Forums > Help! > Advice needed on digital video cameras

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179 posts
Location: Oxford

Inspired by various short films of some lovely poi, juggling, diabolo etc. that i have seen recently, I have decided that I'm going to purchase a digital video camera, yey! But I have no idea which makes/types are the best kind.... has anyone got any advice/suggestions? My budget is about 300, can I get a good quality one for that amount, or should I keep saving?!

Thankyou in advance!

Practice as if your hair was on fire...

DoktorSkellSILVER Member
475 posts
Location: Van Diemans Land, Australia

Keep saving.

Make sure you get a "Three chip" camera. They may be more expensive
but you will definately notice the better quality.

Ummm..... i dont know what three hundred british land pounds are in australian so. i'm not sure how much you allready have.

And also make sure the camera you buy can be used manually.
Fully automatic camera's are [censored] for filming fire because they never EVER stay in focus.

Fair luna bright, fair luna moon
it shines at night but fades too soon
fair luna moon, fair luna bright
forever we dance
we dance under starlight

strugzBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,964 posts
Location: Southampton - Possibly..., United Kingdom

i bought this one about 2 years ago for around 500, but its now in your price range:


we used it for all the vids you see on soton - it has every effect you can think of, a torch on top, super night vision, a remote control many other little things that make you go oooooo and aaahhhhhh smile

This far down the line its still going strong and working great smile

"...We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing......."

steve dbBRONZE Member
272 posts
Location: bristol, uk

rather conveniently, strugz, i gave anna a cd of your videos

last week smile. i agree, the sony ones are the best and that

camera is great and really easy to use.

if you come down to southampton, strugz might even let

you look at (but probably not touch) his camera if you ask

him very nicely. or just get him stoned then steal it, which

ever you think would be easiest wink.

179 posts
Location: Oxford

Thankyou guys! I'm doing some research... the sony trv355 you mentioned doesn't seem to be very widely available now, but I'll find a way...
Yes thankyou for the videos! Still lots to see though, cos I need to download some other software to my comp.
There are indeed plans to come down to southampton, and I'm working on a plot to steal the camera! mwahaha! (only joking wink )


Practice as if your hair was on fire...

TheWibblerGOLD Member
old hand
920 posts
Location: New Zealand

All the new sony ones ahve touch screens, which you either love of loath. Personally I prefer having actual buttons to press cos you can feel where they are and you don't get finger prints all over the monitor.

3ccd's (the digital bit that replaces the 'film' of a regular old camera) are great but i don't think you'll find one in your price range. Also 3ccd is a bit hyped up because each of the 3 ccd's is a third of the size of a 1 ccd camera which some people say reduces it's quality at night. 1 big ccd has 3 times the ammount of light hitting it. But i dunno.

I just bought a canon optura 40. In england it's the mvx25i i think. It rocks. You can't go far wrong with the cheaper canons.

I'd say check out canon, panasonic and sony and avoid the rest.

Definitely buy digital mini dv ~ don't buy analogue cos the quality difference is unbelievable.

Of course if you are only gonna be using it for web based videos you could go for one of those cheapish new video camera's that just records to a memory card. They are about 150 ~small picture size / not amazing quality ~ but you don't have to muck about capturing the video, you just transfer the file straight to your pc and the web. Dead easy.

check for cheap prices and comparisons.


Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

pricklyleafSILVER Member
with added berries
1,365 posts
Location: Manchester, England (UK)

I just got one for christmas, i needed a really good one as I'm an art student, and need to be able to get large images from it. You can pick a good one up for around 200 pounds.

the thing to look for is the pixels-the low average is 3.0mega pixels, but I'd recomend getting about 4.0 mp, (i've got 6mp so I can blow things up big)

also you can get different zooms- optical zooms are much better than digital, get at least 3x optical (many will have both optical and digital.

mines a minolta dimage G600, minolta are a very good make in camaras, panasonic and sony and the like are huge companies that make all sorts, not necesarily the best camaras.

you'll probably have to buy a bigger memory card than the one that comes with the camara as they are usually only 16mb. A 128mb one is difficult to fill up, you can get one for about 10-20pounds

Finally I'd recommend buying from jessops. They gave me the cheapest price and generally know what they're talking about

Hope that helps! good luck!

Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

179 posts
Location: Oxford

Thanks for all the advice...
I bought one last week- it's a Sony DCR-HC18E, which I nearly bought from Jessops (who were indeed very helpful) before finding it much cheaper at a small independent camera shop- it was 239 reduced from around 300 because it was the last one left in the shop and a slightly older model. It has the following features:
Carl Zeiss Lens
800,000 pixels Advanced HAD CCD
Super SteadyShot
10x Optical Zoom / 120x Digital Zoom
2.5" Hybrid LCD
Is that all good?? I've been having lots of fun with it (although I am crap at filming at the moment, need to develop an eye for good shots!). Can't wait to start editing, although I have NO idea where to start, and I'm having trouble using it with my laptop...don't know if it's me being stupid or because something's not working. Hmmm.

Anyhow, one day I'll make something cool and put it on HoP for everyone to see! biggrin

Practice as if your hair was on fire...

666 posts
Location: Netherlands

Thats what I've got,Well I've got a HC17E. I'm happy with it biggrin
Even the touch screen matt smile

It's a great camera until you want to do serious recording stuff say dvd and stuff, but then your looking at cameras starting at about 5000 pounds, thats alittle out of my price range though. I'm very happy with the little sony though, now you have to find a suitable program for editing, (i recomend premier (adobe) or final cut if your on a mac) and from then it's finding a decent compressor to get the film down to size for the net. Looking foward to loads of cool vids biggrin

Come forth and thou shalt win enternal happiness. but he came fifth so he won an electric toatser.

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