Help Choosing a Camcorder...

Hey people, I’m looking for somebodies humble opinion here.

Stainz and I got a Sony DCR-HC36 MiniDV camcorder for a wedding present. A group of friends went together and bought it for us. They also included the receipt and told us we can trade-up (or down) the camera if it isn’t exactly what we want.

This looks like a great camera, but my only issue with it is it uses Sony’s proprietary memory card. These cards cost a lot more than traditional SD cards.

The place where this camera was bought has the JVC GR-D390 camcorder for $30 less. It is a bit smaller and a bit lighter than the Sony, has a firewire port (the Sony doesn’t) and it uses SD memory.

So a couple of questions, can anyone tell me if either camera is better than the other?

And secondly, anyone to anyone who uses a MiniDV camcorder, which do you record most to? The memory card or to tape? Is there any advantages to going right to the memory stick? I always assumed that if you recorded video on the memory card, your PC didn’t have to convert the video. Whereas if it was on tape, your PC would have to encode it. Is this correct?



I can’t suggest a particular camera, but I would recommend tape, as long as the size of the camera that takes tape isn’t bigger than you want. You get much more space/dollar with tapes, and they’re cheap enough that you can buy 4 or 5 in case you want to tape a long event, or go a whole weekend or trip without the computer. You probably wouldn’t want to spend the money on 4 or 5 gigs of SD cards. You can also reasonably use the tapes to archive your material.

And miniDV tapes are already encoded in a digital format. Your computer doesn’t have to encode the video.

That Sony camera DOES have firewire - Sony just calls it “iLink”. The DCR-HC36 also has 20x optical / Zeiss lens which is a pretty good thing.

My JVC camcorder has a SD card and I’ve only snapped a few pictures to it. I figure if I want moving images I’ll use the camcorder and still images I use the camera.

IMO for average use the Sony looks like a pretty good camera.