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Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: Need help with camcorder buying decisions

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) March 2, 2007 3:12 AM PST

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Need help with camcorder buying decisions

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 3/2/07 3:12 AM


My digital tape camcorder broke months ago and Im so confused about replacing it. Is it a mistake to buy HD tape when they are so expensive now. Will mini tapes disappear in the next few years? I understand the quality and ability to edit is best using tapes or am I wrong. Im not interested in a hard drive camcorder. Would you recommend DVD or tape camcorder? What are the pros and cons of both? Please help me. Thank you!

--Submitted by Carol L.

Answer voted most helpful by our members:

Carole, I ran into the same question you have about 7 months ago. I am no professional but I take a lot of video that I take home and edit with some fun editing programs, which I then save or burn into dvds to share with friends and family. My camcorder broke down as well so I did a lot of research but could not get the definite answer I was looking for until I ran into a professional who was hired to film my daughters game. I quickly went over to him while he was setting up to pick his brain. I checked out his mini DV $3800 professional camcorder and asked him his opinion of DVD, HD, HiDEF HD and mini DV. He told me if you like editing and creating your own style then he would go Mini DV which was the best camcorder for doing this. He told me the Hard drive cam compresses the video which takes away some when editing. The High def hard drive camcorder, he said he was going to stay away from because you have to make sure you have Hi def editing program along with Hi def burner, high def player, and high def TV to get the high definition. If your not into editing at all and want to keep it simple then go DVD Cam which will burn it right to a disk for you. The negatives in this is what you record you burn so even if there's long boring parts thats what your stuck with.

As for your question, will Mini DV tape cam's disappear? I doubt it since all the nice professional camcorders are using them. Could I afford his $3800 cam, I think not. The things that make these cam's so great is the video quality they produce. One of the features that give this camcorder good quality is its 3ccd chip, most camcorders have 1 chip. So I researched to find the best 3ccd cam for the consumer that was reasonably priced and came up with the Panasonic PV-GS500. I was amazed by the difference in video quality from what I had before. So much clearer and brighter. It was in the $800-$900 range. I would have to say keep researching as I bought my cam 5 months ago and who knows theres always something better around the corner. I hoped this info has helped you.

Submitted by RM aka ACM10

If you have any additional advice or recommendations for Carol, let's hear them. Click on the "Reply" link to post. Thanks!

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