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Old 10-23-2005, 12:33 AM   #1
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Default Question about Video Cameras

We're looking for a video camera. I've been doing some reseach online, and none of the cameras under $2,500 get stellar reviews. I don't want a $2,500 camera. I want a really good camera under $1,200. I want something my wife can easily use, that takes great pictures and that I can be proud of. I want a camera that will last at least 3-5 years. One that takes good stills AND good video. A camera that records in 16:9.

Now, Sony is at the top of all the lists, but I'm finding pros and cons of every camera I look at. Do any of you have a really good video camera (in the $500+ range) that you would recommend? Or is there a camera you WISH you'd bought that you can point me to?

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Old 10-23-2005, 02:50 AM   #2
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First fact of life... there is no camera, period, that takes good stills and video. They just don't make them, because video cameras SUCK for video... especially not for that price range, since a good still camera will run you at least $500, depending on what you think good is.

As for motion... I guess sony is, I'm not sure. For a still you want a Canon, Sony, or Nikon really, but motion... that is an entirely different ballgame.

As for price... do this. Find the camera you think you want, then go to www.pricegrabber.com and punch in the model number. THey will list tons of places that are selling it, give you the cost, shipping cost, total cost, and a review of the company so you know if they are someone you want to buy from.

You can generally get most electronic equipment for somewhere around half of retail (what you'd pay in Best Buy). As a result, you may find that you can afford a far better camera than you thought you could.

As for still... if you want a good still camera that isn't too expensive (I mean, it isn't one I would use for portraits, for that (at the moment) I'd want a Sony DSC-R1 (that is, if we aren't going to get a true SLR, this prosumer works pretty good), but if you want just a good travel camera for taking reasonably high quality stills, look at a Canon Powershot A620. You can get them for around $350. They are small, portable, and the flippy LCD on the back will become more useful than you could EVER guess.

Anyway, this is just a decent point and shoot, it is still a 7MP (not quite the 10 MP monster that the Sony DSC-R1 is), nothing too terribly special (good and solid though), but it blows away anything you will get from a video camera.

Then again, you know what they say of jack of all trades...

As for what video camera I would get? Personally, at the moment, I am interested in the JVC GZ MC200 or JVC GZ MC500. Not so much because of quality or anything, but because they are two of only three (the other is the MC100) cameras out that take Microdrives, instead of digital film. Sorry... but if I am buying a digital video camera then WHY DOES IT TAKE TAPE??? Sorry, had to get that out... anyway, I have no respect for tapes, hate them, so I'd much rather use a microdrive. Sure solid-state media would be the ideal, but we are far from having multi-gig cost-effective solid-state media.

You can pick up the MC200 for around $719 from a good seller and the MC500 for $1387.99 from a good seller.

What can I say... if I buy a digital camera than I want it to TRULY be a digital camera, and that means NO TAPE.

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Old 10-23-2005, 03:51 AM   #3
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The HDD cams have been blasted for low battery life. I want something that I can use now or wait a few years and take it to Disney. In short, I would LOVE to find a video camera that I can spend $1,200 on and have it still be worthwhile in 5+ years. That, unfortunatly, does not exist.

I looked at the JVC's you mentioned. I currently have a JVC that's no longer useful (since I'm no longer in VHS) so I would LOVE to find an iPod with an Olympus or Canon chip. Stupid camera technology. I want something I can store on my hip, that my wife can hit the "easy button" and use, and will work in a few years. I want to spend less than $500 per year's worth of use.

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Old 10-23-2005, 05:21 AM   #4
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iPod? Blah, I have never understood why those things are popular. Look at Archos (www.archos.com), for each price point you can get an iPod at, you can get a better Archos at, and they have been doing it longer and better. At the uber-high end iPod price you can get an Archos that is practically a DVR with a screen worthy of watching movies on flights.

Besides, multi-function devices with a camera in them don't take good pictures, you really need a dedicated camera.

As for the 'easy button', that is why I mentioned the A620. While it has most of the more advanced functions of a good quality prosumer camera, they are largely 'under the hood', and it is intended to be used as a point-and-shoot, with the prosumer features if ever you want them. I have the A85, which is an earlier ancestor and is only a 3 MB (no where near the 7 MP you get with the A620) and I still would never trade it in for a better one unless I literally had money to burn for heating, they are great.

And yes, the HDD ones are nice, without the battery power... but they still take film, which is why I don't like them.

But for the cost of $1,200, you could snag that MC200 and the A620 for around $1,100 and have both a good video camera and a good point and shoot, which complement each other in a relatively small camera bag.

Besides, look at that A620, it will fit 'on your hip' just fine, that is why it isn't a giant monster like the Sony DSC-R1.

If I had the money to burn on the right cameras for most situations, without stepping up to truly professional equipment like a proper SLR, I would get a DSC-R1 for portraits and professional work, my current A85 as my go-anywhere point-and-shoot, and a JVC MC500 for video. Those three together could basically take care of photography to a large degree for my needs. That said, with the A620 then you have less of a need for a prosumer like the DSC-R1, considering that 7MP used to be considered Prosumer. GO figure that they have that down to point-and-shoot now.

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Old 10-23-2005, 05:25 AM   #5
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Also... if you want a music/video player that could actually work WITH your cameras... then one of those Archos AV400, AV500, or AV700s would be great, since then you have a portable 20 gig hard drive to take with you, you can transfer your photos from your camera to the Archos, and that lets you take a LOT of pictures.

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