Digital Video Forum

Digital Video Forum Discuss camcorders, HD video, HD DSLRs, video editing, DV software, and video techniques. Your DV forum moderator is Skyman.
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  1. #26
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Thanks, that's a huge help. We're gonna go for a miniDV one, I reckon, cos he can still play it back straight away with the camera if he wants to, I've checked out PCI cards for firewire ports, and your price was right (13 or so over here), and it gives him more scope for editing stuff.

    You also seem to get more camera for your money that way, because you're not paying for DVD stuff etc...

    Cheers! x

  2. #27
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Ok, one last question - how do you choose between different cameras? Given these 4, which would you pick and why? I know you can look at zoom, screen size etc, but then I don't know what I'm looking at beyond that. What justifies the price of the more expensive one (the Panasonic)?

    Panasonic NVGS90
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Produc...er/5632473.htm
    Canon MD101
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Produc...er/5632631.htm
    Sony Handycam HC51
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Produc...er/5632868.htm
    JVC GRD820
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Produc...er/5632174.htm

    Rob x

  3. #28
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    looks like the main difference there is that the panasonic has an optically stabilised lens, as opposed to the digital stabilisation of the others. in theory this means less "wobbly cam" especially when using the zomm, but in reality there probably isn't to much difference. non of the cameras you linked to are bad cameras, this is where physical comfort comes in, pick them all up and see which fits best in your hands and are the buttons all convenient and comfortable to access?

  4. #29
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Ok, cool. Thanks! You really have been an enormous help. I'll drag my mum off to the shops and we'll sort out between us which one we should get him.

    Thank you again!
    Rob x

  5. #30
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Skyman, just wanted to post a big thank you for sharing all that useful information regarding the MiniDV vs DVD (buyers') dilema. I'm also looking to buy a camcorder soon before I go on my honeymoon and your explanations have made my decision a lot more comfortable. Thanks again.

  6. #31
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    I've read this thread with much interest although my initial dilemma was whether to buy a MiniDV or a HDD camera.
    Does everything that has been said apply to miniDV vs HDD?
    Is the MiniDV quality always better than the HDD quality (due to compression issues)?
    If I buy a miniDV I would probably download/copy the movie onto my laptop via the USB cable and then play it wireless through my Xbox 360 so as it would play the movie in its original format (AVI) this seems to be a better option for me. Am I right?

    I am debating whether to get Sony DCR-HC51E or Sony DCR-S55?

    Thanks very much for your help in advance.

  7. #32
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Their are rare cases of HDD cameras that use no compression, however the resultant video files are very large so this is mostly for broadcast system cameras with large interchangeable hard drives. All consumer HDD cameras use some type of compression. depending on what your end use is this compression may or may not be too noticeable or objectionable as with DVD cameras I wouldn't ignore them, but people need to be aware that just because a camera is high definition doesn't mean it records in a higher quality. as mjs said "I would take a good broadcast standard definition camera over a consumer high definition camera"

  8. #33
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    thanks for your reply Skyman.,
    Would you, or anyone, recommend the Sony DCR-HC51E as an entry level camera? and will the quality be good in a 42'' lcd tv? I've read that it wouldn't as it is not a widescreen camera.
    I am so confused, everytime I seem to decide which one to buy someone or something makes me change my opinion...

    thx

  9. #34
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    If you want to shoot video and then edit it to take out wasted scenes, add titles and music, etc., you're taking a hit in video quality by shooting native with a DVD camera. This is because the video on DVDs is encoded to MPEG2, a compressed format. It's great as an end of the line format, but not for shooting source footage. Likewise, hard drive based camcorders, while convenient, tend to record in MPEG2 (only JVC gives you an option to record in AVI). This gives you the same problem. Additionally, if your editor doesn't import MPEG2 footage, you will have to "re-encode" (also called demuxing) the footage into an editable format. It's a hassle for those of us who wish to edit our videos as a hobby.

    As for capture, I recommend the same firewire port and WinDV. It's free. And not only can you capture with it without dropping a frame, but thanks to the firewire interface, you can control your camcorder directly!

    That's the way I would do it. Then import it into your editor.

