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Need to buy a Digital Camcorder

19 February 2003
Hi all,

We picked up a cheap digital camcorder for my 13 yr old son last christmas. It was on sale at Target for $80 bucks. It turns out to be a pretty versatile camera, my son would take alot of videos of him and his friends skateboarding and upload them to his computer. They burned an excellent short DVD with graphics, sound, etc.

He recently dropped it and my wife and I would like to upgrade it for him considering he just earned some type of Presiden't award for his grade point average. I found a couple of web sites that do reviews and it seems there's no middle ground with these cameras. They are either around $100 or $300. Of course, I don't want VHS anything, he needs to upload the video directly to his pc.

Any suggestions around the $200 - $250 range? I would like something that he can use for the next few years.
If you are willing to spend a tad more on a camcorder, Sears is blowing out the Panasonic GS120 camcorders. This is a 3 CCD camcorder and you will not find another 3 CCD anywhere near this price. I bought mine on sale for $359 - 10% discount at Sears. The motor is silent, and the picture quality is really really good because it is 3 CCD. Some ppl have reported buying theirs for $199 on display or super closeout deal at Sears. You need to go in the store and check their closeout cage to find this deal.

Make sure you get the GS120 and not the GS12. I'd stay away from the Canon ZR series, I've owned 2 and they have a lot of motor noise, same thing for the Elura.
I'll check out sears today, is CCD a higher end model compared to miniDV?
Yes, 3 CCD is what professional camcorders use. You can't find many camcorders with 3 CCDs for under $1,000. What it really boils down to is that the image quality is SO MUCH better than your run of the mill MiniDV camcorder. The difference between my camcorder and the ZR series Canons is night and day. The Panasonic puts out images that are close to broadcast quality. There is a slight drawback in that certain lighting situations because the 3 CCDs on this unit are smaller than your typical 3 CCD camcorder, the digitals can exceed the image quality. But for most of the shooting I do, that is not the case, the quality is just so good. The original price on this camera was ~700. Sears is closing them out at a price even those phoney stores in New York can't even touch.

Oh, it is a minidv format camera. A CCD is an image sensor and this unit has 3, R G and B. :) Go to this link and on the side bar you will see "a closer look" and click on the "Learn more about 3CCD technology" link.
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I'm also in the market...I just got back from Sears, but the GS120 was priced at $499 w/ a $50 rebate... :frown:
I bought the GS120 before my daughter was born last year. It's the first video camera I've ever purchased. I really like it. The still picture taking really sucks on it though. But then again, it's only like 1.2mp's. Everything else on it is really good. It's a nice camera in my opinion. I got mine at the af base too. No taxes! :smile: Ok, so this is probably the worst review you've ever read in your life. :smile: