View Full Version : Suggestions For First Video Camera?

25th May 2005, 03:56 PM
Hey there gadgeteers!

I'm looking for suggestions for a video camera to get started in iMovie.

Since I'm not sure if it is going to be a big thing, I'm looking for good experiences with older cameras I might be able to pick up 2nd hand to get a feel for things without shelling out > $1000 for the privilege.

I thought there used to be a listing of cameras on Apple's site (iMovie Importing (http://www.apple.com.au/ilife/imovie/import.html)) but I can't find it now. Is it really going to be any IEEE1394/FireWire/i.LINK camera that will do the job?

Any suggestions gratefully appreciated!

25th May 2005, 04:02 PM
This Canon MV850i would do the job:

http://www.canon.com.au/products/cameras/c...deo/mv850i.html (http://www.canon.com.au/products/cameras/cameras_video/mv850i.html)

Is RRP$999, but im sure if you go down to JB-HIFI or somewhere like that they could knock at least $80 off the price.

25th May 2005, 04:07 PM
if you could afford it.. get that new JVC Hard drive one... its awsome! i have the earlier model of the canon vid cam... i can say... it isnt that great.. the pic quality at night is appauling.

25th May 2005, 04:17 PM
i recommend the canon range... any of the 800 series. you should be able to get one for as low as $675 for the 800I, $775 for the 830I or $885 for the 850I.

If you can't find prices like these then please Private me.


25th May 2005, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by ipod_man@May 25 2005, 04:07 PM
if you could afford it.. get that new JVC Hard drive one... its awsome! i have the earlier model of the canon vid cam... i can say... it isnt that great.. the pic quality at night is appauling.
I think that clearly goes outside the sub $1000 range. I was looking at that one a while ago, but the hard-drive just isn't big enough. Unless of course someone makes a nifty little converter to dump the footage onto an iPod. No way am I bringing my powerbook on weekend long waterski trips so that I can dump footage every hour, or 5 hours if using the lower quality settings. Think I'll wait till they have a 20GB 3CCD version :)

One cheap alternative may be for you to get yourself a USB tv capture card and an old non-digital camcorder. Record to film, then dump in real time via the capture card to your computer. It's a pain in the arse to do it if you get serious and shoot lots of video, but it'll be cheaper than a digital video camera. If you find you're doing lots of video work you can always sell it on and upgrade to a nicer digital camcorder.

25th May 2005, 04:24 PM
I agree with ipod_man, the JVC with its own HDD is very cool :)

25th May 2005, 04:27 PM
That JVC Hard Drive camera looks amazing!!!!!!!

Wish I had the spare cash floating around for it, but now with the iMac and Digital Camera on they're way, I guess I will have to wait. :)


Above is the site for the hard disk camcorders. Did a search at videocams.com.au for you and they have the JVC EVERIO - CASUAL STYLE VIDEO CAMERA. (GZ-MC200AA) from $2199 down to $1808.63. http://www.videocams.com.au/ProductDetails..._id=34GZMC200AA (http://www.videocams.com.au/ProductDetails.aspx?item_id=34GZMC200AA)

Great Camera. But only 4GB Hard Disk from what I gathered. So I dont know how much you will get out of it.


25th May 2005, 04:30 PM
I think this is the list??????

I'm not sure tho - http://www.apple.com/macosx/upgrade/camcorders.html

25th May 2005, 04:43 PM
I have an older model Canon (mv20i) and I love it.

Much more intuitive and easier to use than other cameras, great quality.

Stick with a canon, and if you can avoid JVC and Panasonic, do so.

25th May 2005, 04:48 PM
My current Video camera is 6 years old and purchased in 1999.

Its a Panasonic, and to this day has not given me any trouble. Only problem with it is that it is not digital and runs on tape.

Is there any way to hook it up to the iMac to edit the video even though the camera only contains AV Ports?

