Camera recommendation

bbcdrum wrote on 2/24/2005, 8:24 PM
I have searched for camera recommendations but did not find any recent ones that fit the bill for me. So, if you are willing...

I am looking for a DV camera in the $1000 range to be used for filming family events such as kid's musical performances, sporting events, and the like.

Image quality is important. I know that a $1000 camera is not a $3000 camera. I am looking for the best in the $1K range.




Spot|DSE wrote on 2/24/2005, 9:19 PM
If you're not opposed to used, you should be able to find a good GL2 or VX 2000 in that price range, and those are both good cameras. The problem with the 1k price is that you're right on the low end of the next level, and just over the top side of the lesser level. Save a little, get a slightly lesser camera than you probably want, or spend just a little more, and likely get more camera than you anticipated. There isn't a lot of choice in new cameras in the 1K range. Most are just above or below.
The Canon Optura 400 is pretty dominant. I've not shot with that one, but the Optura line is pretty good. I have shot with the HCR90 from Sony, and it's a very nice palmcorder.
John_Cline wrote on 2/24/2005, 10:01 PM
A great resource for in-depth, un-biased, consumer camcoder reviews and information can be found here:

DavidMcKnight wrote on 2/24/2005, 10:43 PM
Something else to think about are all the extras that you invariably need. Batteries, light, tapes, case, tripod, and so forth. A $1000 cam like a used VX2000 could easily need another $500 or more of accessories...just something to keep in mind and perhaps budget for.
Grazie wrote on 2/25/2005, 12:08 AM
. . however . . . it is mostly, if not all, down to your expectations of your own work.

The guys above might not agree with me taking this discussion "somewhere" else - but - there is no substitute for good OR improving camera work. IMHO camera craft and the clear and intelligent use of basic elements and the understanding of "shooting" is the single most important consideration when it comes to a buying decision. I would even argue that within this "twilight" zone of the $1000 - here £1000GBp - is a real difficult area to advise on - if money IS going to be the only consideration.

So, I would suggest that you get a camera that will give you as much manual control as is possible. This will then:

1/- Allow you to adapt your filming technique to the situation

2/- Push you to expand and extend your skills set/base

3/- Develop your own sense of value because you are in control of your own expectations and you are making videos you and your family appreciate

This last point, I think, is the most important item.

So, the question you ask implies that the foremost consideration is "price" - what I'm suggesting is that this needs to be tempered with a view to what you would be happy with and providing you with the options for at least 12 to 24 months skills development. I can assure you that if you are going to take this obsessional craft/endeavour beyond what you are wanting to do now, then, as sure as eggs is/are eggs you will be purchasing more equipment, accessories and hair dye! You will leave behind you a scent "trail" of un- or partially used "orphaned" bits and pieces - the clearest sign of a videographer at work - from here to where you will be in 2 years time.

So, here is my SWOT or Options Analysis from my own experience, based on a sense of a budget-driven buying decision:

1/- Get/buy as much Manual control as you can afford.

. .this means . .

2/- Manual focus

3/- Manual exposure

4/- Manual WB

There are "other" manual controls and manual presets but within this price range, I doubt it. The problem here is that you will find some combination of the 3 - maybe all of them, I don't know - but the idea is to get as much control as possible - yes?

So, bottom line for me is that I would rather sit through watching a beautifully, manually controlled well framed and steady analogue - yes people analogue - than yet another shaky, focus-hunting, exposure-seeking badly sound-recorded piece of yet another family videoed holiday/party/event captured on a piece of equipment costing 4 or 5 times the price, that has been badly operated.

Well, guys, I said I was going to take this somewhere else .. but maybe I didn't. :)

What ever you decide, my very best regards . ..

bbcdrum wrote on 2/25/2005, 8:42 AM
Thank you all for your input. I can see that I have some more homework to do.

As I was scanning previous threads on camera recommendations, I noticed that there were many posts that began "depends on your budget...", so I picked a starting point. I can see now that $1K really is a "twilight zone" (or a "tweener" as we have been told is the current vernacular to use for our son). I am fortunate that my budget is flexible and I appreciate all the pointers given.

The only camcorder I have ever had is a 10 year old Sharp Viewcam, so I really don't know what the heck I am doing with DV. Grazie, your advice is well taken. It will be interesting to see where I am in a year or two.

Thanks again.
logiquem wrote on 2/25/2005, 11:28 AM
Pick one with the highest level off user ajustable features (white balance and focus are an absolute must) and the capability to add filter, wide angle, etc...). An headphone jack is also on the list.

I would personnally go for a Canon Elura or maybe a Panasonic 3CCD. I loved much my Elura in the past for it's natural color and general image quality. Sony and JVC models of the same range seemed to give more edgy images and artificial tones.
nickle wrote on 2/25/2005, 11:46 AM
Just make sure you don't buy a DVD or microdrive camcorder (that record in mpeg2 format) if you expect to edit your videos.
Mandk wrote on 2/25/2005, 12:49 PM
I have a GS120. Great little camera interms of color, focus, and durability. It can also take low resolution still pictures while recording video. Not professional as the higher priced used ones but reliable and quality.

In the right price range with money left over. An especially nice feature is the top loading tape. If you are folming from a tripod it can not be beat. I was taping a concert last night and the others in the area were quite amazed at how quickly I could change tape.

Good Luck