About a week ago I posted on my struggle to choose a camcorder. Well after lots of research, conversations with friends, and a little bit of “oh, what the hell”, I picked a camcorder.
I selected the Canon HG-10. It’s an HD model that uses an internal Hard Drive for storage. The web site CamcorderInfo.com has a pretty thorough review of the model, its features, and issues. Here’s what lead me to choose the HG-10…
Storage – Hard Drive: All I read about the cameras that record straight to DVD is that they are a pain to edit. Since I plan to do some editing, that was ruled out. The mini-dv tapes are still popular and seem to actually have the highest quality video due to lower compression then the other formats. But, you can’t quickly access portions of video and transfer to the PC is a pain. The hard drive model has pretty good video quality (I think it is in the middle between dvd and min-dv) and offers some other features, like quick access (mentioned above) and the ability to record large portions of video without changing tapes of dvds.
Format – High Def: This was a tough call too. The quality is obviously much better, that’s easy. But it is quite a bit more expensive. Also, I was concerned about editing (you need a strong PC). Another factor is that I don’t have a way to burn DVD’s in HD. So I can only watch the videos off of the camera in HD. Well, I’m hoping the prices come down soon on those HD burners. In the mean time, I’ll save up my footage, and wait for prices to drop. I’m told editing won’t be too bad since my PC is Dual Core 3.2 GHz, with 3 Gigs of Ram. That left price. After some research, I got a good deal, so HD was the way to go.
After doing a lot of research, I settled in on the Canon HG-10. Basically, I thought it had a great feature set, excellent video quality, and was rated well in low light conditions. That’s fairly important because in video terms, most conditions except outside are considered low light! A few things I was disappointed about with the Canon was the manual focus (not a ring, it’s menu driven) and no mic adjustments. But everything else looked good.
I started looking at BestBuy.com where the price was listed around $1100. I think Circuit City had it for about $50 less. At some point it went on sale at Circuit City for around $850 and I started to get excited. Some more research on the web and I found it for about $835 at Buy.Com, $800 at J&R and then $717 at 42nd Street. There were a few other places that were pretty low too. But Tiger Direct had the camcorder for $759! Bingo. This was a little more then some a few of the others, but I have done business with them before and I don’t mind paying a few bucks extra to a company that I trust (that’s not too say I don’t trust the others, I just don’t know them).
It was around 11pm and I was pretty excited to find a good price on the model I wanted. I went to sleep, figuring I’d sleep on it and order it the next day. A little while later in bed I thought to myself…What if the deal ends tonight at midnight? What if they run out of stock? So around 11:30 pm I came downstairs and ordered the Canon HG-10. As a bonus, I found out I had a $50 credit from a previous purchase! Plus, shipping via 2nd day air was only $3 more than the standard, so I could get the Camera by Friday! Sweet.
This is getting long so I’ll end the story here. To read about a few problems that came next, along with my first impressions, read my next post.