13 Replies Latest reply: Dec 28, 2006 4:16 PM by SteveKir
irishcas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi Everyone:

I'm looking to purchase a Digital Camcorder to make semi professional videos to sell.

I am totally confused as to what to buy and what is compatible with my Powerbook G4 running OSX 10.4.8.

I plan on buying Final Cut Express to do the editing.

My budget is 1200.00 - 1500.00.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Kim Cassidy

Powerbook G4   Mac OS X (10.4.8)  
  • 1. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    Alchroma Level 6 Level 6 (17,195 points)
    A Mini DV camera with 3 chips (CCDs) and external mic input would be a good start. Panasonic has a few in their lineup. Hi-Def cameras are another option (now affordable) if you are thinking of "future proofing" your footage.
    I'd stay clear of DVD base and Hard Disc Drive cameras at the moment untill editing applications can adequately cater for them. eg. FCE cannot use these directly, so some converting and hoop jumping is necessary.
    Whereas, Mini DV fits like a glove to FCE.

  • 2. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    irishcas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the reply.

    So more questions for you as I've been doing a lot of research today and not able to make a decision. I like the HiDef cameras but so far I'm seeing the Sony's and they don't have external mic options.

    Any actual model suggestions?


  • 3. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    Michel Boissonneault Level 5 Level 5 (4,765 points)

    Many SONY's models can use the "intelligent" accessories hot shoe mount on top, or the "mic" 1/8" audio plug.

    What is your choosed model ?

    Michel Boissonneault
  • 4. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    Studio X Level 7 Level 7 (26,940 points)
    What is it that you are trying to sell?

    What is it you will be shooting?

    How much experience do you have?

    How sophisticated is your market?


    not sure what semi-professional video means ...
  • 5. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    irishcas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm shooting horse training and hoof trimming videos. I want to sell them and have them be of good quality but I'm not a film maker

    I want to attach an external mic to myself for better sound quality.

    I will be filming both in barns and outside.


  • 6. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    Christopher Meinck Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
    I too would like to join this discussion. I am planning on shooting an upcoming project for use on the web. I'm a complete amateur, but know my way around iMovie and have dabbled in Final Cut. The shooting will take place daily, so I need something easy that will allow me to covert and get online quickly. I was obviously lured into the HighDef cameras, but I'm thinking that's not best for my project. I'm know thinking high-end DV camera like the GL2 or a SONY. An external mic option is a requirement. This is a business purchase, so I have to decide quickly.

    Also, any recommendations on tripods and additional accessories that are necessary?

    Thanks in advance.
  • 7. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    Michel Boissonneault Level 5 Level 5 (4,765 points)

    I own and use two RODE models: The original VideoMic and the new Stereo VideoMic.

    For directional purpose, I use VideoMic. It' a good product and not much expensive. You can hook it on any standard boom pole or even a tripod near your character.

    Only one caveat: I had to lubricate the elastic bands with some silicon spray to avoid a "squeaky-squeaky" sound when moving the mic.

    The Stereo VideoMic is more expensive and deserve a more ambiant sound capture, not as directional than VideoMic.

    These two products have a 9 volts battery power supply on-board, and a standard 1/8" stereo audio plug. (fit very well with any 1/8" audio cable).

    Michel Boissonneault
  • 8. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    irishcas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I've been on the phone with a salesperson from www.fullcompass.com and here is the camera he is recommending for me.

    Panasonic AGDVC20 DVC 3CCD MiniDV.

    It fits my price range, has options for external mic's and other options.

    It's bigger than some of the cameras but I think that is good for me. The smaller it is the harder I am on it

    The Sony HiDef camera the HDHRC3 looks nice and has great features but no external mic's except possible for Sony's which I understand are not great quality.

    I work in the Production Industry (aside from my horse stuff) and have access to great microphones and help. I know they don't use Sony proprietary equipment.

    Look forward to everyone's comments. I supposed to call the sales rep back as he was going to research other models for me.

    The price is decent too.


    Kim Cassidy
  • 9. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    TomySky Level 3 Level 3 (670 points)
    I love my Canon GL2. I've been shooting training and educational videos professionally for years on it, and it's still going. That's my 2 cents.
  • 10. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    APPLE27 Level 2 Level 2 (370 points)
    I recommend getting an HD cam if you plan to use this for a somewhat extended period of time. Only problem is HD cameras that people have a chance at affording are still being developed like crazy. HDV cameras are garbage. If you want decent HD, the best way to go is the Sony XDCAM HD. You'll just have to hope the format doesn't die, but I don't think it will. Everythign else about the camera is rock solid. Under $40k with a decent lens, and about $15k for the deck. Hope for 6-10 years out of it and you made a sweet investment.
  • 11. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    diffkid Level 3 Level 3 (790 points)
    If you like what you see from that Panasonic, I would actually check out the next model up: the AGDV30. It is slightly more expensive. The electronics in the camera are practically the same, but the DV30 has a few more bells and whistles (such as an optional XLR adapter, which is always better than using the 1/8" connector). You might also like the form factor better. I've used this camera, and never had any complaints about it (just don't expect miracles).

    It's always hard to answer a question like this. A lot of people may advise you make a much bigger investment in equipment if you're serious about producting a professional product. And that would be good advice. But an investment is only worth it if you know you'll get a return on it. Given your camera budget, the costs associated with producing HD(V) are probably too high.

    Also, the other most important thing you'll probably want to invest in is a good light kit. Nothing looks worse than poorly lit DV, and I would imagine barns are a lighting nightmare.

  • 12. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    irishcas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Diff:

    Wise advice and along the lines that I'm thinking. I don't know where the video aspect of my business will take me but it is not my core focus as yet. Mostly my business is in person Clinics, I'd like to reach more people thru the videos.

    For now I think my budget must hold so that I can pay for the camera over time. I will look into the Panasonic you recommended as well and decide if I want to break budget

    I really appreciate everyone's input, customer satisfaction/word of mouth goes a long way.

    Yes a lighting kit will probably be necessary down the line as well.

    I live fairly close to Manhattan and can get into B&H Photo so after I get all of the recommendations, I'll go and checkout all the equipment there.

    Thanks again,

    Kim Cassidy
  • 13. Re: Digital Camcorder Recommandations
    SteveKir Level 3 Level 3 (545 points)
    Also, any recommendations on tripods and additional
    accessories that are necessary?

    Thanks in advance.

    I have a Velbon tripod which is good, recommended to me by Ian R. Brown on this forum (thanks Ian). They make several weights. A fluid head is useful for smooth pans. Although it is time-consuming to level a tripod, I use a ball-head between the tripod and its fluid head. It speeds levelling a lot. However, for shots where a tripod can't be used, a monopod is (at least for me) a huge help in keeping the camera steady.

    On cameras, I read on this forum that some people find that Canon cameras (although good) sometimes have difficulty in being recognized by FCE, which is a nuisance. Sony ones seem to have little trouble.