View Full Version : Best camcorder for under $800?

08-20-2008, 07:59 PM
What camcorder, in your opinion, is the best for under about $800? I'm selling my old one and I'm looking into getting a newer one because I'm getting more serious about it.
I know I want a Mini DV camcorder with the ability to hook up an external microphone. I would also like, if possible, to be able to do manual audio and focusing.
If you could get back to me on this or e-mail me at that would be a great help :)

08-20-2008, 10:32 PM
In the $1,000 and under range all cameras are pretty much
the same. A Sony is like a Sharp is like a Canon is like a Panasonic
is like Samsung. You can go to any Best Buy and pick up a
camera in that price range and you won’t be able to tell the
difference. And almost none of them have a mic input. Cameras
in that price range aren't made for movie making.

However, I think the JVC GZ-MG505 is in the $800 range. It
has a mic input and records to a 30GB HHD. The downside is
the MPEG-2 compression. This high compression is lower
quality than MiniDV and most editing software don’t work well
this this compressed video. But I think this might be the only
camera in that price range with a mic input.

You might want to wait until you can afford a little more.

I like the JVC GZ-HD7. I’ve seen these on line for as little as
$1,200. A really nice Fujinon lens makes a huge difference
and full manual controls is important. Three 1/5’ 16:9 progressive
scan CCD’s are pretty impressive for a camera in this price range.
It records directly to a built in 60GB hard drive. It has manual
controls, a mic input and an excellent focus ring which is surprisingly
rare on small cameras.

Both the JVC HD5 and HD6 have a mic input and both record to
HDD - the HD6 can record 1080/60p through HDMI - pretty impressive.

The Panasonic HDC-SD100 uses a 3-CMOS array and records
1920 x 1080 video in the AVCHD format to SD and SDHC memory
cards. I like the ring on the lens that controls zoom, focus, white
balance, shutter speed, and iris and it actually has a viewfinder in
addition to the LCD screen. Very important it has both a mic and
headphone jack. I found it difficult to handle with all the cables
attached (mic, headphones and monitor) but it’s a camera with
all the basics.

Close is the Canon HV20. It records in HDV (1080i) and 24p (60i),
has a mic input and manual controls of white balance and focus
but it uses one 1/2.7” CMOS sensor rather than 3 CCD’s. And it’s
so small the handling is difficult.

The HV30 adds a 30f (Canon’s “frame mode”) in addition to 24p.

The Sony HDR-SR12 has a mic input and a good sized 120GB HDD.
It uses a 1/3” CMOS chip and like the Canon is really small. Because
of the input placement, the mic cable kept getting in my way. The
HR9 (which records to tape) is also a nice, very small, camera with
the essentials. Again the mic input is just below the lens which is
rather poor placement, in my opinion.