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17
3.4 out of 5 stars
TASCAM DR-V1HD HD Video/Linear PCM Recorder
Price:$133.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
I saw the price of $250 and ignored the warnings about the 720p(max)video quality because I have made some very clear recordings on my Kodak with the 720p/60fps setting. As long as the lighting is good, 720p is plenty of resolution for my purposes. I also ignored the fact that this unit can't record 96khz sampling rate with 720p because I've learned that the AD conversion is the most important characteristic of recordings >20bit and >44.1khz.
I almost cancelled my order when I discovered Sony is pre-selling a new model the HDR-MV-1 (+$50), but committed to the purchase when I learned the Sony has just one viewing angle and only a mic-in, no line input*. Now that the price is down to about $150 at Musician's friend, I'm a displeased with the $100 I wasted, but would definitely recommend this unit for that price. Note: the DR-40 is $140 and has XLR's, a simple interface, greater adjustment of the internal mics and a longer battery life for music recording.

*post note: another reviewer says that you can modify the input source to a proper <line-in> level on the LS20 and the new Sony HDR-MV-1

My ratings:
1.____Highest quality sound 4.5/5 (as good as any camcorder using H264)
I started a review comparing 6 mic's/built-in mics, 4 pre-amps the Zoom H2 and Boss BR comparing several sources(recording at highest sampling rates). My initial impressions, the unit's internal preamps are quite clean, the internal mics are of low quality. The noise floor I can hear is very low frequency and if that bothers you, the LFF can eliminate it. With the built in mics, the noise is more airy (upper mid). I have a semi-pro collection of microphones, using the line input with an inexpensive mixer (Behringer UB802), I can get a line-in sound that is very similar to a professional recording studio. Even the 24b/48khz has much greater definition, depth and sweetness than either the Zoom H2(@24b/96khz.wav or VBR mp3) or the MicroBR @(192kbps Mp3 or 24b/44.1khz.wav)

Mic-ing at 1m or less is superior to micing at the camera in my production environment. Recording with lapel mics (AKG3350, Pyle and HGE) using built in power was troublesome. Using the line input+ Plug in power (PNP), I could not get a signal, even with the highest gain settings. When I changed it to MIC input with PIP (as per directions), it sounded exactly like the built in mic's. This possibly due to a mono 3.5mm terminal of the mic (is stereo mic required for PNP?). It would be nice to have an LED by the mics to show if they were active when something was plugged in to the line/ext mic input. Although the sampling rate is bad and the sound compressed, the plug-in-power on my Kodak Zi8 seems to work much better than the Tascam.

The internal mics have a natural sound, with full range, and are quieter than most camcorders and smartphones. They ensure that you will always have a decent recording but I can't imagine using them for serious recording dates because the sound is not warm and rich (to my ears). I think they are best for small venues, though I'm not sure the video would be adequate for any but the most uncritical of applications. Video is prob. usable for family reunions, day-time, outdoor sporting events and concerts. Vblogs and "how-to" documentary production. I downgraded the sound by 1* because I can't use it to sync HD vid to 96khz sound, not that 720p is even HD to begin with.

2.____Remote operation: 3/5
Since this camera can be viewed from a table surface from behind or in front of the camera (or anywhere in between), I give this camera 3 *'s The default picture frame is close enough that it's not difficult to get to the controls from a chair when doing selfie recordings. I can record videos of myself playing guitar or doing how-to repair videos with a functional view of the action. Though it's hard to see the LCD clearly from 2 meters, you can at least discern the audio levels, play status and general framing. But.... there is no optional remote!! Unfortunately a lot of my work is documenting procedures where I may be working with glues, oils, solvents, etc so I would like to be able to operate the camera without having to clean my hands before making adjustments.
I wish there was a remote like the one I bought for $10 as an add on to my Kodak Zi-8

____Power options 0/5
Unfortunately this unit comes with neither a rechargeable battery set/fast-charger nor a power adapter.
I wish it had both and I wish that plugging in the unit and/or plugging in the USB to my computer would recharge the batteries like my phone. My Zi-8 can charge the rechargeable while plugged in but even it cannot be used to capture while charging via computer USB. A $250 camcorder that uses as much power as a DSLR ought to come with a power supply! Just buy the adapter when you purchase the recorder, battery power can't even sustain the internal clock for more than a day.

