My 4yr old Sony Hi8 had done a pretty bad job of capturing Vikas’ winter concert at Arcola. The picture was grainy and the faces hardly visible. So I decided to buy a new camcorder. I started off with Consumer reports looking for high definition camcorders. After all the Hi8, which was still in vogue 4 years back is no more and I don’t want to end up having a old technology again another 4 years from now. High definition is fast becoming a viable alternative, so I decide to spend some money to get a HD camcorder. I saw that the Panasonic HDC-DX1 recommended by Consumer Reports. The price on Amazon was about 50% what CR had quoted. Thinking it was a great deal, I wanted to GET it. Reading other reviews, for example, like the one on www.camcorderinfo.com, I realized that it was BIG, weighing over 1.7 lbs. I knew this wouldn’t work for me – I don’t take my camcorder along as it is big; so what is the point in have a great camcorder if you don’t carry it.
The Panasonic HDC-SD1 was another highly rated camcorder by CR. It was on flash memory. For a while I thought that is great as the weight would be small. But then I realized that the amount of video-time is highly limited (like you need to change or transfer-from your SD card every half hour). Thus this got left out.
Now, I realized having the advantage of a hard-drive. Mini DV models were great and cheap, but the tape could get stuck in the mechanism if you are not careful. Moreover, transferring from a miniDV tape takes as much time as the recording time itself. That would be awful, say, when I am in India and want to free up space and I have no time.
The Canon HG10, with 40GB disk, stuck me next after reading reviews on Amazon. CR had no mention of this in their lists. It gives about 5 1/2 hours recording in the highest resolution possible. That clinched the deal for me – no hazzles running out of space for I never shoot more than an hour or two on a week’s vacation. I did read low-light quality was a bit lacking, but I usually shoot outside, right? That’s what I thought and wanting to get the camcorder before Sunday’s pooja, I ordered it. That was the splurge for me for the holidays.
I also ended up ordering the Panasonic Panasonic ES4815S Pro Curve and the Zoom H2 Handy 2 Track Recorder. The latter should come in handy in the meetings to prep up my memory!