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Best Cheap video camera.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Considering Panasonic PVDV53 or Sharp VL-Z3U.

Both and MiniDV's.

Any advice would be most appreciated!

Cheers!
post #2 of 18
Big E

Assuming you want it for ski filming, try and get one that isn't too sensitive to moisture (causing it to cut out with a 'dewpoint' error). My 5 year old jvc DVL9000 is a great camera but this dewpoint is a bind. It occurs when the cold camera is brought back in to high relative humidity interiors and like your goggles, immediately steams up, except that the electronics are liable to short and the camera closes down. Some of the newer models may have sorted this problem, but unless I keep mine in a sealed bag for at least 6 hours to warm up, it crashes. No good for early playbacks.

Another consideration is batteries are adversely affected by cold, you need a decent power source and /or spares. Some of the very small units may have batteries too shortlived.

of course dV both ways (in and out), now fairly standard, is helpful for edits.

Another minor point; controls need to be managable with cold hands, a small on off button with no other 'on' indicator can cause the camera to be left running accidentally (like filming your feet all the way up a chairlift). Typically on very bright days when it is almost impossible to use the view finder or swingscreen, but instead you get quite good at pointing the camera as you ski.
post #3 of 18
A hint about the battery problem that we use is to make an extension battery pack that plugs into the DC input normally used for running the camera from an AC wall outlet. The appropriate plug (purchaed at radio shack) coming out of a sleeve running to an inside jacket pocket with the warm battery would work well. Just take the camera out of the backpack and plug it in (since the cord comes out your sleeve, this should not be awkward in any way). The manner in which you afix the cord to the battery however is entirely up to your discretion.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips! They are excellent.

I never even considered those problems.... All I thought about was if the camera could handle the intense light -- Panasonic has a "surf/snow" mode.
post #5 of 18
Regarding the moisture/condensation...
If you know you'll be going inside and it is very cold outside, consider a large zip lock back that you put the camera into while still in the cold low moisture air.

-Guy
post #6 of 18
almost all mini cam corders have the surf/snow or beach snow setting now.

Backlight settings help too and again almost all camera's are so equiped.

Get a real long optical zoom if possible. That's the biggest draw back of the PC10 I'm using.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dchan:
Get a real long optical zoom if possible. That's the biggest draw back of the PC10 I'm using.
OK. Could you tell me what make and model you have? Are you are using it for the MA videos?

PM if need be.

Cheers!
post #8 of 18
I agree with Dchan. Go for the longest optical zoom you can find. Cannon has a couple of mini dv cameras with 18x and 22x optical zoom for around $500.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by crank:
Go for the longest optical zoom you can find. Cannon has a couple of mini dv cameras with 18x and 22x optical zoom for around $500.
I've just tried the Canon (UK spec) with the x20 optical zoom. The stability is not as good as the more recent JVC with x16 zoom (UK part no. GR-D24EK). Prices are about the same as the US versions +$100. I didn't try the newer version as it is merely upgraded for better resolution for stills.

The Canon is a slighty better camera for battery power apparently.

Field test next week.

And it's all this boards fault I impulse bought this afternoon! :
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Nettie:
Quote:

And it's all this boards fault I impulse bought this afternoon! :
And also why I want one.... [img]redface.gif[/img]
post #11 of 18
Do check out the Canon models referred to above (Model ZR60 with 18x optical zoom, ZR65 with 20x, and ZR70 with 22x). I've used the ZR65, and been most impressed by it as a small, reasonably inexpensive (around $500) MiniDV camcorder.

Long optical zooms are important for skiing video, as they let you fill the screen with the skier for a longer run. Do remember, though, that the longer the zoom, the more the camera will amplify any camera movement you make. It takes a very steady hand to shoot watchable video at 22x without a tripod. The smaller and lighter the camera, the harder it is to hold steady, and these Canon's are not very big!

So check out these long-range-zoom Canon's, and practice your shooting technique so you can take advantage of all that range. Good luck!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #12 of 18
Bob,

I don't know what the stability is like on the 18x and 22x but the Canon I tried with the 20x was considerably more unstable than the 16x JVC for the SAME zoom.

The JVC is extremely stable. I wanted a high optical zoom but the advantages of the JVC were too much for me to resist.

It also has x700 maximum digital zoom but generally operates between x1 and x40 (x16+ digital)
It is quite small but handles well with easy buttons and menu changes. The Canon's viewfinder is adjustable for angle though, the JVC for focus.

Yesterday morning it had it's first tryout when a hot air balloon came in to land in the field next to my house!
post #13 of 18
Bob Barnes wrote 'It takes a very steady hand to shoot watchable video at 22x without a tripod. The smaller and lighter the camera, the harder it is to hold steady,'

abolutely. I have tried fixing a tripod base plate bolt to the top of a ski pole with moderate success. Any other suggestions?

Can someone advise on the current cameras' ability to deal with the moisure problems I refered to above, are they any better?
post #14 of 18
Daslider,
this one (JVC 16x optical, 700x digital) has no moisture cutout indicator. I'm not sure if they have no problem or just don;t want to tell you about it. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Go button is about 1cm long and 1 mm wide.

What sort of temps/humidity combinations did you have the problem at?

I am field-testing it next week and can leave it out in the cold a bit.
post #15 of 18
Anyone looking for a camera may find this link reduces their search for info a little. It contains a list of camcorders by model no., basic spec and popularity.

http://www.newsearching.com/digital_...camcorder.html
post #16 of 18
Look in the error message explanations, there should one for 'dewpoint' or similar. Any cold object will attract condensation like your goggles' lenses in a cafe due to relative humidity changes between cold dry air and warm moist air.

Unless a camcorder's electronics are hemetically sealed I can't see any avoiding this as water and electricity don't go. I've had problems in most domestic interiors, even gondolas, the more so the colder it is outside so I don't try and use the camera other than outside and then seal it in a bag to acclimatise/warm up once off the hill.

The problems arise when someone wants an immediate playback in the cafe, car, hotel, etc.
post #17 of 18
I found the details, thanks.

In Whistler, the instructor had no problems with his camera and I haven't seen any problems with video cameras used on courses. Instant replay in cafes about 20 mins after video. Maybe he's just hot stuff!

Do you do the usual like keep it down your jacket front? Battery needs to be kept warm as well.
post #18 of 18
jacket fronts must be some of the higher humidity locations possible! but if it helps prevent it getting so cold, that's good, although simply using it at -10*c will chill it down very quickly regardless.

It sounds as if the cameras now are much better sealed. There would otherwise be a caveat somewhere in the small print.
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