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703 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 57439 13-Feb-2010 15:41
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Hi there,

Im looking at buying a video camera, my budget is around $400
I have seen models that record to SD card which I like the look of.

There are also cheapo no name models on Trademe that are of interest, but probably be a hassle
in the long run.

This Sony model is of interest to me, what do you think?
http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/cameras/digital-camcorders/sony-dcrsx40e-4gb-flash-memory-memory-stick-handycam-silver/prod11513.html

It will be used for home videos

Any advice would be great

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3000 posts

Uber Geek

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  Reply # 298659 13-Feb-2010 16:09
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I'd probably avoid the "no name models" with a large stick. I have seen one type on there that was utter junk even 5 years ago and are still fetching $150!

Beware many cheap ones as they fail miserably in low light or just drop the framerate down to compensate which is very annoying.

3 options really:

"Camcorder" style ones like what you are looking at.
Pros, Easier to hold, optical zoom, best video quality and low-light performance, plethora of image/video customizations usually, usually offer fullDH (1080P), make sure it's "P" and not "I", some offer decent image capture too.
Cons, bulky, more expensive, more fragile, pricey memory options at times (Memory stick for example)/ unrepairable internal hard drive.

"Outdoor pursuits" style ones such as VholdR:
Pros, often waterproof, very easy to operate.
Cons, no zoom, lack of control over viero and other image/video options, some cheaper "trademe" models have poor video quality (stick to brandnames such as VholdR), video is often only half-hd (720P)

"Cellphone style" such as the Kodak or Flip models
Pros, Easy to carry, cheap, simple, robust
Cons, no optical zoom, simplistic manual controls, video is often only half-hd (720P)
(Mauricio reviewed the Flip mino HD and was impressed)

A friend just bought a panasonic 3CCD model but this set him back about $1000. Only problem is the video is interlaced which makes for terrible viewing on a PC. Other than that, it's a fantastic unit.



Question for anyone out there, I have seen a microSD to Memory stick adaptor
(http://www.x-mods.co.nz/product_info.php?cPath=75_92&products_id=404)

Any idea haw fast these would work for something like a camera? if performance is good, It would allow me to consider the sony.



703 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 17


  Reply # 298667 13-Feb-2010 16:40
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Any feedback on the Sony model I posted the link to?

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  Reply # 298676 13-Feb-2010 16:55
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Pricey memory sticks is my main concern.
It's a Standard definition camcorder but from the videos I looked at on Youtube, it seems to have decent performance and good light balancing. Also video seems to be plain MPEG2 which will play easily on most systems with ease. Battery life is good too.

Zoom at 60X is great, optical uses Carl zeiss lenses and it has manual focus.

(http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=376227)
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_SgReoDYvc&fmt=22)

(I did add this but must have accidentally cut it off when I pasted in the my general guide)



703 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 17


  Reply # 298699 13-Feb-2010 17:42
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Thanks for that,
better price and a full list of specs!

Only downside I see is no nightshot or night mode, which I'd like

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 298808 14-Feb-2010 10:58
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This is a good place to look for camcorder reviews.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/ratings.php

They don't have that model listed but they do have a similar looking model:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-Handycam-DCR-SX60-Camcorder-Review-37391.htm

It seems like the same but with a few extras (bigger onboard memory for one). They don't rate it all that highly compared to some other models. The reviews are very in-depth, I suggest you consider which aspects are important to you and focus on that. A couple of things that I found were more important than I realised when I bought my camera:

1) Image stabilisation. Really good stabilisation helps if you're a shoot-from-the-hip kind of user. Which I suspect most casual users are. Electronic stabilisation is rarely good enough, make sure it has optical image stabilisation.

2) How wide angle the lens is. I found my camera's lens has quite a narrow angle. Consequently I find I need to stand well back of the subject I'm filming. You can overcome this with wide-angle attachment lenses but it's better if you don't have to.


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