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Thread: Which video camera?????

  1. #1
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    Question Which video camera?????

    ok, I got the nikon D60 last year from everyones Recommendations, and love it, getting better with it too!! Now it's time to get a video camera, as my son is growing up fast, and has some pretty hilarious moments, not to mention sports and his outdoor adventures with me. His moose call is so darn funny, it's hard to not get busted your laughing so hard.

    So I need a video camera, would like to go HD, need something easy to use, fairly durable, and possibly hook a helmet cam up to it. A good zoom would be nice, but isn't required. Also a long battery life would be nice too, but spare batteries can be an option too.

    ok whats everyones thought???
    Tim

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    As far as HD cams go the HV line is hard to beat...the Canon HV40 is the offering for this year and retails at nearly $1000 but can be had cheaper online....the HV series began a number of years back with the HV20...that little cam was ahead of its time....there have been little changes to the cams in the HV line that followed, the HV30 and HV40....I picked up a new HV30 last spring for $550 ....the HV30's are getting hard to find but if you can find one in the $500 price range you need to snatch it up...

    Canon is my preference but that's all it is...what you really need to look at if you want to get into HD cameras are your needs, much like the point and shoot cameras....

    For example:
    What type of media do you prefer? (tapes, or harddrive)..don't even bother looking at the DVD ones...lol
    Are you going to edit the footage?
    What type of software are you editing with?
    How much horsepower does your computer have?
    What kind of finished media will you store/share your footage on? (DVD etc)
    What will you watch your edited footage on? (HD TV, computer, regular TV)
    How much time do you want to spend editing?
    etc...

    The biggest negative difference between HD footage and SD footage are the file size and required editing time...The files are HUGE compared to SD footage and the compiling time is dramatic compared to SD, if you don't have a relatively powerful computer (newer than 4 years old or so) your computer will probably crap the bed when attempting to edit HD footage...

    Do you want to mess with MiniDV tapes or do you prefer the harddrive/flash memory models?...each has its advantages/disadvantages...

    in general:

    the tapes models
    - are cheaper but you have to buy tapes all the time....
    - you need to play back the footage to get it onto your computer, 1 hour - tape means it takes one hour to get the footage on your computer
    - the file sizes are much smaller than the flash memory files, so it doesn't burden your computer as much to compile footage
    - you have a backup of your footage...if you ever lose the files on your computer you'll always have the tapes to get the footage again..

    the flash memory models
    - are more expensive, but you only need to buy a flash card that can be used almost indefinitely
    - although you won't be buying tapes all the time, you'll need to buy a large external hard drive (or similar) to back up your footage...the cost per minute of stored data is about the same between storing on a tape vs harddrive
    - the format that the flash cameras saves the video files in are HUGE (longer editing times) and the format isn't compatible with all editing packages, although most packages are catching up....
    - don't lend a good backup method...you transfer the files to your computer and clear the card for the next shooting session....if your computer craps out you lost your footage...Id certainly invest in a 1TB external harddrive to back up to if I used a flash memory device....that's right, I said 1TB, the files are that big...lol....heck, even the footage off of my tape model runs about 1GB per minute, yup 1 gigabyte lol....if you've got a one hour tape of HD footage you'll need 50 to 60 GIGAbytes to store it...

    another thing to consider:

    if you aren't going to watch the footage on an HD TV then nearly all of the advantages of an HD camera are lost....if you do have an HD TV then the footage is pretty amazing compared to SD....but you need a method to pump the HD footage into your fancy TV, burning a DVD isn't going to cut it...you'll need to either hook up your camera via firewire directly to your TV, burn a Blu-ray, or have a device that can play media files directly to your TV...and if you find a cheap way to burn Blu-ray's please let me know....lol
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    Default TJM, thanks, I was hoping you would reply!!

    Thanks a bunch, I was the redheaded guy in chriso's boat last year when we did that talkeetna get together, and was SUPER impressed with what you did with the video. We might have to take this offline of If I could give ya a call sometime and discuss this. I wanted to get a camera before halloween, But you have given me alot to consider, so maybe by xmas!!

    to answer some questions:
    Yes got a nice HD 50" plasma
    Computer is about 5 years old, I built it, as the biggest fastest I could back then for $1500, but I certainly don't have the storage you talk about.
    I do have a backup , but only half the size you recommend.
    I currently use photoshop elements, but I only bought the version for still pics. So buying editing software doesn't bother me. What ever is the most user friendly and fastest is what I am looking for. And that really applies to the camera as well.
    I will be filming everything from little kids school activities to some of the same stuff you do(wild jetboat rides in my wooly, and some crazy snowmachine adventures we have done and plan to do again!)

