Sunday, April 15, 2007

Panasonic NV-GS320 review

Last Saturday I bought the NV-GS320 digital video camera from Panasonic. Since this camera is pretty new, I couldn't find many decent reviews on the web, so I decided to write one of my own. (The NV-GS320 seems to be the same camera as the PV-GS320 but with some different names for the features. The spelling of “colour” on the Panasonic web page suggests that the NV was made for the European market.)

This camera sells for 500–600 euros, which places it in the medium- to high-end consumer range. I bought mine at Media Markt for € 578 (prices as of April 2007).

The combination of 3CCD and MiniDV makes this camera almost unique in its price range. Most other 3CCD cameras start around € 1000. How did Panasonic do this? Probably a tape deck is cheaper than a hard disk or a dvd writer. But what else did they leave out? Let's find out.

Contents of the package

Apart from the camera itself and a battery, the package includes a remote control which, for a nice change, includes the required button cell battery. There is a manual (Dutch in my case, no English version included) which is comprehensive and relatively decent, though not excellent. Also included in the package are a USB connector cable (large to small mini A plug), an adaptor and the necessary cables, and an A/V cable to output to S-Video and three phono connectors. A MiniDV tape and a FireWire cable are not included.

Picture quality

The NV-GS320 is one of the few cameras in its price range sporting three CCD sensors (3CCD). This is supposed to give a clearer picture with more vibrant colours. The sensor allows for hardware widescreen (16:9) ratio, without losing quality compared to standard 4:3. The camera uses a Leica Dicomar lens with a maximum zoom factor of 10×.

My first impressions of the picture quality were excellent. The images are very sharp and colourful in daylight:
(Click to enlarge.)
In the enlarged version it looks a bit pixelized, but this is a result of the deinterlacing. Of course, I cannot compare the image quality to that of other cameras, but in the absolute sense these pictures are very good.

The camera can either be set to automatic or manual mode. When switching to manual, the current settings of the automatic mode appear to be retained, which is very handy.

The automatic white balancing can take a few seconds to kick in, but usually finds the right balance. The same holds for the aperture and shutter speed – sudden changes in lighting are not picked up immediately. Whether that is good or bad depends on the situation. Autofocus works just fine and I haven't noticed any unexpected hiccups. Filming through a dirty window, however, is not recommended.

In manual mode, you can configure the aperture, gain (only when the aperture is fully open), shutter speed, and white balance. I have not used the manual mode much, as automatic seemed to work just fine in all conditions.

There is an option called “backlight compensation” which brightens the input at the cost of saturating a light background. This works fairly well and can be very handy when shooting, e.g., a portrait against a bright sky.

Panasonic's O.I.S. (optical image stabilizer), done in hardware by wiggling the lens, promises excellent correction for shaking. Many other cameras do this in software, slightly degrading picture quality along the way. My finding is that the image stabilizer manages very well to correct for small vibrations; if you hold the camera properly, it is possible to compose a fairly stable shot at the full 10× zoom. Larger shaking is not compensated for, but even these motions seem a bit smoother than usual.

Low-light performance

One of the most important factors in a camera is how it performs under bad lighting conditions, like lamp light, candle-light or worse.

Performance under indoor lamp light seems alright:

The picture does tend to get a bit blurry when moving, so shooting from a tripod whenever possible is recommended. However, as you can see, the level of noise is very acceptable. The above picture was taken with the maximum aperture and gain settings (18 dB); apparently the black areas were too difficult even then.

Additionally, there is a feature called “Colour night view” for shooting really dark scenes. The catch is that the framerate drops; I've observed factors between 4 (which may be acceptable sometimes) and 18 (which isn't). The other catch is that anything that moves becomes a big blur. The third catch is that light areas bleed a lot into dark areas.

If you can live with all of that, the night shot is pretty impressive for what I've seen. Here's a shot in the dark, lit only by a TFT monitor:

Admittedly, I tried to hold the camera very still while taking this shot.

Of course, TFT light is a little extreme, so I took the camera out to film by street light:
Left: without colour night view — Right: with colour night view
This seems to be one of the few situations where the white balancing screws up, resulting in a very reddish picture. I could not correct this by setting it to lamp light manually – street light is a different beast altogether. Manual white balancing would probably have fixed it, but I forgot to bring something white along. Also, you can clearly see the light bleeding into the dark areas.

