Originally Posted by Cookee
Chris - How does the above compare to the solid state recorders price wise? I'm sure some people might be interested, although the quality is surprising and is a lot better than Youtube quality!
Unfortunately miniDV recorders are getting thin on the ground, or at least ones with the required functionality are (sorry, should have said that before
). You need one with composite video (and audio if you are using a mike) inputs, and ideally firewire input as well as output so you can edit on a pc and output back to tape.
I'm only really familiar with Sony kit, and it looks like none of their latest range has this functionality. Older units (eg Sony HC32, HC96, PC55, PC109) are available second hand or still stocked new in some shops (£300 to £500). Other manufacturers may still sell new products to fit the bill.
You are then looking at a waterproof camera with composite output (£100 to £150), waterproof case (£20 to £30), camera battery pack (12 vdc NiCD or NiMH), cabling and connectors. You'll need to be happy with basic DIY, wiring and soldering.
The other challenge is controlling the recorder - you really do not want to be opening the waterproof case to start / stop recorder or change tapes whilst at sea. The Sony HC32, HC96 and PC109 use a wired system called LANC for which remote controls are available - I think Canon also use LANC.
Finally, if you are going to be 'wearing' the camera, you need to consider safety - if the camera is attached in some way to your head, and the recorder is on your back or in the boat, you need some sort of breakaway connector between the two, so if the worst happens the connector just pulls apart before it takes your head off.