Camcorders 2005: nobody makes my camera?

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jfaughnan

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Mar 19, 2005, 10:34:50 AM3/19/05
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I'm beginning to think nobody makes the consumer camcorder I want. I'm
not too picky, I just want four things that were true of my 7 yo Hi8
SONY and one new thing:

1. Good image quality in low light. I want the birthday cake and
candles pictures to be tolerable.
2. Wide angle so I can zoom out to get more of the room in the picture.
3. Image quality at least as good as Hi8 (better would be nice)
4. Reliability and quiet performance.

and one new thing

5. S-video input for digital passthrough.

I think in 2003 one could buy a camcorder that met my wish list, but I
can't find my way today. I've been working through the Canon line-up
(Optura, Elura) but SONY hardly seems better.

I'd be most grateful if anyone could point me to a currently sold
camera.

Thanks!!
john
jfau...@spamcop.net

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, digital camcorder, video camera,
selection, market, market failure

Malcolm Stewart

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Mar 19, 2005, 11:06:58 AM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:1111246490....@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

> I'm beginning to think nobody makes the consumer camcorder I want. I'm
> not too picky, I just want four things that were true of my 7 yo Hi8
> SONY and one new thing:
snip

> I think in 2003 one could buy a camcorder that met my wish list, but I
> can't find my way today. I've been working through the Canon line-up
> (Optura, Elura) but SONY hardly seems better.
> I'd be most grateful if anyone could point me to a currently sold
> camera.
> Thanks!!
> john
> jfau...@spamcop.net


Two years ago I bought my first camcorder, a Sony TRV22. It has an
ear-phone socket, which I've found quite useful when monitoring the sound.
(e.g. Windnoise and hum from railway overhead power lines.) Last year's
replacement, the HC40 (was the equivalent I was told), does not have an
ear-phone socket, nor does the current model, the HC42.
Sony appear to be trying to move me into models costing >£1,000.

--
M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
http://www.megalith.freeserve.co.uk/oddimage.htm


Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 3:27:35 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> writes:
> I think in 2003 one could buy a camcorder that met my wish list, but I
> can't find my way today. I've been working through the Canon line-up
> (Optura, Elura) but SONY hardly seems better.
>
> I'd be most grateful if anyone could point me to a currently sold
> camera.

The model you really want is the discontinued Sony TRV900. Your
alternatives these days are its inferior replacement the HC1000, and
the better but much larger and more serious VX2100.

PTRAVEL

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Mar 19, 2005, 5:23:01 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:1111246490....@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I'm beginning to think nobody makes the consumer camcorder I want. I'm
> not too picky, I just want four things that were true of my 7 yo Hi8
> SONY and one new thing:
>
> 1. Good image quality in low light. I want the birthday cake and
> candles pictures to be tolerable.
> 2. Wide angle so I can zoom out to get more of the room in the picture.
> 3. Image quality at least as good as Hi8 (better would be nice)
> 4. Reliability and quiet performance.
>
> and one new thing
>
> 5. S-video input for digital passthrough.
>
> I think in 2003 one could buy a camcorder that met my wish list, but I
> can't find my way today. I've been working through the Canon line-up
> (Optura, Elura) but SONY hardly seems better.
>
> I'd be most grateful if anyone could point me to a currently sold
> camera.

Sadly, the answer to your quest is a Sony VX2100. I went through the same
dilemma two years ago. As someone else mentioned, the TRV900 would have
been the perfect solution, but it was discontinued. The TRV950, its
replacement, is a hideous camera with lots of stupid gimmicks (who need
Bluetooth on a camcorder?) and lousy low-light performance. I wound up with
a VX2000. It's bigger and heavier than I would have liked (and, of course,
more expensive), but it has all the features you've mentioned: the video is
absolutely stunning from this 3-ccd machine, it has wonderful low light
performance (I can shoot by the light of a single candle), I've carted it
all over the world and shot in blazing heat, freezing cold and pouring rain
without the slightest problem. It has an s-video output. I did buy an
accessory wideangle lens for it, but don't often need it.

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 5:27:22 PM3/19/05
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"PTRAVEL" <ptravel8...@yahoo.com> writes:
> Sadly, the answer to your quest is a Sony VX2100. I went through the same
> dilemma two years ago. As someone else mentioned, the TRV900 would have
> been the perfect solution, but it was discontinued. The TRV950, its
> replacement, is a hideous camera with lots of stupid gimmicks (who need
> Bluetooth on a camcorder?) and lousy low-light performance. I wound up with
> a VX2000. It's bigger and heavier than I would have liked ...

