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Poll: Do you prefer tape based camcorders or hard drive units?

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  1. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    So do you prefer to stick with traditional dv tape camcorders or are you using the newer variety hard drive based camcorders? What about those hybrids that use memory cards?

    While the hard drive camcorders look like a great idea without the need for tapes doesn't that somewhat limit your archival ability? Is your only recourse to buy an additional harddrive to store your unedited original files?

    I still have an old 90's vintage Sony 8mm camcorder nonhi model. Still performs well with limited usage over the years. Even has a seudo 16x9 letterbox mode. I just don't shoot enough to justify buying even a cheapo mini dv camcorder. Though I know that would be best for future work should I need or desire a new camcorder.

    What about you? Are you sticking with tape based or jumping to harddrive/memory card camcorders?
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  2. Member MJA's Avatar
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    miniDV all the way
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  3. I shoot exclusively DV and have a number of camcorders ranging from cheapish consumer to high end prosumer.

    Approx. 60GB per tape that is removable and cheap = no brainer for me.

    If hard drive camcorders that record a decent format (i.e., not MPEG2, AVCHD etc) come along and if the hard drive can be swapped for another, I might consider it. Same for memory sticks.

    But, for now, the dirt cheap cost of tapes is too attractive. They are also a well-established technology. I have some miniDV recordings from 1998 and they play without any issues on all my DV equipment.
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    I like my memory stick recorder for its small size and upload to computer ability. Pull one stick out insert another. Mine uses mpeg4 so I can get quite a bit of time from a 4 gig stick.

    Tony
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  5. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    I added the option for disc based camcorders. Sorry I forgot about that possiblity.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  6. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cal_tony
    I like my memory stick recorder for its small size and upload to computer ability. Pull one stick out insert another. Mine uses mpeg4 so I can get quite a bit of time from a 4 gig stick.

    Tony
    Interesting. Does it have an option to record in dvd mpeg2 mode to save conversion time? I know that would take more space but would improve quality.


    also side note - I know there was a thread awhile ago about those disposable drugstore digital camcorders. Does anyone use those on a regular basis?
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  7. Member gadgetguy's Avatar
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    DV tape. My destination is usually DVD and I always edit first so I prefer working in DV-AVI.
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  8. Member racer-x's Avatar
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    The Ideal camera for me would be a HDV camera that stores the full 25 mbps files to Memory card/Solid State storage. That's not affordable right now, so I'll stick to tapes until then..........
    Never argue with meaningless people over meaningless topics..............
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  9. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I'd go with what JohnnyMalaria said. I would like to see a 200GB+ hard drive camcorder that uses DV format. And if it was a SATA drive that could transfer at SATA speeds to the computer with a SATA or SATA-E interface, it would be perfect. I already have external SATA and SATA-E connections on my computer.

    Come on manufacturers, how hard is this?
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  10. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    Come on manufacturers, how hard is this
    I'd say its as hard as getting an official harddrive add on for your tivo. Sure it's possible with usb or the new hd unit with the sata connection but they don't want to make it easy on you. You have to hack it to go bigger.

    I"m sure its the same with the specs you want redwudz. I'm sure its perfectly doable right now they just don't want to go that direction until theres enough demand.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  11. Originally Posted by redwudz
    Come on manufacturers, how hard is this?
    I don't think it's hard. Here's what I believe is the dirty secret:

    They deliberately omit easy features in the consumer equipment but include them in the prosumer equipment. The idea is the consumer has many features but a couple of the really, really useful ones are missing. You have to pay maybe an extra $1000 to get basically the same unit with those cheap-to-implement extra features.

    I'd really like to see the cost of external drive like the FireStore drop to a price that's in the realms of reality for most mortals. Or someone come up with a competitive but cheaper equivalent. Or a large capacity memory card that can record direct from an existing miniDV cam's FireWire. And that's affordable.
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    Definitely Mini-DV.

    The best quality, editable, cheap !!!

    What else could one wish for ???
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  13. Member edDV's Avatar
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    A hard disk recording DV/HDV format camcorder would be highly desirable and is a no brainier. The Firestore FS4 is available for those who don't mind spending the $700.

    I see this as a classic consumer vs prosumer issue.

    Consumers will follow shortcuts and don't want to be bothered by the details until they find themselves painted into a corner. DVD camcorders were created for these people who demanded in focus groups the idea of instant DVD without computer DVD authoring. Many of these people falsely think DVD is high quality and don't realize the camcorder is compressing the video >20x to the miniDVD disc.

    To meet these needs Sony, et. al put DVD MPeg2 hardware compression in the camcorder. Compressed recording formats allowed this concept to be extended to low power mini hard drives.

    At the HD end of the spectrum, early version low quality H.264 hardware encoders could be sold to these people as AVCHD with bit rates appropriate to mini hard drive or flash ram recording.

