Off Topic - Camcorder Recommendation?

by Jeremy Jones

My current camcorder is over 5 years old now and I'm looking to replace it. I'm hoping one of you can point me in the right direction. Specifically, I'm looking for a camcorder which uses flash memory, writes files in a format which iMovie can directly start manipulating, has a crisp picture (which implies 3CCD, but not necessarily HD), and has a firewire connection.

I was looking at the Panasonic HDC-SD1, but iMovie 08 looks like it transcodes the files as it imports them. The reason that I wanted to go with a flash based camcorder is the ability to bring movies onto my computer more quickly than I have been able to with my current digital 8/firewire camcorder. But if iMovie has to transcode files as it imports, them, that doesn't really buy me much. I suppose I could get the SD1, create an image of the files on the camcorder and mount it later to allow me to free up the flash drive in the camcorder, but that feels like a pain. I'd like flash as opposed to hard drive because of the ease of replacement if it goes bad and fewer moving parts. I want firewire because sometimes it's nice to be able to record directly in iMovie.

So, 2 questions: 1) Am I thinking correctly about AVCHD and the SD1? and 2) Do you have any specific camcorder suggestions which roughly meet my needs?


Nicholas Schmidt
2007-08-23 06:50:23
I just bought a Sanyo VPC-C6G SD based camcorder. While not the quality of the Panasonic, Sanyo makes a high-def version. The firewire issue hasn't been a big deal for me within iMovie. I just pluck the SD card in a reader and drop the MP4 into iMovie. I usually only take cuts of clips anyways. Good luck!
2007-08-23 09:29:00
I bought one of the original JVC Everio hard-drive camcorders. I specifically purchased it because it records in MPEG2 format so that I could burn DVDs without having to transcode - for me it's all about saving time....but every piece of software I used, including what shipped with the camera insisted on transcoding! Then I found tmpegenc by pegasys software which creates the menus and makes a dvd structure without transcoding. On linux, something like TOVID does the same.
Shawn Wheatley
2007-08-23 13:40:01
Check out Mac Break Weekly Episode #53. I just listened to this episode, where they discuss Apple heavily promoting these cameras during their latest media event. I haven't used one, but it sounds like they integrate very well with iMovie '08.
Optical Zoom Camcorder
2008-08-09 13:17:23
I think the Panasonic is ok for your needs, for me is better than the Sony one :)