Video camera, Hard drive or DVD

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 20:32
ThreadID: 53148 Views:3356 Replies:11 FollowUps:3
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Evening all,
I am in the process of buy a new video camera and would like some advice as to what to buy, and experiences good or bad as I plan to use it on extended trips so dust may be a problem.
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Reply By: DIO - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 20:52

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 20:52
For overall quality, economy, reliability, ease of operation (including saving and storing video) stick with tapes. Despite all the hype surrounding other formats, industry professionals are still using tape. You won't be disappointed.
AnswerID: 279983

Follow Up By: PajeroTD - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:01

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:01
Actually broadcast is moving away from tape. XDCAM HD optical disc is filling the gap from Digital Betacam (standard def digital broadcast tape) and XDCAM EX records to a memory card in a similar 35mb/s codec to XDCAM HD. The memory cards used are SxS Express Cards. Both these formats have proven to me more reliable, more robust and more cost efficient, and time efficient than DVCAM, DigiBeta etc. The most common repair job for video cameras was the tape drive mechanism, heads etc. HDCAM SR still sits at the top in the Sony broadcast world, which is still tape based, but is used mainly for recording movies. I have no doubt it will be replaced by solid state recording, when it can handle hours of footage in 100-400mb/s cost effectively.

Back to the consumer camcorder world, my opinion is that cameras with removable media is the way to go (not hard drive) the current consumer Memory Stick camcorders don't record the same quality as the disc or HDD camcorders, so that would leave me with choosing disc recording. However, I would wait until Sony start selling the Mini Blu Ray camcorders in full HD 1080 24p, which I am sure is just around the corner. The media is already available.

If I was buying a semi-pro camcorder, it would be the Sony PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX

So verdict for Pyro 1, Mini Blu Ray that does FULL HD 1080 at 24 frames per second (progressive scan), if not, then 25p would be good too.
FollowupID: 544225

Follow Up By: PajeroTD - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:34

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:34
I forgot a couple other things about tape too. HDV is the only consumer-semi pro tape HD format. It records on the Mini DV tape. It does not support either 1080p or 24 frames. It cannot, and will not ever support that. It records at 1440x1080i non-square pixels. Then on output (playback), it converts the signal to 1080x1920 so HDTVs will recognize the signal. Tapes are also prone to skipping/jumping when being knocked around while recording (the heads will jump misalign with the tape). Then there is the contamination issue with tapes. One contaminated tape will contaminate the heads of the camcorder which will then contaminate other tapes. Of course you can clean/replace heads, but if you dont know what tape contaminated it, it will happen again and again.
Here's the Hitachi camera

Media so price is similar to what Mini DV started out to be, then will obviously come down. Recording time is the same (60 mins)

Hope all this info helps rather than confuses.
FollowupID: 544227

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:03

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:03
I would go for the hard drive. You can also take still pictures.
AnswerID: 279985

Reply By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:43

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:43

It's a difficult decision that I recently wrestled with. Here are some things that I tossed around in my mind.

1. I really wanted a Full HD (High Definition) camera to view on our new HD TV. The problem is storage and transportation of data to the TV. A Hard Disk Drive (HDD) camera can be hooked up and viewed but sooner or later you will want to download onto a DVD for archiving. DVD look reasonable but are not Full HD. Therefore mini data tapes are the go. You just have to buy a lot of them and always playback using the camera.

2. Hard Drives are reported to be delicate and possibly can't take the hard knocks we can give them in a 4WD. Back to tapes!

3. DVD camcorders could be a possibility and are available in FullHD but you need a new HD DVD player ($$$) and expensive media. Also the cameras look weird with that round hump. Back to tapes.

4. HDD camera with a DVD docking station to transfer the data. Awkward and similar to (3) above.

5. My solution? Wait a bit longer to see what happens with HD media. It will get cheaper and an obvious winner in the Blue Ray vs HD DVD will be revealed. (remember VHS vs whatever the other one was?) Meanwhile I have bought a Canon S5 IS still camera that takes superb stills as well as excellent movies. It only cost about $650 with a 2 gig card. I can get 300-400 shots plus up to one hour of video on a single card. I use my computer to store all data and burn video DVDs using Premier Elements (standard quality but look great on my TV).

Even if High Definition is not an issue for you I think tapes would be better. DVD's can be broken,scratched etc in the bush.

I am interested to hear what others have to say on the subject.
Check out my camera here.

Canon S5 IS

AnswerID: 279987

Reply By: F4Phantom - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:10

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:10
mate the latest cameras have subsituted HD's for SD cards, this is the way to go, its not delicate, solid state - reliable and you change your cards like a disk or tape but with out all the crappiness of tapes - I own a mini dv tape and will be ditching it for SD as soon as possible. Now downsides to SD except possibly cost of sd cards right now, but this is falling very quickly.
AnswerID: 279989

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:37

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:37
Pyro, you can store and record a lot more data on the tapes. That means the quality will be better, especially for the dollars spent.
AnswerID: 280014

Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 00:06

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 00:06
Get a JVC with a 30GB HD that will last you at least all day, depends on how much you take it might go 2 days, then down load it to a Laptop and away you go again, can also take the shots in widescreen 16.9, I also hear there's a High Def'coming on the market.
Sony Announces High Definition 1080i

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AnswerID: 280017

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 00:22

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 00:22
I just went thru this whole procedure too.

Got some good advice from this Forum and others and went for Mini DV tapes for all the reasons stated above.

Bought the Sony HDR-HC7E. $1699 at Camera House. $100 cashback but on the Sony website had the option of $200 worth of some Sony goodies for half price and took that.

Picture is just outstanding. Love the flexibility of tapes. Widescreen 16:9, high definition. Looks broadcast quality on a 50" plasma.

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AnswerID: 280022

Reply By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:45

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 04:45
We just shouted ourselves a new Sony 60 gig HDD camcorder. $802 delivered to our door.
( think thats it, and it will come in from China, but who cares )

Wow first one ever.
Its not the wizz bang HD model, I can't be bothered. The way I see it is, that being a Sony they will shoot a gr8 pic anyway and we wanted the hrs of video.
Main problem is the user, learning everything, but after a couple of stuff ups, I was away, only to findout about the effect of light, and where to stand.
Now there ain't no camera in the world that can think for me, so it's all trial and error..

Next on the agenda is a windproof mic. and a "how to pan and hold" book

Cheers All

AnswerID: 280029

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 06:43

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 06:43
Hi Bucky, add a stabilised mount to that wish list :-))
I want some sort of in vehicle mount that reduces swmbo induced jerky movements.
FollowupID: 544230

Reply By: Angler - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 15:55

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 15:55
Some years ago I purchased an 8mm digital sony movie camera, I have had several different cameras from a very old lugable vhs with three different components to the system up to and including a hi 8 and hence one of the reasons for getting the digital 8mm system. I can play back old tapes with the new camera.
The digital camera is great and has excellent picture quality, certainly not HD. My only problem now is the very sad lack of tapes available. I have tried many places including a non plus answer from sony australia. I now use hi 8 tapes with lower record times and similar picture results. My point here is remember you will be stuck with something fairly useless in a few short years regardless of what format you choose.

AnswerID: 280098

Reply By: Pyro 1 - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 21:36

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 21:36
Thankyou to everybody who has replied, it all helps.
AnswerID: 280369

Reply By: PajeroTD - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 03:57

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 03:57
No worries Pyro 1, check this out (just launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday)

doesnt record on Blu Ray media, but records on DVD AND Memory Stick, I believe in the same quality. Definately worth looking at.
AnswerID: 280415

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