    JD
    http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com

  10. #35
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Hey Skyman, Read a lot of your responses . I am buying my son and daughter in law a camcorder for their soon to arrive baby . Have dealt with Adorama Camera for 20 years and am considering lower priced models, easy to handle etc:
    1. Canon DC320 DVD camcorder http://www.adorama.com/CADC320.html
    or
    2. Sony DCR-HC62 Didgetal Mini DV http://www.adorama.com/SODCRHC62.htm...hc62&item_no=1

    From what I've readhere, it seems that the Mini DV is better quality, can always transfer to dvd for storage, correct?
    Any advice? Input on the models I am considering. can go a little higher if makes sense.
    Thanks---hear you're a generally nice guy!

  11. #36
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Mini DV is higher quality, however Mini DVD or HDD based cameras aren't so inferior that I wouldn't use them, more that if you plan to edit what you shoot mini DV has a lot more advantages. Yes they can be converted to dvd, but the process of loading them onto a computer for burning happens in real time (so a one hour tape will take one hour to load if you want the full tape) that is where the hard drive and dvd based formats are better as transfering video is normally little more than a drag and drop. As for which model is best, unfortunately I no longer work in retail so it is hard to keep up with everything. Sticking to a reputable brand will help a lot.

  12. #37
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    appreciate your reply, info and expertise. What is the future and when will it be here. ?

  13. #38
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    The future is solid state memory. When large capacity solid state drives are available at an affordable price they will be a viable option for video, especially given the time benefits for editors who will no longer have to deal with tape in real time. It will be feasible to store uncompressed video on such drives and hopefully the cameras will do this, although at the consumer level at least the greed of the manufacturers will most likely prevent them using uncompressed formats ever again. If they can save a buck on the camera by compressing the video they will do it even if it leads to a degraded image.

  14. #39
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Just been reading this thread with great interest as I have always been confused over the Mini-DV vs DVD issue! We eventually chose Mini-DV. However I now have a dilema in that we have been given a DVD camcorder so no have one of each! Initially I was thinking of selling one of them but after reading this I don't know whether or keep them both?! One for video that I will want to edit and mess about with and one for quick capture and immediate playback?! If you had both would you keep both??? Or sell one???

    They are both Panasonics - the VDR-D100 and the NV-GS60. I find them both easy to use but I don't really understand the more complicated functions anyway! :biggrin5:

  15. #40
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    That is a lifestyle question. Personally I would stick with the mini dv and either give away or sell the DVD camera, but then I tend to only shoot video I would like to edit. for day to day use I tend to take photos. If you really thought you might need both of them (only you can answer this) then maybe lending the least used one semi permanently to someone who will be happy to return it to you when you need it. Video cameras are a little like cars in that if they aren't used they tend to break. obviously most people don't use their video every day, but once every couple of months or so for a couple of minutes is good to keep the cobwebs out. If you can't see yourself having enough to keep both cameras busy then maybe it is time to share one with someone else?

  16. #41
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Thanks Skyman, but info overload for this old girl. So what you are saying, is minidv which I have is better for editing. I actually started editing recently, trying to make a dvd home movie for my nephew when he was turning one year old.
    Will try re-reading all this later and try to absorb it. LOL
    Thanks

  17. #42
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    This Thread has evolved over a long time, and Technologies have changed in that time, so of course it is a lot to take in. The simplest way I can express it would be Tape based cameras do not compress the video they record. ALL other cameras do. If you plan to edit your video an uncompressed original is an advantage. Non tape based cameras have advantages in terms of ease of sharing video, time to transfer etc. You can still edit non tape based video, however this process isn't always straightforward. Now get out there shoot some video and share it with us on our Video Sharing Page

  18. #43
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Thanks Skyman, will do.

  19. #44
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Hey guys. Great thread. Answering a lot of my question about vid formats that don't get discussed in all the usual places.

    I am weighing up buying a MiniDV machine and a HDD/Solid state/Hybrid camcorder. One thing putting me off buying a MiniDV machine is that they are no longer fashionable. How 'future proof' are they? Will I still be able to buy the media in a few years time?

    I imagine most MiniDV users only have 1 or 2 tapes and that they are always shifting stuff over to Computers and HDDs so should I even be worried about being able to get the tapes?

    The idea of getting the best possible video to start with and then start cutting or lowering quality certainly appeals to me but if I am working against the tide of 'progress' is it worth the effort?

