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  1. Member
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    Hello!

    I'm just trying to buy a video camera (my first one) and I need your help guys.
    So here are my input data:
    1) budget (max. 400-500$) this is the biggest problem for me (maybe I should wait a few months for a bigger one...)
    2) no need for HD; SD would be fine (I don't have a powerfull PC)
    3) the output video format to be easy to edit, as much as possible (maybe miniDV it's the best for this)
    4) decent low-light quality video and good/very good daylight quality video
    5) is it possible to use a DSLR lens (e.g. Nikon) to get the shallow depth of field with this camera?
    6) is it possible to buy a new camera for my budget, or should I focus on second hand market

    I appreciate any information from you. Thank you.
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  2. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    I can't answer the lens question. But if you don't need hd I would think minidv would be the best choice for you. Especially if you don't have a decent powered computer (you would need at least a dual core pc to edit hd video - minimum).
    I'm sure you can get a good minidv camera at your budget. But if you want special stuff you may want to look at the used market so you can be sure you get all the extras you want at a lower cost.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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    it seems impossible to find new miniDV cameras in our local shops (non-professional of course)
    should I look for MPEG2 (on SD card) cameras? how will be the final video quality (after editing) in this case?
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    At your budget, a used premium MiniDV camcorder is your best bet but I'm not sure there is much choice in Romania. You may need to use eBay to reach into western Europe. Condition is important. Most have low use but a few were dropped or run to the point of wearout. Maybe there is a second hand dealer that will certify a used model.

    You won't find one at your price point that takes interchangable camera lenses but adapter kits exist. Problem is these exceed your budget.

    For example
    http://owyheesound.com/anamorphic.php
    http://www.thecameradept.com/equipment/17-lens-converters/items/82-ps-technik-mini35-d...sony-ex1-to-pl
    http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/images/images15.php


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    OMG these really needs a BUDGET.
    Can anyone suggest a second hand dealer in West Europe or USA, (a serious and trusty one) ?
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  6. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Target Europe, Australia and Asia for used PAL camcorder models.

    The most popular 35mm lens adapter is Letus. Too bad they sell for $1000.
    http://www.letus35.com/cart/Letus35-Extreme.html

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    Last edited by edDV; 5th Nov 2010 at 03:06.
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  7. Member
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    It's a shame that Sony crippled their NEX-5 so much - a still camera that can do pretty good quality HD. But in video mode, there's no way to manually control aperture/shutter or ISO sensitivity.
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5VIDEO.HTM

    I think it's possible to get an F-Mount adapter to use Nikon lenses for a reasonable price - certainly cheaper than adapters that use a spinning ground glass screen (and should be better optical quality).

    It's APS-C sensor is similar in size to the Nikon DX format and would allow for shallow depth of field with the right lenses.

    I couldn't recommend it, though - because of the video limitations. There might be similar cameras from other manufacturers without these restrictions, (and within your budget) coming on the market soon.
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    a DSLR or non DSLR camera with decent video capabilities would be a dream for me; but the main problem is how can I handle those AVCHD or MP4 files with my old AMD 64 3000+ CPU, in case of editing (or even playing)
    P.S. - short sample of a video shot with a HDSLR camera (Nikon D90) very limited in terms of video, but with great results though. http://vimeo.com/7691118
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    a DSLR or non DSLR camera with decent video capabilities would be a dream for me; but the main problem is how can I handle those AVCHD or MP4 files with my old AMD 64 3000+ CPU, in case of editing (or even playing)
    You could keep a safe copy of the original AVCHD files, and do a HD to SD conversion before importing the clips into your video editor. You won't be using the full capability of the camera now, but you'll be future proofing for a time when you get a new computer.

    My computer is similar to yours. I recently got a Canon HFS21 - and while I can just about play the raw clips back in realtime, I'm down-converting and producing SD content for now.
    P.S. - short sample of a video shot with a HDSLR camera (Nikon D90) very limited in terms of video, but with great results though. http://vimeo.com/7691118
    That's very nice, particularly the colour correction/grading. If only all wedding videos looked like that.

