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Thread: camcorder advice

  1. #1
    shoes? who needs shoes?? barefootdyke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    camcorder advice

    hi all ... this is the first time i've explored the board outside of the big brother/survivor/amish in the city boards .... so nice to meet ya'll!

    so anyway ... i need some technical advice from those of you familiar with digital camcorders. i was browsing some of options and have chosen a couple of models that look good, but i need help deciding which is best. there's only a $50 difference between the two, the cheaper one being listed first.


    PANASONIC PV-GS9 Compact Palmcorder Multicam Camcorder
    Tech Specs
    Features: MagicPix™ Images, PhotoShot™ mode, Picture-in-Picture
    Weight: 0.88 lbs
    Auto Focus: Yes
    Cable(s) included: PC connection cable
    Connector Type: IEEE 1394 (i.LINK)
    Digital Storage Media: Mini DV Tape
    Dimensions (WxDxH): 2.75" x 4.375" x 3.375"
    Max Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
    Microphone: Zoom mic
    Min Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
    Optical Sensor Size: 1/6"
    Optical Sensor Type: CCD
    PCM Digital Sound: 12-bit / 16-bit
    Product Type: Digital Camcorder
    Zoom: 800X Digital / 20X Hi-Definition Zoom
    Product Highlights
    Features 20X hi-definition and 800X digital zoom
    2.5" diagonal color LCD lets you view your subject in full color during shooting and playback
    Progressive PhotoShot™ mode allows you to use the camcorder as a digital still camera to consolidate your photo and video needs
    MagicPix™ Images enables you to shoot full color video and stills even in low light situations
    Cinema Mode records video in the same 16:9 aspect ratio as a movie screen, giving your videos a dramatic, cinematic effect during playback
    Zoom Mic with wind noise reduction function ensures enhanced sound quality
    Provides flexible connectivity options with the IEEE 1394 (i.LINK) interface


    CANON ZR80 Digital Video Camcorder
    Tech Specs
    Digital Zoom: 360X
    Optical Zoom: 18X
    Weight: approx 1.1 lbs
    Battery: BP-508 Battery Pack
    Cable(s) included: STV-250N Stereo Video Cable
    Dimensions (WxDxH): 2.1" x 5.5" x 3.7" (excluding protrusions)
    Display: 2.5" TFT LCD
    Included Accessories: CA-570 Compact Power Adapter, SS-900 Shoulder Strap
    Microphone: Stereo electret condenser microphone
    Power: 7.4 VDC
    Power Consumption Operational: 2.3 W (using viewfinder), 3.3 W (using LCD screen)
    Product Type: Camcorder
    Product Highlights
    Delivers clear and sharp images with 18X Optical and 360X Digital Zoom
    Divide your screen into four, nine or sixteen pictures with the Image Capture function
    Wide selection of faders and special effects add visual appeal and greater imaging variety
    Enhanced Night mode lets you capture images and video even in low-lighting
    Easily connect to a DV compatible computer or another Canon DV Camcorder using the IEEE1394-compliant DV terminal
    Choose from a wide selection of operating languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese or Japanese


    i have no idea what some of that technical stuff means ... basically i want a camera that is easy to use, has good zoom, and will let me upload to the computer. i don't understand what the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom is ... nor do i know what CCD optical sensor is. i did some exploring of user reviews and both of them had pretty good ratings ... the biggest complaint i saw on both of them was the picture gets grainy in low-light conditions. i guess that's to be expected, right? but other than that, they seem to be good cameras.

    does anyone here have one of these? if so, do you like it? not like it? recommend it for a newbie to digital camcorders? i've had my digital camera for almost three years ... but never had a camcorder.

    oh ... and what about memory and batteries? does it look like they're included or do i need to purchase them separately?

  2. #2
    Hello barefootdyke! I recently purchased the Samsung SCD103 (found here: http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.js...&oid=88609&m=0) for $350.00 after looking for about 6 months at camcorders. I went with this one because of the low cost, the 18x optical zoom, the night vision, on board light, and features.

    Onto some of your questions, the difference between digital and optical zoom is that digital zoom looses picture quality as you zoom in, while optical does not, so it is important to mainly look at optical.

    Regarding the low light, I found the Samsung to handle these situations pretty well. I used this camera on my recent trip to Disney, and at night, I used the night vision, and it worked great. The night vision gives it a green tint, but you see everything perfectly in low light.

    Regarding the camcorder battery. The price of batteries is pretty high. When looking at ones for my camcorder I found a one hour battery for $65.00. I ended up getting a 2.5 hour battery with bag and tape for $119.00, but it came with a $50.00 mail in rebate when you bought it with the camcorder.

    When I did my research I found the Panasonic to get not so great reviews, so I personally would steer away from that. I also reccomend checking out http://www.epinions.com/ ratings as well as circuit city's and amazons. If you have any questions feel free to post them or PM me.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!
    Last edited by AIWANNABE; 08-24-2004 at 08:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    running for the border
    I've got the Panasonic, have had it quite a while and had no trouble at all out of it, using it in all kinds of situations such as horse riding, out on the boat,at night etc.. My old vhs-c camcorder was also Panasonic, no problems there either. I also liked the Samsung but it was a little bit larger than the others, which is a big consideration when you are already carrying other things while hiking and so forth. I think that probably any of the 'name brands' will make you happy, however I do feel that the Canon to some degree and Sony especially , charge more for about the same product. I wouldn't bother getting the digital still feature. That seems to be the source of many complaints, but the fact is, all but a few built in still cameras just don't have enough resolution (megapixels) for good clear snapshots. The ones that are a bit better, 1.5 to 2 mp add a LOT to the price of the camera.
    Last edited by queenb; 08-25-2004 at 01:21 AM.
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