apit34356 wrote on 8/31/2004, 5:45 PM
Spot, this probably isn't helpful, but like Sony's line, I use a couple of older sony trv-27 when showing the differences between hi-8, midrange DV, 2100,150 and betacams. 27's seem to be close,(), to the 2100 in picture. Being out of production, on Ebay or used eq. market, should be really cheap.
winrockpost wrote on 8/31/2004, 5:47 PM
we have a couple Canon Optura series cams, dont knowt he model number somewhere around $500 or so, pretty decent video and the big plus to me is that it has a focus ring and a few useable manual settings which is unusal in the little cams. Durable as a sob have had it on skateboards,car bumpers, bmx bikes etc.
MyST wrote on 8/31/2004, 5:51 PM
If I would have had the $800US I'd have opted for the Panasonic GS120.
3CCD camcorder for that price? I don't think too many other cameras out there can touch it.
That said, I'm satisfied with my Digital8. Being able to edit my old 8mm tapes in Vegas is really nice. For $800, you could have 2 D8 cameras. Multi-camera shoots for not alot of $$.

tailgait wrote on 8/31/2004, 5:57 PM
Get the Sony Digital 8! It's only a one-chip camera, but it puts out a picture as good as a DV and the colors are true, vibrant and the reds zing. This is a fantastic camera for only about $400. Buy 2.
craftech wrote on 8/31/2004, 6:18 PM
I would recommend the Panasonic AG-456 SVHS camera. It has been used in many schools for many years and can withstand the abuse kids will subject it to in addition to producing an excellent picture.

Here is a website that explains how to troubleshoot them.
Unfortunately a new one is around $1300.
B&H has them used for $995.

DavidMcKnight wrote on 8/31/2004, 6:37 PM
I have a canon ZR70mc that I thought was good until I got a VX2000. (imagine that) It still looks great outdoors, except that tonight, after about a year and 4 months of at least weekly use, the tape transport won't fully eject (I use it as a deck to get footage into Vegas) Don't know why it's doing that, but I'm headed back to Best Buy in the next couple of days to exercise the warranty I bought for it. I guess my point is, after living with it for over a year, I cannot say I would buy it again - I would look at a Sony in the same price range.
Mandk wrote on 8/31/2004, 7:38 PM
I have a JVC GR800. I think the current list is approx $600. Not a bad camera but I would not recommend it.

My daughter shoots with a Sony Hi 8. Other than not being digital, great shots, reliable, and easy to use.
wcoxe1 wrote on 8/31/2004, 8:19 PM
I am all the time hearing that Sony is dumping the D8 series. So, if that is taken as true, it may not be such a good idea to stock up on those. Consider the replacement problems. The Pana GS120 sounds good. Shame it can't be $1300 and get the GS400.
B.Verlik wrote on 8/31/2004, 8:33 PM
I have to agree with the Sony Dig 8 camcorders. I've done plenty of complaining about Sony's on-line help, but I do recommend their Dig 8 camcorders. They look really good for the price. The only real complaint I have about them, and all palm size recorders, is how easily the picture can look like an earthquake, so get a tripod too. Oh, PS: the built in mics are easily overdriven in live music situations. In bright daylight, they almost look like a TV stations cameras. I think the cheapest ones are down to $349. these days. The auto-focus works pretty well too. The price of Hi-8 tapes, which last 1 hour at normal speed, and availability make it a preferred choice too. I don't think you could do much better even at $800.00. ( I should point out, mine is about 3 years old and is a model TRV-130. $599. when I bought it.) I've never had a problem with it yet.
ronaldf wrote on 8/31/2004, 8:55 PM
Canon Optura 30 Mini DV Camcorder- Focus ring, Electronic Image Stablization, mic input, headphone jack, top loader, 1.2 meg pixels video, 2 meg stills, hot shoe. - $650 at BH. I've been happy with my Canons(ZR and Optra 200MC).
JL wrote on 8/31/2004, 9:29 PM
I was asked to help my sister-in-law with a camcorder purchase about 4 months ago. They wanted a palmcorder, miniDV format, priced around $600 US give or take, to be used strictly for family home movies. I went with her to one of the local shops and she narrowed the choices to four potential candidates based on availability, price and form factor. They were:
Canon Z85
Canon Elura60
Panasonic GS120
Sony HC20

I shot about 2 minutes of video from inside the store with each of the four cameras operating in full auto and then loaded the clips in Vegas for a side-by-side evaluation.