The Canon GL2 is midway in size between the TRV900 and the VX2000/2100
and might be worth looking into.

The TRV950 has been replaced with the HC1000 which is more of the same.
These are actually not such bad cameras by consumer standards, but the
TRV900 definitely improved on its successors.

jfaughnan

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Mar 19, 2005, 5:59:52 PM3/19/05
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Thanks Paul, Malcom and ptravel. Historians should note that the TRV900
was the first consumer electronics good that was clearly superior to
all of its successors. If I were the new SONY CEO, I'd assign a VP to
figure out what went wrong after the TRV900. I'm going to check out the
used camcorer market, but I suspect the TRV900 is hard too find!

The VX2100 is too pricy -- my wife would kill me. The Canon XL1 is only
slightly less life threatening.

The Canon GL2 .. wow, I have to think about that.

Thanks gang, it's depressing, but you've confirmed my fears. There's
something funny happening in the market these days -- the "middle
class" sweet spot solutions are disappearing. What's left is either
flashy junk or serious prosumer cameras.

Thanks again. I'm going to go and cry now!

john
jfau...@spamcop.net

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, product management, digital video camera,
camcorder, features, marketing, design

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 6:17:51 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> writes:
> Thanks Paul, Malcom and ptravel. Historians should note that the TRV900
> was the first consumer electronics good that was clearly superior to
> all of its successors.

Far from it. Unfortunately, that happens all the time with every type
of product.

> If I were the new SONY CEO, I'd assign a VP to figure out what went
> wrong after the TRV900.

There is no mystery. The consumer market wanted camcorders to also be
able to take megapixel still pictures, which means megapixel sensors,
smaller pixels for a given sensor size, which means less light hitting
each pixel, which means worse low-light performance. The TRV900 came
from before the era of megapixel stills, so it had big pixels and good
low-light performance. The VX2100 similarly doesn't take megapixel
stills because somewhat outside the normal consumer market (it's a
semi-pro camera popular with student filmmakers and the like), so its
users don't want that feature.

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 6:21:58 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> writes:
> The VX2100 is too pricy -- my wife would kill me. The Canon XL1 is only
> slightly less life threatening.
> The Canon GL2 .. wow, I have to think about that.

The XL1 is discontinued. The VX2100 is much less expensive than the
XL1S or XL2 or whatever it's called.

I should have added, there's still lots of TRV900's on ebay. They are
all out of warranty by now, but if something goes wrong, Sony's fixed
price repair charge is something like $250 regardless of the problem.
I sometimes think about buying one.

jfaughnan

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Mar 19, 2005, 7:02:13 PM3/19/05
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Paul Rubin wrote:
> There is no mystery. The consumer market wanted camcorders to also
be
> able to take megapixel still pictures, which means megapixel sensors,
> smaller pixels for a given sensor size, which means less light
hitting
> each pixel, which means worse low-light performance. The TRV900 came
> from before the era of megapixel stills, so it had big pixels and
good
> low-light performance. The VX2100 similarly doesn't take megapixel
> stills because somewhat outside the normal consumer market (it's a
> semi-pro camera popular with student filmmakers and the like), so its
> users don't want that feature.

Aha.

So it was good product management and "stupid" consumers that destroyed
the consumer camcorder market. Makes sense. I see that a lot in life --
here and in other venues. I put "stupid" in quotes because these
products are so complex that it's easy to see why buyers will make
incorrect judgments (zoom intead of wide angle, still image instead of
low light) and bias the market. Sadly the consumers will learn that
what they really needed was wide angle and better light sensitivity,
but by the time they figure that the products aren't available.

I could try looking for cameras that don't have a still camera
capability. That could be a marker for a sensor that might work better
in low light. Unfortunately there are probably few of these left except
at the very low end, so I won't get my S-video in and I won't get a
reliable camcorder.

Check and mate I'd say!

Thanks Paul, you've been very helpful. Depressing, but helpful :-)

john
jfau...@spamcop.net

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, camcorder, game theory, marketing,
congitive limits, complexity, decision making, market failure,
behavioral economics, microeconomics

PTRAVEL

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Mar 19, 2005, 7:15:14 PM3/19/05
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"Paul Rubin" <http://phr...@NOSPAM.invalid> wrote in message
news:7xll8j2...@ruckus.brouhaha.com...

