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  • #16
    Originally posted by Paully
    I have XP Home Version, and the box has tons of USB jacks, but to save a little $$ I bought it without the 1EEE port. I don't do music on it, so who knew.


    Paul,

    You can add a firewire port to your PC for less than $20 if you want to go that route. It's very simple. Just get one of these:

    PCI 1394 Firewire Card

    ~Blackbelt

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    • #17
      The Optura 50 has a 10x optical zoom. You could also buy an optional telephoto lens if you need more magnification. It also has analog out, so you can easily make copies of your video on VHS tape, the quality of the dub will depend on your VCR.

      If you want to make higher quality DVD dubs, without going thru the computer, check out Sony's DVDirect burners. It's a stand alone, you can record directly thru the camcorder or dub it after the fact from your MiniDV tape. Panasonic also makes stand alone DVD burners.

      Sony's DVDirect works with or without a computer.

      * the main reason you want to record onto MiniDV tape first then dub to VHS or DVD is because MiniDV is a higher quality format.
      What's the lesson you learn, when you've learned all the wrong lessons?

      Comment


      • #18
        OK. A little weekend research. And... 2 contenders in the 2 to 3 k range:

        Panasonic Pro AG-DVC30 3-CCD MiniDV Camcorder w/16x Optical Zoom, around 2k. optional XLR input adapter ($250). Standard def.

        Sony HVR-A1U, around 2.5k Uses a newly-developed 3 megapixel CMOS chip that (reportedly) rivals 3 chips but takes up less overall space. only 10X zoom though. Includes XLR inputs. Hi Def.

        Ergonomics...

        Mouth feel...

        Flip a coin?

        -peace, love, and blips

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Brittanylips
          OK. A little weekend research. And... 2 contenders in the 2 to 3 k range:

          Panasonic Pro AG-DVC30 3-CCD MiniDV Camcorder w/16x Optical Zoom, around 2k. optional XLR input adapter ($250). Standard def.

          Sony HVR-A1U, around 2.5k Uses a newly-developed 3 megapixel CMOS chip that (reportedly) rivals 3 chips but takes up less overall space. only 10X zoom though. Includes XLR inputs. Hi Def.


          Well, of the two I'd prefer the Panasonic over the Sony. I say this having done nothing more than read articles on these two cameras; I haven't shouldered either one nor seen actual video from them.

          I'm more comfortable staying on the dull edge of technology when it comes to monumental changes, such as going from a proven 3-chip approach to a single CMOS chip. I'd let the CMOS technology get a few generations down the road before I bought into it. Also the Sony has a really poorly placed tape elevator. Mount it on a tripod or jib and then try to easily change tapes. The Sony also uses a touch screen menu system - but the touch screen is the LCD. So you'd have to use a stylus or put one of those protective PDA plastic covers over it to avoid fingerprints.

          The Panasonic give you optical stabilization and a 16:1 lens. My only beef with it is that it does 16x9 but not in HD (like my Canon).


          ~Blackbelt

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          • #20
            Originally posted by jollibug
            The Optura 50 has a 10x optical zoom. You could also buy an optional (lens) if you need more magnification.

            Hey Jollybug,

            It's "ol' dummy" again, and he's got a stupid question. BTW, thanks for the info. I've already decided to upgrade to the Optura 500 for specific features, and have looked at the optional lens.

            Here's the stupid question. If the standard magnification is 10:1, and I add the new lens, does that increase the overall magnification to 15:1 (10 x 1.5)? Also, is it a swapout, or do the two lenses button together and work in conjunction? 15:1 would be ideal, and I'll still come in at under $800.

            Paul

            PS: this could very easilly turn into a new hobby, and I CAN'T afford that.. in time or money!
            WADAYAKNOW.. For the first time in my life, I'm wrong again !

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Paully
              Here's the stupid question. If the standard magnification is 10:1, and I add the new lens, does that increase the overall magnification to 15:1 (10 x 1.5)?


              Paul,

              You'd basically be buying a gizmo that higher-end lenses have built in. On pro lenses, it's called an extender and can be invoked with a lever on the lens. On large studio cameras like you'd see at a football game, the extender control sits on one of the pan arms.

              With your camcorder, the extender would be in a fixed position, so whether you need it or not it would be in place. Extenders (or in this case, the add on for your camcorder) do 3 things to your video: 1) they let you get a little closer to your subject {in this case, yes 15:1} 2) they let less light into the lens, so your video is darker 3) they lower the overall resolution of your video to the point that at full telephoto you'd be unhappy with the results. You'll find that there really isn't a dramatic difference between 10:1 and 15:1 anyway; I'd save the $130 myself and not purchase the extender. YMMV

              ~Blackbelt

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Paully
                ... decided to upgrade to the Optura 500 for specific features
                Blackbelt went over the pros/cons of the telephoto lens pretty well. I just want to make sure you're going for the Optura 50 not the Optura 500 which has been discontinued.
                What's the lesson you learn, when you've learned all the wrong lessons?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Brittanylips
                  Sony HVR-A1U, around 2.5k
                  I really, really like the A1U it's built by Sony's Professional Broadcast division not the consumer division, so you're getting a totally different animal than you're normal camcorder. And you know it currently has a US$500 rebate, right?

