What you going to use it for? What you want to pay for it?
Canon, Sony and Panasonic all have very good pro-sumer 3chippers. Expect to
spend over $3000 for any of these. You can find used, but will want to do
your research on this before to buy.
Under $1000 Panasonic has the GS120 and GS200. Both are good. Weak in low
light, but otherwise an excellent picture.
Assuming you are asking about the quality of the camera
part of the camcorder, the tape format (DV vs. D8) has
nothing to do with the "quality". In fact DV and D8 use
the same encoding. Only the physical tape properties are
However, note that D8 is at the end of its lifespan and
the chances of finding a better camera on a D8 camcorder
are slim-to-none. DV (and the pro versions DVCAM, and
DVCpro) are where virtually all of the action is.
OTOH, if you are asking what is the best 3-chip camcorder,
there are so many out there that you need more qualifiers
to get any kind of useful response. There are some very good
3-chip camcorders that likely cost more than your car, for
Okay, well I'll start the fray ;)
I just bought a Sony HDR-FX1 a couple weeks ago. In the past I've used
quite a number of MiniDV cams including a Canon XL1 and GL1 and other
lower-end Mini-DV cams. I have to say I'm VERY impressed with the HDR-FX1
but not just because of the HDV quality (which is spectacular, btw) but
because of the ability to run this camera in auto and manual modes and
various combinations. Also, it has real buttons and switches instead of
annoying menu selections for the common manual functions (like iris control
and white balance). I could go on and on about what I like about this
camera because so far I like almost everything about it. The only negatives
I can see at all is the lack of XLR audio inputs (which are present on the
pro model of this camera) and the fact that it has a fixed lens. Is it the
best 3-chip minidv? If not the best, it certainly is in the top 2 or 3 for
the price (around $3200 street price).
What's your price range?
Prosumer 3-chippers range from $2200 for a VX2100 on up to $4000+ for
something like a Canon XL2.
All cameras in this range produce beautiful video -- the primary differences
are the availability of interchangeable lenses, audio input and control,
Digital 8 is an amateur format that, by this date, is limited to the
cheapest, poorest quality bottom-of-the-line camcorders.
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