Digital Video Camcorder Recommendations?
April 1, 2005 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good digital camcorder for consumer use? Google/Froogle aren't much help to me since I don't even really know what to look for. It is for typical home-movies-of-the-kids type stuff, and price is a big consideration. Also, what features are important?
posted by bashos_frog to Shopping (7 answers total)
I don't have any recs for you, but my father-in-law has asked me to research this for him. Links to what I've found helpful below.

Beginners Guide to Digital Camcorders
CNET's Buying Guide
Another buying guide
PC World's Buyers' Guide to Digital Camcorders
posted by suchatreat at 12:34 PM on April 1, 2005

I bought a JVC grd-72US based on the information from this website (but last year's recommendation) and couldn't be happier.

Camcorder Info's Best Camcorders under 400$

There's a previous thread too..
posted by fake at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2005

I actually found the Amazon reviews to be a pretty good source of info on different camcorders and has a wide variety of consumers talking about how the camcorders worked in real-life.

I ended up buying a Sony DCR-HC40 and am very happy with it. I'm amazed at how small the DV camcorders are these days, it is about the same size as my digital camera!
posted by rks404 at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2005

Sony seemed to be the best when I bought one. I bought a TRV-19 a few years ago and the quality is very high, images are crisp and sound is decent. The TRV-33 looks like a good deal at $300 and change (mine was twice that, and less featureful). You want MiniDV, since it's the most standardized format. Don't get locked into a proprietary scheme. Features are meaningless, all you really want is something that has good image/sound quality and has decent image stabilization. I personally don't care about taking crappy photos with a video camera, or silly video transitions.

(It's the Unix philosophy: do one thing, and do it well.)
posted by knave at 1:59 PM on April 1, 2005

One feature potentially worth looking for - some camcorders (including some, but not all, Sony models) can accept an analog video input, such as from a VHS deck or an older camcorder, and output it via firewire in real-time to your computer.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:26 PM on April 1, 2005

If you are ever think you MIGHT do more than a really bad home video -- like a not-so-bad home video, make sure your camera has a mic input. I'm amazed how few low end cameras do these days. Using an external mic makes a HUGE difference. Bad video can be cool, bad audio is just annoying.

Think about if you really want a still camera (shoots stills to a card, not the tape.) in your video camera. I know I don't, and was able to shave a few bucks by getting a camera without a still feature.
posted by cccorlew at 7:45 AM on April 2, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks all - I appreciate the help.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:40 AM on April 4, 2005

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