    I will look hard at the canon line!!
    Thanks again!
    Tim

  4. #4
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    TJM, thanks, I was hoping you would reply!!
    don't put too much weight in my comments....im far from an expert on any of this stuff....lol

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    Computer is about 5 years old, I built it, as the biggest fastest I could back then for $1500, but I certainly don't have the storage you talk about.
    I know very little about computer hardware. I do know that if your processor is whimpy and ram is limited you'll have issues editing the HD footage. I use a 2 year old iMac with 3gb of ram and it handles it fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    I do have a backup , but only half the size you recommend.
    a 500GB drive will be fine...the external drives are cheap once you fill it up....and you will fill it up...lol

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    I currently use photoshop elements, but I only bought the version for still pics. So buying editing software doesn't bother me. What ever is the most user friendly and fastest is what I am looking for. And that really applies to the camera as well.
    I don't know anything about PSE....using Windows Movie Maker will work just dandy...i think it comes with Windows so you shouldn't have to buy any software...but then again, I use a Mac...

    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    I will be filming everything from little kids school activities to some of the same stuff you do(wild jetboat rides in my wooly, and some crazy snowmachine adventures we have done and plan to do again!)

    I will look hard at the canon line!!
    keep in mind I only suggest the Canon's because that is all I know...there are certaily several other great cams in the same size/price range...

    the HV line isn't known for its low light performance...I would consider it adequate....If you are going to be filming a lot indoors you may want to test one out first and compare it to some others...the microphone on the HV is also fair at best...so if picking up voices well is a priority then you'll need to get a good external mic.... the HV's perfom well with them...and if you are the type to always ensure good lighting then it is not an issue...

    here's an extremely cheesy video of my kids inside....take a look at how it performs in the low light...also listen to the voices, especially near the end...you can hear the sound varying quiet a bit as I change how I hold the camera....it will give you an idea of the less than stellar inside performance...



    here's a clip that demonstrates the 'rolling shutter' issue you'll also have to deal with with an HD camera....not really a big deal at all once you realize what you can't do with the camera..basically, you have to be a little more steady to avoid it...it will also show you what it looks like outdoors with low light....and more of the average microphone.....
    make sure you click on the button on the screen to turn "HD ON" when you watch....



    if you feed the HV plenty of light the results are fantastic...I'm still wow'd when I watch the footage....but Im sure you'll get similar results with other cameras as well...

    If I was to look at another Canon I'd give the Vixia HF200 a look as well. They've got a little bigger lens and it is reported they perform better in lower light...it also has a better zoom, 15x versus 10x....be sure not to look at the HF20....the difference is it has an internal harddrive in addition to using the flash memory cards and it costs a little more....the HF200 only uses the cards...for the price difference you can purchase more GB of removable storage than the 32GB internal of the HF20

    no matter which camera you get there will be issues that you have to live with or learn to avoid...I was aware of the HV's shortcomings and have not been disappointed in my decision....I firmly believe that it is pretty much the most HD bang for the buck....especially if you can find an older HV30 instead of the HV40....
    ------------------------------------------------
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  5. #5
    Member ChugiakAaron's Avatar
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    I have the canon vixia HF100 and love it. I bought two 16GB SD cards with mine + the bigger battery and am glad I did. You'll fill those cards up fast with HD footage and the standard battery will give you about an hour of on time.

    I also had to build a quadcore machine after I tried editing an HD video on a single 3gHz cpu. It took hours and hours to render down a 10 minute video and preview in Sony Vegas was giving me about 4 frames/second. The quadcore handles it quite nicely, and would be better if I put some more RAM in this box.

    It also takes pretty decent pictures.

    I think I paid less than $1k for the whole setup, camera bag, and tripod 6 months ago.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    As far as HD cams go the HV line is hard to beat...the Canon HV40 is the offering for this year and retails at nearly $1000 but can be had cheaper online....the HV series began a number of years back with the HV20...that little cam was ahead of its time....there have been little changes to the cams in the HV line that followed, the HV30 and HV40....I picked up a new HV30 last spring for $550 ....the HV30's are getting hard to find but if you can find one in the $500 price range you need to snatch it up...

    Canon is my preference but that's all it is...what you really need to look at if you want to get into HD cameras are your needs, much like the point and shoot cameras....

    For example:
    What type of media do you prefer? (tapes, or harddrive)..don't even bother looking at the DVD ones...lol
    Are you going to edit the footage?
    What type of software are you editing with?
    How much horsepower does your computer have?
    What kind of finished media will you store/share your footage on? (DVD etc)
    What will you watch your edited footage on? (HD TV, computer, regular TV)
    How much time do you want to spend editing?
    etc...

