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cam corder card advice

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cam corder card advice

Unread post by expat » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:54 pm

We have a trip lined up to KTP in May and I am thinking of getting my SO a cam-corder for Christmas but am not prepared to spend a fortune. He is just a "hobby" photographer (but takes super piccies) with an expensive Nikon camera. The cam-corder is more for fun. The cam I am looking at is a Vivitar DVR 1080P HD but I haven't a clue what all the numbers mean and what size microsd card I should get. Please can you give me some advice, remembering that SO is not a "professional" :cam:

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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by Hawk » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:37 am

It's very difficult to assess a camcorder without trying it out, so the next best thing is to read as many reviews on Internet as possible. The cam's manual is available for download on the Vivitar website, so that is a good place to start.

I have never seen a Vivitar camcorder, having only ever bought Sony, Panasonic or Canon, which are brands I would recommend.

First of all I would never buy a camera without being able to test some of the features, even if it's just a basic test in the shop to confirm it has the claimed features.

I had a quick look at one review and noticed that two reviewers stated that the DVR 1080p does not have a 23x optical zoom as claimed, and doesnt have an optical zoom at all, only a 4x digital zoom. This is hard to believe, but if true then I would definitely not consider it.

Most new camcorders are able to record quite a few hours of high quality video on the cams internal memory as well as to an SD card. We have a little Panasonic which records sufficient on the internal memory for our needs. It has provision for an SD card but we have never needed it, but of course that depends on how much you will film. Most cams I think use the standard sized SD cards. Make sure it's a good make and fast enough for video. Size of card is a measure of its capacity in Gigabytes. The cam manual will have details of how much can be recorded for each GB at differing video quality.

1080p refers to the resolution of the video in pixels. The p is how each frame is recorded. Keep in mind the higher the image quality, the bigger the files are and the faster the computer needs to be to edit the video. Most new cams use a recording format known as AVCHD, which is very space efficient, but requires a bit more computer power to edit and play.

For wildlife filming a good optical zoom is essential. Remember though that even with an optical stabilizer it is impossible to stop camera shake even with moderate zoom applied. "Manfroto" make a range of well priced ball head, car window clamps which although not meant for video, do work well as far keeping the cam stable.

i would think a 12x zoom would be adequate, unless you really get serious about close ups. Prerecord is a nice feature which is included in most new cams. it's useful if you're waiting for something to happen (eg a Whistling Rat to emerge from its hole), but you dont want to record your long wait. While switched on in film mode it will continually record a few seconds which it keeps overwriting until you press the record button.

Manual mode, and manual focus are also important if your'e going to get serious about your filming.

Interval recording is nice if you want to experiment with time lapse (clouds, flowers opening etc). There are lots of other clever features which I never use, but could be useful.

You will probably want to edit your video after your trip, so a computer with some sort of editing software will be necessary. There are a number of low priced and even free apps available that do a good job. Windows comes with "Windows Movie Maker"

I hope some of this helps. If there is anything else I can help with, let me know.
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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by kite » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:45 pm

Very informative and interesting even for someone not thinking of buying a camcorder.
Now that you. Have explained what they can do, I may be tempted in future! :wink:

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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by expat » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:49 pm

Hi Hawk,
Many, many thanks for the detailed info! I will certainly be looking into other makes and, as you say, will have a look at them in-store, instead of trying to buy on-line. There seems to be an awful lot more to it than simply pointing and recording!! :redface:
Thanks for taking the time to educate me! :gflower:

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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by Soft Top » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:03 pm


I bought the previous model to the one below a year or so ago: ... 4-pdt.html

It is pretty cheap but does take great video.The zoom is highly powerful but beyond around 12x it is not possible to hold the camcorder steady enough in hand for decent piccies so I would suggest a window mount, (less than £20 on ebay), for use in the parks.

It has no internal memory and the HD video does suck memory like it is going out of fashion. I have two of these in mine: ... NhdD0xNw==

I get much more video than 1 battery charge can give, about 2 hours per card IIRC), on this so I would think 1 would be plenty - I have 2 batteries thanks to my clumsiness dropping the first camera into a public lavatory within 24 hours of buying!

Definitely something to look at in the shop.


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