Video camera troubles!

Well, today I was filming my first ever “Coker MUni” ride at Simi Valley’s “Devil’s Slide!” It’s an ALL rock trail and extremely technical. Challenging enough on a regular MUni! I had my mini camcorder set up on the tripod at the bottom of my first line, and all looked good. I got through it first time down but accidentally clipped the tripod as I passed by, causing the camera to crash to the ground! I immediately checked to see if it was still functional, and it seemed to be, as it still recorded and played back…for about 2 minutes.

It then beeped telling me to remove the tape. The tape had come unwound inside, and so I realized the camera was fried! I got home and tested the same tape on another camera (only plays back won’t record) and it played back fine. Tried a new tape in the fallen cam and still started to unwind inside the camera! This makes THREE mini camcorders that have gone south in less than 2 years! :astonished:

This particluar time is was clearly my fault, but the other 2 simply stopped working, and after I had sent one camera back 4 times under warranty, it stopped working for good after the warranty ran out. So today I decided to get a much better quality, 3 ccd camcorder, so I ordered the Panasonic PV-GS320.

I know a couple ppl who have this camera and it seems to be a really a great quality vidcam. I also checked online reviews and specs and was impressed. I’ll try me best to be ultra-careful with this one, and hope it will function in tip top condition at least for a reasonable time!:smiley: Btw, my local Circuit city sells it for $499.99 plus tax.

I got it online from a highly popular online store, exact same camera with full warranty, brand new in fact. sealed box, all regular accessories and free shipping and no tax for $100 less than circuit city. And it’s an aithorized panasonic dealer.

PS: Even though they also sell through, I purchased it directly from the company by phone, and their customer service is outstanding! :slight_smile: Should have it by Tues/Wed!

You need to make a foam box to put your camera in with a lexan lense.

Cool, thats the camera I have.
I got mine from Butterfly Photo and its a little cheaper than you paid.

that’s a good deal also! Anything’s better than paying retail through the nose! Even best buy is still $499.99! :astonished:

Wow, amazing how much video cam you can now get for $400!

Sorry about your camera troubles. Obviously if you’re bringing the video camera on extreme MUni rides and Coker MUni rides, it’s probably taking a beating, at least in terms of vibration.

As you well know, a camera on an unattended tripod is very vulnerable. If tipped, the camera is guaranteed to land HARD, especially if it’s along an all-rock trail. Ways to avoid this:

  1. Don’t ride so close to the tripod. Easily said, but I’ve seen the kinds of trails you guys are on. Stuff happens. Plus, faraway stuff makes for less-interesting watching.
  2. Clone yourself, or otherwise have someone to protect and operate the camera. Then it can zoom to keep you large in the picture, and your clone can dive under it if it starts to fall. Yeah.
  3. Tie something heavy to the bottom of the tripod. You’ve probably seen sandbags tied under professionals’ tripods. it not only makes the camera more steady, it also protects against wind and the occasional stray Coker. If you bring the string, you should be able to find a good-sized rock for the purpose. Knowing how you work alone, this might be your best bet.

Sorry to revive this thread but…

I am looking into buying a new video camera, and this looks like a good option. I was just wondering, what kinda of stuff does it come with in the way of accessories? Or do you have to buy a battery, a bunch of tapes, all the wires, etc.?

Actually, I was very dissapointed with the video quality of the panasonic, including the still quality. It’s advertised as 3.2 mp but it’s nowhere near that. The stills are grainy and terrible overall. There may be 3 ccd chips, but each one is quite small; I didn’t notice anything great about it at all. It’s like I’d rather have one large diamond than 3 tiny ones. :slight_smile:

I was also not happy that the firewire and ac ports are under the battery pack! Anyway I got a full refund then found out that my Canon ZR-700 (the one that broke) was still under factory warranty, so it’s currently back at canon being repaired free of charge!:smiley:

I was happy with that camera beause it’s much smaller and lighter than the panasonic, all the ports are easily accessed, and the video quality is just fine. It also takes stills and even records video on the memory stick.:slight_smile:

Really? Spencer said he uses that camera, and his videos are great quality…

That there’s some crazy weather!

It could have just been the camera; but seriously the video quality was absolutely average, but maybe I had my hopes up to high. I tried every different setting, features and lighting, and easy mode, manual mode, but it was simply unimpressive. My old sony DCR-TRV22 kicked it’s ass in vid quality, but that one’s broken and no warranty.

The panasonic is also much larger and bulkier than my canon zr-700, so carrying it with me on rides was not practical. Plus at more tha twice the price of the canon, I would be much more afraid of damaging it. I guess if I really wanted something spectacular that would really make a difference, I get this!

I also have that camera and I was very happy with the video quality. I haven’t used it for still pictures at all(and I don’t plan to either, that’s what a digital camera is for). I was also very surprised with how compact it was. I imagined it being much bigger.

Overall I am very happy with it and don’t plan to buy another one for years.

well I didn’t buy it for stills either, but when they advertise 3.2 megapixles, (which is exactly the same as my sony mavica, which takes amazing pics) and the stills are terrible, that’s not a good omen.

As for size, it’s still much fatter and bulkier than my canon ZR700. I’m glad that you and Spencer are happy with it, but it just didn’t do it for me; again, maybe I just got a lemon…it happens with $35,000 cars, so it’s not a stretch that you could also get a bad $400 camera.

Terry are you still using windows movie maker for editing? I am pretty sure that kills the quality of the footage. I think the quality of the vids I have posted is pretty good and that isn’t full size.


I am interested in the Canon HV20. Anyone tried it?

yeah, as always, but the resulting wmv that I save and play back on my computer has always been excellent after shooting footage with my zr700, and exceptional back when I used my sony.

Spencer, what editing program do you use? I use iMovie and the quality seems to come back out great.

Btw, Movie maker gives you many different option for saving your videos, all the way to HD widescreen, super, SUPER high res, so it’s no slouch.

I have been using final cut pro, its pretty easy to make a reasonably small file with really good quality.

Hmm, before my panasonic I had a canon zr-200 (I think) and when I switched I noticed a huge difference in quality and colors, so the only thing different between us is the computer/editing systems.

Hmm, I don’t know about the zr-200, but the zr-700 is quite a lot newer and has much higher resolution. Bottom line is that the panasonic pv-gs320 is a better camera than my zr-700, but the one I had must’ve been made in China, haha!:smiley: