General Question

xTheDreamer's avatar

Which brand and model of camcorder should I buy?

Asked by xTheDreamer (897points) January 3rd, 2010

I’m planning of buying a camcorder but I don’t know what I should buy. I had in mind for a Canon but I don’t know what kind of model I should buy.

I went to this video workshop a month ago and we used a Canon Vixia HV40, the one that use a video cassette/tape and/or Micro SD card. Now that the video workshop is over I have two video cassette/tape over.

So I don’t know if I should buy a camcorder with both of those option; thus Video Cassette/tape and the Micro SD card OR just only with Micro SD

So can you guys help me out with which brand, model and with or without the cassette thing?

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19 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

I bought a flipcam and I’m very happy with it.

TheCreative's avatar

The Canon SD960 is really good. Here’s some test video. The Kodak Zi8 is also really good for how cheap it is and then there’s the Flip HD camcorders. I bought a Flip Mino HD and I love it.

St.George's avatar

We just bought the Flip HD Mino and love it.

skillcapes7's avatar

Purchasing camcorders leads the buyer to view a wide range of choices. Looking for the appropriate choice depends on your need and budget. Try searching stores – especially the internet, it may offer more ideas and assist you in making the right purchase. I own a Sony HDR-UX5 4MP AVCHD DVD High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom, it has great definition and quality. I find it very easy to use, I’m satisfied with it.

kevbo's avatar has encyclopedic information and metrics on nearly every camcorder.

sndfreQ's avatar

What’s your budget, what kind of photography, what kind of editing system and CPU do you have, and how much usage will you have?

jrpowell's avatar

Listen to sndfreQ. He knows this stuff

xTheDreamer's avatar

@sndfreQ Budget: I don’t think I have a budget, my dad haven’t said anything but let’s keep it at a normal price range, not too cheap nor too expensive.
Photography: What do you mean by what kind of photography?
Editing system: Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro along those lines.
CPU: is Intel core duo t5800 @ 2.00ghz
Usage: Regular day usage, not everyday but some times. Would like it to be portable though, like I would have it in my backpack everyday just in case I need it at a right time unexpectedly.

sndfreQ's avatar

or you can go this route-DSLR that does 720p HD video:
(Note: that one only does AVI and Motion JPEG, so you would need to convert that in FCP to make it editable);

And 1080p30 from the Canon:

That EOS 7D is pretty exciting stuff, and more versatile than the “point-n-shoot” AVCHD cams IMO. The ISO and the lens mount alone would sway me that direction.

xTheDreamer's avatar

@sndfreQ Which one would you recommend out of the new Canon series?
I was thinking about the Vixia HF R11 or R10. I would really want the Vixia HF S21/S20 but those are too expensive.

sndfreQ's avatar

They’re all more or less the same with the main difference being internal versus internal+external storage. I would steer clear of any spinning disk internal storage and opt for the solid state internal flash with the option to store additional media on external.

Edit: If possible I would forego the R series because of the lower bit depth (17Mbps) is going to be a lot noisier especially in low light. I would also not worry too much about touchscreen functionality-in most cases it’s an extra and the screens are more susceptible to breakage as they have capacitative surface as opposed to the non-touchscreen models which use rocker-style dials and menu buttons.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Caveat: One of my roommates works for Canon in the Professional Education division.

I have two Canons, both Vixia HFSes. HF S10 and HF S11. I like the S11 better because the organization of the features are easy for me and my small hands to access, the shoe and flash are well-placed and the S11 is easier for me to hold. It’s almost as small as my old Nikon Coolpix 4800 digital still camera. They both take wonderful still photographs as well. Canon does reasonably well in low-light conditions.

I am biased because I’m looking to start shooting my own work very soon; the 1080p high-def capability and the hard disk storage are major benefits for me as I want to be able to shoot near-professional quality on the fly, and then be able to plug it into my laptop or desktop and edit sans fussing with a lot of stuff.

The S10 is also a fine unit with almost the exact same capabilities, but the interface is a bit meh. However, if that doesn’t matter to you, the S10 will probably be ~$1K, while the S11 is closer to $1500. You’d probably get a rather good deal on eBay for the S10.

Happy shooting!

sndfreQ's avatar

@aprilsimnel Nice! How does that S11 do on stills? I have a two year old Sanyo Xacti 1000 HD (first gen) that’s starting to go out…may be upgrading. Good to know about the interface-are the menus that different between the S10 and S11?

Lastly, how does the CMOS sensor do on action shots and fast pans? Is there any “jagging” or distortion (like objects that are vertical look like they’re bending?) This is an unfortunate side effect of CMOS sensors, and different manufacturers employ different kinds of algorithms to offset that artifacting.

And color saturation? Well I guess that’s more than one question…interested to hear what you think overall.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Hmm, well, I’m relatively new to video cameras. I’m fortunate in having an indie film cinematographer-turned-camera company employee to have access to these things.

I just got these cameras and have only played with them a couple of times. One of my activities on the to-do list today was to play further with these cameras, so I can’t tell you about any jagging yet. I would say that it doesn’t appear to be any jagging and that the colour saturation is good. Everything is adjustable. If anything, it leans a little more red out of the box before adjusting. Further tests necessary. The menu on the S10 is different than the S11 in that the button to access it on screen is placed differently and the arrangement of the menu is also different. The font is smoother and easier to read on the S11.

I’ll get back to you via PM when I’ve finished playing with it.

xTheDreamer's avatar

@sndfreQ @aprilsimnel Well, after checking out all the specification of all the cameras I think I’ll be heading for the S10, I would like the S11 but that’s too expensive and I don’t think I need that much internal storage.

The S10 isn’t that big right? Would it be the size of my palm or so? (I’m a female at the age of 18, so that you know the size of my palm :P )

But thanks a lot for the infos.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yeah, I’ve got the hand size of a tween-ager, so it’s a bit bigger than my palm, and I can hold it comfortably. :D

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