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Old 02-09-2007, 12:27   #1
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Camcorder suggestions

Looking to buy a new camcorder to carry aboard. What do you have/like/recommend? Small size and perhaps a CD rather than cassette?
I haven't had one for years, so I'm way out of date on the latest technology. Thanks, Jay

I wish I'd done this sooner!
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Old 03-09-2007, 10:16   #2
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Depends on your budget BIM.
Latest tech is high definition widescreen format which is worth considering but these all run in the $750 & up range.
In non-hd formats, I like the mini-dvd format since it is so convenient and would also encourage you to look at optical zoom vs. digital zoom (longer optical is better) and how good the still camera function is in such camcorders if you intend to use it as a dual purpose camera. If you plan to shoot at night also look for a built in light. You can get a dvd based camcorder for between $250 and around $500 bucks.

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Old 03-09-2007, 16:43   #3
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Images: 3 - Canon ZR830 Digital Camcorder 35X Optical Zoom 1000X Digital Zoom 1/6" CCD 2.7" 112K wide-screen - Retail

That my favorite. It's cheap, works well, and newegg is the best online reseller I've ever used.
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Old 03-09-2007, 17:48   #4
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Consider using the Panasonic PG35. If you are using this for filming wildlife the 30X zoom can't be beat and the image stabilization is really impressive. Also consider that some DVD camera do not record in a format that can be read by all PCs and are larger than the digital cassette recorders.
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Old 03-09-2007, 22:09   #5
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We shot over 160 hours of video using Canon mini DV cameras in the last half of our circumnavigation.

There is a weakness that happens in Canon and other mini dv video cameras. Their tape transport mechanism are prone to failure. In fact, Canon only warranties their transport mechanisms for three months.

If you think about it, you will realize that most people shoot only a few hours of video each year. Christmas, birthdays, and vacations. Maybe ten hours a year total. Transport mechanisms can handle that type of use.

But try shooting 100 hours of video a year, and there is a good chance that the tape tranport mechanism will bite the dust.

I have had three transport mechanism failures with my cameras.

Here is the point. If you are going to shoot a lot of video, then buy an extended service contract that covers the transport mechanism on the camera.

I now buy my mini dv cameras from Amazon, because they have a thirty day no questions asked return policy. When I got the camera, I would use it heavily for a couple of weeks to test and stress the tape transport mechanism. If it doesn't fail after twenty hours of use, then there is a glimmer of hope that the transport will last. But still get extended warranty coverage so that if the transport mechanism fails, you won't get stuck with a repair bill that is usually about half of what you paid for the camera.
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:16   #6
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My only recommendation is that whatever you buy. Get 2. Extended warrenty is great, but doesn't replace the lost footage you will never get while you are out when number one fails.

Put the second in a vaccuum bag and take it with you while sailing. You would be amazed at how fast some units will fail in the heavy salt air and use. This way you just toss the first back in the bag and pull out the second and none of the action is missed.

We have the sony 108 dvd cam.
Captain Bil formerly of sv Makai -- KI4TMM
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Old 04-09-2007, 13:21   #7
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Decide how important things like HD, Wide Screen are to you then get a Sony Hard Drive camera that has the items you want. JVC also makes an attractive looking Hard Drive camera, but it is not as high quality as the Sony and it is more difficult to transfer the clips to your computer.

I have had to repair my Canon DV tape drive three times after trips to the Ecuadorian jungle, the Galapagos, and to a wedding in Ann Arbor! I think other brands may be more robust (like the Panasonic), but the hard drive does away with tape completely. I considered a dvd disk type, but I always edit my movies in the computer and liked the ability to transfer the contents of the hard drive on the camera to the computer hard drive with no messing around with media that must be marked and catalogued.

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