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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 17-inch iMac and, after the shock of having something so wonderful in the house, I'm thinking of ways to get in on the digital lifestyle.

Movies: What is a good way to get analog video into the computer? I've read good and bad things about Formac Studio, DV-Bridge and DAC-100. Which one is the best? Or should I be looking at another solution?

Photos: We're quite attached to the control and quality we get with our SLR cameras so I was thinking of buying a scanner -- maybe a little one that does one print at a time (to save space on the desk). Will I be happy with this or should we break down and get a digital camera? It seems you have to pay a lot of money to get one that takes decent pictures.

Thanks for any and all advice.
 

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Hmmm I know about the camera issue. But I will say that you can get some control from your digital. Now, how much control you want will depend. you may have to get a high end camera to do your high end work. Either that, or you get a scanner w/ the attchement so that you may do negatives. You will get a nice hi res scan out of that for sure. Analog 2 DV ? someone else may have to expound.
 

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What I have been told is that it is possible to send the VHS video into the DV camera (I have a Canon ZR40). Then, send this digitized tape into the iMac via Firewire. There are some cameras that allow for "pass through", but I can't say if the Canon video cameras have this function (I know certain Sony cameras has this ability).
 

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I forgot to add a caveat emptor statement -- do NOT get a video camera with a built-in digital still camera capability and expect it to give you quality pictures. I bought the ZR 40 because it had no card to capture and store digital pictures. Thus, I was not paying for something I would not utilize. I have a digital camera and I use that for stills. Also, don't fall for the hype over digital zoom. Optical zoom is the only number to concern yourself with and between 10 and 20X optical zoom is fine for the normal hand to try and hold steady, even with all of the internal balance control features.

I am about to order a new iMac myself. While I was delaying my decision, the 1 Ghz iMacs were released. So much for rushing in and buying ASAP.
 

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I am just have a question for mrogers here. Does your new 17' iMac VGA out port have support for dual monitor?
 

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Hopefully you find the answer. I have a big old camcorder and put everything on video tape and would love to be able to put things on the computer.

Omega Multimedia has the answer for taking photos from video camera, VCR and TV. It is called Snappy and sells for about $140. I was impressed, sad news it only works with Windows :(
 

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Well mrogers, drG is correct in what he said. I too have bought the Canon ZR45 the 40 wasn't in stock and they gave the 45 at the same price. With this camera you have the abiltiy to covert analog to digital format. All the ZR lines do this. It's more pricey than dazzle but you also get a camera out of it.
 

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bmovie, getting a ZR45 for the price of a ZR40 is good fortune for you. However, one should not spend the extra money on a feature that is not really needed if all you want is a video camera. Still, you received a very good deal, in my opinion.
 

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If you need to do D-A video conversion, you should consider the appropriate DV camera option, as it is quite cost-effecive.

For the most part, the only difference is some cameras require you to transfer the footage to DV (ie record it to DV tape first, then export the footage on the tape to your Mac) while others allow you to access the digitizer without committing to tape; in other words plug (for example) a VCR into the camera and the camera into your Mac and go. Saves a step.

The downside of using a camera is that you may lose some quality due to the cheezy cables you might end up using, or you may be limited to composite video (single yellow RCA connector) rather than S-Video or (even better) component video (3 RCA connectors). Be sure your camera supports (at a minimum) stereo audio at 16/48 when digitizing from an analog source. DV cam audio connections can be a real problem, forcing you to use 3.5mm mini phone connectors and adapters. About the only good thing I can say about them is they are compact.

If you don't want or need a DV camera, a standalone A-D processor works well. Provided you use a good model, you may well find the results superior to many DV cameras. Stay away from any inexpensive solution. Although it certainly works, the results are not up to minimum quality standards for anything except web or multimedia (ie a CD) where you will be compressing the video and reducing the frame rate anyway.

Formac Studio DV is a good product with good software suppport; Formac as a company has an excellent reptation in England, where they've been making higher quality monitors in the UK for about 15 years. You can also look at the Studio DV/TV has a good 125 channel tuner; which may sway you if you need that feature.

Also on your shopping list should be the Miglia Director's Cut Take 2; given a choice I would take it over the Formac, but you may find the Formac is easier to get your hands on. For example, you can order it thru the Apple Store.

Miglia Director's Cut

Formac Studio DV/TV
 

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Gordguide, you wrote

"For the most part, the only difference is some cameras require you to transfer the footage to DV (ie record it to DV tape first, then export the footage on the tape to your Mac) while others allow you to access the digitizer without committing to tape; in other words plug (for example) a VCR into the camera and the camera into your Mac and go. Saves a step."

That is not true, that is why I got the Canon ZR45, you don't have to record it to tape first. I have a video 8 (sony) camcorder I just plug that into the canon and out from the canon via firewire into my computer. The canon acts like a Analog to DV converter.

NO RECORDING. Straight play thru.
 

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That's what I said.

Better cameras allow you to access the A-D converter, less expensive models don't. If you can't access the A-D converter directly, you must copy to DV tape first, then export to your Mac.

