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HELP !,..I need somebody, HELP,..not just anybody,...

My husband wants to buy me a new digital video camera and I really need one. My old analog Sony is finally, after 15 years, sputtering out. I always hate to retire old equipment because the saying,
" They don't make 'em like they used to. ", is so very true.
I need something that is very Mac friendly. I don't want to have to buy more software or hardware to use it. I want to be able to plug it in and import directly into imovie without having to convert and de-interlace before importing for quality. I want fairly awesome zoom capability and decent sound. I want excellent picture quality and low-light capability. Is there such an animal for less than the price of a used car ?

So, Mac users out there, what are you using ? What do you like or what don't you like about the camera you're using ? What would you recommend ?

Your guidance is greatly appreciated.


Views: 38

Comment by lima on October 3, 2010 at 3:29pm
OH!!! the sony cam cyber shot DSC H55 is perfect! I love it, takes HD Vids and Pics, wide screen options, 14.1 megapixels and 10x zoom.

VERY Mac friendly, exports right into iphoto and the movies are mp4s transfered over where you don't have to convert.... I had made the mistake of getting a nice canon and never use it because I can't see what is on the files and have to convert to open... such a pain.

This cyber shot is the best I have come across so far in a while, I did not have to load any software, just plug and go. The pictures JohnAintWrite has posted are from the same cam.

here is a good deal:
Comment by AnnelidaFilms on October 3, 2010 at 4:38pm
Hi Amy! For hi-res shots, low light, stop-motion, time lapse, live zoom, and any of my trick shots, I use a Sony DCR-HC90 MiniDV Handycam that plug-'n-plays right into iMovie. It came out about 5 years ago for $1000, but I bought it 6 month later for about half that (a good shopping tactic with electronics). Any model of Sony Handycam since should be at least as good. It uses digital MiniDV tapes.

I also use a tiny Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS6 for handheld candid shots and 2nd angles. The "Malika Is One" and "The Six Million Dollar Cat" vids were shot with the Lumix. The vids are in .MOV format and download straight into my iMac's USB port. The still pix are incredibly high res, too. I use 2GB SD cards in it. I paid about $125 Canadian. Or was that US? No diff.

Lima's suggestion is good, also seen here: - it seems like a nice blend of my two cameras, is very portable, and costs in the $200's.

Check out the bazillion camera reviews, video tests and samples on YouTube.

Comment by Geoff on October 3, 2010 at 5:03pm
Blanch, I have 10x optical zoom and find that is plenty. If you go beyond that--and many cameras do these days--you should check what people say about the camera's OIS (optical image stabilization) because every twitch and shake will get magnified. Not an issue if you use a tripod.

I have more camera than I actually need. It's a Panasonic PV-GS320 that was sent to me because the vendor was out of the model I actually ordered. It's a tape camera and connects with my computer via firewire. It has fantastic color and all kinds of manual settings (which I don't use). But the quality is sort of irrelevant to me because I only use it to post stuff on the web.

Morfeene (a vlogger and knowledgeable camera buff) raves about the video quality of the Canon Powershot line still cameras. You'll pay less than $150 (or buy an older model, or one with fewer megapixels for less than $100) and get a camera you can carry around casually or put in your glove compartment. The downside is the zoom is only 4x. If you do decide to buy a pocket camera with good video capabilities, check to see if the zoom works while you're filming. In other words, some pocket cameras will record video at 1X and 10X put have a hard time filming while you are zooming from one magnification to another.

I hear good things about the JVC Everio line which start in the $200 range and go up. Zoom is available at 10X and 20X, 30X, and I think 40X. Some of the models don't play nicely with iMovie (I don't know what version you use) but others do.

This link lists camcorders that are compatible with iMovie 08 and 09:
Comment by BlancheNoE on October 3, 2010 at 5:33pm
@ Lima, Jim & Geoff- Thanks guys and gal. I'm running into the same thing here as I am on the forums. I want an actual hand-held camera and all the models that are best compatible w/ Mac are no longer available. Geoff, I was SO excited to see your post but when I started looking into the model #s, alas, they are no longer made. I've asked at my Apple store and inquired @ on-line help and they WILL not give any specifics. The whole reason I bought a Mac was to do videos and I can't even find a camera (w/ warranty) who's makers will guarantee that all I have to do is plug it in (fire wire or USB) and go *sigh*, you think Apple is getting ready to release a line of video cameras ?
Comment by lima on October 3, 2010 at 5:51pm
You might wanna check with the sony line... All of the cams I have that were sony I could just plug in and my mac read right off the bat. The minute I strayed away from sony was when I started having problems.