    The biggest negative difference between HD footage and SD footage are the file size and required editing time...The files are HUGE compared to SD footage and the compiling time is dramatic compared to SD, if you don't have a relatively powerful computer (newer than 4 years old or so) your computer will probably crap the bed when attempting to edit HD footage...

    Do you want to mess with MiniDV tapes or do you prefer the harddrive/flash memory models?...each has its advantages/disadvantages...

    in general:

    the tapes models
    - are cheaper but you have to buy tapes all the time....
    - you need to play back the footage to get it onto your computer, 1 hour - tape means it takes one hour to get the footage on your computer
    - the file sizes are much smaller than the flash memory files, so it doesn't burden your computer as much to compile footage
    - you have a backup of your footage...if you ever lose the files on your computer you'll always have the tapes to get the footage again..

    the flash memory models
    - are more expensive, but you only need to buy a flash card that can be used almost indefinitely
    - although you won't be buying tapes all the time, you'll need to buy a large external hard drive (or similar) to back up your footage...the cost per minute of stored data is about the same between storing on a tape vs harddrive
    - the format that the flash cameras saves the video files in are HUGE (longer editing times) and the format isn't compatible with all editing packages, although most packages are catching up....
    - don't lend a good backup method...you transfer the files to your computer and clear the card for the next shooting session....if your computer craps out you lost your footage...Id certainly invest in a 1TB external harddrive to back up to if I used a flash memory device....that's right, I said 1TB, the files are that big...lol....heck, even the footage off of my tape model runs about 1GB per minute, yup 1 gigabyte lol....if you've got a one hour tape of HD footage you'll need 50 to 60 GIGAbytes to store it...

    another thing to consider:

    if you aren't going to watch the footage on an HD TV then nearly all of the advantages of an HD camera are lost....if you do have an HD TV then the footage is pretty amazing compared to SD....but you need a method to pump the HD footage into your fancy TV, burning a DVD isn't going to cut it...you'll need to either hook up your camera via firewire directly to your TV, burn a Blu-ray, or have a device that can play media files directly to your TV...and if you find a cheap way to burn Blu-ray's please let me know....lol
    What he said, if it wasn't for me he wouldn't of spent the 500+ on the HV30! LOL...... Great cam, good luck!

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    Default Thanks guys, got another question!!

    TJM, I am looking seriously at the canon line. But can you hook a helmet cam up to these cameras? It looks like I might be able to find some deals on the HV40, your right it is hard to find the HV30, so the HV40 is basically the same thing slightly upgraded. Just want to know if I can hook a helmet cam up. or goggle cam... can't fly/drive and video at the same time!!!

    If anyone else would like to jump in and give some advice here, please do!!!

  8. #8
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    I don't know if there is a video 'in' on the HV's...I assume that there is but I'll find out for sure this evening and let you know...
    ------------------------------------------------
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  9. #9
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    Default Cameras

    All,
    I will weigh in on this one. I now use the Sony HDR-1000. I used it for most of the footage in the Alaska Video Thread.
    I prefer tapes over hard drive, mostly because to the best of my knowledge the hard drives have not been able to record at the same resolution. I am not sure where current technology is with this format.

    I started shooting with the Canon GL2 which is a DV camera with an awesome 20x Optical Zoom Lens and at 2.2 lbs it was not too awful to add to the pack.
    The problems I had with the GL2 have been during low light conditions. It simply would not pull in enough light for some of the hunting that I do in the lower 48.
    The 2nd problem is that it does not shoot HDV.



    Two things that I have learned about shooting outdoor footage:
    • Low Light Performance is a must
    • A 20x Optical Lens (Especially in Alaska) is a must have.

    I purchased a Sony FX1 which is an awesome camera that shoots both DV and HDV and has awesome low light performance, but with only a 12x optical zoom, it just did not cut the mustard for hunting videos (at least for me). Sony uses a different format than Canon, so even shooting both cameras in DV the footage just would not deliver what I was looking for in and end result.
    So now I had two cameras that even collectively would not give me what I was looking for.

    Than Sony came out with the SONY HDR-1000 which is HDV/DV and has a 20x optical 72mm lens and touted excellent low light performance. Long and short of that is I sold the old cameras and bought this one and I have never regretted it. It truly is an awesome camera.

