Midrange "prosumer" camcorders

With a Sony HDR-HC3 manual being released or leaked online and the price range being somewhere in the 1000-1700 guesstimated range, I thought it would be helpful to discuss this and some other options in the midrange.

One that has been pretty popular at this level is the Panasonic PV-GS400. It has now been discontinued and it seems like only the shady places still have them available. The PV-GS500 is coming out soon but according to camcorderinfo.com, it's got a few less features than the 400.

Personally, I am in a kenundrum because I'm not quite ready to buy a camera yet - I was thinking more April time frame. If I wanted to get a 400, I'd have to go to ebay or a shadier online store right away. Or I could wait and just see what's available come April. I'm wondering if prices will go up before summer hits.
 
Im in the same boat. I'll be watching this thread with interest.

I had the GS400 on my wish list for the next few months but found, much like you did, that it's hard to come by at the reputable places.
 
You can still pick up a Sony VX2000 for $1500-1800 bucks when you can find them. There is very little difference between it and it's newer brother the VX2100 that sells for around $2500 or so.
 
With a Sony HDR-HC3 manual being released or leaked online and the price range being somewhere in the 1000-1700 guesstimated range, I thought it would be helpful to discuss this and some other options in the midrange.

Ed,

First thing you have to look at is what is your price range and then what are you going to use the camera for? If your looking to get a camera for to record your highlights and just share footage with your friends, yes the lower end cameras will work. If you goal is to sell footage and try and make money from video, your going to need the high end cameras and look at putting out at least $2500 to start.

Never buy a used camera, don't do it. Photographers don't sell higher end cameras (prosumer) unless they messed it up along the way and had it repaired and now want to sell it off to replace it without taking a huge hit. Unless your buying it from someone you know, the chance of you buying someone else's problems if very high.

One main problem with buying used is tape head time. On the VX2100 and VX2000 and a lot of prosumer cameras, you cant read the tape head time or the usage time. On my Pd170 it tells you the times of usage.

Operation 570 hours
Drum running time 210 hours
Tape running 130 hours

Yes, I use the camera a lot and its about time to get the tape heads unit replaced as a preventive measure just to be safe but the camera still works just fine.

But on a VX or other prosumer, you can't tell the times used and the camera could look great but someone could have wasted the heads and just cleaned them so your footage would look good for a few hours of tape then just go right to hell.

Also, the reason I get away with extending the life out of my tape heads is that I never use the same tape twice. I never re-record over tape so that I never have any problems with playback or image quality or contamination. Once the footage is shot, I may play back the footage a couple times at best then everything is digitized then archived.
 
I think its ok to buy used equipment if you have a good gut feeling about it. I have sold nice equipment that was in perfect working order to upgrade to the next bigger and better thing.

As Doug says check the head times on your pro equipment. As they usually have a meter

Strange they are hard to find.. GS400
 
I picked up the Panasonic GS150, for around 500 bucks, very small and compact, and the cheapest 3ccd i could find. I'm not into video a whole lot, so this will do for myself. Yes, I purchased it at Circuit city, with their "Accidental plan." So if i throw it against a wall because, I feel like it, they replace it within two years. :) FYI Best buy had the same model for 100 bucks higher.
 
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