04-23-2009 03:38 PM
I am looking at 2 new camcorders
1. Canon FS 200 - flash drive $329
2. Panasonic SDR H80K - hard Drive $399
I am gadget challenged - This would be to record childrens' activities
04-24-2009 08:21 AM
With that limited amount of usage information, I would suggest the Canon in most cases. The panasonic would be great if your kids are into sports (larger zoom). Only thing about that large of a zoom capability is that you will need a tripod in order to effectively take advantage of the maximum zoom. If it is going to be used in a handheld manner, the video will get very jumpy and jittery without a tripod. We don't want to make our viewers seasick do we? lol
If you are planning on using the zoom feature on a regular basis, check and see if either camera has optical image stabilization. That feature will help keep the image steady and avoid jitter. Make sure it's optical stabilization though since the digital stabilization is nopt nearly as good at steadying images. Keep in mind that some brands don't tell you outright whether it is optical or digital on their overviews (like Sony with Steady Shot (digital) vs. Super Steady Shot (optical)).
When all else fails, go in to a Best Buy store and speak with someone in a Blue Shirt. If they are doing their job correctly, they should ask you a good amount of questions about how you are going to use it. Once they know what you want to do with the camera they should be able to make a good recommendation for you and be able to explain why they are recommending that particular item.
04-24-2009 12:18 PM
Thanks for the info, especially about the image stabiliztion. I would have just assumed it was optical. I went to the store today and they really steered me to buy an HD unit with a flash memory. I am now looking at a Sony sdr cx100.
04-24-2009 01:12 PM
I think I mentioned in another post that it was only electronic image stabilization for the Canon standard def units. (It records the image and shifts pixels around) - This isn't nearly as effective as a mechanical optical image stabilization (whether lens shift or sensor shift).
That said, even with OIS, 70x zoom is going to be next to unusable at the long end.