I am looking to buy a digital camcorder but I know nothng about them, anyone have any do's and dont's or have some info to share? Better to get the one that records to a mini DVD in the camcorder or one that records to a hard drive etc...
I don't have one but I would like the type that records right to a disk just because you could transfer it to your computer if you wanted.
The downside being you need to buy disks but if you have no need to put it on your drive then you would be saving yourself space.
I like the miniDV (tapes) over both the mini DVD and the internal hard drive models.
I don't like the miniDVD drives because it compresses the video and makes it more difficult to edit. The miniDVD is attractive if all you want to do is record and watch the footage on a DVD player.
The internal hard drive models are nice since it's easy to record your footage and easily transfer the footage to your computer. What I don't like about the internal drive models is that you have to archive of the footage. The footage goes to your PC and to backup the raw footage you have to save it to some other media. Also on a long vacation you need some way of dumping or backing up the footage on the camcorder, so a laptop or other storage device is needed.
miniDV offers great quality and a tape that I can put on a shelf and not worry if my hard drive is going to take a dive. On long vacations, bring a stack of blank tapes and more capacity is only a trip to the store away. The only downside of it is the transfer time to the computer.
The camera I bought about 3 years ago is a Panasonic 3CCD model (PVGS200) and I've been very happy with it. http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/pa ... review.htm
I've got an external mount Azden shotgun microphone which improves the sound quality quite a bit; it also takes away all the motor noise in quiet settings.
I"m a big fan of editing my video. I'll compress an entire event into a few short minutes, so I don't bore my audience to tears (me included) when having to watch raw footage.
I'm staying away from HD for now just because of the lack of a popular media to support it. You'd either have to watch the HD footage from the camcorder on your HD TV or watch it on your computer. Maybe once Blue Ray or similar becomes the standard, I'll consider it then.