                  It's big unforgivable, unpardonnable sin is the bottom loading tape mechanism, somebody was asleep at the wheel on that one.

                  But, if you don't mind that, and you can handle the HDV workflow, it will give you better looking video than any regular SD camcorder in the same price range. The main thing about HDV is it's all 16:9 widescreen, it takes longer to process the higher resolution images, and drop outs though rare, can be more disastrous since they'll go for several frames instead of one or two on a regular SD camcorder.

                  The Panasonic DVC30 is a great workhorse of a camera, and I love it, especially for event work, but the A1U has a lot going for it, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
                  What's the lesson you learn, when you've learned all the wrong lessons?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by jollibug
                    I just want to make sure you're going for the Optura 50 not the Optura 500 which has been discontinued.

                    Hey jollibug,

                    Thanks (to all) for the info. I ordered the Optura 500 this morning. It still carries the full warranty, AND a great close-out price. Nix on the close-up lens. . Now comes "the learning curve for dummies" . Wish me luck.

                    Best, Paul
                    WADAYAKNOW.. For the first time in my life, I'm wrong again !

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Blackbelt1
                      You'll find that there really isn't a dramatic difference between 10:1 and 15:1 anyway

                      Thanks, Blackbelt, for all your useful feedback.

                      A question about this -

                      Are you saying that a zoom that's 16X (the panasonic) is not all that much better than a zoom that's 10X (the sony)?

                      Are the numbers misleading? Is a 16X zoom not over one and a half times more powerful than a 10X zoom?

                      TIA,

                      -PLB

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by jollibug
                        I really, really like the A1U it's built by Sony's Professional Broadcast division not the consumer division, so you're getting a totally different animal than you're normal camcorder. And you know it currently has a US$500 rebate, right?

                        It's big unforgivable, unpardonnable sin is the bottom loading tape mechanism, somebody was asleep at the wheel on that one.

                        But, if you don't mind that, and you can handle the HDV workflow, it will give you better looking video than any regular SD camcorder in the same price range. The main thing about HDV is it's all 16:9 widescreen, it takes longer to process the higher resolution images, and drop outs though rare, can be more disastrous since they'll go for several frames instead of one or two on a regular SD camcorder.

                        The Panasonic DVC30 is a great workhorse of a camera, and I love it, especially for event work, but the A1U has a lot going for it, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.

                        Choices choices choices!

                        both seem really nice. Yesterday, btw, I checked out the Sony HDR-FX1. Way too much camera for me. it looks more like a weapon than a camera. The salesman agreed that if someone pointed it at his face he would freeze up. I like the fact that the DVC30 and A1U appear, at least from a distance (neither were in the store) as less intimidating.

                        Everyone seems to love high def, but without a distribution format well established (blu-ray burners yet to appear), and files hogging so much hard drive space, is it too bleeding edge to be all that useful at this point? I'd like to be able to pop out DVDs.

                        By the way - do you know, if you record in HD on the A1U and then downsample to SD, is the result worse than if you had recorded the material in SD to begin with? In other words, does an HD recording downsampled to SD give you the same result as recording SD in the first place (with something like A1U)?

                        Incidentally, a while ago I was listening to some video friends of mine talking about high def, and singing the praises of H.264 codec. Their view was that H.264 is the future of high def distribution.

                        So maybe I'd get the A1U and use it for the time being in SD. Or maybe the Pany... Choices choices choices! (And a trip to a video store that has them in stock so I can do the hand test).

                        Thanks for your feedback.

                        -peace love and brittanylips

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Brittanylips

                          Thanks, Blackbelt, for all your useful feedback.

                          A question about this -

                          Are you saying that a zoom that's 16X (the panasonic) is not all that much better than a zoom that's 10X (the sony)?

                          Are the numbers misleading? Is a 16X zoom not over one and a half times more powerful than a 10X zoom?

                          TIA,

                          -PLB



                          The numbers themselves aren't misleading; there is certainly a difference but in the case of the adapter, it's a trade-off. You're gaining the ability to zoom a little tighter but you're giving up picture resolution and overall luminance. To me it's not worth the trade.

                          On the other hand, a straight 16:1 lens without an adapter/extender is definitely preferable to a 10:1 lens. You don't have the same issues with a straight lens that you have when you use adapters/extenders.

                          The best advice I can give is to think in reverse of what most amateurs do. They tend to stay too far away from their subject and try to compensate by zooming all the way in. The resulting video is shaky (even with DPS or OPS) and has no depth of field. Instead, think the other way; get as close to your subject as possible and zoom OUT with that lens instead. You'll get better picture quality, stability, and depth in your shots.

                          ~Blackbelt

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            And whatever you do, DO NOT use the digital zoom. It's a waste; dunno why they include it.
                            Originally posted by Blackbelt1
                            The best advice I can give is to think in reverse of what most amateurs do. They tend to stay too far away from their subject and try to compensate by zooming all the way in. The resulting video is shaky (even with DPS or OPS) and has no depth of field. Instead, think the other way; get as close to your subject as possible and zoom OUT with that lens instead. You'll get better picture quality, stability, and depth in your shots.

                            ~Blackbelt
                            ______________________________________________

                            "Your own limitations render you incapable of realizing that not everyone is as limited as yourself."

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