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MiniDV camcorders still offer many benefits, not to mention the terrific quality of the video they capture. Sticking with MiniDV is a no-brainer if you already have a lot of time and money invested in the format. B&H still carries the most popular MiniDV models at the best prices you’ll find anywhere.
If you’re shopping for a MiniDV camcorder this holiday season, be sure to make B&H your first stop. You definitely won’t have to look anywhere else.
MiniDV offers universal compatibility with existing technology along with a high level of reliability. The digital tape format supports non-linear editing, which allows direct access to any frame in a clip. That makes your editing job much quicker and easier and it’s also a simple matter to encode the video for distribution on DVD.
Canon VIXIA HV40
Canon's VIXIA HV40 offers quality HDV recording at an affordable price. The camcorder features a 2.96-megapixel 1/2.7-inch full-HD CMOS image sensor, a DIGIC DV II image processor and 10x HD video lens. The zoom lens offers three fixed zoom speeds. A super spectra coating suppresses flare and ghosting and its aspheric design cuts down on aberration and boosts resolution. A 200x digital zoom can be used in tandem with the optical zoom. Zooming into a subject often results in shaky video, but the HV40’s optical image stabilizer corrects for hand shake and moving subjects.
The HV40 captures true 1920 x 1080 high-definition video. But if you need to capture standard-definition video for playback on non-HD equipment, the HV40 allows that as well. Various shooting rates give you professional results. The HV40 offers 24p Native (60i) and 24p Cinema modes along with a 30p Progressive mode.
You can ditch your still camera when carrying the HV40 because it captures 3.1-megapixel still images to mini SD cards. You have the choice of capturing stills only, capturing stills while shooting video or capturing stills to a miniSD card after shooting video.
It’s easy to examine the video and stills you’ve captured with the HV40’s 2.7-inch multi-angle widescreen LCD. The LCD can be set to whatever angle makes it easy to see, depending on the position of the camcorder, and its hard coat anti-reflective surface reproduces color accurately with reduced glare and enhanced contrast.
Dim lighting conditions are no problem for the HV40. The camcorder has a 0.2-lux night mode as well as a built-in video light and built-in flash for stills. An advanced accessory shoe lets you attach external lights and microphones that run on camcorder power. The camcorder also features a microphone input and headphone jack.
Inputs and outputs on the HV40 are abundant. Inputs include a 1/8-inch stereo audio and a FireWire. Outputs include USB 2.0 component video, composite video, FireWire, 1/8-inch stereo audio and HDMI. The HDMI makes it easy to connect the camcorder to an HDTV with just one cable.
Even with a packed feature set, the HV40 is quite compact. It measures 3.5 inches wide by 3.2 inches high by 5.4 inches deep and weighs just 1.4 pounds. It costs $649.00.
If you have no interest in recording HD video, but still want to stick with MiniDV media, the Canon ZR960 MiniDV camcorder is just the ticket. The ZR960 records high quality standard definition video at a price that’s hard to beat. It’s the perfect choice for capturing important events and features such as an external microphone input make it an ideal choice for students. And even though the ZR960 is not a high-definition camcorder, it nonetheless offers 16:9 widescreen recording.
The standard-definition ZR960 camcorder features a 1/6-inch CCD image sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD and a 0.27-inch viewfinder. Canon’s DIGIC DV image processor ensures that you capture true-to-life color and tonality. A 41x advanced optical zoom combined with electronic image stabilization lets you record faraway subjects clearly and in focus. You have the choice of three fixed zoom speeds for fluid transitions. A 2000x digital zoom draws faraway subjects even closer.
It’s easy to miss out on short-lived events when a camcorder doesn’t power on quickly. But the ZR960’s quick-start function eliminates that risk. The ZR960 is ready to record as soon as you open the LCD. Other features can give even casual users a high level of creative control over their work. The ZR960 offers a 1.3-lux night mode and manual controls for focus, exposure, white balance and shutter speed. The camcorder also features a ¼-inch tripod mount.
The ZR960 features a stereo audio input and output, along with a FireWire output and a composite video output. The camcorder measures 2.7 inches wide by 3.3 inches high by 4.8 inches deep and weighs only 13.8 ounces. It can be had for the bargain price of $249.99.
If you’re in the market for a MiniDV camcorder and prefer Sony over Canon, then the HDR-HC9 is made just for you. The high-definition camcorder’s crowning jewel is its Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. Although designed for consumer camcorders, the Carl Zeiss lens offers the sharpness and quality of a professional lens, along with a coating that helps reduce flare and glare. The lens is a 10x optical zoom that can be used in conjunction with the camcorder’s 20x digital zoom.
The Sony HDR-HC9 features a 1/2.9-inch, 3.2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS image sensor that enables the camcorder to record 1440 x 1080 high-definition video. If you need to, however, the HDR-HC9 can also record standard-definition video with 530 lines of horizontal resolution. In either case you can take advantage of Sony’s Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization to eliminate the problem of operator movement.
The HDR-HC9 can also capture 6.1-megapixel still images. Stills are stored on Memory Stick media and they can be captured while recording HD video. Composing and reviewing video and still images is easy with a 2.7-inch touch-panel LCD. The widescreen LCD rotates up to 270 degrees for optimal recording from any angle. The camcorder also features a widescreen color viewfinder.
Smooth slow-motion playback is made possible with the HDR-HC9. This allows you to see every nuance in the swing of a bat or the football being caught. This feature works by increasing the frame rate from 60 fps to 240fps so that 5 seconds of fast motion can be played back in 20 seconds with no loss of detail. Shooting in the dark is no problem for the HDR-HC9. It has a special mode that records with a slow shutter speed to capture video even in complete darkness.
The HDR-HC9 helps ensure that you’ll never be caught by surprise by a dead battery because you can see the remaining battery or charging time in minutes on the LCD or in the viewfinder. And the InfoLITHIUM batteries are not subject to memory effects caused by charging a battery too often; you can charge them at any time without the fear of damaging them.
The HDR-HC9 is great camcorder for beginners who want to hone their skills. That’s because there are a hefty number of advanced features you can take advantage of once you’re familiar with them. But until then, the HDR-HC9’s Easy Handycam button keeps things simple by locking out the complicated features, so you can concentrate on capturing great video.
Inputs on the HDR-HC9 include microphone and LANC and outputs include FireWire, USB, headphone, A/V, component video and HDMI. The HDMI output provides an easy way to play video on any HDTV using a single cable. The HDMI output also lets you view still images with HD crispness in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.
The HDR-HC9 measures 3.23 inches wide by 3.23 inches high by 5.43 inches deep and it weighs 1.43 pounds. It costs $1,099.00.
For more of a peek at consumer miniDV camcorders and kits, click here.