Equipment: Student DV camcorders

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I was preparing a budget to get some student DV camcorders for my department. My requirements were that they had to have a microphone-in as a minimum. The three I came up with were:

El Cheapo: Canon ZR-500 == $250

Middle-range: Panasonic PV-GS150 == $399

High-range: Canon GL-2 = $2200

A few years ago, I would have gotten GL2s because they're more rugged than any consumer camcorder. But I have the feeling that the field is changing quickly and that in two years (the estimated lifetime of a cheap sub-$500 consumer camcorder), we'll either be switched entirely to tapeless or HD format. So the GL2 can't amortize itself within its lifetime.


One also has to budget in for a good external microphone (personally I prefer body-mics using dual-system sound or wireless rather than shotguns):

Rode VideoMic = $150


Given a realistic budget of $1500, it would look like:

 Three GS150s = $1200
Two VideoMics = $300
Total $1500

Off the record rant

I don't think that SD-based camcorders such as Panasonic SDR-S100 or HDD camcorders such as the JVC GZ-MG77 are quite ready for primetime. Maybe in a generation or two. They aren't yet designed for anything but birthday-party or sports-festival type family shooting. There are no provisions for external mics, nowhere good to mount a light, no viewfinder, etc. And the recording quality is still generally below that of MiniDV.

I'm sure that's where the market is going, though. So again, maybe in two or three years, it'll all be flash memory-driven -- just like the digital still camera market. The newly announced JVC GZ-M505 is a step in the right direction.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on September 5, 2006 8:49 AM.

Blog: Here and there Japan was the previous entry in this blog.

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