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Panasonic NV-DS12

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      08.01.2001 23:30
      Very helpful



      I recently bought a Panasonic NVDS12B. It was the cheapest mini DV camcorder that I could find. Magazine reviews of the similar models say that it is well specified, and performs well but that its styling is a bit naff and this was just what I wanted! The current equivalent model is the NVDS60. This also has a fold out screen. Most places try to make their money on the spares and accessories for a camcorder. Make sure you shop around for these. You should be able to get a bag for £10. 60 minute blank tapes shouldn't cost much more than £5 each. Batteries are available much more cheaply on the internet than if you just buy one over the counter on the High Street. Its easy to use to do the stuff you want to use most of the time. The picture quality seems good. In theory its quite a bit better quality than a compact VHS or 8mm camcorder, but I think I probably need a better quality TV before I can tell the difference. There is a 0 lux mode, which means that you can record things (in black and white) when its so dark that you can't see you're hand in front of your face. I can't say this has been much use, but its a nice toy! There are a few other options which you access by pressing and turning a little wheel. The only one of these which is of much use is whether you want the camera shake control to be on or off. This helps stabilise the picture when you're walking around but isn't so good for recording things that are moving quickly. The rest of the functions are for digital effects on the image - mirroring, sepia tones, and a mode for making your videos look like Top of the Pops in 1975. It is a bit fiddly to change these settings, but you won't need to do it mu ch. One thing that is a little confusing is how to change the tapes over. You need to switch the camcorder on first before you press open the panel on the bottom. If the camcorder isn't switched on, the o
      utside flap opens but the tape isn't ejected. Its not a problem when you know how to do it, just a little counter intuitive. When you buy them, all the cheaper digital camcorders let you connect to an IEEE 1394 port on a computer (aka a Firewire port on a Macintosh) to download digital movies. You can edit these movies, but you can't save them back on the camcorder tape without a bit of fiddling. The import duty is 10% higher on a camcorder which is set up to read and write digital movies to/from a computer. I have now bought a card with a IEEE 1394 port for my notebook PC. Its made by Belkin, and is sold by gb.buy.com for £67. I used a £30 off discount voucher (there are quite a few of these around at the moment for this site). The card comes with a program for editing videos and the cable to connect to the camcorder. It works well. You can choose to save the video, the sound or both. You can also control the camcorder fast forward and play controls from within the video editing program on the computer. To set your camcorder to read the digital information once you have edited it on the computer, you can either buy a little electronic box, or you can get a free PC program to do it for you. You need a cable to connect between the PC serial port and the socket for downloading still pictures on the camcorder. You can buy these for £60 or so from Panasonic, or just the cable for £15 from http://www.go.to/dvin To get the program for downloading the codes, see http://www.volny.cz/mkrejcik/dvzone.htm For lots of information on how to set up your PC to let you edit movies, see http://www.silverlist.com You used to be able to read a PDF file of the manual on the Panasonic WWW site, but I can't find that bit any more. The page of specifications on the NVDS12B is here: http://www.panasonic.co.uk/nw/products/product.asp?c=NVDS12B


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