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Hi8 vs. MiniDV

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by -=Rudy=-, Jun 24, 2003.

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  1. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    I'm eyeballing some affordable camcorders...mainly in the $400-$500 range. I have a Sony CCD-V701 Hi8 from 1991 that takes a decent picture (especially with the great Fuji M221-HE blank tapes), but I'm sick of the poor battery life. Seems like anytime I want to use it, I'm shelling out a small fortune for a new battery. :( This is NOT a "handheld" camcorder--it is a bit longer, but not as bulky as those VHS camcorder contraptions.

    I've seen some of the MiniDV camcorders recently. The blank tapes seem affordable enough. (One good Fuji Hi8 for my Sony runs about $15...the rest of the tapes I've found are horrible, full of dropouts.) I'm wondering if it's worth getting one of these smaller digital camcorders. One other advantage is that I've heard I can use the camera as a "pass-thru" to convert existing video to digital on the computer for editing. (I have firewire and USB2, so connecting is not a problem for me.)

    I just want to get something that takes a decent picture that won't cost a fortune. If it has a good optical zoom and is easy enough to operate, I'm happy. And like all my other purchases, reliability is #1 over everything else.

    What are the rest of you SH Forum Video Nutz using these days? :)
     
  2. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    I have a Cannon Elura (mini DV camera). It's a few years old now but it's a workhorse. Never had a problem and the picture is amazing. Very vivid colors.
     
  3. mcow1

    mcow1 Sommelier Gort

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I just bought a JVC GRD90 16x optical zoom 700x digital zoom with stabilization. It also takes still pictures with OK quality, good enough to post but not really to print, but fun to play with. Great color, seems good all the way around. 599.00 at Circuit City or Best Buy.
     
  4. Jefhart

    Jefhart Forum Resident

    We've got a JVC GR-DVL300. I don't use it much, but my oldest son uses it quite a bit. He's into the computer editing stuff. It's a great camera, no trouble, nice picture, and, according to him, works well with the computer.

    Jeff
     
  5. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Mini DV is the way to go. I had Hi8 for some years and the difference is significant. And, yes, you can use your DV as a pass through - as long as you have an analog input. Not all of them do.

    Also, you can use the pass through to transfer your laser discs to DVD. Until they release "the Point" on DVD, this'll have to do.

    -BZync
     
  6. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    I say to get mini DV for sure.
    I had a high8 video 8 XR (Sony TR517)and it worked great, I wanted better picture and faster loading to my PC so I upgraded to mini DV. High 8 to mini DV is like TV to HDTV.
    I have the Sony TRV17 and love it. I paid $1k, yet it goes for a lot less now.
    It is incredible. My last film was 4 wheeling at Hollister Hills, a local vehicle park. Sound and picture are incredible. It is like being there again.
    Battery life is good, I just keep one extra just in case.
    Sony night shot works incredible.
    Highly recommended
    Clay
     
  7. Jamie Tate

    Jamie Tate New Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    And you can do naughty things with it... or so I hear.;)

    It makes people's eyes glow though.
     
  8. Tim Casey

    Tim Casey Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    Mini-DV by far. You can also buy a battery for the Sony for either $90 or $150 (I forget how much I paid) that lasts 720 minutes (about twelve hours!). Eeek!
     
  9. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    I used to buy either an NP-77H or NP-88H for my Sony. Even got away from NiCad batteries, and I'd still only get about an hour out of the battery, as well as having a battery that didn't last more than a year or two. (Who can remember to charge a battery for a camcorder you pull out a few times a year? ;) )
     
  10. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    Thanks for all the replies thus far. I looked at Canon's website and notice they have three models in a "ZR" series. The ZR-60 is the lowest price of the three, and would probably do everything I need. I don't need still image capability since I prefer my Olympus to do that. B&H Photo & Video lists this one for $429...not bad considering. :)

    I don't know why, but with video cameras, I'm still more comfortable buying them from a camera manufacturer (Canon, Minolta, Nikon, etc.). Would any one brand have superior optics and image sensors over another brand?

