can't get much simpler as far as video editing goes than Imovie (Mac) or Windows Movie maker (PC).

If you want high quality videos and really want to spend all of that $1000, you might want to buy a Sony VX1000 off ebay. They're a 3CCD camera which means picture quality is a big step up from most consumer grade stuff. The biggest problem is that batteries and other equipment may get progressively harder to find as these cameras age.
posted by drezdn at 1:53 AM on September 20, 2004

Sony VX2000 or Canon XM1 maybe. They're good.
posted by ed\26h at 2:40 AM on September 20, 2004

Response by poster: PC. S.O. was looking at the Panasonic PV GS-200, it's a 3CCD, but my gut was questioning the quality of Panasonic, as the higher end stores in this area tend to carry only Sony or Canon.
posted by Feisty at 4:29 AM on September 20, 2004

Adobe just announced Premiere Elements for the PC. Releasing at the end of September (True confession: I'm working on a book for it). But it's basically Premiere Pro code with a few missing tools: it allows you to capture and edit video, the big difference is that it allows you to build menus and burn DVD's all within the same app. It also happens to be much cheaper.

My main experience is with Premiere Pro but I've been impressed with what Elements is capable of.
posted by jeremias at 6:08 AM on September 20, 2004

feisty, I bought the GS200 (actually the model that preceded it, but basically the same camera). The 3CCD color and picture quality with the Leica lens are really great, better than others in the class, but the low light performance you specify is not as good as others in the class. A lot of people recommended the Canon that Terrapin mentions, and it's a great value. It's true that Panasonic is widely seen as yesterday's brand, which is why they have tried to make up ground with innovative moves like the Leica partnership and compact 3CCD.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:39 AM on September 20, 2004

Glad for your post Feisty, my AskMe on MiniDV to DVD software didn't get any action and the Premiere Elements looks to be just what I need.

My budget was a lot less than yours but I'd pass on the tip to leave money for an extra battery or two and a charger. These guys have some pretty good prices.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on September 20, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! We're tempted by Panasonic's optics, but the low light issue is of concern. Whether we go with it or the Sony, it seems we won't be hugely disappointed. And hey, it's got to be better than our 10+ year Hi-8 Cam. Premiere Elements looks fun; can't wait to give it a go.
posted by Feisty at 11:13 PM on September 20, 2004

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