I did some study recently on which digital videocam to buy as well recently, here’s what I think:
1. HDD type of camcorder is not practical at the moment. The highest 120GB in Sony can only record 13 hours of high def video quality. Transferring and backuping those space is going to be troublesome. Worse if HDD failed.
2. DVD type is not practical as well, as one DVD is only 15 mins of high def recording.
3. SD (secure digital) memory card? Hmm…maximum is 8GB SDHC at the moment, can record around 12~15 minutes of high definition video. Quite useless IMO…
4. I end up chose miniDV, as I find it easier to store and miniDV is cheap (RM15 or US$4 per tape).
There are standard type and high definition type in the market nowadays. After seeing and comparing the quality of standard type with high def type, the answer is clear. Although I do not have high def TV at the moment as well, but achieving the video on high def format is definitely the way to go for me. The video quality is totally different, like watching VCD vs DVD.
After deciding on the above, the rest is easy as there are not many high def miniDV camcorder in the market. In Sony range, there is only one model at the moment, DCR-HC7.
I read the review at cnet and some other sites in the internet. I too have actually made up my mind on choosing Sony only camcorder, as it is always known to be the best. However, if you checked some reviews in the net on miniDV high def camcorder, you will notice another popular model: Canon iVIS HV20. (There is no high def miniDV from Panasonic.)
After reading and comparing Canon HV20 with Sony HDR-HC7 in a store (actual products), here’s what I found:
1. Sony LCD is not as bright and as contrasty as the Canon LCD. Both are of same size, but Sony one is dull.
2. Sony design is nicer, very classy. Canon one felt like plastic, Sony is silver metalic.
3. Canon is using standard ISO type of hotshoe (for flash or light or mic). Sony is special Sony hotshoe design, must buy Sony only accessories.
4. Sony is using memory stick for still photo, Canon is miniSD.
5. Canon is cheaper by around RM400.
6. Canon high def format is full 1920 x 1080 picture, while Sony is 1440 x 1080.
7. Canon has a drawback on sound quality, it records the sound of motor in the camcorder. Not sure about Sony.
8. Canon has better low light recording than Sony, in COLOUR. While Sony has night shot mode, but all becomes green/grey (B&W).
9. Canon HV20 has very fast focusing speed. Point your camcorder to different distance and subject, immediately it change and refocus. Fast, definitely FASTER than Sony.
So, I end up getting the Canon iVIS HV20. 🙂