    The ZR-60 does have analog in/out and an A/D converter. Sweet. :)
     
  11. audio

    audio New Member

    Location:
    guyana
    Hi8 is more natural. Do you want to capture a real event or watch PacMan?
     
  12. Tim Casey

    Tim Casey Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    I don't want to make your buying decision even more difficult, but my first miniDV camcorder was a ZR-10 (?) from Canon because it was the cheapest. Then I dropped it off a ladder onto an iron radiator (ouch!) and had to get another one. I bit the bullet and got a Sony for about $1000 and I immediately noticed a huge improvement in the picture quality, due to the extra bucks the spent on the lens; it's something you may want to think about.

    I'm still getting twelve hours out of my battery after two years, so I don't know what's wrong with the previous poster's battery setup.

    And the only difference I can see between Hi8 and mini DV is that you can tell a Hi8 picture has been on tape (jitter, dropout, color smear - all in miniscule amounts) and miniDV has none of those problems. Of course, if your Hi8 camcorder cost $2700 and has a killer lens, it's going to look much better than a $500 miniDV unit.
     
  13. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    True...Hi8 definitely has its limitations. The only decent Metal Evaporated tape I've ever bought was the Fuji M221...every other brand has been a dog in this Sony Hi8 of mine. Dropouts mainly. Heck, the last couple of years, I just hooked the camcorder to my S-VHS VCR, used a broadcast-quality TDK, and taped that way. MUCH better IMHO.

    I'll try to avoid dropping the camcorder. ;)

    In my price range, MiniDVD is apparently the way to go. I would hope the newer low-end Canons (or other brands) are better. If there's a good $400-$500 camera out there, I'd like to find it. :)
     
  14. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    That's on my 1991-era Hi8 camcorder. Quite normal for that dinosaur.
     
  15. Tim Casey

    Tim Casey Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    One more thing - this webpage just started: http://dealcam.com/

    It's a branch of deal-mac, which has always found the best prices on the planet and where you can actually get all the specs you need on stuff. They started with Macintosh computers and peripherals, eventually grew to include windows stuff, and now they have a DV camcorder site. I'd look at it before you buy anything. (P.S. they like the cheaper Canons!)

    And if you own a Mac (or just want to):

    http://dealmac.com/
     
  16. GoldenBoy

    GoldenBoy Purple People Eater

    Location:
    US
    As far as DV cameras are concerned, there are two brands that are really considered the pinnacle: Cannon and Sony. That is not to say, of course, that the other brands are no good and couldn't surpass either one of those at certain price points. I have a Sony DCR-TRV900 3 CCD MiniDV camera (there is now an upgraded TRV-950 model available), and it is excellent. Of course, that particular model is out of the price range you cited (it is a so-called 'ProSumer' model) but the lesser expensive Sony's are excellent as well, and be sure to also check out the Cannons.
     
  17. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    Willoughby's in New York has the Canon ZR60 for $379, and the ZR65MC for $431. Good deals!
     
  18. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Senior Member

    Location:
    A New Yorker
    I've done a lot of work with Hi-8 and DV. I found Hi-8 tapes very prone to shredding/drop-outs. I really like DV. I used the Sony VX-1000 for a few years. Spike Lee used 5 of them to shoot "Bamboozaled". They would yell as a joke after each completed shot "Check the chip!".

    Todd
     
  19. Joseph Kaufman

    Joseph Kaufman New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Was surprised at the quality of Mini-DV. Better than DVD, I think, at least with a good camera. (Less compression.)
     
  20. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    Canon is the only "traditional" camera manufacture who seems to be taking video very seriously. The others, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, etc. simply re-badge video cameras from electronics makers. No difference.

    Dan C
     
  21. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    That's good--I'd go with a Canon then. :)

    Sony certainly doesn't give me the warm fuzzies...especially after my experiences with the Hi8 camcorder and the companion VCR I got for playback/editing. :( Overpriced, unreliable and expensive to repair do not make for a good first impression.
     
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