25th May 2005, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by adamjc@May 25 2005, 04:48 PM
Is there any way to hook it up to the iMac to edit the video even though the camera only contains AV Ports?
You didn't read the whole thread did you.

As I said before in my post you can use a USB TV capture card. There are other capture cards out there as well that don't have a TV tuner in them.

Basically what you do is stream the video using the AV outputs through the capture card and then capture them in digital form on your computer. Then you edit the files on your computer.

25th May 2005, 07:17 PM
If you are new to iMovie you might want to check out iMovie HD & iDVD 5: The Missing Manual (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/imoviehdtmm/). As well as being a manual on how to use iMovie and iDVD it also contains a chapter on choosing a digital camcorder, and chapters on how to use it well.

I've got an earlier version (iMovie 3 & iDVD) and it made the whole learning process much easier.

25th May 2005, 07:26 PM
Just a few things you may want to note when buying:

- Get MiniDV. No excuse to stick with other formats unless you have older tapes, plus other formats like MicroMV just haven't cought on yet. MiniDV will bethe most popular for a while to come. If you want to look at a camera that records to a hard drive or DVD, insist on seeing the quality played back on a computer screen before buying. Full motion video from these types of cameras played back on a TV may seem OK, but if you look at it on a monitor frame by frame you'll see just how good or bad the quality is. I have heard of people complaining about optical and HD recorders over-compressing the video stream to keep up with the frame rate.

- Do you want analogue video in and out? Most will have analogue out, to record to a VHS tape and watch your video o TV; but analogue in is also important if you want to record from VHS or TV.

- Battery life...check it! Some cheap cameras have appalling battery life.

- The lens. Even a $5000 camera will record terrible video if the lens is bad. No matter how much fancy electronics exist it he camera, it has to go throught he lens first, so make sure it's half decent (ie: Carl Zeiss). Also, keep in mind the bigger the lens, the more light it lets through and the better the picture will be, especially in low-light shots (more on this below).

- See what minimum illumination the camera can record at. Cheaper ones with very small lenses will record your after-dark parties badly, and no a video light will not make up for it. Spend that money on a camera with a bigger lens and better low-light recording instead.

- Ignore digital zoom. It's useless. End of story. Only optical zoom matters.

- Get a tripod. Preferably a desk-top mini tripod and a regular one. Having the camera absolutely still while shooting makes a BIG difference to what you shoot.

I used to sell digital cameras often and while it was easy to sell the sub-$1000 camera, with a little extra sales pitch the customers were much happier spending $2000 up front to get a camera that would last them twice as long.

Cheers :)

2nd June 2005, 04:45 PM
I'd have to agree with symean.
The camera is a small part of the puzzle, so I'd be sticking with a cheaper machine.

I've got an old model Canon, MV500i, and I would highly recommend this as value for money. It doesn't have memory card, it doesn't have MPEG4 streaming.
But it's miniDV, tapes are cheap. After market batteries have excellent capacity and price. Plus is works a treat with iMovie.
So the MV800i would probably be a great purchase.
There is a local PC wholesaler that sells Canon and they have the MV700i for under $650.

Investing in a decent tripod is worth serious consideration.

2nd June 2005, 05:21 PM
I have a Panasonic NV-GS11GN and its great! cost me about $800 a year ago

2nd June 2005, 06:07 PM
SONY...& dont go for a model too small if dropped they can break.

2nd June 2005, 06:13 PM
I bought a JVC in the US in 2000 and it's still going strong after a lot of use.
Have had problems with Panasonic cameras (at work)

2nd June 2005, 06:22 PM
They should just say every Mini DV model works, if you find one that does not, tell us and we'll all have a good little giggle... :o

2nd June 2005, 06:34 PM
hi, the panasonic nv-gs 11 is a great camera and value for money! the unit won on top of it's competitors at the time for very good low light performance, brilliant picture and value for money for a minidv over canon and sony. also had the best optical zoom around 16x. i've seen it for around $600!
good luck