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Old May 16, 2010, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default Suggest Me A Camcorder

Hi Guys,

I'm going to be attending a gaming convention known as E3 this year and am going need a high-definition camcorder to accompany me. I originally created a topic on the AVS Forum, but they suggested I come here as a lot members have tested out the variety of handheld cameras.

I was thinking the Sony Bloggie, the Sanyo VPC-CG20, or the Kodak Zi8. The only thing that bugs me about the last two is the fact that they don't have storage space in them to begin with.

I have a $200 limit. Help me out.
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Old May 16, 2010, 1:31 PM   #2
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For recording video at a convention, then using an external microphone is highly recommended to reduce the pickup of background noise, and the Kodak Zi8 is the only one which offers an external mic jack. (The Creative Vado HD 3rd Generation does as well, but it's harder to find and more expensive as the Zi8.)

With the Zi8 at the lowest online price ($148), a 4 GB SDHC card (street price $12.99 or online $7 ~ $8), a Radio Shack lavalier microphone ($26.49), and a 1/8" mono to stereo adapter ($2.69), you'll have the ideal setup for right around $200 total (depending on tax and shipping).

This video demonstrates using the Zi8 with the Radio Shack mic and various other external microphones, in comparison to the built-in mic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfXBDhdehl8
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Old May 17, 2010, 7:32 PM   #3
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I saw this on Amazon for $16: http://www.amazon.com/Nady-SP-4C-NAD...4139106&sr=1-3

Would this be a better mic?

There's this Sony Mic, too: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Uni-Direc...4139106&sr=1-5

Edit: I just realized that these mics are pretty old. Basically what I'm asking is if there is a better mic than the one you suggested. I'd rather a mic like the two links I've just provided - where you can pass it back and forth easily.
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Old May 18, 2010, 8:42 AM   #4
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I don't know how well the Zi8 works with a dynamic microphone. I'll have to do some testing on mine. Dynamic microphones have a lower output level than electret condenser microphones, but maybe if you turn up the Zi8's mic gain adjustment the audio will come out OK.
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Old May 21, 2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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Guys I've been looking into the Zi8, but I hear it only has about an hour and a half long battery?

Is this true? I'll be at the event all day and while I won't be filming for all seven to eight hours, I'll need something that lasts.
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Old May 21, 2010, 1:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stunt View Post
Guys I've been looking into the Zi8, but I hear it only has about an hour and a half long battery?

Is this true? I'll be at the event all day and while I won't be filming for all seven to eight hours, I'll need something that lasts.
The Zi8's battery can be replaced on-the-go, so if you need additional recording time, you can buy and carry with you an extra battery or two.
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Old May 21, 2010, 3:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stunt View Post
Guys I've been looking into the Zi8, but I hear it only has about an hour and a half long battery?

Is this true? I'll be at the event all day and while I won't be filming for all seven to eight hours, I'll need something that lasts.
no cam will last a long time , especially a Ambrella chip cam
the zi8 does not last 1hr 30 min'

The HD1080P will give you just about a hr, with EIS OFF and face detect OFF, with it on deffently 50 minutes.

using WVGA and EIS OFF, and Face OFF 1hr 57 min and sec's

As Vwest said, its supereasy to take out and replace. but it is aswel super easy to add a Ext powersource to deliever add'l minutes.

I did this on my trip, and used a ext powersource, i should have purchased it from Kodak LOL ut when I had4aa as the backup it did just fine

how long did I get. the full battery of the kodak, and the full batt of 4aa's I say a good 2 plus 3 hrs. on/off.

I as well carried 2 extra and 4AA's did nottake any room up.

Enjoy
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Old May 28, 2010, 7:32 AM   #8
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Zi8 is cheap. Sanyo fh1a(version) or HD2000a, are deluxe cameras. Sony has newer backlit sensor with 17mb/s AVCHD full hd 60i video on it's latest digital still camera (bloggie can do some funky surround vision effect, but otherwise I would not recommend it). that is probably how they stack up in terms of picture quality, Sony the best. Encoding bit rate performance for editing and latter use, probably 12mb/s+ for fullHD, maybe 9mb/s for 720p60, for these types of camera (h264/avchd, mpeg2*2, mepg1 times 4+).

Three things to look out for at a convention, microphone input, macro for closeups of gadgets, and low light ability (extra low light ability usually means less grainy images when light is better). The forth thing, for when you go outside again, or filming bright displays and monitors (not that these won't flicker a lot anyway), is latitude. A number of cameras may darken the surrounding image because a bright display is within eyesight). On a good camera you might be able to set exposure to avoid this, or tell it to ignore it, but on cheap camera, it just figures it is there and darken things to compensate as you move the camera around. With more latitude, it will not darken things as much, or so little it is not much of a concern. These things are a concern for professional camera owners as well as armatures, as they are things the viewer notices. If there are cheaper Sanyo's that have these features, and better than aptina sensor then they are worth a look.

The aptina sensors used in the zi8 and many others, really needs to improve to keep up with Sony's technology (an older version is used by the Sanyo HD2000/FH1).
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Old May 28, 2010, 7:41 AM   #9
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Forgot, buy multiple batteries, charge them all before you go. Some cameras can take a connection from a battery pack, but far to complex for a simple once in a while job.

To save more battery life you could lower the quality of your footage. I am pretty sure I get extra battery life when I lower the quality of my HSHD, is it that way on these other cameras Fishey? If you are doing youtube,. or whatever, check out it's max settings (I don't know what they are). If 720p30, drop it down to 720p30 (on the better amberlla based cameras, like the zi8, you should get enough data rate for a nice image). If you don't want HD, then go for VGA+ resolutions (though they are often the same data rate at 60fps in many of the ambarella cameras).
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Old May 29, 2010, 11:23 AM   #10
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Alright.

I'm buying the following:

Kodak Zi8
TechFuel battery (x2) (if you know of a cheaper battery that works the same, let me know - these are currently $10 on Amazon)
TechFuel travel battery charger
16GB SDHC Memory Card

Now I just need to know which external microphone to get. I'd prefer something cheap but with a long wire and good quality.

How's this? http://www.amazon.com/Sony-ECM-DS70P...5146594&sr=8-3
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