    I am looking at the bottom of the market HDD machine (Panasonic SDRH40) and maybe it would be a better use of the money getting a decent MiniDV. Thanks for any help you can give me

  20. #45
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    One more quick question. I'd like to see some sample videos of the difference in quality from MiniDV and MPEG-2 videos. Is there somewhere I can see some with the make and model listed? The video sharing page doesn't seem to give this information unless I am missing something.

  21. #46
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Well mini dv technology has been around for at least 10 years which is a long time for digital technology. Many current model broadcast cameras still take mini dv tapes, and you can still buy older camcorder tapes such as vhsc so there would be no reason to doubt its continued existence for some time to come. A note though, if you plan to re use your tapes (i shoot for work so i like to keep my masters) then I would recommend 2 things. First you should strip your tape (this involves laying down a timecode on the entire length of the blank tape by recording nothing (put the camera in a darkened room with the lens cap on and just hit record) this will save you from having strange gaps in your timecode down the track.
    also don't use about the first minute of the tape. over time the tapes stretch especially at the beginning of the tape and the end of the tape as this is where the most tension is placed. In the short term you won't notice anything but over a period of re use the beginning of the tape will become unusable. As for quality, without a broadcast monitor your really won't see the difference between mini dv and dvd or hdd cameras, especially not after they have been compressed for the web. It is only in the compression and uncompression cycle that quality is lost and that you cannot edit with single frame accuracy as well from compressed video.

  22. #47
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyman
    Well mini dv technology has been around for at least 10 years which is a long time for digital technology. Many current model broadcast cameras still take mini dv tapes, and you can still buy older camcorder tapes such as vhsc so there would be no reason to doubt its continued existence for some time to come. A note though, if you plan to re use your tapes (i shoot for work so i like to keep my masters) then I would recommend 2 things. First you should strip your tape (this involves laying down a timecode on the entire length of the blank tape by recording nothing (put the camera in a darkened room with the lens cap on and just hit record) this will save you from having strange gaps in your timecode down the track.
    also don't use about the first minute of the tape. over time the tapes stretch especially at the beginning of the tape and the end of the tape as this is where the most tension is placed. In the short term you won't notice anything but over a period of re use the beginning of the tape will become unusable. As for quality, without a broadcast monitor your really won't see the difference between mini dv and dvd or hdd cameras, especially not after they have been compressed for the web. It is only in the compression and uncompression cycle that quality is lost and that you cannot edit with single frame accuracy as well from compressed video.
    Thanks for the fast response :thumbsup:

    I take your point about video compressed for the web - basicly the only way to compare the quality it to watch uncompressed footage and I won't find that on the internet. Not sure what you mean about the broadcast monitor though. Are you saying that I won't be able to see the difference between the uncompressed avi file and the MPEG-2 file?

  23. #48
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    not on a normal tv. It is really only if editing that you will notice the difference.

  24. #49
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyman
    not on a normal tv. It is really only if editing that you will notice the difference.
    Oh right so nothing major then. I had heard of people complaining that the quality of the MPEG-2 can be vcr quality rather than DVD quality so its a relief that I should expect at least DVD quality.

    I actually have a HDTV with a HDMI connection to my laptop so it will probably look a bit better with the miniDV. I wonder it is is possible to compress it with a divx style codec and retain more of the quality. Obvious problem there is that most DVD players won't play it.

    I probably will be looking to do some basic editing - like cutting down the length rather than anything too sophisticated. So it sounds like miniDV is the answer for me. Thanks for the tips above on tape life.

    I will def upload a video when I have picked one up

  25. #50
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    Re: MiniDV vs. DVD camcorder

    I am a High School teacher using Mini-DV and Final Cut Pro. I have two questions.
    1. How would you rank DVD video and hard drive based camcorders in this Video Rating Scale (on a scale from 1 to 10) published in the Little Digital Video Book by Rubin?
    Internet video = 1
    VHS video = 3
    High 8 video = 5
    Mini-DV = 9.7
    Broadcast video = 10

    2. Can you recommend good free demuxing programs to re-encode MPEG2 footage from a DVD camcorder for Windows computers and also the Mac?

    Thanks!
    Susy

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