The Canon 45 is one model that allows direct access to the A-D converter.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr.G.:
bmovie, getting a ZR45 for the price of a ZR40 is good fortune for you. However, one should not spend the extra money on a feature that is not really needed if all you want is a video camera. Still, you received a very good deal, in my opinion.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You are absolutely correct. I was looking at the sony ...27 don't remeber the exact model number. it was a lot more expesive. I asked what the main difference was. They told me it had a 1meg CCD.

BIG DEAL! you don't by a camcorder to take pictures (stills) If I buy a digital camera it has to be a least 3.5 mega pixels if not 4. have you seen the shitty quality of a 2 mega pixel camera? so imagine a 1 mega pixel.

so that is why I got the canon. For the price and it did exactly what the higher end model do!

so people be carefull on not spending for things you wont' use! You'll waste your money.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gordguide:
SOME cameras do; SOME cameras dont. Know which one you have.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You're right some do and some don't.
Everyone should do their research first. To make sure they get exactly what they need. Dont' worry about fancy gimicks that you'll never use!
 

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What they usually don't tell you is that still photos on a DV camcorder are interlaced, while the DV footage and any digital camera produces non-interlaced images. (Short answer: you want non-interlaced).

The feature is there mostly for confused consumers who are also PC users. Mac users (or savvy PC users with some idea of how their 3rd party movie software works) can just pull a non-interlaced still from the DV footage, which will be much higher quality than the still photo "feature".

Sadly, this isn't going away. Expect to see any new model to support ever larger still memory, because the big-box salesman can do a "feature comparison" and sell the model with this waste of time and money. If you made DV camcorders, you would be peeved if your better camera sold poorly because it missed this "feature" when compared to the Cheeze-O-Matic 4000 model.

Consumers never really did understand video cameras. I'm sure many ehMac members have got the "can I hook this up to a computer" question from people with VHS or Hi-8 camcorders. The salesman obviously said "Sure you can, all you need to do is get this little adapter" pointing to some crappy USB A-D converter on the shelf nearby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gordguide:


Formac Studio DV is a good product with good software suppport; Formac as a company has an excellent reptation in England, where they've been making higher quality monitors in the UK for about 15 years. You can also look at the Studio DV/TV has a good 125 channel tuner; which may sway you if you need that feature.

Also on your shopping list should be the Miglia Director's Cut Take 2; given a choice I would take it over the Formac, but you may find the Formac is easier to get your hands on. For example, you can order it thru the Apple Store.

Miglia Director's Cut

Formac Studio DV/TV
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How about Dazzle DV-Bridge. They've got it at London Drugs, which means I can try it for 15 days and take it back if I don't like it -- a much easier option than mail order.
 

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mrogers, IMHO, I feel that for good quality pictures, you really can't go wrong with your SLR Camera - if you are looking for a print.

If you just want pictures for web, email etc, then buy a decent digital camera. This will save the hassle of scanning in any pictures. I have heard however that the slide scanners work really well although I have no experience with them.

So my advice is if you want the digital camera for print, then be prepared to fork out big bucks for high quality pictures. But if you just want it for snap shots and not the type of work your SLR can do, then stick with a fairly low cost digital camera. I've seen the Canon S230 and the pictures it produces and I'm kicking myself for not getting that one in the first place.
 

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First post so I hope that I get this correctly.
I use a Pentax 35 mm SLR for artsy and important pictures. Otherwise we use a point and shoot auto everything for candid shots of the kids. Get them developed and scan them in. Works fine.
Recently got a Canon S200 digital. Wonderful for small candid shots - find that quality of image is pretty acceptable. Do find that rapidity of shots with digital is difficult to control in normal lighting. Brighter lights (summer) would allow faster cycling between shots. Could not justify spending lots of cash on a high end digital for my usage. If your budget and work depend upon high quality, have heard of a new Kodak digital 10 MP camera - I think 8000+ dollars for the body.

Greg
 

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Nikon offers a slide copy adapter for it's Coolpix 5000 and 5700 cameras (and, I'm sure, the droolworthy D1X). Rather than spending $200 for a flatbed/film scanner with limited dynamic range or $600+ for a dedicated film scanner, you can get excellent 5 megapixel scans of your slides and film with a good digicam.

When you look for a digital camera, check the manufacturer's site for this option.
 

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gordguide, I had heard of this adaptor, but no reviews as to the quality of the pictures taken from a picture of a slide. I had considered the Minolta 7i as my next digital camera.
 

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I will be getting the adapter for my Coolpix 5000 sometime this spring (not right away, though).

I have made copies using film and a copy stand, they work very well. I just can't see the Dmax of any consumer scanner coming close to the CCD of the camera. Now that Adobe offers a 16-bit RAW import plugin for PS7, I find it hard to believe the results won't be an improvement.

My scans with a flatbed Epson 1660Photo are unremarkable and have very low contrast ratios; if you are in the habit of underexposing by 1/3 stop for positive film (ie EI-80 for KR-64), the scanner has even more trouble with shadow detail. Scanner speed is moot when you have to spend 20 minutes fixing every image. Good enough for the web, but hardly coming close to the potential for slides.
 
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