    These provided the appearance of convenience to the "brain hurt" consumer and allowed manufactures to market these as breaking high tech.

    The Pro/Prosumer looks at all this and sees low quality compressed capture as the fatal flaw. They prize acquisition quality because they know this is required for editing/effects and the necessary resulting generation loss. They see the antics of the consumer marketers as similar to old school snake oil or infomercial marketing and want no part of it.

    They want the same convenience so long as picture quality is preserved. Companies like Focus http://www.focusinfo.com/ fill this need. Prosumers will lug heavy equipment and pay more as the cost of image quality. Prosumers buy equipment with process and end result in mind. Consumers buy for convenience and price and cry about quality later.
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    Tape all the way. Though right now most of my recording is done on a tripod. So I have the best of both worlds. I connect the firewire from the miniDV cam to an external hard drive running on a laptop. I capture while recording using winDV. So I have DV-AVI recorded directly to the hard drive for editing. This also gives me the ability to record longer than the tape length, because the cam is still passing a signal to the drive when it is in standby.
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  15. Member racer-x's Avatar
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    PMorton wrote:
    right now most of my recording is done on a tripod. So I have the best of both worlds. I connect the firewire from the miniDV cam to an external hard drive running on a laptop. I capture while recording using winDV. So I have DV-AVI recorded directly to the hard drive for editing. This also gives me the ability to record longer than the tape length, because the cam is still passing a signal to the drive when it is in standby.
    This also works well with HDV cameras using capture S/W like HDVSplit and CapDVHS.

    The only issue I have with HDD cameras is the working environment isn't well suited for them. Optical media is worse. The Ideal media in my opinion is Solid State. That's still too expensive right now so tape is the next best thing.......
    Never argue with meaningless people over meaningless topics..............
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    Ok, someone educate me a little further, please.

    Aside from quality I can't see any reason to vote for anything but the hard drive. I stopped playing with tapes 10 years ago when DVD's came out.

    I did buy a Sony DVD camcorder under the assumption that it would be better quality then DV tapes like Edtv mentioned...however for me the quality was not the problem...I still think that the video from it looks great (I will admit though that I think a 700meg DivX file looks nearly as good as a DVD). The problem for me was finding a good editing program that could handle the mpeg files that it produced.

    So what kind of files to the hard drive camcorders make? I mean the thought of filming my video and just hooking up my camcorder to my pc and dumping everything sounds sweet. I will personally never need to shoot more then a few hours of footage at once so I don't need a terabyte in my camcorder.

    Edtv, I am not sure I understood one thing in your post...."A hard disk recording DV/HDV format camcorder would be highly desirable and is a no brainier. The Firestore FS4 is available for those who don't mind spending the $700. "
    Is this an add-on for the HDD based camcorders? If this is the case then it might just be worth it.....

    Someone help me out here... as I have been considering getting rid of my DVD camcorder and 'upgrading' (if that is what it would be) to a HDD based camcorder.
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  17. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    The Firestore is a special portable hard drive for some camcorders: http://www.focusinfo.com/solutions/catalog.asp?id=150 Notes from one version:
    The FireStore FS-100 interfaces with the Panasonic AG-HVX200 camcorder using a single FireWire cable that passes audio, video, timecode, and control information, allowing you to simultaneously record to disk and P2 card. It also includes a comprehensive backlit display, menu system, and buttons that provide easy control and management.
    Considering the size of a DV tape, with some clever workmanship, a small hard drive might fit into the same space and interface with a camcorder as a tape replacement. Of course that's pure daydreaming on my part.

    Most consumer hard drive camcorders are MPEG-4 or MPG-2 format and not near the quality of the average DV tape. Similar for DVD camcorders, IMO.

    DV uses about 13GB per hour, so it's not really difficult to create a hard drive camcorder for DV format. Maybe one of these days............ 13GB+ solid state memory is out there, but fairly expensive at the moment. Something else for the future.
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  18. Member
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    Ok, I would assume from what you are saying that if I bought a HDD camcorder I could not expect any better quality then my current Disc based recorder....unless I buy a particular model that the FireStore interface supports.

    ...so this has me confused

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp;jsessionid=ICDNXVF5R52E5KC4D3DFAGA?skuId=83557...=1177112416300

    This Sony camcorder at Best Buy claims to record HD 1080i DV and it has a 60gb hard drive.
    So what am I missing here?

    Thanks.
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  19. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordhutt
    Ok, I would assume from what you are saying that if I bought a HDD camcorder I could not expect any better quality then my current Disc based recorder....unless I buy a particular model that the FireStore interface supports.

    ...so this has me confused

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp;jsessionid=ICDNXVF5R52E5KC4D3DFAGA?skuId=83557...=1177112416300

    This Sony camcorder at Best Buy claims to record HD 1080i DV and it has a 60gb hard drive.
    So what am I missing here?