    Tapes: I usually reuse mine. One way to save tapes and hard drive is to download your final edited version on a single tape and reuse the tapes (3 or 4 in some cases) you used in the field.
    I also use an external hard drive to run and store all of my footage. Keeping the final version on tape ensures that I have a copy of the most important footage, without have to keep everything I record or risk a hard fault with my cpu.


    I use Pinnacle Studio 12 plus, which has tons of awesome features that I do not use. I mostly just cut out what I don’t want to see and than let others do the fancy stuff with it. It is simple enough to figure out without much experience, which I did not have any when I 1st started.

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    Default thanks cusakla!!!

    ok so I looked at the sonys also the other day, and it seemed everything was very propeietary to sony, all the accesories must be SONY or it wouldn't work it seemed to say, even the way they were formatted. I guess i really need to go to a store and try these things out. Cause I sure will get shot by the wife if i buy 2 cameras, and they still don't do what I want. Update on Helmet cam. Found one I like. it's the ContourHD. Seems like they get lots of abuse and still work well, and they aren't tooooo expensive, and even waterproof(that very good for people like TJM and I with our watersports) it's a totally self contained unit.

    http://helmetcameracentral.com/2009/...ble-camcorder/.

    Check it out see what you guys think.

    cusakla, thanks for the scoop on that SONY, I will look alittle closer at them since what I will be doing is somewhat similiar to what you've done, but I have a feeling it might be a little out of my price range. I think the saying, you get what you Pay for here applies, so i might have to wait a few months and save up.

    But thanks so much for the info, thats what makes this site so good. Cusakla, what is the coldest temp you have filmed in???
    Thanks again guys!!!!!
    Tim

  11. #11
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    the HV's do have an A/V in...the downside is you can only capture standard def footage through it...does your helmet cam even capture in HD?...I have not tested it though....if you'd like to see the footage from that capture I'd be happy to make a quick test for you...just need your external camera to hook up....

    you're not going to have much luck looking for a 20x zoom on the handheld cams you're looking at....it would be nice though...

    do not discount the hard drive models if that is your preference, the footage quality is the same resolution as the tape models....the file formats are different but recorded the same resolution.....most folks prefer the hard drive/SD card models for ease of file transfer....Im a tape guy too, but looked long and hard at the solid state models...

    a lot of guys reuse tapes, I don't however....for most users (including me) reusing them is fine...I personally don't want to lose any footage....keep in mind that you will experience dropped frames more frequently if you re-use tapes....it seems like it has happened more frequently with the HD footage than the SD footage for me...tapes aren't cheap but it sucks to have dropped frames at the wrong time....

    I wonder if the lubrication on the tape degrades as you reuse them....I wonder how that affects the camera if the tape does loose its lube....

    apparently mixing lubes is a no-no as well....run a head cleaning tape if you're going to switch tapes....I hear that some lubes don't mix well.....I haven't had any issues but I've always cleaned if switching tape brands.....anymore, I just buy a big box of tapes and stick to the same brand...

    dry lube? wet lube?....anyone have a preference? why?...
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  12. #12
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    Default Bison Hunt Delta -20 deg f

    http://helmetcameracentral.com/2009/...ble-camcorder/.

    Check it out see what you guys think.

    But thanks so much for the info, thats what makes this site so good. Cusakla, what is the coldest temp you have filmed in???

    Tim,
    I drew a Bison Tag for Delta and hunted a -20 deg f. It is true that the batteries don't last as long. I had two batteries and I kept on in my pocket warming-up while using the other, which seemed to make them last a bit longer. Sony seems to Kick butt on Canon, when it comes to battery performance. Canon's lens is a bit better, but not by much.
    So far Sony has worked with everything I have, cpu, remote mikes and software, its just that when u splice Canon and Sony footage, you have different screen sizes, it stil works but it does not look as good as consistent format.
    If you want to compare footage, look me up on youtube.com cusackla
    The 2006 Kodiak Goat is shot with my Canon. Everything else is with my Sony. Of course that does not compare to the actual full resolution tape.
    If you are near Anchorage, I could show you the differences.
    Louis

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    Default thanks guys

    the flu has kicked my butt (and I did get a flu shot!!!!) so have been down for thecount for a few days. I was supposed to go on a whitetail hunt back in Maine, but that got postponed. I'll look into this further when I get back!
    Thanks again
    Tim

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    Default Got a couple you can play with

    Tim

    I have some cams you can play with. XL1 and GL2 and a lil 3 ccd panasonic (cant remember model) that you can play with to see if your interested. I also still have the cub strut mount we were inventing......(that panasonic and gl2 work beautifully on it)

    For photos i always used my trusty d70.

    Let me know if your want to take anything for a test run.

    Misty

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