Do hard drive camcorders produce grainy film footage?

A friend of mine told me that with hard drive cameras, the image appears kind of grainy. Is that true? How about flash memory camcorders? Do they produce better video footage?


Ok, but what about a standard def hard drive camcorder? I looked at the hd camcorders and they are too expensive for now. My absolute limit is $500.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Generally, grainy video will be captured by any consumer camcorder in low-light environments. This is the case whether hard drive, flash memory, DVD or miniDV tape. To eliminate this, don't capture video in poor light. Either turn on the lights, use a video light or save your money for a better camcorder with bigger lenses and imaging chip(s).

    Consumer hard drive and flash memory camcorders save video to the same highly compressed MPEG2 (standard definition) or AVCHD (high definition) file types. If the camcorders are essentially the same - with the only difference being the storage media - the captured video will be identical. For example, the Canon HG series and the Canon HF series camcorders.

    Please keep in mind that in both cases, the video is compressed a lot. Under good lighting conditions, their video will be fine, but if the video quality is THAT important to you, then you need to understand what digital video compression does... Short version:

    Digital video compression = discarded video data = reduced video quality.

    An extreme example of what video compression does can be experienced at by comparing the video quality of the same video when viewed as high definition or non high definition. The same can be viewed at when comparing videos with the "high quality" or high definition link in the lower right corner of the video window.

    MiniDV tape captures DV (and HDV) digital video and compresses much less than consumer flash memory or hard drive based camcorders. As such, miniDV tape continues to provide best available video quality - which is why miniDV tape continues to be the choice for professionals. Even when they use hard drives, the external hard drives they attach to their miniDV tape based camcorders record to DV or HDV - check the FireStore external drives from Focus Enhancements. Same with flash memory (check the Panasonic P2 cards).

    Since consumer hard disc drive camcorders have known problems with vibration (loud audio or other vibration sources can cause the hard drive heads to park and not capture video)

    and they can stop recording at high altitude (higher than 9,800 feet) because of lack of air pressure, I no longer recommend hard drive based camcorders.

    MiniDV tape and flash memory camcorders do not have these vibration or altitude issues. Since I cannot see into the future and don't know where I will want to capture video, the best path is to eliminate potential problems. Suggested camcorders in your price range: Canon FS10, FS11, FS100.

    MiniDV tape requires your computer to have a firewire port - so if your computer does not have a firewire port, hopefully it has an available expansion slot so you can add one. If you are unable or unwilling to add a firewire port to your computer, then a flash memory camcorder is your only alternative.

    MiniDV tape's other advantage is the "archive process". MiniDV tape is cheap and if you do not reuse the tapes, the tape is your archive/backup. How are you planning to archive/back up the video captured to either a hard drive or flash memory camcorder?

    Another heads up: Whichever camcorder you decide, disable digital zoom. It is useless and will degrade the video quality. Use only optical zoom (unless you want to call the captured video "art").

  • lare
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Grainy images only occur because of very low light. The media the video is recorded on is not a factor. you can get grainy pictures on VHS just as easy. my newest camcorder is HDD and i don't see any problem with grain, in fact very sharp and clear image quality. If anything, the MPEG2 compression method reduces the visual impact of grain.

    Source(s): 20 years experience with camcorders
  • 1 decade ago

    No not at all. Actually many cameras nowadays are hard drives. they also have HD camcorders which make your videos crispy clear. If you get a HD one, you dont need to worry about grainy images. :D

  • 3 years ago

    No, that is frequently inferior. There are reliable annoyingpersistent camcorders and undesirable MiniDVs, of path, however the compression utilized in annoyingpersistent camcorders reasons precisely the matters you have complained approximately.

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