Topic Author
Posts: 423
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 3:47 am

Seeking Recommendations For Digital Camcorder

Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:57 am

I'm looking to buy a digital camcorder to use primarily for filming airplanes, both from normal outdoor spotting locations as well as inside the airplane, such as through the window on takeoff/landing. I have never used video before, so this is a totally new arena for me. Thus, I was hoping that I could get a few recommendations from people who shoot video.

Here is what I think I would like in a camcorder:

1) Small and lightweight

2) High quality video, which will be suitable both for web playback as well as on a DVD player at home

3) Excellent sound recording -- this is particularly important to me

4) Functions well in low light, etc. (such as filming nighttime takeoffs/landings out the window of an airplane)

5) Easy transfer to computer for digital manipulation and playback (I think I would like to be able to string together different videos and put them together to make a personal "Just Planes" type of movie for myself)

6) Versatile optical zoom range, since some of the places I currently shoot photographs from require 300-400mm focal length (without the digital crop factor)

While I am willing to spend a little bit to get a good camcorder, I don't want to spend thousands of dollars either. My primary focus is still going to be photographs, and the video would just be something to have a little fun with here and there (particularly for filming takeoffs/landings when I fly).

I took a quick look on Best Buy's website, and I couldn't really make heads or tails of the differences in the different types of camcorders. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!


Posts: 412
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 3:12 pm

RE: Seeking Recommendations For Digital Camcorder

Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:45 am

Sony HDR-HC3

Less manual stuff than the Canon HV-10, but better in lowlight situations.

Panasonic PV-GS500


I have the Panasonic PV-GS400 (great camera) and am about to get the new Canon HV-10.

Posts: 1425
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:30 pm

RE: Seeking Recommendations For Digital Camcorder

Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:02 pm

Hey Josh, how's it going?  Smile You may want to try asking over at flightlevel350.com. I'm guessing their forums have many more video experts than here.

Long live the A330!
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 2:29 am

RE: Seeking Recommendations For Digital Camcorder

Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:31 am

I purchased my camcorder in 2002. It's a Sony miniDV format camcorder. I haven't shopped for them lately, but it appears that there are many relatively inexpensive miniDV cams out there.

You can download the miniDV output into your computer and edit it with a program such as Adobe Premier. It takes quite a bit of computing power and hard drive space.

For web use, my camcorder allows you to take normal video and then put short clips on to the memory stick in compressed format. You just play back the video in the camera (VCR mode) and then hit the record button when you get to the part that you want to record. I find that much more convenient than editing on the computer and then compressing. I'm not sure whether the compressed format is easily edited.

That would be my concern regarding the HD cams. I'm sure that it is stored in a compressed format and I'm not sure how easy it would be to edit (ie combine clips with transitions, audio dubbing)

That's my 2 cents

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