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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default HD camcorder recommendation?

Hi.

I was researching my first HD camcorder.. I had decided on the SOny HD MHS-CM1 or Kodak Ki8. Then I stumbled on the Samsung HMX-H100N. Now I find this great forum and am even more confused.

Here's my requirements... Maybe someone can point me in the right direction
Budget: < $500
Intended Uses: Mostly indoors
Size: Doesn't matter
Features wanted: HD, image stabilization, good quality still pics (without pausing video)

Thanks and TIA!
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: HD camcorder recommendation?

Wow, $500 is a generous amount for a 1st HD camcorder. If that is the case I would recommend the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 http://sanyo.com/xacti/english/produ...fh1/index.html

Does all the things you mentioned, awesome video, great pics, very good indoors provided that it's reasonable lighting. You can probably get it for a shade under $400 nowadays new, just google I guess. I bought mine used on ebay but works as good as new, best HD camcorder under $500 I would say. I can't imagine how ones several hundred dollars more can do a better job, if they can I'm not sure the price difference would be worth it. Very tiny even though you said that's not a factor.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 1:22 PM   #3
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I agree with Hdfan23, $500 gives you a decent choice. If you wanted optical instead of Digital Image stabilization and you could stretch a bit further to $550, you could get the Canon HF200. Having said that his suggestion of the FH1 is a great choice as well.

As far as I am aware all the recent camcorders don't pause the video during still image capture but they achieve this by cheating. In other words they just retrieve a single frame from the video stream while recording and thus you are unable to capture a still image with a resolution larger than 2MP. Older camcorders like my Sanyo C40 were able to capture higher resolution image but at the cost of pausing the video as you mentioned. I am assuming that camcorder manufacturers haven't yet been able to overcome this problem in an acceptable way hence the compromise.

Since you can achieve the same effect with a PC/Mac by grabbing frames out of a HD Video, the only use I can see for this, is when you are out on vacation etc and want to quickly print a scene for a friend etc at your local Walmart etc.

I am wondering if it's more a 'cost of cpu power' problem since I would've thought the higher speed cards had enough bandwidth to stream the high res still image and video at the same time. Of course it has to have enough bandwidth to send the still image quickly enough as well otherwise the feature would be useless if it simply took too long!
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 5:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDfan23 View Post
Wow, $500 is a generous amount for a 1st HD camcorder. If that is the case I would recommend the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 http://sanyo.com/xacti/english/produ...fh1/index.html

Does all the things you mentioned, awesome video, great pics, very good indoors provided that it's reasonable lighting. You can probably get it for a shade under $400 nowadays new, just google I guess. I bought mine used on ebay but works as good as new, best HD camcorder under $500 I would say. I can't imagine how ones several hundred dollars more can do a better job, if they can I'm not sure the price difference would be worth it. Very tiny even though you said that's not a factor.
The features sound great.. especially 8 megapixel pics! What do you recommend in the lower price range (<250) with similar features so I can have something to compare to?
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 6:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: HD camcorder recommendation?

I also have the Aiptek GVS which isn't bad either, probably can get for $150 - 160 these days. However you defintely get a lot less for a lower cost. It only does stabalization in video modes that are 60FPS which is 720P and 480P, 1080P doesn't not have it, so you'll definitely experience shaking if you don't have a tripod. But still great video quality. Indoors, again, depends on lighting. I've taken video at a basketball game and video comes out quite nicely, normal lighting inside a house, it's good enough I guess. Pics are 5 MP, great outdoors, so-so indoors, but passable. The other top ones in the same price range are the Kodak Zi8 and Samsung HMX-U10 although I hear the Samsung has no stablization. Don't know much about the Zi8 but I did use the Zi6, was not impressed but maybe things are much better with Zi8. Apparently neither have optical zoom, so zooming in and out is choppy and pixelated.

Last edited by HDfan23; Dec 23, 2009 at 6:51 PM.
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Old Dec 24, 2009, 6:22 AM   #6
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I would also recommend the Panasonic HDC-SD10 Flash memory recorder. Like the Canon HF200 mentioned earlier, it requires you to provide your own SDHC card (i.e, no built-in flash memory) but it is a full-fledged 2009 vintage "mid-range" HD camcorder that can be obtained for as low as $299 at a reputable online photo-video outlet (Google the model). It has full 1080p HD recording capability, superior optical image stabilization and auto image processing, stereo mic, built-in video mic, 16x optical zoom, 2MB still capability, is fairly compact, and has touchscreen controls on the LCD display. Lacks mic input jack and hot shoe that are on the Canon, but at that price, it makes a great, no-compromise starter HD cam with good build quality or a great second cam at a multi-cam shoot. I love Canon HD Cams (have an HG10 as my primary vidcam) but couldn't resist picking this one up at this price as a backup, secondary cam or a grab and go cam for spur of the moment shooting. Good luck.
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