> "PTRAVEL" <ptravel8...@yahoo.com> writes:
>> Sadly, the answer to your quest is a Sony VX2100. I went through the
>> same
>> dilemma two years ago. As someone else mentioned, the TRV900 would have
>> been the perfect solution, but it was discontinued. The TRV950, its
>> replacement, is a hideous camera with lots of stupid gimmicks (who need
>> Bluetooth on a camcorder?) and lousy low-light performance. I wound up
>> with
>> a VX2000. It's bigger and heavier than I would have liked ...
>
> The Canon GL2 is midway in size between the TRV900 and the VX2000/2100
> and might be worth looking into.

From what I've seen, the GL2, while producing nice video, doesn't compare to
the VX2000/2100 - PD150/170. My recollection is that its price-point is
similar so, unless size is critical, I'm not sure it would be a better way
to go.

>
> The TRV950 has been replaced with the HC1000 which is more of the same.
> These are actually not such bad cameras by consumer standards, but the
> TRV900 definitely improved on its successors.

I'm not familiar with the HC1000. It's a shame that Sony has decided,
apparently intentionally, to limit the video quality of its consumer line,
while focusing on gadgets and gizmos that are really pointless.

I'm quite interested in Sony's new HD camcorder, but I'll have to wait 'til
the price drops quite a bit before I can consider it.


PTRAVEL

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Mar 19, 2005, 7:21:27 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:1111273192.9...@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

> Thanks Paul, Malcom and ptravel. Historians should note that the TRV900
> was the first consumer electronics good that was clearly superior to
> all of its successors. If I were the new SONY CEO, I'd assign a VP to
> figure out what went wrong after the TRV900. I'm going to check out the
> used camcorer market, but I suspect the TRV900 is hard too find!

The TRV900 was the first _digital_ camcorder that was clearly superior to
its predecessors. Sony had a nice line of Hi8 machines that produced
outstanding video for the time and still, I think, eclipse that which can be
produced by Sony's consumer line (excluding the VX2000/2100 which,
technically, is a consumer handicam).

I think that, with the TRV900, Sony discovered that it was cutting in to its
prosumer/professional sales. It decided, instead, to focus on selling its
consumer line to people who were either ignorant of, or simply didn't care
about, high-quality video and were more interested in gizmos and gadgets. I
went from a TR600 (a very nice, next-to-the-top-of-the-line consumer Hi8) to
a TRV-20, which was okay but had very poor low-light performance by
comparison, as well as significant digital artifacting. I finally sprung
for a VX2000 -- great camera, great video, but a far less convenient form
factor.

>
> The VX2100 is too pricy -- my wife would kill me. The Canon XL1 is only
> slightly less life threatening.

You might consider a used VX2000. I've seen them for around $1600-1800.

>
> The Canon GL2 .. wow, I have to think about that.
>
> Thanks gang, it's depressing, but you've confirmed my fears. There's
> something funny happening in the market these days -- the "middle
> class" sweet spot solutions are disappearing. What's left is either
> flashy junk or serious prosumer cameras.

You've hit it on the nose. Oddly enough, the situation is entirely
different in the digital still camera field -- there is a nice, continuous
spectrum from consumer point-and-shoot to professional DSLR, with everything
in between. I don't know why camcorder manufacturers won't do the same
thing.

PTRAVEL

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Mar 19, 2005, 7:32:22 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:1111276933.6...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

> Paul Rubin wrote:
>> There is no mystery. The consumer market wanted camcorders to also
> be
>> able to take megapixel still pictures, which means megapixel sensors,
>> smaller pixels for a given sensor size, which means less light
> hitting
>> each pixel, which means worse low-light performance. The TRV900 came
>> from before the era of megapixel stills, so it had big pixels and
> good
>> low-light performance. The VX2100 similarly doesn't take megapixel
>> stills because somewhat outside the normal consumer market (it's a
>> semi-pro camera popular with student filmmakers and the like), so its
>> users don't want that feature.
>
> Aha.
>
> So it was good product management and "stupid" consumers that destroyed
> the consumer camcorder market. Makes sense. I see that a lot in life --
> here and in other venues. I put "stupid" in quotes because these
> products are so complex that it's easy to see why buyers will make
> incorrect judgments (zoom intead of wide angle, still image instead of
> low light) and bias the market. Sadly the consumers will learn that
> what they really needed was wide angle and better light sensitivity,
> but by the time they figure that the products aren't available.