    Note: Some cameras have a rolling shutter/'jello' problem to a greater/lesser degree. The D90's is quite obvious:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bItYdfn-C0o
    However, it's generally less noticeable on newer cameras.
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    @ intracube
    I'm just curious how long it takes (approximately) to make a HD to SD conversion on your system (e.g. 30min or 1 hour) and what are the downsides of this process besides of the time needed (I don't know ... errors, losing frames ...) and how is the quality of the SD output comparing to the original HD one.
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    I converted H.264 encoded clip to DVD on my computer. A 48 second clip took 105 seconds-one of many reasons why I stay with SD. Look into the Canon HV40. It's a little more than your budget, but worth the expense over the aggravation. They go for about $650 and give you an HD/SD option.
    Last edited by pepegot1; 7th Nov 2010 at 12:28.
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    @ intracube
    I'm just curious how long it takes (approximately) to make a HD to SD conversion on your system (e.g. 30min or 1 hour)
    For a 1 minute clip (1920x1080@25p) - about 1m:15s.
    For interlaced content, deinterlacing filters can extend the time. If I converted two clips at a time, the time could be halved (using my dualcore system).
    Large numbers of clips could be left overnight to convert.
    what are the downsides of this process besides of the time needed (I don't know ... errors, losing frames ...)
    Initially some compatibility issues with mplayer/mencoder and ffmpeg (causing glitches, pauses). Recent versions of ffmpeg seem to have fixed the problem, and there is a workaround for mplayer/mencoder. I haven't had any problems since.
    and how is the quality of the SD output comparing to the original HD one.
    This is downconverted to 'ffvhuff' 854x480 resolution and sharpened (it had to be padded to 864x480 to work properly with my video editor):
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    Last edited by intracube; 7th Nov 2010 at 17:49.
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    Originally Posted by pepegot1 View Post
    Look into the Canon HV40. It's a little more than your budget, but worth the expense over the aggravation. They go for about $650 and give you an HD/SD option.
    There are some issues with the HV40:
    - While the bitrate is similar to AVCHD cameras, the HV40 uses MPEG-2 compression (which is generally less efficient for a similar bitrate - although not always)
    - It's interframe encoded using long GOPs - People have reported that tape dropout can lead to more obvious glitches on playback than regular DV (which instead uses intraframe compression). Cameras that record to memory cards don't suffer in this way.
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    @pepegot1
    the HV40 starts at a price of 1400$ here in Romania; even if I try to buy it online (B&H etc) I have to pay more than 20-25% (taxes, etc) so it doesn't match my budget. Maybe a used HV30 (also from USA).

    @intracube
    the result is great; the blacks are stronger and they gives a more contrasty look (although sometimes may affect the details in darker areas)

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  15. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by intracube View Post
    Originally Posted by pepegot1 View Post
    Look into the Canon HV40. It's a little more than your budget, but worth the expense over the aggravation. They go for about $650 and give you an HD/SD option.
    There are some issues with the HV40:
    - While the bitrate is similar to AVCHD cameras, the HV40 uses MPEG-2 compression (which is generally less efficient for a similar bitrate - although not always)
    - It's interframe encoded using long GOPs - People have reported that tape dropout can lead to more obvious glitches on playback than regular DV (which instead uses intraframe compression). Cameras that record to memory cards don't suffer in this way.
    MPeg2 becomes an advantage for editing and software compatibility. 25Mb/s HDV is comparable to AVCHD (h.264) at 17-24 Mb/s at 1440x1080i. H.264 interlace is not that much more efficient in camcorder use.

    Both HDV and AVCHD are interframe encoded so that is a wash. But true there are issues in HD GOP based formats vs. DV. Digital camera MJPEG is far more lossy.

    We are now far outside the OP's $400 budget unless he can score a great used deal on a used HV 20/30/40.
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  16. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    @pepegot1
    the HV40 starts at a price of 1400$ here in Romania; even if I try to buy it online (B&H etc) I have to pay more than 20-25% (taxes, etc) so it doesn't match my budget. Maybe a used HV30 (also from USA).
    The USA models will be 29.97 fps (NTSC rate) rather than 25 fps (PAL rate).

    You can record 23.976 telecined to 29.97 but conversion for use in Europe will be complicated.

    Best to find a 25 fps model in Europe, Asia or Australia.
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    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Both HDV and AVCHD are interframe encoded so that is a wash. But true there are issues in HD GOP based formats vs. DV.
    I didn't say AVCHD wasn't interframe encoded, but apologies if it was ambiguous. The issue was with using tape for long GOP video, i.e. HDV - I haven't come across AVCHD being stored on tape.

    I seem to remember discussions where up to 1/2 second of footage could be lost due to HDV tape dropout, although I don't know how rare an event it is.
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    the result is great; the blacks are stronger and they gives a more contrasty look (although sometimes may affect the details in darker areas)
    Thanks. There isn't any difference between the two examples other than resizing & sharpening. No colour correction or contrast changes have been made.
    If you've got an LCD screen, and are looking at the 2 examples one above the other - the bottom image might look more washed out/pale. The quality of images on LCDs can vary with different viewing angles - on mine it's quite noticeable.
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  19. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by intracube View Post
    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Both HDV and AVCHD are interframe encoded so that is a wash. But true there are issues in HD GOP based formats vs. DV.
    I didn't say AVCHD wasn't interframe encoded, but apologies if it was ambiguous. The issue was with using tape for long GOP video, i.e. HDV - I haven't come across AVCHD being stored on tape.

