I want to buy a video camera for my son . In your view , what make or model has the best zoom and best clearity . Thanks for your help . Kevin
As you probably know, there are a lot of choices. There are some things to consider from your point of view though.
How much do you want to spend?
What will he be doing with the video?
Editing on computer or just watching on tv?
This is probably the toughest thing to chose. Mini dv (the best for computer editing), HDD or DVD (good choices for just filming and watching on the tube.)
Here's a good place to start looking at reviews:
Sorry I haven't answered your question, but if you decide on format, the choices get easier. I've always used Canon and Panasonic. And, BTW, don't pay any attention to Digital zoom, just optical zoom. Digital zoom pretty much sucks.
Alasken, why is mini DV better for editing. I would think the HDD or mini DVD would be easier to get into the computer. Not that I have ever done either, but I am curious. Also, is there any difference in video quality between them, assuming none are HD video?
I was going to buy a MiniDV for the wife, because for one they are REALLY cheap nowdays, but that format is quickly fading away. I got the Canon DC230 for the wife (MiniDVD) and it is rated the highest in Consumer reports. These new camcorders are very small and I spent a whole day riding the snowmachines with one in my coat pocket and didn't even notice it. It has 35x optical zoom, weighs barely over a pound and takes DVD-R,RW, Dual layer, etc. I wouldn't go with MiniDV just because its kind of like buying old technology, IMO. If you go with HDD, plan on spending more. I dont know about you, but whenever I buy new cameras, video cameras, etc., I always consult consumer reports and then hit the net to find the best deal. Got the Canon for like 350...I subscribe to CR so depending on the format, PM me and I'll send you some info.
Admittedly I deal with professional grade video, both camera and editing software and hardware.
What I've noticed about most of the new HDD and DVD camcorders is that are very easy to plug in to a tv and view the video. They are made for convenience. Most of the output connections from the cameras however are either usb or s-video. Firewire is the preferred connection for capturing video on a computer because it's constant speed rather than in bursts like usb does. The DVD cameras also encode the video as an mpeg2 format. Mini dv is a digital dv stream, no encoding.
Since you're a serious photographer probably the best way to explain my opinion to you is: If you want to go take pictures, look at them on your computer and print them, then get a point and shoot camera. If you want to get serious about photography, buy a digital slr.
Believe me mini dv is not going anywhere at least on a professional level. I know we're kind of talking apples and oranges here. For inexpensive camcorders i can see the market leaning toward the convenient gadget cameras, but most of the high end camers are still and will be using mini dv for quite some time.
Thank you Alasken. That's what I wanted to know. From my distant past watching and creating un-edited video, that would be the last thing I would be interested in doing more of.
Also, my personal format choice would be Mini DV cameras anyway. The Mini DVD would be a complete annoyance to me. Write once and, then what? Either that or buy expensive RW disks. Hard drives could be interesting, but only as long as it took to fill one up. I can easily see too much vacation remaining at the end of the disk space.
Alasken made excellent points.
Now, if you want to see a gazillion choices, take a look at the B&H Photo & Video catalog just to match specifications and such. There are so many camcorders out there that one would go crazy trying to decided, but around $1,000+ can get you a good quality camcorder that records on HD, even wide-screen HD. If you want the best, then you will have to get into professional camcorders, and this can cost a fortune.