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Old Mar 2, 2008, 11:36 PM   #1
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Hiya guys & gals.

I'm trying to track down a digicam suitable for Counselling Students to record their training counselling interviews, and came across your site amid my searching. Great site, and love the list. Spent half an hour chatting with a sales assistant in the Philippines trying to ascertain if they could supply an Aiptek DV-H100, buy after language bothers (I suspect)... gave up and thought I may as well just ask the experts (so here I go)

From the list here, it appears that there are only 4 cameras that have an external microphone socket, that record straight to an SD Card.

Aiptek DV-H100

Mustek H100 Pro

JVC Everio GVC-MG555

Sanyo Xacti HD1000

The picture quality doesn't have to be great, but the sound needs to be able to be at a level that you can hear what the student and client are saying, when being recorded from some 3m away (so they are both in shot).

We have been using the Genius DV601 (to give you an idea of what we have been okay with... all except for the sound... it is way too low).

The Aiptek seems to be the logical choice, and seems to be available at about the right price, but before I get too far down the track... I would value any advice available.


Thanks a heap.

Bruce
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Old Mar 3, 2008, 12:33 AM   #2
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Welcome fritzman!

This class of cameras is notorious for having incorrect specs posted. I do my best, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that any of the cameras I listed as having an external microphone jack, don't, or if some of the other cameras that don't have such a jack listed, acutally have one.

I haven't owned any of the four you mentioned, so I'm afraid I can't advise any further.
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Old Mar 3, 2008, 1:17 AM   #3
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Thanks bud for your (welcome and) quick reply. Hopefully someone who actually owns one of these beasts (especially any of the Aiptek range) will be able to confirm that it has an external mike input.

I am not holding my breath, but I e-mailed Aiptek themselves and asked the question, so we'll see.

B
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Old Mar 4, 2008, 11:59 PM   #4
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The Aiptek model you listed exists, but only in certain world markets, such as Germany, etc.

That model is featured on the Aiptek German Web site here:

http://www.aiptek.eu/index.php?optio...154&Itemid=258

The specifications clearly state that this model, the PocketDV H100, does indeed feature an external microphone input.

However, I've never seen this model in the United States.

The Sanyo VPC-HD1000 is an excellent camera and -- yes -- it also features an external microphone input:

http://www.sanyo-dsc.com/english/pro...000/index.html

For some reason, I've had terrible luck with JVC; I won't purchase another JVC product due to all of the product failures I've experienced with that brand. But -- yes -- the model you mentioned does feature an external microphone input.

I've never seen the Mustek model that you mentioned anywhere.

Private Idaho
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 12:46 AM   #5
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Hey thanks for your most informative reply.

The person I spoke to in the Philippines (at a retail outlet) said the Aiptek H100 Pro wasn't actually available through them yet, so I've e-mailed Aiptek to see if there is an outlet closer to New Zealand.

Failing that, I have a friend in Germany... may have to her him to buy them and send them (once I kn ow how much they will be of course... no-one can ell me yet)



The Sanyo looks really nice, but being HD... I can tell already it's way too expensive for the students.



B
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 8:44 AM   #6
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I tried Aiptek H100, internal or external mic no difference, background noise is very high no matter what kind of mic you use. If you want good sound quality buy something else. I just bought Aiptek AHD200 and it has much worse sound quality than my old DV5700 (IS-DV) camera, but picture quality is much better in AHD.
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 1:27 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing your negative experience with the Aiptek PocketDV H100 model.

That will save others a lot of grief to know that the external microphone input doesn't work in a satisfactory manner.

Right now, I'd say it's going to be very, very, very difficult for the low-end camcorder makers to beat Canon.

Canon is staking out a very aggressive position with flash memory standard definition camcorders, in my view.

For instance, have a look at the forthcoming model... the Canon FS100... with a list price of $399.

Now you know this is going to sell for considerably less online.

And this standard definition model features an external microphone input.

Canon right now is the #1 consumer camcorder manufacturer, in my opinion.

- The best image.

- The best connectivity.

- Included remote control.

- Both 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios supported.

Reasonable prices when you consider the extra quality.

I'd say this is ideal for educators doing interviews.

Check it out:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...elTechSpecsAct

Canon's new AVCHD flash memory model -- the Vixia HF10 -- offers the best image quality of any camcorder in the sub-$1500 price range.

Private Idaho


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Old Mar 7, 2008, 1:50 PM   #8
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If you're looking for a bargain basement camcorder with external microphone input, then have a look at the Canon ZR800... a plain old fashioned MiniDV tape camcorder... sells for less than $250:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...delFeaturesAct

Private Idaho
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 1:57 PM   #9
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Thanks guys...

Alan... (I know I sent a PM, but realised others would probably want to know anyway so...)

Was your camera the 'PRO' version? and

In the situation I described above, with limited background noise... is the external mike going to be able to satisfactorily capture two people speaking to each other in a counselling setting, with the camera 10-12 feet away, and the mike sitting on a table quite near them... well enough to distinguish what they are saying with volume to spare.


Quote:
If you're looking for a bargain basement camcorder with external microphone input, then have a look at the Canon ZR800... a plain old fashioned MiniDV tape camcorder... sells for less than $250:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...delFeaturesAct

Private Idaho
Appreciate that, but it needs to be a system that records to SD-Cards, so there is no 'real time' transfer necessary, just an mpeg file to move.

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Old Mar 7, 2008, 9:28 PM   #10
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In that case, I still suspect you might be wise to at least consider the $399 Canon FS100:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=16185



It's going to have Canon build quality *with* an external microphone input.

And it's already being sold at the suggested retail price now, but that's likely to drop significantly within the next three months.

I used to interview people on a daily basis.

I am a former TV newsman.

Suggestion: Buy two lavalier (clip-on) microphones that would be worn by the two people that you mention.

I would clip the microphone about three inches below their mouths with the tip of the microphone pointed directly up toward their mouths.

Proximity -- specifically close proximity of the microphone to the sound source -- is the #1 guarantee of great audio quality.

At least, that was the lesson I learned after all of those years in TV.

Next, I would figure out a way to mix the two microphones.

This can be done rather easily.

I happen to use one of these handy Studio 1 adapter devices:

http://www.studio1productions.com/xlr-bp.htm

Note the two 1/8" mono inputs.

You could feed both lavalier microphones into these inputs.

The lavalier microphones could even be very low cost Radio Shack lavs.

The Studio 1 adapter would then mix the audio from the two microphones.

Then, the adapter's attached audio cable would, in turn, plug into the external microphone input of your Canon FS100.

The audio would then be recorded onto the FS100's stereo channels.

And I'm sure there are less expensive mixing options out there.

Another microphone option... if clip-on microphones don't apply well to your specific circumstance... would be a shotgun microphone.

The cool thing about shotgun microphones is that you can point them in the direction of the people who are talking and the microphone will focus on those people and largely ignore audio coming from other sources.

But shotgun microphones -- good ones -- are not terribly inexpensive.

Audio-Technica makes a decent model, the ATR55 -- relatively low cost ($100) -- and it's here:

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wi...dd5/index.html

You might wish to consider an alternative like that if you must record from a distance.

Hope this helps,

Private Idaho
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