I currently own two Sony miniDV camcorders (models DCR-HC28 and HC40) and was doing fine in Premiere Elements and recently upgraded to version 10. I was in the process of using the HC40 cam as a 'pass-through' device to digitize some old VHS tapes, and it worked well for copying from VHS to miniDV tape. Then, I could capture in Premiere Elements and edit, etc. (It would never work to pass all the way through to capture in PE in one step using Firewire). Now, the HC40 camera has locked up on me halfway through my box of VHS tapes, and is stuck showing the Time/Date screen and the touch screen seems to be disabled. What to do?
There do exist plenty of used DCR-HC40 and 52s (which also support pass-through) on Amazon for sale in the $200 range, and that is one option. I also went to Best Buys this week and looked at all the new Sony video cameras, and they fell into basically two series: the DCR-SX series, which record in standard definition onto flash memory (SD cards), and the more expensive HDR-CX series, which record in Hi Definition (also on SD cards) but also, I was told, can record in standard definition. The miniDV camcorders are no more, apparently. I am not so enamored of HD recording that I would go whole hog for it, as I am happy with the results I have been getting with my miniDV cameras once burned to DVD or converted to MPEG or MP4 for playing on my iPhone, etc. Plus, HD takes up so much more memory and space on the hard drive compared to standard def files.
I called Sony tech services today to find out that none of the new cameras support the pass-through function for digitizing from old VHS cassettes, so I am looking at buying a VHS-digitizing device as recommended here on the forum such as the ADS Pyro AV Link or Grass Valley ADVC110. Since I would rather spend that money on a new video camera instead of merely the AV link device which I will have no use for once the tapes are digitized, my question comes back to the cameras. Which of the new cameras will be most ideal for editing in PE10 going forward, or is it best to stick with miniDV for now?
Steve G has always seemed to point out that miniDV tape and the ensuing AVI files are the best for PE to work with. Sony told me today that even the SD cameras such as the DCR-SX65SD ($219) now record onto the SD cards in MPEG2 format, and that AVI is a thing of the past that died with the miniDV tapes. I assume MPEG2 still comes out as different clips that one assembles on the Timeline in PE10? One probably could convert the MPEG2 files to AVI, but would that give the same quality as an original AVI file from a miniDV tape? And if MPEG2 is the new standard going forward, do the resulting videos made with PE10 have the same quality as those made from 'native' AVI files? I will buy a used DCR-HC40 miniDV camera if the end result is better than those to be obtained with the brand new DCR or HDR series cameras now available in stores. But if the quality is the same, I could perhaps opt for one such as the HDR-CX 130HD ($349) which also records in SD in case some years from now I decide I really DO want to switch to HD formats.
Any advice on choice/use of the newer cameras and their default formats such as MPEG2 is welcome, in relation to PE10 editing and output capabilities.
Thanks very much, paultool3