How to Compare DVD Camcorders to Minidv Camcorders: 4 Steps
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Digital video recording has changed greatly since its introduction, with two competing standards dominating the 1990s and early 2000s. Both were supplanted by hard drive and flash media-based recording technologies by around 2007 or 2008. The two older standards and their permutations are MiniDV or DV camcorders, which record digital video to a metal-oxide tape, and DVD-based camcorders, which record to the Sony MiniDVD or full-sized DVD removable media.


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    History of MiniDV Camcorders: The MiniDV standard was created by a consortium of consumer electronics manufacturers led by Sony and Panasonic and was released in 1995. DV cassettes record 60 minutes of standard-definition video on a magnetic metal oxide tape and are much smaller than the VHS format cassettes; they record uncompressed audio and compressed video but are otherwise much like VHS cassettes. The standard had a few vendor-specific upgrades to DVCPRO and DVHD, achieving higher resolution at the expense of reduced recording time, during the transition to HD video. Most camcorders have IEEE 1394 ports for moving the digital files to a computer and limited capabilities for editing video on the camcorder itself. However, digitizing the video takes its full playback time, meaning that every hour of recording means an hour of data transfer with the camcorder plugged in to your computer.
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    History of DVD-R Camcorders: DVD-R camcorders have the advantage of producing a readily usable DVD. Their drawback is that the video is more highly compressed and thus not quite as high a quality. For a while, the compression standards for shooting HD video on DVD-R camcorders wasn't widely supported in digital video-editing software packages such as iMovie and Adobe Premier, but as of 2013, that issue is largely solved. DVD-R camcorders cannot edit video on the camcorder. They also may or may not have IEEE 1394 -- FireWire -- cables on all models, as it's presumed that the DVD could be read by the computer on which the editing is performed. Full-sized DVD camcorders are a bit larger than MiniDV models.
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    Media Cost: MiniDV camcorders, especially using the higher definition standards version, have a cost per tape that ranges between $2 and $3 per hour of recorded video. DVD-Rs cost anywhere from 10 cents a disc to 70 cents a disc for archival quality. MiniDV cassettes can be reused, although like VHS cassettes, they will eventually degrade. DVD-RW format camcorders can also do incremental recording of the media. MiniDV cassettes are a better archival video format in terms of how long the media will last in storage, and both varieties of camcorder allow you to keep shooting for as long as you have available replacement media.
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    Current State of the Art: An overwhelming majority of camcorders now record to internal hard drives or flash-based removable media or both. Hard drive-based storage makes it easier to get your video to the computer. Saving it directly from the camcorder to a USB thumb drive has supplanted handing out MiniDV cassettes and DVDs. DVDs still have a place in distributing video to friends and family to watch on their TVs; it's usually better to give them edited video, after doing the editing on your computer.

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Categories: Digital Cameras

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