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Old Apr 30, 2012, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default Wanted: A good standard definition video camcorder

Hi all,

I'm in need of a digital camcorder that ticks all the following boxes:
  • Films in standard definition (a decent resolution, but not HD)
  • Can record for long periods of time, or at least accept large SD cards.
  • Has an external audio input (and preferably a headphone output)
  • Records video in a fairly friendly file format.

Basically I'm after a camera that, 5/6 years ago, was a top end pro-sumer digital camcorder - if that makes any sense?

The reason behind this is: I need to record hours upon hours of footage on a regular basis. It does not need to look pretty, but audio quality is important. Filming in HD is massive overkill, and transcoding video all the time to get files small enough to burn on DVD takes forever.

Any help or suggestions would be massively appreciated!
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 4:38 PM   #2
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Cuts- I hear what you're saying about HD... a good quality standard def' is more than ample with the right equipment.
I still use a humble old analogue Canon MV901 (yes- with a tape...lol..)- but the quality is excellent,has an image stabiliser,a fast f/1.8 lens AND an digital out socket if I want to convert or burn to disc etc.
One thing that often gets overlooked by many when looking for a camcorder is a fast lens(f/1.4- f/2) and helps massively when shooting in dimming light- keep your eye out for this.
And if you DO find what you're looking for- let me know what model it was- as I'm still looking to upgrade from tape... lol..
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Old May 1, 2012, 4:39 AM   #3
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Ah an interesting choice! I should have added that to the list as well, being good in dim-light situations would be very handy.

Maybe there is a camera on the market at the moment that can film in lower resolutions?

When I say it need to record in a friendly file format, that's because my workflow really needs to be as simple as:
Plug in the camcorder
Copy the footage to a pendrive/disk
Pass on to the client so they can watch (on something as simple as windows media player)

I'm using the Panasonic TM-900 at the moment, which is capable of recording at 960x540 iframe (which outputs as .mp4). This would be perfect, but unfortunately it will only fit just over 3 hours on a 32GB SD card.
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Old May 1, 2012, 9:40 AM   #4
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The TM-900 is a very nice bit of kit- and has a pretty fast f/1.5-2.8 lens also,so should be quite competent in dimming light.
Shame it doesn't have a basic WMP friendly 640x480 30fps video mode...
If I stumble across something suitable,I'll let you know...
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