Top positive review
47 people found this helpful
Good camcorder for the price
on June 14, 2008
I'm covering this camcorder in more detail on youtube with user "rofthorax", that's my account.
I purchased this for about 179 dollars from Sams Club, and have had nothing but fun with it ever since. I've only had it for five days, but in this time I've connected via Firewire to my PC with an old Firewire IEEE 1394 card that had been collecting dust for almost a decade. Purchased a Firewire cable from Radio Shack, and have had a flawless integration between this camcorder and Ubuntu Linux (Free OS) Kino video editor(FreeVideo Capture and Editor utility, comparable to Movie Maker on XP). I was expecting to have a lot of trouble and looking around for drivers, but it worked the first time without a hitch.
Some of the things I can do with this camera and Kino:
1. capture video to DV on the computer via firewire at ~3MB/sec, good enough for video editing.
2. control the DV cam via firewire with Kino, fast forward, rewind, step reverse/forward, shuttle controls, stop, pause, etc..
3. Even when I'm playing videos I've captured to the computer, on the computer, the video playback is shown on the DV Camera's LCD screen (not quite as flawless, a bit of skip, but not bad considering I wasn't expecting this kind of integration).
4. Can use Samsung SC-D382 camera to record video to the computer's hard drive via firewire, by-passing the tape.
I can't tell you how exciting that is.. Especially to do it on Ubuntu, I've been boycotting Microsoft products after having problems with a laptop that prevented me from obtaining drivers for XP.. I switched to Ubuntu, and have be desperate for video editing capabilities for months, and have finally found a work flow for doing it.
Samsung SC-D382 -> Kino -> Blender ..
Blender's sequence editor is capable of processing DV directly, and the sequence editor plugins are written in C, easily compileable with GCC in Ubuntu. Also Blender was the program used to make the animation "Big Buck Bunny", a completely open sourced movie that utilizes blender.
Anyhow, I've been able to do quality video work using Kino to captrue video from the SC-D382 and using blender to edit and render it to a format I can upload to youtube.. I've been able to dump hour long videos onto youtube using compressed OGG files ("oggconvert"), so now with this DV camera, I can do quality 16-bit audio with full-res NTSC video, not HD, but what do you expect to get for 180 dollars? Besides HD is a resource hog, and NTSC is sufficient for downsampling to Youtube.
The video is interlaced, so I have to find a way to merge the fields into 30fps full frame non-interlaced somehow.. Downsampling interlaced video produces larger files than downsampling non-interlaced video.
An hour of video from this camcorder produces about 10GB file, so if you are on XP, make sure you have a NTFS drive to store to, FAT32 can't use files larger than 4GB. Linux has plenty of file systems, JFS and XFS are ones that are commonly used for video work. I'm using EXT3 currently, because I'm working in "/var/tmp". I haven't experienced any dropped frames..
As for the Camcorder, the only problem I have is the joystick on the LCD preview screen is a bit tough to operate, but you should be able to figure-out the camera without a manual.. The Manual looks like it was made for an Idiot.. So if you are one, best use the manual. I was up and working with this one in 5 minutes.. The Firewire was plug-and-play.
Only stumbling block is I had to run Kino as root to get it to talk to the Camera, but that was like 3 minutes on google searching for help and a small leap of faith.
The camera permits you to change white balance and perform some effects in record mode.. You have stop recording to switch Digital Image Stabilization mode off and on. Zoom exceeds my 10x zoom Olympus SP-510UZ, and permits me to zoom and auto-focus and do all the things a video camera should, while recording. My Olympus doesn't permit me to zoom while recording Audio (don't ask me why, Olympus is probably trying to protect their camcorder line from their digital camera line, Olympus even reduced the audio quality to 8Khz with 8-bit sound, which really sucks).
I was thinking about getting the 18x Optical Zoom version of my digital camera, and was torn between getting that for 260 dollars, anbd getting a DV Camera.. And I'm sooooo glad I went with this..
Note, Tapes are best for archival! DVD's are easily destroyed, tapes have greater surface area and greater longevity than DVD's (which have been said to have a 5 to 20 year lifespan, depending on the manufacturer). Best to get Tape based camcorder than DVD or Hard Disk.. Hard Disks can crash and DVD's are easily ruined. The draw back to tapes is ease of access, its linear, and to transfer to the computer requires a re-recording.. But you could easily waste that much time performing a video render from a non-linear video editor like Adobe Premiere on Windows or Kino/Blender on Ubuntu. What's one more hour? You think you are that busy? Besides on Windows you could waste more time in other ways.. I've not missed windows one bit, switching to Ubuntu.. When stuff is supported on linux, it works flawlessly and without compromise, but
finding the software is the big toughy.
The Camcorder, has two modes, record and play. It's easily turned on and
off, menu button on top left, always accessible, video effects modes like "art (polarization), mirror, mosaic, sepia, negative", pre-set color balance and the typical white balance mode. 12-bit and 16-bit audio modes, mono and stereo audio (not sure if the mic is a stereo mic). Tapes carry about an hour. Twice the storage of a dual layer mini-dvd, and about the same size.. Rewriteable tapes, zero quality loss between uses, it seems.. White LED fore-lite, for lighting a night recording.. Your battery will last about 30 minutes if you use the LED Light.. If you don't, the battery will for an hour. Button to toggle extra on-screen details, record button accessible on LCD screen and on back of camcorder, accessible by thumb.. Button on top permits you to take pictures. Zoom is controllable by LCD flip-out pivotable screen and standard toggle on the top of the camera. Comes with AC Adapter, L-ion battery is charged when not in use.. Can be used without battery.. Can be used as a camera for recording to computer, via firewire, without a tape (or battery).
Plug behind battery looks like an HDMI plug, but not sure..