I'm not sure that I agree with Paul Rubin that the move to megapixel still
imaging capability was entirely consumer-driven. There is, for example, no
comparable move to including moving image capability in higher-end digital
still cameras (though this useless gimmick is available in lower-end
consumer point-and-shoots). Sadly, most consumers will buy what is marketed
to them. Sony and Canon had a clear lead over camcorder manufacturers from
the standpoint of video quality. Both chose to sacrifice that lead to
promote glitzzy, crappy video machines that competed with consumer
electronics manufacturers like Panasonic and JVC (both of whom make
high-quality professional video equipment, but neither of whom targetted the
prosumer market for digital video until fairly recently).

I think Sony's and Canon's goal was to "create" a so-called prosumer market
where none had previously existed that drew from two existing markets --
professionals (mostly wedding videographers and small event videographers)
who would normally go for more expensive pro gear in a market that is fairly
crowded, and consumers like me who were dissatisfied with the quality of
consumer camcorders and wanted something better. In fact, this strategy
seems to have succeeded -- Canon and Sony sell a hell of a lot of cameras in
the $2000-4000 market.

>
> I could try looking for cameras that don't have a still camera
> capability.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing in the consumer market.

> That could be a marker for a sensor that might work better
> in low light

There's a simple answer to that: larger, lower density sensors. This
requires bigger cameras with reduced still-imaging capability. None of the
manufacturers are moving in that direction.

The VX2000/2100 uses, if I recall correctly, 1/3" sensors. I think the
TRV900 used 1/4" sensors. The current line of consumer camcorders uses
sensors as small as 1/6". Remember, too, that light sensitivity will
decrease logarithmically rather than linerally as sensor size falls.

PTRAVEL

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Mar 19, 2005, 7:33:22 PM3/19/05
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"Paul Rubin" <http://phr...@NOSPAM.invalid> wrote in message
news:7xr7ib4...@ruckus.brouhaha.com...

Is there any way to determine the number of head hours? I know that can be
done with the PD150/170, but I don't know about Sony's consumer machines. A
low-hours 900 would be a very nice purchase.


jfaughnan

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Mar 19, 2005, 8:24:05 PM3/19/05
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Ptravel mentioned:

"Sony had a nice line of Hi8 machines that produced
outstanding video for the time and still, I think, eclipse that which
can be

produced by Sony's consumer line...

... I went from a TR600 (a very nice, next-to-the-top-of-the-line


consumer Hi8) to
a TRV-20, which was okay but had very poor low-light performance by
comparison, as well as significant digital artifacting."

Hmm. Compared to my old Hi8 SONY TV65 my Elura 90 has very poor
low-light performance and significant digital artifacting.

This leaves the scary possibility that I should stick with Hi8 analog
and buy a high quality A/D converter box so I can digitize and edit
what I want. That won't make the place I bought my Elura very happy!

Best of all would be if NatCam had a used low hours TRV 900 for sale ...

C.J.Patten

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Mar 19, 2005, 8:26:43 PM3/19/05
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Go to eBay and search on all these cameras. Select "completed listings" as a
criteria.
You see what they've actually been selling for.

I see the TRV900 going for about $1000 (give or take), the PD150 for $1400
and the GL2 $1600 if you're picky. (obviously you can pay more ;)

Anyone want to compare the performance PD150 and GL2?

C.


"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> wrote in message

news:1111273192.9...@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

C.J.Patten

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Mar 19, 2005, 8:31:16 PM3/19/05
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HA! You beat me to it PTRAVEL. ;)

I just posted a reply wondering about the GL2 vs. PD150 - you've confirmed
what I suspected - go with the PD150 over the GL2.

Oddly, the latter is more expensive on the used market and doesn't seem to
offer the low light performance of the Sony from what I've been reading.

C.


"PTRAVEL" <ptravel8...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3a3tkmF...@individual.net...

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 8:42:39 PM3/19/05
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"jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net> writes:
> This leaves the scary possibility that I should stick with Hi8 analog
> and buy a high quality A/D converter box so I can digitize and edit
> what I want. That won't make the place I bought my Elura very happy!

