Camcorder Recommendations

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Only I could go from looking for a simple camcorder for someone to suddenly finding myself on a professional film production site, looking at 4 pound broadcast quality cameras, but heck, that’s me. “Videomaker”:http://www.videomaker.com/article/12964/ has a great list of top products for video types at the high end. A pretty good list of things if you are nerdy enough to want them.

By the way the great resources are “Camcorderinfo.com”:http://camcorderinfo.com, but also “SonyHDVInfo.com”:http://sonyhdvinfo.com where all the Sony geeks live.

* “Canon HV10”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-HV10-Camcorder-Review/Performance.htm. Mainly because it is very small. Weighs less than a pound. Main drawback is that it doesn’t use a hard drive. $1200 list. The “Sony HDR-SR1”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HDR-SR1-Camcorder-Review/Performance.htm is tempting as it has a hard drive, but it is quite noisy in taking HD pictures and not as high resolution as current miniDV-based HD camcorders. So as I said before, if you can stand it wait a bit for the true camcorder that is both HD *and* hard drive based, but if you can’t then you have a hard choice, get the HV10 with better picture quality (in fact, very close to the XH A1, its $3,500 brother) or have the convenience of hard disk with the SR1. “SonyHDVInfo”:http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=8909 say that while the SR1 is good, editing the new AVCHD format is a pain. Most packages support the HDV which is HD on a miniDV right now, so if you are editing current stuff and need it right now, the miniDV is right. That’s going to change fast, so if you can hold on.
* “JVC Everio GZ-MG505”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/JVC-GZ-MG505-Camcorder-Review.htm or the “Sony DCR-SR300”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-DCR-SR300-First-Impressions-Review.htm. $1300 list. It is standard definition but it does have a hard disk with 30GB and most importantly it uses a 3-CCD design, so images are much better and these are 16:9 format imagers according to Videomaker, although Camcorderinfo found the SR100 (now the SR300 updated) to have much better picture a quality and it also has optical image stabilization like the older “SR100”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-DCR-SR100-Camcorder-Review/Performance.htm which they liked quite a bit at Camcorder info.
* “Sony HDR-FX7”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HDR-FX7-Camcorder-Review.htm or the “Canon XH A1:”http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-XH-A1-Camcorder-Review/ComparisonsConclusion.htm $3500. This is a prosumer HD camcorder, it uses three sensors as well and has an HDMI interface. It is still tape based though. Its main competition is the really good XH A1, which is about the same price and Camcorderinfo liked the Canon better because the FX7 didn’t do well in low light (because it uses CMOS not CCD sensors) and the XH A1 has more manual controls. As a technical aside, both a 3-sensor systems, but the FX7 isn’t native 16:9 so it stretches pixels whereas the Canon is a native 16:9 chip. The tough tradeoff is that the Sony has more sharpness but more noise, while the canon has less sharpness, but has very little noise
* Manfrotto 560B Monopod $210. I really love the Gitzo that I just bought, but there times when a monopod is just lighter. This one actually has a little stand at the bottom so it will standup.
* Steadicam Merlin $849. OK, this is a true geek gadget, this makes the camera gyro stabilized. What a cool idea.
* AKG Perception 100 $200. This is a really high quality microphone for those studio podcasting situations.
* Sony Vegas 7 + DVD Architect, $700. This is what I use, I have to say it is amazingly good.

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