I will keep an eye out and do some searches and see if I can come up with some links for you to look at.
Comment by NatureJunkie on October 3, 2010 at 6:21pm
I'm a Mac person and I also have quite a bit of professional experience with still photography. I am a life-long fan of Canon cameras for both video and still imagery. I have owned several over the last 30 years and never had even the tiniest problem with any of them, and for optical clarity, their lenses are in the same league as Nikon and Leica but at a far more affordable price.

The digital video camera I bought for vlogging two years ago is the Canon ZR-930; the price was about $240. I has all the features that you mentioned you want. I plug it right into my computer and iMovie does the rest. The downside of this camera is that it records to mini-DV tape, which is being phased out by other formats. In fact, I'm not even sure the ZR line of Canon camcorders is still in production, but I see that they are available on Amazon. But my satisfaction with this camera is very high and I would recommend it to anyone, especially a Mac user.

But whatever you narrow your choices down to, Amy, I recommend that you google consumer reviews of what you're considering. Then google your model number and mac.
Comment by BlancheNoE on October 3, 2010 at 9:28pm
Thank you all. Well, I've been researching this for 6 months and it looks like I'm not done researching but at least I have some good leads now. I appreciate it.
Comment by Geoff on October 3, 2010 at 9:29pm
Blanch, like NJ I have a camera that uses mini-dv tapes and that format is falling out of favor. But I've seen my Panasonic offered online for three times what I paid. Many people feel tapes are a better option than SD, flash memory, or hard drive based camcorders. Supposedly the compression ratio is better with tape. The downside (I've heard) is that the tape mechanism can jam.

I know you don't want to deal with it, but many cameras that don't connect easily to macs can be handled using free software like iSquint.

The Canon Z series that NJ mentioned is still around and they are good choices. One of the features that a lot of people appreciate about Canon is some models have an external microphone jack. Hard to find those on consumer level cameras. Right now you can buy a Canon ZR960 refurbished from the company for $199 (2009 model). It has a 41X zoom. I saw other, older Canons on Amazon for more than they cost a couple of years ago, which speaks to the fact that folks value them.

Tell us what your price range is and which version of iMovie you are using. This is a list from Apple of camcorders that work with iMovie 09.
Comment by BlancheNoE on October 4, 2010 at 6:03pm
@ Geoff- Thank you again, Geoff. Yours has been the most comprehensive advice. I'm considering limping along with my analog for a while. If there was camera that I could trust to not become obsolete in 10 years that was 600.00 or under, I'd buy it,...yeah I know,...pipe dream. I'm in that in-between generation that still remembers only having to buy one refrigerator to last a life time. I still have my Canon A-1 with multiple lenses that I bought at 16, after saving up for 6 years. It still works perfectly. When I lost my manual for it 12 years ago I called Canon and they photo copied the entire manual (out of print) and sent it to me free of charge. I still have my grandmother's percolator that worked for her for 18 years before I inherited it and is still working for me 28 years later.
Hmm,...maybe this should have been another blog entirely titled
"Planned Obsolescence Sucks".
I really do appreciate all the detective work and Lima, Jim, Nature and Geoff- Thanks again.
Comment by photo2010 on October 5, 2010 at 1:46am
Of the two cams I have used with iMovie, a Sony DCR PC-100 mini-dv (digital tape), and a Canon Powershot S3, I think the Canon has worked more seamlessly with my Macs. However, since neither is being made any longer, this is probably useless information. Btw, my first still camera was a Canon FT-QL film camera which my Uncle Abe bought me in Japan. I took one photography course and found my passion and ultimately my career. I still have most of my Canon bodies and lenses..can't seem to part with them. Good luck Blanch! xo


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