    Thanks.
    Current hard disk camcorders use either MPeg2 or MPeg4(AVCHD) formats @2-8Mb/s.

    While a hard disk DV/HDV format camcorder is possible, currently Focus, Sony, et. al. only offer external units. For Prosumers this makes sense because it frees the camcorder for other use while editing off the external drive. It also works great for a high end rental camcorder.

    The Firestore FS4HD is the latest model designed to work with DV and HDV camcoders and interfaces over the IEEE-1394 port.
    http://www.videoguys.com/FireStore.html

    Consumers are going to want an internal hard drive for DV/HDV just to keep the size under control. There is no reason why such a unit can't be made. A 40GB drive will store about 3 hours of DV/HDV.


    PS: The Sony HDR-SR7 uses AVCHD format and is currently a bear to edit. Things will improve in the future but a fast CPU will be needed for high end editing.
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  20. Member racer-x's Avatar
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    That camera you linked to records AVCHD. Good luck trying to edit on your PC, if your Computer specs are correct..................
    Never argue with meaningless people over meaningless topics..............
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    So essentially it just sounds like they are doing as much as they can to suck as much money out of us as they can over as long a period as possible...just like not putting a 'good' digital camera with the camcorder so you have to have 2 separate units.
    You have to love corporate greed.

    Thanks for the education fellows...I guess I will wait it out for now.
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  22. Member edDV's Avatar
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    If they were greedy as they should be somebody would make a consumer hard drive DV/HDV format camcorder. Without corporate "greed" who would bother to make any of this shit. Do you see Korea's "dear leader" jumping to satisfy consumer needs? Where are the non-profit camcorders? Where are the atheist hospitals for that matter?
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  23. Banned
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    I don't like tapes, but I don't like compression artefacts even more, so Im still using miniDVs, period.

    Gimme any DV camera with at least 500GB built-in hdd and I buy it (anything but Sony of course )


    PS
    any first-hand suggestions for new models out there?
    I think its time for me to buy new camcorder
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  24. Banned
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    T
    Considering the size of a DV tape, with some clever workmanship, a small hard drive might fit into the same space and interface with a camcorder as a tape replacement. Of course that's pure daydreaming on my part.
    I used to dream of "digital film roll" for my beloved Nikon and Canon, many times I read its almost here and I eneded up with bunch of 'interim' digital camera toys until I settled with Rebel to use some of my "analog" lenses with it...
    Im afraid this dream of yours falls into same category
    Nice dream though

    /edit/
    8GB SD cards are pretty cheap already; next-gen SD cards ought to double that, thus solid-state memory in a mDV case, if fast enough, actually might really become dream-come-true
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  25. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DereX888
    I don't like tapes, but I don't like compression artefacts even more, so Im still using miniDVs, period.

    Gimme any DV camera with at least 500GB built-in hdd and I buy it (anything but Sony of course )


    PS
    any first-hand suggestions for new models out there?
    I think its time for me to buy new camcorder
    I think a 500GB hard drive would be a little rough on the battery. I just went through the evaluation process and chose a Canon HV20.
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  26. Banned
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    Originally Posted by DereX888
    I don't like tapes, but I don't like compression artefacts even more, so Im still using miniDVs, period.

    Gimme any DV camera with at least 500GB built-in hdd and I buy it (anything but Sony of course )


    PS
    any first-hand suggestions for new models out there?
    I think its time for me to buy new camcorder
    I think a 500GB hard drive would be a little rough on the battery. I just went through the evaluation process and chose a Canon HV20.
    haha I was just looking at HV20 specs
    Good price, good features (real HD res on mini DV - excellent idea, although few TB hdd instead would be even better idea... ), some stupid features as usual (3mpx camera LOLz, and on an *mini*SD LOL, like it would make a difference on such big size device to use standard SD instead)
    Looks kinda bulky though; do u have it (pls say more then) or are u planning to buy it
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  27. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I've had it 3 weeks. Small enough for me. PQ is outstanding. Everything works to spec.

    Read about it here
    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/The-Great-HD-Shoot-Out---Canon-HV20-Sony-HDR-HC7-...erformance.htm
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  28. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Just a last note. You might want to send some emails to those camcorder manufacturers and tell them what you want. It might not do any good, but if enough people ask, they might respond. What do you have to lose?

    I'm not really a camcorder aficionado, but I plan to send a few emails.
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  29. Banned
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    Originally Posted by redwudz
    Just a last note. You might want to send some emails to those camcorder manufacturers and tell them what you want. It might not do any good, but if enough people ask, they might respond. What do you have to lose?

    I'm not really a camcorder aficionado, but I plan to send a few emails.
    Good idea.
    I just did it (Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sanyo). From most of my emails
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  30. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Sony makes an external disk recorder similar to Focus. They just need to integrate and downsize the concept into their consumer line.
    http://www.abelcine.com/store/product.php?productid=1000159



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