The Elura is just a crap camera and a more serious mini-DV camera will
do a lot better. You can buy a used professional hi-8 camera (VX3,
say) quite inexpensively but you'll have a cantankerous beast on your
hands. It may or may not be worth it depending on what you're doing.

> Best of all would be if NatCam had a used low hours TRV 900 for sale ...

The TRV950/HC1000 aren't as bad as we're making them sound. They're
just a downgrade from the TRV900 that they supposedly "improve" on.
At least they are 3ccd cameras, which you need if you're serious about
low-light performance at all. 3ccd cameras work by splitting the
light (with a prism) to separate sensors for the R, G, and B
components. Each incoming photon gets directed to the appropriate
sensor where it registers. 1ccd cameras have little filters over each
sensor pixel (R, G, or B depending on the pixel), that lets the
appropriate color through and throws away the rest. So in addition to
having much less sensor area to begin with, 1ccd cameras like your
Elura throw away most of the light coming into the lens.

The other TRV950/HC1000/etc. Sony scam I've been noticing is that
every time Sony releases new models, they make a new line of batteries
incompatible with the previous generation. Maybe they're trying to
stop you from using 3rd party batteries. The batteries also keep
getting smaller and smaller. I use an NP-F960 (the largest li ion
pack) with my TRV87, so I can record something like 16 hours on a
charge. That's really great since it lets me take the camera on a
trip without dragging the charger along. The newer, smaller batteries
can only run the camera for maybe two hours.

I should also say the TRV900 is also not the be-all and end-all. It
was maybe the best semi-consumer camera and was excellent for its
size, but was not really in the same league as the still-very-popular
VX2100. It was around $1600 new in the late 90's(?) which is like
$2000 or so now, and you can get a new VX2100 for $2300 or so, which
means there's not that big a price jump. The VX2100 is a much more
serious camera than the TRV900 ever was. The main penalty is size and
weight.

A used TRV900 with no warranty will probably set you back at least
$1200, so if you want to buy used, maybe you could even look for a
used VX2000 or VX2100. The VX2000's predecessor was the VX1000 and
was popular for low-end newsgathering. It had no LCD screen (eyepiece
only) and maybe some other limitations, but its basic performance was
still pretty good, so maybe you could look for one.

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 8:57:08 PM3/19/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> writes:
> I just posted a reply wondering about the GL2 vs. PD150 - you've confirmed
> what I suspected - go with the PD150 over the GL2.
>
> Oddly, the latter is more expensive on the used market and doesn't seem to
> offer the low light performance of the Sony from what I've been reading.

The GL2 is not a slouch at low light, and low light performance is far
from being the one and only criterion for selecting among these cameras.

By the way (if you haven't seen it yet),

http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/index.html

is a little bit dated but is a very good place to read up on this
stuff (not just the trv900).

John Faughnan

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Mar 19, 2005, 9:33:13 PM3/19/05
to
ptravel wrote:

"I think Sony's and Canon's goal was to "create" a so-called prosumer
market
where none had previously existed that drew from two existing markets
--

.. In fact, this strategy seems to have succeeded -- Canon and Sony


sell a hell of a lot of cameras in the $2000-4000 market. "

I have an amateur economist's interest in market failures. I think the
market failure I'm experiencing is partly explained by behavioral
economics (actors are in fact not rational in the economic sense) but
collusion between two dominant market players is a classic source of
market failure.

It seems that Canon and SONY are leaving an opening for Samsung. They
have no market to protect. If they wanted to claim this space they'd
produce a $800 digital camera that gave me the three key things I want:

1. decent low light images
2. some wide angle (38mm or better 35mm equivalent)
3. S-video analog I/O

Gee, maybe we should send Samsung a business plan :-).

john
jfau...@spamcop.net

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, digital camcorders, product management,
pricing strategy, collusion, duopoly

Paul Rubin

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Mar 19, 2005, 9:41:39 PM3/19/05
to
"John Faughnan" <jfau...@gmail.com> writes:
> It seems that Canon and SONY are leaving an opening for Samsung. They
> have no market to protect. If they wanted to claim this space they'd
> produce a $800 digital camera that gave me the three key things I want:
>
> 1. decent low light images
> 2. some wide angle (38mm or better 35mm equivalent)
> 3. S-video analog I/O

I'm sure if Samsung made that camera, they would sell hundreds and
hundreds of them. </snark>

Donald Link

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Mar 19, 2005, 11:25:19 PM3/19/05
to
On 19 Mar 2005 07:34:50 -0800, "jfaughnan" <jfau...@spamcop.net>
wrote:


What is your budget???????????

Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 1:45:05 AM3/20/05
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"PTRAVEL" <ptravel8...@yahoo.com> writes:
> Is there any way to determine the number of head hours? I know that can be
> done with the PD150/170, but I don't know about Sony's consumer machines. A
> low-hours 900 would be a very nice purchase.

You might be able to find that in the users' manual:

http://www.docs.sony.com/release/DCRTRV900.PDF

There is also a service manual that you can order from Sony for $29:

http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/service.html

John Faughnan

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Mar 20, 2005, 9:12:02 AM3/20/05
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Well, yes, that's a problem :-). Amongst my friends I'm known as a
"market of one"!

john

Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 1:44:06 PM3/20/05
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"John Faughnan" <jfau...@gmail.com> writes:
> Well, yes, that's a problem :-). Amongst my friends I'm known as a
> "market of one"!

The only cameras you'll find in the $800 range will be 1-ccd anyway.
If that's acceptable you might try a Canon Optura. It will be much
better than the Elura. Alternatively, lower your standards. I shoot
in low light with my $300 TRV87 all the time. I get grainy images but
I then decide that they are acceptable for my undiscriminating amateur
purposes.

C.J.Patten

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Mar 20, 2005, 1:53:25 PM3/20/05
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How about the Panasonic PV-GS120?

It's a 3-CCD with a retail price of about $800...and a Leica lens no less.

C.


"Paul Rubin" <http://phr...@NOSPAM.invalid> wrote in message

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Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 2:01:35 PM3/20/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> writes:
> How about the Panasonic PV-GS120?
> It's a 3-CCD with a retail price of about $800...and a Leica lens no less.

Hmm, I'd say the Leica-branded lens is a marketing gimmick (there are
cheap Asian-made 35mm point-and-shoot cameras being sold under the
Leica name now), and also those sensors are very small (1/6" iirc).
But I'd still expect better performance from it than from an otherwise
comparable 1ccd camera (e.g. Elura). Anyway I haven't seen any user
reports. Sony and Canon seem to be the most serious camcorder brands.

C.J.Patten

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Mar 20, 2005, 2:07:17 PM3/20/05
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You're correct of course Paul, low-light isn't the only criteria to judge a
camera on and I'm sure for some it isn't a factor at all.

When I was still in school I went to a seminar hosted by a prominant
photo-journalist who wanted to give us students some inspiration.

The title of his talk was "if you can see it, you can shoot it."

I love the idea and find some of the most beautiful shots (still and video)
are taken in twilight, candlelight or moon-light.

I'm discouraged by equipment that can't keep up with my own artistic vision
so low light performance is a huge factor in video cameras for me.

I wish I had more info on the GL2 but, compared to all that's been written
about the PD150, it seems to be a lesser known commodity.

Thanks for the link! Great resource page - I hadn't come across it before.

Chris


"Paul Rubin" <http://phr...@NOSPAM.invalid> wrote in message

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Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 2:23:22 PM3/20/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> writes:
> When I was still in school I went to a seminar hosted by a prominant
> photo-journalist who wanted to give us students some inspiration.
>
> The title of his talk was "if you can see it, you can shoot it."
>
> I love the idea and find some of the most beautiful shots (still and video)
> are taken in twilight, candlelight or moon-light.

You do realize that those photojournalists (the ones who shoot video)
use real professional ENG cameras with 2/3" sensors, that start around
$10K. These "prosumer" cameras we're discussing (VX2100 and even the
XL2) are fairly poor substitutes for that kind of lightgathering
capacity.

> I'm discouraged by equipment that can't keep up with my own artistic vision
> so low light performance is a huge factor in video cameras for me.

The VX2100/PD170 is probably your best bet unless you can handle a
pretty big price jump past that.

> I wish I had more info on the GL2 but, compared to all that's been written
> about the PD150, it seems to be a lesser known commodity.
>
> Thanks for the link! Great resource page - I hadn't come across it before.

I think the page has a review of the GL1 which is the older version of
the GL2.

C.J.Patten

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Mar 20, 2005, 2:49:35 PM3/20/05
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I agree Paul, the VX2000/PD150 seem to be the class leaders until you jump
into that $10k range.

