camcorder recommendation

May 28th, 2008, 09:31 AM
  #1  
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camcorder recommendation

i am travelling to s. africa, botswana, and rwanda this summer. i want a camcorder, but i don't want to spend a $1000.00. The sonys and cannons are great, but too pricey for my budget. I would rather not have dvd's (too cumbersome). Somebody help me!!!
emilygwleon is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 11:13 AM
  #2  
 
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After a lot of research and looking, I settled on the Sony HDR-SR11, a hard drive camcorder. I can't imagine getting anything other than a hard drive or flash memory based unit at this point.

I got the SR11 for $1000 at Roberts Imaging in Indianapolis.

I also looked for a long time at the Canon HF10 and Panasonic HDC-SD9. They both cost a couple of hundred less, and the panasonic is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Sony. But the Sony is clearly a better-built cam, and it also has a viewfinder in addition to the LCD screen. The latter was the clincher for me: the viewfinder makes it much easier for me both to focus and to hold the cam steady.

BTW, if you haven't already found www.camcorderinfo.com, you would do well to spend some time there.
DonTopaz is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 01:27 PM
  #3  
nkh
 
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If budget is important to you, seriously look at Panasonic. We did a lot of research and have been very happy with our Panasonic SDR-H18 - it takes great, clear videos in a wide variety of light conditions, has a very good zoom and anti-shake, is comfortable to hold in one hand and the menus are easy to navigate. As regards build quality, ours seems pretty sturdy having used it for a year now. We are not at the level with video shooting that we wanted a lot of manual controls - if you want to turn it on, select a mode, point it and take video this is the right kind of camera for you (if you want to manually adjust balances etc. you probably want a more "serious" camera).

I would definitely take a look at the newer versions (SDR-H40 and SDR-H60) which are listed on henrys.com at under $600.00 before taxes (and you may well get them cheaper) - or even look for the H18 which may be a really good deal if being sold off (it has very good consumer reviews if you look for them). All these have hard drives and also takes SD cards for extra memory/photos. I would definitely agree that the hard drive camera is the way to go.

As rizzuto says one big thing about them that may make a difference is that they do not have viewfinders - it took a little getting used to (but the same is true for our camera.....) but we now have no problem - practice before you go, preferably in sunlight, so you get an idea how to tilt the screen so you can clearly see what you are shooting.

Note that these are not HD cameras - we decided that given the pricing, we would rather wait and get an HD camera later on. Video quality is very good however.
nkh is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 03:19 PM
  #4  
 
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I'm also thinking of getting a new camcorder (mine is 8 years old.) Rizzuto, the HDR-SR11 is the one that I've been eyeing. I'd love to hear your experiences with it. I, too, feel that an eye-level viewfinder is critical, especially on safari. Have you done any editing with it? I've yet to have time to try any video editing, but hope to do so in the future. Also, any problems with making non-HD DVDs for people that don't have an HD DVD player?
ShayTay is offline  
May 28th, 2008, 03:40 PM
  #5  
 
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Shay Tay, I actually laid my hands on the SR11 just a week ago, so no real experience. Mostly just getting used to the controls, figuring out how the zoom works, etc.

I've also got heaps of info from the AVS forum -- www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=161

According to multiple people there, it's both possible and straightforward to make a standard definition DVD from the HD video that you shoot. As for editing, elementary editing (cutting clips, for example) is simple and can even be done on the camcorder itself. More complex stuff like adding transitions and doing photoshop-type stuff is another story.

It has also been simple for me to play back clips both on my HD tv and my PC.

Just in shooting some Canada geese at a local preserve and the would-be lion who shares my house, I am completely blown away by the quality of HD video. The current price difference between HD and non-HD is so relatively insignificant these days, I would certainly recommend an HD unit over a non-.
DonTopaz is offline  
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