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Old    Sam Aikele (atropine)      Join Date: Aug 2004       04-26-2007, 3:41 PM Reply   
Hey everyone-
I am looking to replace my 7 year old Canon MiniDV camcorder. I also have a 6 megapixel Sony digital camera that takes fine enough digital stills for what I need. I am no photo expert, for sure. I am also a technophobe so I need something simple. I am looking for a small camcorder (either MiniDV or preferably a hard-drive based camcorder) that will also take OK quality stills. I would like to find one that takes at least a 2 megapixel quality still photo. I would be using the camcorder for recording wakeboarding, and general stuff around the house with he kids. I don't need anything too fancy, and would like to spend $400-600. Does such a product exist? It seemd that most of the camcorders I have glanced at have only been about 1 megapixel for the digital still photos.
Old    Sam Aikele (atropine)      Join Date: Aug 2004       04-26-2007, 4:23 PM Reply   
Well, I just read down a few threads and saw the camcorder that Will just purchased (Panasonic PV-GS320 3CCD). That looks like about what I am looking for (it will take 3.2 megapixel stills if you switch to standard photo mode, and 1.2 megapixel images while simultaneously recording video). Anyone have feedback on this camcorder? I need to do a little more research to see if Panasonic makes one with the same features but in a hard-drive based unit instead of the miniDV.
Old    Mallenger (mallenger)      Join Date: Jun 2006       04-27-2007, 6:42 AM Reply   
Sam, Here is Cnet's review of the GS320. Maybe this will help you with what your looking for. My new setup will be here Monday so hopefully i'll be able to tell you more about it after that. I couldn't find any other 3CCD Cam that touched the price of this panasonic, plus i've seen where some of the "regulars" on here really brag on their stuff.

http://reviews.cnet.com/Panasonic_PV_GS320/4505-6500_7-32330317.html?tag=prmo1
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       04-27-2007, 7:31 AM Reply   
I've seen a few used HV10 Canon's in the mid 7's and some of the original Sony HD camcorders are available in that range as well.

3 mp stills from the CMOS sensor in the HV10 are far superior to the older Canon miniDV CCD's and it's even got a 3 fps burst mode. And of course you get HD video as well along with the best AF and image stablization of any camcorder I've ever used (and I've owned some pretty good ones.) Worth consideration IMHO.

If you've watched my video currently here on Wakeworld, that was predominantly shot with a $6K Panasonic HVX200 in 720p60 but there are also a few sections shot with the HV10, down rezzed from 1080i and intercut in. At that size it's nigh impossible to see the difference.
Old    Sam Aikele (atropine)      Join Date: Aug 2004       04-27-2007, 9:28 AM Reply   
Thanks guys. I did some more research and found that the Panasonic PV-GS320 does not have a flash or external mic input. I couldn't care less about the mic input, but the lack of flash is a big deal. Apparently the 320 replaced last year's 300 model, and it did have a flash. Unfortunately, no one has them in stock anymore. So then I looked at the Sony DCR-HC96. It can be had for $409, and has a built-in flash. It will shoot 3 mp stills. It is supposedly better in low-light conditions than the Panasonic. However, it is a 1 CCD system as opposed to the 3 CCD system in the panasonic. I haven't found any good direct comparisons between the 2 models, but I really want a flash. I would just buy the Sony (the price is right), but I want to be sure that the 1 CCD system wil be adequate video picture quality.

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