General Question

atr408's avatar

Which camcorder is better?

Asked by atr408 (357 points ) October 22nd, 2008

I want to buy a MiniDV camera to make skate videos but I cant decide what camera to get. Which one is better? Canon Vixia HV-30 or Panasonic PV-GS320.

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6 Answers

robmandu's avatar

[ Side Topic ] How vested do you want to be in FireWire technology?

kevbo's avatar

camcorderinfo.com has nine pages of review and data for just about every camcorder made. It’s an excellent (and overwhelming) site for comparisons.

atr408's avatar

what does vested mean?

atr408's avatar

I have also bin to camcorderinfo.com and it was helpfull but I guess my question is which is better? A camera with 3ccd’s or a camera that is high definition?

atr408's avatar

if i got the hd camera would i have to get special miniDV tapes?

kevbo's avatar

The best short answer I can give is that I did all the research a year or two ago and opted for the Canon HV20 over the Panasonic GS-whatever. I don’t remember why exactly, but I did weigh 3ccd vs. CMOS and for whatever reason the balance of the factors came out for the HV20.

If you go with a miniDV camera, you will need FireWire support (unless the technology has changed). I don’t know of any way to digitally edit DV/HDV video without uploading the video via FireWire. Rob’s point is that the new MacBooks don’t offer FireWire. Only the MacBook Pro’s do. So, you’ll need to commit to a FireWire system if you plan on using miniDV.

My experience… I bought my Canon HV20, which of course shoots in 1080i and 480i. I use it for vacation footage and to put together videos for family distribution over YouTube, or to capture events from my cousin’s senior year of high school. After shooting my first video in HDV, I now pretty much only shoot in DV because that’s the limit of my distribution. Most of my family only has standard def televisions and the compression from 1080i to YouTube is so ridiculous that it’s laughable. I expect the HDV feature to be more useful down the road, but for now it’s hardly worth the trouble. So, think about how you will distribute your videos and whether HDV is necessary.

Lastly, regarding HDV tapes, the consensus discussion online seems to be that you need HDV tapes only if you’re shooting professional video and you have no opportunity for retakes. HDV tape offers less dropout (i.e. better quality), but you can still get good results with standard miniDV tape. This is what I use, and I haven’t been disappointed. Again, think about your distribution. If you’re going to put your videos on YouTube, the dropouts probably won’t be visible or materially significant. HDV video compression is “more advanced” than DV compression, so 1 hour of HDV takes up the same space roughly as 1 hour of DV, which I assume is what makes tape choice irrelevant for recreational use.

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