View Full Version : Starter cameras: cheap HD .. vs .. Sony VX2000 mini-DV etc?

01-10-2009, 10:09 PM
I realize this may be the newbi-est question ever asked, but it's sincere, and some expert advice could really help out!

If someone (serious about filmmaking, but just very low-budget) were buying a "getting started making short films" videocamera ... Given the coming of HD into even low range prosumer tech ...

I hear HD has by its very format got over four times the VISUAL QUALITY that mini-DV has.

So what are the advantages of buying an aprox $2000 mini-DV camera like a Sony VX2000 or a GL2 ... when a $1000 HD would seem to promise to blow them away, simply because of the HD format?

A few comments have been that the LENS and OPTICS quality are so much better on the mini-DV, and gives them the edge (plus the external mic inputs)

The counter-comment I've heard is: When all TV's go HD, even great stuff shot on mini-DV will look amateurish and shabby on an HD screen.

Can any of you experienced and expert filmmakers weigh in on that issue?

-- Is a cheap HD a better "starter" camera than $2000 Mini-DV? Is mini-DV soon to be replaced (I remember how Hi-8 was just a half-step to mini-DV etc, never really flourished)

-- And are there bad problems editing HD on less expensive CONSUMER editing software? Someone else suggested that an average home PC cannot handle the data-stream rates needed to edit HD.

Any help, insight, advice, or explanations would be appreciated!

01-11-2009, 01:17 AM
My advice to you is to look into the Canon HV30. It seems right in your price range $500-$600 and has practically nothing but outstanding reviews. It shoots on MiniDV, and can record in High Def and Standard Def (plus a number of other modes). I would not be looking into the $2000 price range right now, especially since you are just starting out. There is no need for it. First get your feet wet, and see if filmmaking is something you want to make that kind of commitment too.

To answer your other question, the MAIN difference between a $1000 HD camera and a $2000 MiniDV camera is Manual Controls. As you progress into more elaborate cinematography, you will find that you won't want to work with your autofocus, auto shutter speed, etc. That's wear manual controls come in, and that is why those cameras cost so much more.

Also, I would highly advise that you do not try to edit large amounts of HD footage on your computer with a basic editing program, unless your computer is built for it. You are going to need A LOT of RAM, memory, and hard drive space. Look into a more advanced program, that can handle what you are shooting. (In other words, stay away from programs such as Windows Movie Maker, but I wouldn't suggest going out and buying Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro just yet.)

My final words of wisdom are that once you get a camera, just go out and film, film, film. The more you film, the better and more comfortable you will become. This will also help you figure out if film is something you really want to make a large investment into.

Best of Luck,