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Old     (fergie23)      Join Date: Sep 2004       06-21-2006, 4:24 PM Reply   
I am looking for something under $500 that will take decent wakeboarding footage...any good ideas? Also wondering how important the following features are:

USB 2.0
S-video out
mini dv vs. DVD
amount of optical zoom--is 10X enough for wakeboarding?

I am thinking about Panasonic PVGS180 at Costco for $439 with 3CCD, 10X optical, USB 2.0 and s-vid among other features. Any other reco's and do you think this camcorder would be better than cheaper models in the $350 range? Thanks for any help!
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-21-2006, 11:40 PM Reply   
Good camera. Most camcorders under $500 would only be 1 CCD so this will definitely give you a better picture. as for the USB out, you can't use it to download the footage onto your computer. you would be using the IEEE 1394 firewire output.
Old     (fergie23)      Join Date: Sep 2004       06-22-2006, 8:37 AM Reply   
What input do I need on my computer to connect the IEEE 1394?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       06-22-2006, 9:47 AM Reply   
You need an IEEE1394 or "firewire" port. They are standard on all Macs and most PC's.

3CCDs give you better color reproduction the 1 CCD.

10X zoom is plenty for shooting from the boat.

Stay away from DVD (mpeg 2) it's hard to edit (fine if you're going to just play back out of the camera though).

S-video gives you component playback to an Svid equipped TV (better picture quality).

USB2 is usually used to download stills but there may be apps out there now (or soon) that allow video streaming over USB. I'm really not up to speed on USB editors however.

I would be most concerned with the amount manual controls on the unit as most lowend cams don't have many but if you're just starting out you probably won't use them much.

Lower end Panasonic units are usually fairly value packed for their pricepoint. I didn't realize you could buy a 3 CCD unit that cheap!
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-22-2006, 10:11 AM Reply   
I knew 3 CCD's broke the $1000 mark a while ago but that was the first time I saw it that cheap. That's good to know.

As for the DVD. A lot of my friends seemed to have bought them and then they come to me and ask how to edit the footage like how I do. I just shrug my shoulders and tell them I don't know. I tried to figure it out once but wasn't successful. I equate the DVD cameras to the old VHS style camcorders. Great if all you want to do is pop out the tape/disc and put it in your player to watch. As for editing... forget it.

This is what the firewire port looks like. I don't think footage can be transmitted by USB. Too slow. But I'm not up to speed on it either.

Old     (fergie23)      Join Date: Sep 2004       06-23-2006, 12:14 PM Reply   
My computer is a couple of years old and I have only used the USB port for my digital camera--will check to see if it has firewire port. If not, is there any external adapter or card I would need? Thx
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       06-23-2006, 12:15 PM Reply   
if it doesn't have a firewire port, you can buy a firewire card relatively cheap. if there's a fry's electronics near you, you can find it there.
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-23-2006, 7:22 PM Reply   
If your computer is so old that it doesn't have a firewire port, chances are it isn't fast enough nor it doesn't have enough storage on the hard drive to edit movies.
Old     (mike_mclin)      Join Date: Oct 2004       06-28-2006, 10:15 AM Reply   
You can pick up a firewire card/ package on eBay for like $12. I have used this package in my computer (but not the cheap editing software that comes with it) and it works fine.


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