A friend of mine came to me asking some advice regarding updating from there trusty mini dv outdated camera to a new shiny SD card one and wanted to know the benefits of upgrading. With being a full on video geek myself, I am always interested in reading about new and upcoming products that can help enhance the viewers watching experience and also save me time during the filming and editing process. Who would have thought 20 years ago we could all go to the cinema and watch a 3D movie in our time?
So if you are thinking about updating to an SD card camcorder here are a few little hints to take into consideration before you make your purchase.
Most camera manufacturers use Secure Digital (SD) and Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) for their flash memory card camcorders. This has allowed memory card makers to start marketing their products as video cards although this will not necessarily be the right one for your camcorder just because it is branded as a “video card” product. There are many key differences that you need to be aware of.
A crucial fact that you need to know when choosing the SD/SDHC card of your choice is the speed; especially when used in a high definition camcorder. Currently you can use SD/SDHC cards in Class 2, Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10, 2 offering the minimum sustained data rate of 2 megabytes (MBps) per second. Slower SD/SDHC cards can simply not cope with the amount of data being fed to them and it could compromise your filming all together by simply not filming at all. For a standard definition camcorder an SD/SDHC with a class 2 speed will work perfectly well as this is fast enough to handle the highest quality of video that you can record. For high definition camcorders you can go for anything from a class 6 upwards. Class 6 will work perfectly well but if you are tempted to go for say a class 10 you might be paying for performance that you don’t need.
SD cards are only available up to 2GB whereas the SHDC cards are available in 4,8,16 and 32 GB capacities. The simple explanation for this is the higher the GB the more storage space you have on the card for your videos. If you are going for a standard definition camcorder you would be safe enough with a SD card but for high definition you would need to look at a SDHC or its successor the SDXC.
SDHC cards are slowly being overtaken by its successor the SDXC. The SDXC looks exactly the same as the SDHC but will eventually have the capacity to hold up to 2TB of data and speeds of up to 200 MBps. These are available now in 64GB and 128GB but keep your eyes out for the 2TB which will be available in the near future.
So what’s the benefit of upgrading from Mini DV to a card format?
For me the best thing about SDXC card camcorders (which is what my camera works happily with) is the time it takes to capture the footage onto your computer ready for editing. Mini DV camcorders are in real time meaning 2 hours of footage takes 2 hours to capture on your PC or Laptop. Cards are much quicker: I can unload 2 hours of filming in less than 20 minutes. Tapes usually come in 60 minute length (at best resolution) and if you are filming say an event where you can’t take a 5 minute tape change (for example a wedding) the SDHC card will continue filming until it is up to its maximum filming capacity.
Also it saves me having to walk around with a spare tape in my back pocket, having a pen on hand to label the tape and in the long run the SD card has worked out cheaper as I do not like filming over footage on a mini dv tape encase of interference.
You can still get fantastic quality on mini dv camcorders so really it just depends on why you are upgrading to a new camcorder, luckily you can get a decent semi-professional camcorder for under £1000 if you are just looking to have a go at making your own movies or videos for your YouTube channel. Personally the thought of going back to a mini dv camcorder exhausts me just thinking about the capture time and I do find the SDXC has exceptional footage quality.
Digital Marketing Manager
The Internet Marketing Academy
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