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Old 07-22-2004   #1
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About to buy a digital Camcorder

hey! I'm Chris' wife and posting b/c he's about to buy a digital camcorder. We're just looking for input as to which kind to buy. On ebay they all seem fairly affordable, but primarily he's looking at a Sony Handycam DCR-TRV260 or 460.

Anyone have thoughts on, or experience with either of these?

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Old 07-22-2004   #2
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 38
I get asked "What still and/or video camera should I buy?' quite often because of my work.
Most of the consumer cameras are not on my radar and new ones come out so fast, it is impossible to keep up with them, but...
Here is a reply that I often give to my friends, and I think it helps them sort through the choices.

Mini DV & Digital 8 (the only 2 high quality consumer format options)
The compression schemes are of similar quality and the potential of the images to look good are similar, but the Digital 8 cameras are intentionally marketed towards the lower end. Optics and premium features are kept to minimum standards on the Digital 8's.
If budget is your top concern, a Digital 8 camera is a good choice.
Personally, I will not buy a Digital 8 camera, because historically I have had a lot of tape transport issues with the old Hi-8 tapes (which are the acquisition media used in Digital 8 cameras). The tape transport issues of the old days may have been resolved, but I have never had a tape transport issue with the newer mini DV tapes.

Optical Zoom capability is more important to you if you care about image quality. Digital Zoom is an artificial zoom that merely uses software in the camera to blow up the highest optically zoomed image. The result is grain and pixelation when in the digital zoom mode. I always turn off the digital zoom on any camera I use that has it.
But... for casual shooting, some may enjoy being able to zoom in quickly and easily with the digital feature, even if quality is sacrificed.
In post (or editing) if you have appropriate software, you can digitally zoom in after you shoot the footage, if you desire a more dramatically zoomed in shot.

Image Stabilization:
Optical is better than Digital again in this department for similar reasons as mentioned above.

Still Capability:
If you think you will want to take stills in addition to video, many video cameras offer the option now. Most of them will shoot more than adequate stills for web use, but of course they will usually fall far short of the capabilities of dedicated still cameras.
If you do plan to shoot a lot of stills with your video camera, then I highly recommend buying one with a separate and removeable media card dedicated to the acquisition of stills. It will make your life much more hassle free when it comes to getting the images into your computer.

Smaller Camera = More Money

My bottom line advice...
Any of the Digital 8 or Mini DV cameras will shoot footage that looks darn good on a regular TV, no matter how cheap the camera is.
Consider your true needs and buy the cheapest option that falls within those needs.
Personally, I would give the optics the highest priority in making my selection.

Whitewater Kayaking Photo & Video Journal
From Absolute Beginner on Paddle Day 1 to Advanced Big Water Paddler.
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Old 07-22-2004   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 46
isn't this a kayaking website?
surfpiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2004   #4
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 38
Actually, no.
A group of us have decided the site needs to convert to a photography emphasis.
The name Mountain Buzz is generic enough to apply to any mountain topic, including mountain photography.
In the weeks ahead, those of us who have decided to make the change, will gradually slant all of our replies in the kayaking area to photo related topics.
In a few months time, more photographers will be drawn to this site, and soon thereafter we will have made the transition complete.

Photography is a safer hobby than boating.
Join with us. Embrace the change.
Whitewater Kayaking Photo & Video Journal
From Absolute Beginner on Paddle Day 1 to Advanced Big Water Paddler.
Savage Snow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2004   #5
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Originally Posted by surfpiper
isn't this a kayaking website?
huh? Chris can't be the only one of you damn boaters (said with love) that is obsessed with making boating videos, and watching video of himself doing tricks over and over and over again..? Is he?
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