    I seem to remember discussions where up to 1/2 second of footage could be lost due to HDV tape dropout, although I don't know how rare an event it is.
    In theory if an I frame is corrupted but that is unlikely with error correction. Tape and flash ram are about equal for glitch risk. Both are reliable.

    HDV and AVCHD are both contained as packetized TS streams. AVCHD uses the random access M2TS.
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    what software are you using to convert AVC(HD)-H264 to SD (before editing stage) ?
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  21. Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Originally Posted by intracube View Post
    I seem to remember discussions where up to 1/2 second of footage could be lost due to HDV tape dropout, although I don't know how rare an event it is.
    In theory if an I frame is corrupted but that is unlikely with error correction. Tape and flash ram are about equal for glitch risk. Both are reliable.
    Any corrupt P frame will also cause the rest of the GOP to be messed up. In AVC encoding B frames can also be used as reference frames so a corrupt B frame can mess up several frames.
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    what software are you using to convert AVC(HD)-H264 to SD (before editing stage) ?
    ffmpeg and mplayer/mencoder

    For 25p (progressive) AVCHD source footage:
    ffmpeg -i 00001.MTS -vf scale=702:576,unsharp=3:3:1:5:5:1,pad=720:576:9:0 -aspect 16:9 -target pal-dv 00001.dv
    which will convert to standard .dv files.

    For 50i (interlaced) AVCHD files, I have to use ffmpeg with the -deinterlace option; I can't work out how to produce proper 50i .dv files yet - still investigating.

    I also use mplayer/mencoder if I want to create ffvhuff files - but that's more complex to explain.
    Last edited by intracube; 9th Nov 2010 at 22:56.
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    Does anyone know something about these: SONY HDR-CX 115 E or PANASONIC HDC-SD 66EG ?
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    I always recommend HD cams. Then, you won't be kicking yourself in 18 months for shooting SD
    A cheap little used handicam should do the trick
    using a tripod of course
    have a go at www.camcorderinfo.com
    Last edited by zoobie; 25th Nov 2010 at 14:38.
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    It seems that Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 is the only BEST BUY camera for my budget (acc. to camcorderinfo). I know for the money spent, the image quality is great but I have doubts about reliabilty, about QC.
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  26. Member budwzr's Avatar
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    No camera you can buy for any price relieves you of the editing process which is crucial. Save some money for a good NLE.

    The video you pointed out earlier seems to have some stock footage thrown in there to spice it up, which is a great example of how important editing is.

    IIWY, I'd start off with a Flip or Playsport, a decent tripod, Sony Vegas Movie Studio and go from there. You can convert the H.264 to Mpeg2 for editing and it will edit just fine.
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    shame on me ... but what is "NLE" ?
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  28. Originally Posted by belami View Post
    shame on me ... but what is "NLE" ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-linear_editing_system

    For those who prefer a more normal form factor Sanyo makes the VPC-FH1A which appears to be pretty much the same as the HD2000 otherwise. It's $100 less at amazon too. I've downloaded a few 1080p60 clips from the FH1 and they are decent. Be aware that many devices won't be able to play 1080p60. They also shoot 1080i and 720p. I thought this review at Amazon was pretty good:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2MP1KIX9OD8J8/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B002Q4VC9G&...tag=&linkCode=

    From the samples I've downloaded I would have to agree the image stabilizer doesn't work well.
    Last edited by jagabo; 26th Nov 2010 at 08:17.
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    Originally Posted by belami View Post
    Does anyone know something about these: SONY HDR-CX 115 E or PANASONIC HDC-SD 66EG ?
    I'm not sure if the Panasonic HDC-SD66 and HDC-SD66EG are the same model - same with the Sony HDR-CX115/HDR-CX115E. Assuming they are, the Panasonic has significantly more manual controls than the Sony.

    http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-4e51e680b1f540497340056f20278181.html

    Advantages of the Panasonic:
    - optical image stabilisation
    - peaking
    - manual shutter/aperture control
    - manual audio control
    - audio levels
    - control over sharpness, colour, Cinegamma
    - flash for still photos

    Advantages of the Sony:
    - HD (AVCHD) and SD (MPEG-2) recording option
    - 24Mbit/s

    The image quality of the Panasonic looks a bit sharper - although it seems to have slightly stronger electronic sharpening. It's hard to judge without knowing what the settings were on the cameras:
    http://www.videoaktiv.de/images/2009/testbilder/sony/hdr_cx_115_e/web_sony_cx115_od_schaf.jpg
    http://www.videoaktiv.de/images/2009/testbilder/panasonic/hdc-sd_66/web_panasonic_sd66_od_schaf.jpg
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    ... and acc. to videoaktiv Bestenliste, the SD 66EG seems to be also a BEST BUY camera. What do you thing guys about these ratings ? it looks weird to me, that the HV40 is just above the Panasonic model.
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