I've used professional studio and field cameras and they're certainly out of
my price range for ownership; occassional rental when a project warrants but
otherwise, I'm looking at a different class of "toy."

Take a look at the low light testing on these pages, linked from the Beale
page you mentioned: http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/low2/index.html
http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/lowlight3/index.html Doesn't the D30 image
just make you drool? ;)

I DO see a lot of info on the GL1 but I'm wondering if this is like using
VX1000 reviews to quantify a VX2000... very different cameras in terms of
performance. There's little available on the GL2 itself.

If you see any GL2 reviews, I'd love to get a link.

Thanks again and TTYS!
C.


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Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 3:32:49 PM3/20/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> writes:
> Take a look at the low light testing on these pages, linked from the Beale
> page you mentioned: http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/low2/index.html
> http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/lowlight3/index.html Doesn't the D30 image
> just make you drool? ;)

The D30 image was made with a 4 second exposure. There's no way to do
that at 30 frames per second ;-). I do wonder why they can't set up
camcorders to use long exposures and 15 fps, like the TRV900 already
has a 15 fps progressive scan mode.

> I DO see a lot of info on the GL1 but I'm wondering if this is like using
> VX1000 reviews to quantify a VX2000... very different cameras in terms of
> performance. There's little available on the GL2 itself.

I think it's more like VX2000 vs VX2100.

C.J.Patten

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Mar 20, 2005, 4:41:20 PM3/20/05
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4 seconds?! Yikes! Nice for still-life photos and not much else. ;)

What is the deal with long exposures and video cameras anyway? I'd like to
have the option too.
Is this a hard limit or a design issue the manufacturers decided not to
address?

I keep reading about "reduced vertical resolution" with certain cameras and
certain modes... not sure what they're talking about unless this has
something to do with interlaced scanning and losing a field if "shutter" and
field-scan don't sync up?

http://www.urbanfox.tv/production/p11filmlike.html makes mention of this -
I'm not sure I have the right context though. (help?)

That might be the topic for whole new thread...

_________

The GL1 to GL2 is closer to a VX2000/2100 jump than a VX1000 to 2000? That's
a helpful comparison. I don't think I could justify the GL2 versus the
VX2000/PD150 with that in mind.

To be clear, I'm not sneering at the GL series - they're better than
anything in my arsenal right now!
Just trying to get a feel for where the strengths of the different models
are.

Thanks!
Chris


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Paul Rubin

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Mar 20, 2005, 4:50:36 PM3/20/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> writes:
> 4 seconds?! Yikes! Nice for still-life photos and not much else. ;)
>
> What is the deal with long exposures and video cameras anyway? I'd
> like to have the option too. Is this a hard limit or a design issue
> the manufacturers decided not to address?

The hard limit is the video frame rate.

> I keep reading about "reduced vertical resolution" with certain
> cameras and certain modes... not sure what they're talking about
> unless this has something to do with interlaced scanning and losing
> a field if "shutter" and field-scan don't sync up?

I'd guess that sounds right. The article you linked to points to a
members-only article on dv.com that I don't have access to.

Malcolm Stewart

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Mar 20, 2005, 8:28:03 PM3/20/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> wrote in message
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> How about the Panasonic PV-GS120?
>
> It's a 3-CCD with a retail price of about $800...and a Leica lens no less.
> C.

Before buying the PV-GS120, download the manual and check out the input
facilities. They're not as extensive as the more expensive 200 model.

--
M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
http://www.megalith.freeserve.co.uk/oddimage.htm

PTRAVEL

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Mar 20, 2005, 8:45:03 PM3/20/05
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"Malcolm Stewart" <malcolm...@megalith.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in
message news:d1l7up$nka$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

> "C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> wrote in message
> news:i_2dnXmLhrw...@rogers.com...
>> How about the Panasonic PV-GS120?
>>
>> It's a 3-CCD with a retail price of about $800...and a Leica lens no
>> less.
>> C.
>
> Before buying the PV-GS120, download the manual and check out the input
> facilities. They're not as extensive as the more expensive 200 model.

I have no first-hand experience of the Panasonic 3-chippers, but I've read a
number of reviews that suggest that Sony's and Canon's higher-end 1-chip
camcorders produce higher quality video.

