Panasonic or Canon?
October 2, 2005 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Help me decide between two MiniDV camcorders (please?)

Let me explain. No -- there is too much. Let me sum up. Parents gave me $500 to buy a video camera so I can furnish them with grandchild videos. (Apparently the photo site I set up doesn't cut it!) Spent the last few weeks reading reviews and getting my hands on some cameras. It has come down to two: the Canon Optura 40 (dvspot review link) or the Panasonic PV-GS150 (dvspot review link). The main differences are the 3 CCDs on the Panny vs. 1 on the Canon (although they've been reviewed as having comparable video quality), and the A/D converter (to import video from analog sources such as VHS or TiVo) on the Canon only. I don't really care about digital effects/fades/editing since I'll be doing all that on my Mac.

I am leaning toward the Canon for that once in 5 years time I might want to use the A/D converter, but I am still unwilling to commit. Is there anything you, an owner of either of these cameras or an otherwise knowledgable consumer, can tell me to help push me off the fence?
posted by pmbuko to Technology (7 answers total)
One vote for the Panasonic, 3CCD makes a real difference in color and clarity, and the new joystick menu nav is really god. I have the model that the gs150 replaced. low light performance is perhaps slightly better on the Panasonic, but actually moderately low light performance might be better on the Canon. Either one will work out pretty well for you, I suspect.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:26 AM on October 3, 2005

Second for the Panasonic, again because of the 3 CCDs. It really does make a difference, you won't be sorry.
posted by JMB1138 at 4:08 AM on October 3, 2005

The Panasonic has a 3CCD...but for the record it's a smaller set of CCDs.
For DV? The CCD size at that point isn't huge (video is very low rez) but the 3 seperate ones help.
When I looked at the reviews, the color quality on the Canon is compromised using their chip test vs. the Panasonic. This is where the 3CCD's matter.
So, the panasonic's 3 CCDs do really help color wise.
The Lens on the Panasonic is much better.

Step up to the panasonic 250 and get your S-video in.
The canon may have been discontinued. I couldn't find it on their site in their current listings (US) but I'll admit, I didn't look terribly hard.

It sounds like the only reason you'd get the canon is for the input.
Well, one day (maybe never), Tivo will get tivo to go working on the mac side. VHS? Really? For that rare you have a buddy that has a camcorder?
posted by filmgeek at 5:21 AM on October 3, 2005

I can't really see the point of the A/D converter.. you might as well just buy a DVD recorder in future when they'll be as cheap as DVD players are now.
posted by wackybrit at 5:26 AM on October 3, 2005

I'm going to chime in for the panasonic again. Besides the 3 ccd issue, which you really shouldn't dismiss, there's the fact that recording from analog sources (especially if you edit on a mac) isn't hard.

but then, what kind of mac do you have? If it's a laptop, maybe you will have a problem. But if you have a desktop, then the majority of graphics cards out there have an analog video in that you can use to record to, and if you don't, then you can get a card capable of analog capture on the cheap (even if it isn't a card specifically designed for such. like any of ati's recent crop of 3d accelerator cards.)

so, yeah, without a doubt go for the panasonic.
posted by shmegegge at 11:00 AM on October 3, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, everyone. I'd only be able to get the Canon as a refurb, so that should count as a strike I suppose. And you've put the A/D feature in better perspective for me. Looks like the Panasonic wins. Now all I have to do is find a bargain from a reputable dealer.
posted by pmbuko at 2:20 PM on October 3, 2005

Response by poster: oh, and I've got a G5 tower. The video card has no input, but I can always buy one that does.
posted by pmbuko at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2005

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