____Memory-card/accessibility */5
I would rather this unit come with an SD rather than microSD. I can appreciate the versatility of micro, but standard SD seems more durable. This unit doesn't read/write larger capacity microSD's without the MicroSDHC designation. The door to the memory card seems durable but it's a bit finicky to access. It's easy enough to unlatch but when new, the plastic is inflexible, so you have to maneuver the door to get it out of the way of the connections until you 'break in' the unit.

_______Video 1/5
Note that the 96khz sampling (audio) rate is not available while recording either 480p or 720p video. I wasn't impressed by the video quality at any of the available settings or lighting presets. Besides a sub 1080P resolution, I had somewhat grainy recordings when recorded from 6 feet (no zoom+/-) in decent conditions with 300 watts of incandescent room light + a 3' x 5' south facing window at 4pm. IMO the auto setting should produce good color and contrast if you are in an environment that has stable lighting and very little motion. I shouldn't have to choose presets unless I'm in an unstable lighting environment. TBH, I probably would have returned the unit if I didn't REALLY need the selfie-view made available by the rotate-able mic/camera. I'm guessing there will be a better model next year. For now it's a $150 .wav recorder that happens to have video capability similar to a laptop's built-in webcam. The sound quality is noticeably better than a Zoom H2 or the Boss MicroBR.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
I barely get 15 minutes worth of use out of the recorder before the batteries are totally dead! I have gone through four sets of batteries already and haven't made more than 5-6 videos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2014
The deal breaker here is the battery life. I've consistently got 15 minutes recording on a fresh set of batteries. One would think that turning off the "backlight" would extend the battery life, which it might... But turning off the backlight effectively turns off the display, so you have no feedback on what you're recording. After replacing the batteries, it sat off, unused, and the batteries dies within a week.

The unit does not work with the Tascam USB power adapter ps-p515u.

Video quality, to me, isn't useful for anything but youtube "happen to be there" clips.

On the plus side:

Audio is actually good for the price (when the price is steeply discounted).
The rotary volume input is fantastic, and reduces on-board clicky noises.
Ease of use is pretty good (but really slow response).

Bottom line:
There's no use case for this. Unreliable battery life.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2013
I think that my cell phone captures better video and pictures than this machine. If you use good rechargeable batteries the recording time is good. The audio is also good with the adjustable input and external mic option. The lens is not large enough to capture true high definition, the video looks like a cheap security camera that sells for $20.ºº.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2015
Let me preface my review by saying that I am the assistant technical director at my church and have served in this field for 12 years. I wanted to like this camcorde but it turned out to be a dud.I could almost excuse the horrible video quality if the audio was good, but I've gotten better audio from the mic on my phone. I knew the video was not going to be amazing but it was worse than the camera on my phone. Overall I was extremely disappointed in this camcorder between its horrible low light video quality and equally horrible audio it just didn't seem to be well thought out. The only saving grace was the menu and controls seemed to make sense along with the fact that it didn't look as God awful ugly as the Zoom we'd.
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on April 13, 2015
Great audio, crap video. That pretty much sums it up.

I used it to record music recitals, and it did well-enough for the price.

The audio is about as good as any competing handheld device in the price range.

The video is no better than a cheap camera phone, but at least you can mount the DR-V1HD on a tripod.

The power situation is also annoying - you'll want to use quality low-self-discharge NiMH batteries (such as Sanyo Eneloop) and also get the Tascam PSP520 AC Adapter/Power Supply. Note that the power supply does NOT recharge the batteries, which is a stupid design for a video camera.

No way was this thing worth MSRP, but at a clearance price you get what you pay for: basically a Zoom H1 or Tascam DR-05 plus bare-bones amateur-quality video with no optical zoom for a few extra dollars. If that's all you need, then go for it, otherwise keep looking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2014
If you hold this recorder you can hear your hands rubbing
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on May 2, 2015
It has worked flawlessly so far. The only problem has been it will go through batteries way to quickly. With a good external battery, it will work very well. One of the best purchases I've made in recent years.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2014
Very BAD BAD battery life, just 15 minutes. The video is very BAD too. Only think good is audio.
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on October 3, 2014
The price on Amazon was right. Music recorded is great. Husband records his lessons with his students. Music is crisp and clear.
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