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Old Sep 10, 2002, 6:35 PM   #1
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Default Camcorders..I am a complete idiot

I am soon going to be the proud owner of a camcorder. I just have no idea what kind. The ex got most of the toys a few years ago, and I have really missed some good moments with the kids the last few years. Here are my basic needs. I enjoy wildlife photography with my old, cheap Pentax 35mm and Vivitar 200 telephoto. Mostly shots of whitetail and mule deer. I would like to do the same with a camcorder. My needs would be a good zoom, decent low light capability, and cheap. Also, it needs to be fairly quiet since I like to get REALLY close. Three or four feet sometimes. I am not really sure that I can afford a digital right now, but I do have a new gateway with a few download ports of somekind that I can probably use. I would like to keep things under $300. Now that you've stopped laughing, does anyone have a suggestion?
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Old Sep 10, 2002, 7:07 PM   #2
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This site is mainly for digital cameras and not camcorders. That said, I'm sure others will have advice in this area.

For camcorders I would look at the low end Sony, JVC, and Canon models.

I'm not sure what you can get for $300, although for $500 you can get a decent lower mid range model that should be sufficient for most normal shooting needs.

I would suggest going to a local best buy, good guys, or other electronics store to look at what is available and to feel the camcorder in your hand. Ask the sales guys questions and see if you are lucky enough to get someone who knows what they are talking about.

Then come home and check the Internet for the models you liked and compare prices. With the tax savings and free shipping from places you should be able to find a decent deal at a reputable online dealer.
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Old Sep 10, 2002, 7:14 PM   #3
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Downloading is the sticky issue. I have yet to find an inexpensive analog capture device I'm happy with. I solved the problem by going to a low end digital video camera, a Panasonic PVDV51. Capture is made simple by a firewire board. Even my old PC, a Pentium II/750Mhz with 256mb ram and a 7200rpm drive was able to capture full resolution video with no dropped frames. It's very basic and aside from a tiny amount of sound when zooming makes little noise and video quality is even better than my old Sony Hi-8 which cost several times more.

Don't expect to get good stills from such a cheap video cam. The still mode is just a few seconds of freeze frame which nets a 720x480 image. It has to be resized to get proper aspect ratio so 640x480 is it.
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Old Sep 16, 2002, 2:40 AM   #4
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while we're on the topic
can any1 recommend a /nice/ camcorder site
almost as good as THIS ?
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Old Sep 16, 2002, 6:17 AM   #5
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Here's a list for DV:

and here's another list for Digital 8:

You can not get a firewire enabled camcorder for below $300 yet (there's plenty below $400), but the more expensive model will also sport flash card slot just like a digital camera, but their resolution is still not to par...

[Edited on 9-16-2002 by NHL]
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Old Sep 16, 2002, 6:27 AM   #6
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i just bought a Canon ES8400V Hi8 Camcorder with 2.5" Color LCD Screen & Image Stabilizer from Amazon.com,
the price i paid was $285, which includes free shipping and a free kit consisting of a vivitar camera bag, tripod and a lens cleaning kit worth $39.95.

The other features of the camera are impressive as well,

click to learn more;

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Old Sep 16, 2002, 6:34 AM   #7
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Info here also


Got a Hitachi laying around here somewhere, has not been out of case in a few years. Should dig out and sell for $25, digicams put the magic back in still photo.
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