C.J.Patten

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Mar 20, 2005, 8:54:46 PM3/20/05
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This is excellent advice Malcolm.

I have a whack of PDF manuals for cameras that made it on my short list. Ya'
gotta love the internet for that.

BTW: for anyone in the market, here are some pages where you can download
camcorder PDF manuals:
Panasonics: http://www.wfu.edu/education/lab/techtips/dvequipspecs.html
Sony manuals (VX2000, PD150, DSR250) http://www.dvinfo.net/sony/resource.php
TRV900 manual http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/

The Panasonic 120 and 200 share the same manual (11.4MB pdf). At a glance, I
didn't find any limitations on the 120 for analog inputs but perhaps someone
in the market for that camera would find something.

C.

"Malcolm Stewart" <malcolm...@megalith.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in
message news:d1l7up$nka$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

> Before buying the PV-GS120, download the manual and check out the input

Malcolm Stewart

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Mar 21, 2005, 4:10:27 AM3/21/05
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"C.J.Patten" <cjpa...@KNOWSPAMrogers.com> wrote in message
news:3PidnRqfDOP...@rogers.com...

> "Malcolm Stewart" <malcolm...@megalith.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in
> message news:d1l7up$nka$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...
>
> > Before buying the PV-GS120, download the manual and check out the input
> > facilities. They're not as extensive as the more expensive 200 model.
> >
> > --
> > M Stewart

> This is excellent advice Malcolm.
>
> I have a whack of PDF manuals for cameras that made it on my short list.
Ya'
> gotta love the internet for that.
>
> BTW: for anyone in the market, here are some pages where you can download
> camcorder PDF manuals:
> Panasonics: http://www.wfu.edu/education/lab/techtips/dvequipspecs.html
> Sony manuals (VX2000, PD150, DSR250)
http://www.dvinfo.net/sony/resource.php
> TRV900 manual http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/
>
> The Panasonic 120 and 200 share the same manual (11.4MB pdf). At a glance,
I
> didn't find any limitations on the 120 for analog inputs but perhaps
someone
> in the market for that camera would find something.

The 120 doesn't do AV in, MPEG4 or have Flash if my reading of the manual's
front cover is correct. The 200 does.

John Faughnan

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Mar 21, 2005, 10:36:01 AM3/21/05
to
I think lowering my standards is a pretty good option :-)! I think I've
settled on the Optura 50 for now; I'll swap my Elura for when the new
model comes into my video store. I'll keep my old Hi8 at home for a lot
of the household shots and see for myself over time how things compare:

1. OLD Hi8 analog video in low light.
2. Optura 50 video in low light.
3. #1 transferred to Optura

I'll see if I can do a side-by-side comparison of #2 and #3 output as
Lossless QT video from my iBook to a CRT (probably asking too much of
my old iBook so I may repeat on a my G5 when I get it) and report back
here on how it goes.

I have done some A/D conversions using the composite mini-AV connector
that comes with the Elura and I must say it doesn't look too bad.

Steve McDonald

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Mar 24, 2005, 7:57:26 PM3/24/05
to

John, you might as well buy a VX2100 now, as anything else you get,
won't make a discerning videophile happy or satisfied. If you try a
cheaper model, it'll be wasted money when you finally realize what you
need.

I won't say for sure there won't be other very good DV models
introduced in the next year or so, but this could become the case.
There may be only new HDV camcorders in the high-quality, semipro
category. Canon has stated that its improved XL2 will be its last
standard-definition model, in this class. Sony, as well, may not
produce any more 3-CCD DV models, to upgrade the VX2100/PD170. If you
want a mid-priced, semipro, standard-definition DV camcorder, the VX2100
and its contemporaries by Canon and Panasonic, may be your last chance.

Although the newest Sony HDV model performs well in most ways, it
can't come close to the VX2100 in low light. After I get my new HDV
gear, I expect there will be plenty of occasions when I will still use
my VX2100. Much of my wildlife footage is shot in dim, evening light
and the extraordinary abilities of the VX2100 in such conditions, will
be
important. This model is also unsurpassed in producing excellent 640 X
480 stills. I capture dozens of these on a large Memory-Stick, every
time I go into the field. They are an ideal compromise between pixel
size and quality, for posting onto the Internet and attaching to E-Mail.

Think of all the creative schemes you might use, to convince your
wife how much she would benefit by having such an essential tool in the
family.

Steve McDonald

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