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Hello,
I am looking at purchasing my first camcorder and was wondering if anyone could give me some information or suggestions.
The camcorder will be used for is shooting video while travelling. I'm looking for something easy to use, but with features that will allow me to shoot good to great quality video in a wide range of situations. The locations could be anywhere from indoor to outdoor, from beaches to jungles or deserts and in any lighting situation. I'll also need good quality audio as there will be a lot of talking (typically infront of the camera). There will be hopefully one-hundred or more hours of video shot as I'll be going for a month or more. To remedy this I will be bringing a portable hard drive and laptop to transfer the video on to. The shooting sessions could also last all day which would be great for something with long battery life.
I've done a little research and have thought about getting something with a HDD to save money on cards, but have also heard that HDD's typically have lower-quality and harder-to-edit video. I'm also limited by price. I would preferably like to keep the camcorder around the $1000 mark, hopefully around $1500 with microphone, extra battery(ies) and recording medium.
I would appreciate any help as the city I live in doesn't have much in the way of specialty camera/camcorder stores, and I don't feel like going to a box store for advice.
Thanks.
 

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If you can stretch your budget just a little bit, I very extremely strongly recommend Sony NEX-VG10. I've just finished doing a review for QAV magazine and will be published in December (until then I can't publish the article anywhere) but suffice to say, it's the most amazing camcorder I've ever used.

The price is $2,000 but considering the powerful battery that it comes with (it actually lasts for 4 hours), amazing microphone with "dead-cat" wind-noise reduction, true 28mm wide-angle lens and APS-C sensor, there is nothing else extra you need to buy for this camcorder other than the memory card... which you can actually use regular SDHC card (preferably Class-6 considering this camcorder records AVCHD at 24 Mbps, which is equivalent or exceed the bitrate of most blu-ray movies).
 

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PS: the still photography quality of the camcorder is also amazing. The end result actually equal to a 40D using Canon 18-200mm kit lens (which is not shabby at all)

I'm actually seriously thinking about selling my Canon HF-100 which only had about 2 hours of usage out of this camera. Heck, I've spent MORE on the HF-100 (for original additional battery, since the supplied battery only lasts 40 minutes; very high-quality wide angle lens, because the camcorder can only do 38mm which is not wide at all).
 

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This does look like a great camcorder, but all the reviews seem to say it is a bit overpriced. Also, it might be a bit out of my budget. Are you aware of any other comparable camcorders I could take a look at?
 

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I read those reviews and I just have to disagree with all of them (saying that the unit is overpriced)

Put it this way. The closest quality to this csamcorder is Sony's $1300 camcorder which then you'll need to buy a good quality wide angle adapter ($300) and only comes with 2-hr battery (which in the end only lasts 1.5 hour due to the use of motorized zoom) so you'll end up buying a 4-hr battery ($130) making the total to be $1730.

And that's before taking the following into consideration:

1 much better low-light performance (due to the 4x sensor size compared to any camcorder) making +24 dB video gain possible without adding much grain (the $1300 camcorder maxed out at 12 dB video gain AND it's very grainy)

2.dSLR quality camera mode equivqlent to at least Rebel XSi (a $700 qualitative value)

3. Amazing microphone rendering a purchase of $300 external mic + $50 deadcat moot

And most importantly, IMHO, the purple fringing and chromatic abberations of this camera's lens is better than the lens they used to record Planet Earth.
 

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Did you try that Sony NEX-VG10 with the A-mount adapter? I'm curious to know if there is any quality loss using A-mount lenses.
 

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The alpha mount adapter is essentially just a hole with connector adapter therefore there is no quality loss. Howe er, auto focus will no longer work although auto iris will still work.
 

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I am looking at purchasing my first camcorder
Since this is your first foray into the word of video are you certain you want that level of complexity? If your primary purpose is to shoot video then I see your point. But I have a few friends who purchased DSLRs that are collecting a lot of dust. And when something happens they can't quickly pull it out and snap a shot. I also think the AUTO mode on most cameras are under-appreciated. :)

I know we have some great photographers on this site and my comments are not directed towards them. But I imagine they have the experience necessary to exploit these prosumer devices. I also imagine that they could take a $500 video camera and produce better quality video than I could with this Sony. :)

These are just a few questions to ask yourself. Plus now that digital cameras are capable of taking HD video the results can be amazing. And all in such a small and energy efficient package. It almost hurts my eyes now to look at video shot on my D8 tapes.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree with Jake and my reasoing is that if your budget is $1500 + accessories, you'd be better of in buying the NEX-VG10.

If you're not going to go serious with video taking (notice I didn't use the term 'videography'), I would strongly recommend the $1000 Canon, get a wide angle converter and an extra battery which will total you $1500.

Also I agree that too many photographers pooh-pooh auto mode. NOwadays the auto modes are so smart, for day-to-day use, they are more than sufficient.

Another point I agree with Jake is that in the end it's more of the user than the equipment. Of course better equipment will yield better results, but I've taken amazing shots with point and shoot camera using manual mode and work around the limitations of the camera. (Not saying that I'm good or anything, I'm sure there are a lot more people more capable than me)
 

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no, or at least not yet.

I have the full accessories list and it's not mentioned anywhere. I think the lens design (where it protrudes as it zooms in, just like dSLR camera) makes it impossible to make an underwater housing.

I've just never been this giddy about a handycam though ::eek:: and hoping to be able to get rid of my Canon HD cam (which I only used for several hours) so I can buy this unit (although I have absolutely no use for it). This is just a must-have toy for me :)

(note: I do not work for Sony -- I'm just super giddy)
 

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I've just never been this giddy about a handycam though ::eek:: and hoping to be able to get rid of my Canon HD cam (which I only used for several hours) so I can buy this unit (although I have absolutely no use for it). This is just a must-have toy for me :)
David,

PM me about the canon HD cam u have..... might be interested.

Peter
 
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