In very general terms, here is a brief summary:

It seemed (to me) that the Canon Elura60 and Panasonic GS120 had the most neutral colors under store lighting. Outside shots taken through the store window showed the Panasonic GS120 had the most neutral colors, with the Canon Elura60 being the next closest.

Audio comparison shows the Panasonic GS120 as being the quietest with respect to camera/motor noise with Canon Elura60 not as quiet, but not too bad. The Canon Z85 and Sony HC20 both had noise that (again, to me) was obvious and annoying.

If anyone is interested in having a look at some of the test footage, here is an abbreviated clip I'll keep up for a few days: (about 7.6 Mb).


BTW, she went with the Elura60, which was a bit less expensive than the Panasonic GS120 at the time.

HPV wrote on 8/31/2004, 9:35 PM
The D8 stuff is tough, two going strong after two years at a public access station (trv840). Same track pitch as DV CAM. El zero dropouts. Mine (first gen. tr7000) gave up the ghost on the video heads at about 600 transport hours. Head still works great. Latest batch of D8 cams from Sony stink, as does their single chip DV line. Used D8 trv520-320 units offer the best performance using 1/4" (or 1/4.6"). You could get 4-12 used cams with the budget. Kinda scary buying used cams though!
That said, you must check out the new Panasonic PV GS 120/200. for info. The 120 is only $699 retail. Panasonic is going for it in the sub $1K cams. Will be getting one here soon. Full manual controls and top loading on all models.
Also, Canon has manual audio adjustment on some new single chip cams (Optura I think).
Side note, check out the super cool four way focus ring on the gs400.

Craig H.
goshep wrote on 8/31/2004, 9:53 PM
I just saw a miniDV palmcorder at Costco for $199. I don't remember the model but did a double-take to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. For that price, you could buy a pallet of the critters!
Spot|DSE wrote on 9/1/2004, 7:43 AM
Thanks for the input so far guys, I'm sorta compiling a list of all the recommendations for us to offer the school two choices.
Arks wrote on 9/1/2004, 8:04 AM
That Panasonic GS120 looks damn good for the price. A consumer cam that has 3 CCDs is never a bad choice; especially as a start for a class room IMHO.
corug7 wrote on 9/1/2004, 9:10 AM
I too would say either the panasonic GS-120 or Sony D8 cameras. I have edited footage for a school that used D8 cameras and have to say the color reproduction is really good. Also, they seem to have better low-light capabilities than the lower priced Pana 3ccd cameras, including my own DV-953. You can get the low end Sony D8's refurbished for under $200.00 each as well, and tapes, as you know, are cheap.
MyST wrote on 9/1/2004, 1:19 PM
I'm wondering if you're calculating "optional neccesities" in the $800.
What I mean is, my D8 came with your basic, standard battery. Good for what, 1 hour or so? I ended up getting a 5 hour Sony Stamina battery. Add another $150Can to the price. Tapes, lens protector... another few bucks.
Also, and don't you love this, the firewire cable to hook it up to the PC is an extra cost option. Thankfully, my Firewire 410 came with both a 4pin to 6pin and a 6pin to 6pin cable, so I didn't have to buy one.
Also worth considering, is if these cams are for young children (you didn't mention the age group), the D8 is bigger/heavier than the palm sided miniDV cams. An advantage for adults as far as stability goes, but children might have a harder time keeping the heavier cam steady for any length of time.