1 2 3 Previous Next 33 Replies Latest reply: May 31, 2012 6:32 PM by Studio X
Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

I'm using FCP 5 on a G5 Mac (made in 2005), shooting my video with a little Canon Elura 100 mini-DV camcorder (made in 2006) -- I'm rather stuck in the past I guess.

 

I know mini-DV is obsolete, and modern camcorders are capturing their video to internal flash drives, but I still have lots of mini-DV tapes (I bought a batch of 50 and have only used a few) so I guess I'll stick with tape for a while yet. (I don't think FCP 5 can import today's flash-based video anyway, can it?)

 

Anyway, the little old Elura is getting tired, so I'm going to replace it with another mini-DV camera, even if I buy a used one, and I thought I'd step up to a bigger and better mini-DV camcorder. I don't really need HD, either (the old G5 and FCP 5 may not be able to handle HD anyway).

 

Any recommendations for a high-quality Mini-DV camcorder?

 

Thanks!

 

Tom


Mac OS X (10.5.8), 8 GB of RAM
  • 1. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Shane Ross Level 8 Level 8 (41,910 points)

    They don't make MiniDV cameras anymore.  You will only find them used...

  • 2. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    Thanks. It's OK with me--all my stuff is used.

     

    Mainly I'd like to know which mini-DV camcorders have good and bad reputations, so I know what to look for, and what to avoid.

     

    If anybody has been using a specific brand and model, and has been happy with it, I'd like to know what it is.

     

    Likewise I'd like to know about the stinkers.

  • 3. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Meg The Dog Level 6 Level 6 (9,690 points)

    Actually, B&H is still showing a mini-DV camera in stock, but get one quick - they are likely the last of a breed at the consumer level:

     

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/597424-REG/Canon_3686B001_VIXIA_HV40_High_ Definition.html

     

    Will shoot SD DV on mini-DV, and then when you are ready, you can start shooting HD.

    Check out the number of positive ratings. I have the HV30 that preceeded it, and for what it is, it does a very nice job.

     

    MtD

  • 4. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    Thanks Meg. I did a search and found that Amazon.com is also selling the Canon Vixia HV40, brand new, for a hundred dollars more than B&H ($700 vs $600).

     

    One good thing about Amazon is that they accept returns with no questions asked, if you're ever unhappy with a purchase in any way. I know, because I've done it. Full instant refund.

     

    So if I didn't like something about that Vixia, I could bounce it right back to Amazon, but I bet B&H would kick if I tried to return it. Not sure that's worth a hundred bucks extra, though.

     

    Looks like a pretty good mini-DV camera, all right, judging by the Amazon.com ratings. I'll put it at the top of the list for now, while I continue to see what's out there.

     

    Any more recommendations or comments, anybody?

     

    Tom

  • 5. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Jim Cookman Level 7 Level 7 (23,435 points)

    Look for a DVX100-- a or b-- great cameras, I recently retired one.  Never any problem with it.

  • 6. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    Thanks Jim. Wow, that's a pretty serious-looking camera! People no doubt take you for a pro when you appear with a videcam like that. I'd love to have it, but at $2,800 new on Amazon (the B model) it's outside my price range, drat. I'd like to stay around $500 - $800.

     

    I once had a Canon L-1 (Hi-8) which looked similar to that, about the same size and shape, and people would get pretty self-conscious when I pulled it out. Even though I was only taking home-movies, people would walk up and ask what production company I was shooting for. For my purposes the DVX100 might be overkill.

     

    I think I'll stick with the small Elura/Vixia size camcorders for now, for smaller size and lower price. The little Elura 100 that I'm replacing is palm-size, and no one ever noticed much when I was recording with it. I got lots of good candid footage by holding it at waist level and looking down at the LCD screen as though I was doing something else.

  • 7. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    All the reviews I'm reading on Mini-DV cameras make them sound like dinosaurs, just about to become extinct. The reviews on the Canon Vixia HV40 make it sound not only obsolete but optically inferior--i.e. not as sharp as its successors with flash or hard drives. Hard to justify $600 and up for an obsolete and inferior piece of equipment, even though brand new.

     

    So I guess, for now,  I'll just pick up another second-hand Elura 100 Mini-DV off Ebay and stick with it until I can afford to move up to a newer Mac and a version of Final Cut that can handle AVCHD.

     

    Can anyone tell me the minimum Mac and OS requirements, and the earliest version of Final Cut Pro, that can import AVCHD?

     

    (My present Mac is a 2005 G5 running 10.5. and Final Cut Pro 5).

  • 8. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Jim Cookman Level 7 Level 7 (23,435 points)

    That's pretty amusing.  Actually, showing up with that camera was just the opposite.  My clients don't trust the smaller cameras one bit.

  • 9. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,125 points)

    You might want to make sure that what ever DV camera you get, that it can shoot anamorphic (16:9) not letterboxed.  Wide screen is the way to go in  most cases and youtube pillarboxes 4:3 material which makes it look old.

     

    And Jim is right on the dvx100a or b.  Great cameras and alot of the interface/form factor matches newer panasonic cameras like the hmc150 so it will make your future transition to HD a little easier.

  • 10. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    Thanks for the tip, Mike. I've been looking at the dvx100 cameras, but they're mostly all used, many of them very used, it appears, and yet they still command $800 - $1000. There are a very few new ones available for $2000 and up.

     

    Pretty high prices for used cameras that use tape and are not HD capable.

  • 11. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Stockholm Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)

    I would recommend Panasonic GS500.

    It was the last DV cam they made and it shoots anamorphic (16:9).

     

    It´s a great camera and I think that it would be pretty easy to get a used one since they sold a lot of them.

     

     

    Cheers

     

    Hans

  • 12. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Tom Baker1 Level 3 Level 3 (585 points)

    Thanks very much, Hans. It looks like a very nice videocam. I'm headed off to CamcorderInfo.com to read about the GS500, and then over to eBay to see what the typical asking price for one of these is.

     

    I appreciate the recommendation. I did not know about this camcorder.

     

    Best wishes,

     

    Tom

  • 13. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Michael Grenadier Level 7 Level 7 (20,125 points)

    doesn't look like this has xlr audio inputs.  If you want good quality audio, this could be a deal killer.  Check to make sure you can at least set audio levels. 

  • 14. Re: Recommendations for a good mini-DV camcorder?
    Stockholm Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)

    You don´t need XLR to get good audio that is a myth, and yes you can adjust miclevel.

     

    Get Rode Videomic  and you will have great audio.

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