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  1. #1
    Member gomjabbar60's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    help choosing a Handycam model

    I am looking to go digital on my next camcorder- I've had good experience with my Sony tr940 Hi8, I'm tending toward D8 since I have extensive analog footage. The only problem is I can't afford a vx2100 or Panny vx100a (as much as I'd love one.) I'm looking for entry level to mid-level consumer, but what I REALLY want is:

    *lanc (for my zoom controller)
    *external mic and headphone
    *Infolithium L (not M) battery (already have a high capacity batt) and
    *decent manual focus and exposure control

    no recent models seem to offer this, short of $1500 and up cams.

    my question is, what is the most recent model year of Handycam that meet this cirteria? I'm thinking of buying a used trv520 or the like.

    any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    I think a used D8 camcorder would be a good option for you. There are a few on the market as people migrate to MiniDV and other formats so hopefully you can get a good deal. To be honest I would be reluctant to buy a brand new D8 camera - it's not the format of the future and you might over-pay for something with a limited life expectancy. However a 2nd hand model would tide you over and allow you to convert your analog footage if you want to.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    Member gomjabbar60's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave.

    After checking out specs on several older model D8 handycams, I found a TRV315 for under $200 on Ebay. This model is much preferable to the last couple of model years due to:

    * lanc
    * external mic and headphone inputs
    * it uses type L Infolithium (the same batt I already have)

    so it met all the criteria I was looking for, plus the unexpected bonuses of:

    *top-loading (I hate to have to remove the tripod mount to change the tape,) and
    * a manual focus ring on the lens barrel!
    * 1/4" CCD (current models sport a 1/6" hal chip I am told is inferior)
    * also an LCD screen, which I realize is De-rigueur nowadays, but is a new treat for me.

    I'm waiting on delivery, I'll let you know what I think when I receive it next week. I have a bit of trepidation about buying sight-unseen, but $179 isn't half the cost of the cheapest current unit I KNOW I would be disappointed by.

  4. #4
    Member gomjabbar60's Avatar
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    A followup.

    I received the trv-315 just yesterday, and I am very satisfied. It is in pristine condition.

    It is virtually identical in size and shape to my old Hi8 (a bit heavier though) and almost all the controls are placed identically, but now I have a real focus ring on the lens barrel, instead of that wonky thumbwheel!

    I have an intelligent hotshoe rather than a built-in light. External mic, here I come.

    The option of using the LCD is great too.

    It may be my imagination, but I believe this machine has a faster imager. It seems to handle low light much better, with better color saturation and less noise.

    That was all great, but the real joy was once I connected to my PC.

    After struggling for the last couple of years with capturing analog footage with an external DV encoder, even with Lanc so I could have tape transport control from the capture software, using a true 1394 device camcorder is a dream! I realize most people with minidv cams take this for granted, but I love just selecting "capure tape" and letting the machine separate all the clips, rather than manually queing tape, capturing, stop capturing, re-queing tape, etc. over and over again.

    Thanks David for your advice. I'll start saving my pennies for a VX2100 or X100a, but until then, This camera will tide me over quite nicely.

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