Novice needs help choosing miniDV camcorder! : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

I am a complete novice to the digital camcorder world and have spent hours researching reviews on the web, ending up totally confused. I'd really like to keep the cost under $1000 but wonder if it would be best to splurge on the SONY DCR-PC100 since it's top rated by Consumer Reports and other reviews I've read. However, I don't know that I need that much camera. I will basically be shooting family videos. I'd like excellent quality video, ease of use, good quality under lower lighting conditions, ability to transfer VHS tapes to digital medium, good sound quality, small size. I thought the Sony might be worth the extra cost because it takes the highest quality stills but I'm not sure how much I would use that feature since you can't snap stills and videotape at the same time. The other models I'm considering are the Panasonic PVDV-600 or 800 or maybe even 200, (I'm not sure what the differences are) and the Cannon Elura or Elura2MC. Please help! amz

-- Adelina Zottola (, December 22, 2000



Here is my 2 cents. It is all confusing when you look at every feature and every report. Judging by what you have said you want to shoot, and the budget you wish to spend I would narrow my research to Digital8 camcorders.

You get excellent video quality, ease of use, the ability to transfer straight to a PC or MAC through firewire and shoot reasonably high resolution stills. I use reasonably loosely, it depends on what you want to do with the stills as far as output. If they are just going to the computer for emailing or web pages it is great. If you want to print from them, it is ok.

Also, you can transfer from your VCR VHS tapes to the digital8 format to better preserve older tapes. And, as an added bonus, at least with Sony Digital8s you can play Hi8 or regular 8 tapes in the same camcorder.

And I know you can get good quality staying within your budget. Also, the Digital8 camcorders use Hi8 tape, which is slightly cheaper than DV tape. I like the features and handling of the Sony digital8 cameras. But it's pretty much personal preference as it boils down to the features that you need and/or want.

Hope that helps, albeit a late response. -- Mesa

-- Anthony Simuel (, February 10, 2001.

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