Photographs

Like with many digital videocameras, the Panasonic NV-GS320 is capable of taking still photographs. The maximum resolution is 2048×1512.

Unfortunately, this resolution is quite pointless. Even in bright light, when the aperture can be nearly closed, the photos taken are not very sharp:

When looking at them up close, it even seems that software sharpening has taken place, judging from the halos:
I suspect the picture is taken at a lower resolution and then scaled up in software.

Audio

One of the biggest weaknesses of this camera is the lack of an input for an external microphone, as well as headphone output. If you don't like the sound of the internal stereo microphone, you're out of luck.

That being said, the internal mic is quite decent. Any noise, from the tape motor or otherwise, got drowned out by the environment noise in places where I filmed. Handling of buttons (especially zoom) goes nearly unnoticed as well.

There is a setting to “zoom” the microphone. This, however, means applying gain to the signal, not altering the area over which sound is picked up. The microphone also picks up a lot of sound from the environment, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on circumstance.

The camera includes a wind noise filter. It's hard for me to judge how good this works; when shooting straight against the wind, noise is certainly there, but this may be normal. During 15 minutes of shooting outside on a medium-windy day, wind noise occurred only a few times, so it's not too bad overall.

Recording medium

This camera is one of the few that still record to MiniDV tapes; most cameras nowadays record to either a hard disk or some mini-dvd format. MiniDV still has some advantages: its compression factor is less, supposedly resulting in better image quality, and the tapes are quite cheap and widely available. Its prime disadvantage is the linearity of a tape, and the limited capacity (just over one hour). But tapes can be swapped, while hard disks cannot.

Still photographs are recorded to an SD card up to 2 GB or an SDHC card up to 4 GB.

LCD and viewfinder

The NV-GS320, unlike many of its colleagues, still has a viewfinder. Many other cameras nowadays rely only on the LCD display. Not only does this drain your battery, but also the picture can be hard to see in bright light.

However, LCD technology has come a long way, and even in broad daylight with the sun right behind me, I could still see the picture on the LCD quite well. But if you don't look under just the right angle, the LCD tends to show clipped whites where they aren't, suggesting over-exposure that isn't there. Looking straight at the screen, the problem disappears, but this is something to keep in mind especially when fine-tuning in manual mode.

Usability

The controls of the camera take some getting used to, because nearly everything is controlled by a little 4-way joystick which also functions as a push button. Once you get the hang of it, it's really quite easy and intuitive. The joystick controls an on-screen pie menu with options relating to the current mode (filming, playback etc.). The joystick is also used in the configuration menu.

The pie menu contains a tiny help feature, explaining the meaning of the little icons. This is convenient, because the text labels of the options cannot be seen before you activate or deactivate them. On the other hand, toggling an option to find out what it does is faster than calling up the help menu.

My overall impression of the menu structure is okay, though not perfect. But the menu is not deep, and you'll quickly learn where to find every feature.

Manual focus has to be done with the joystick, which is not half as convenient as having a proper focus ring, and on a small LCD it's hard to see whether you have focused properly. The LCD does not zoom in to assist you, nor does it show to what distance the focus is currently set.

Another annoyance is that you cannot hold down the button to increment or decrement values in manual mode; you have to keep wiggling the joystick to make large adjustments.

Some of the buttons cannot be reached when filming with one hand, most notably the menu button and the auto/manual switch. But you won't use these buttons while recording anyway.

The camera comes with a remote control, which duplicates most of the buttons on the camera, allowing for nearly complete control. There are also dedicated buttons for playback mode. One feature that is only accessible through the remote is “audio dub”, allowing you to create a voiceover right there on the camera. If you recorded the audio in 12 bits instead of 16, you'll be able to record the voiceover on a separate track without losing the original audio of the filmed material.

Battery life and power supply

According to the manual, the packaged battery can be used for 30 minutes when actively using the camera. It requires 1 hour and 40 minutes to recharge. Batteries with an effective lifetime of up to 1 hour 45 can be bought separately. However, I found that 30 minutes is not as bad as it sounds: I've been out filming for over an hour and the battery was still nearly full. I shot about 15 minutes of film in this time.

The accompanying adaptor can be used to power the camera directly, or to charge the battery while it's not in the camera, but not both at the same time. Unfortunately the FireWire and USB connections on the camera are located below the battery, so you'll have to switch to the adaptor while capturing to the computer, which means you can't recharge the battery at the same time. This could be problematic in some situations.

Capturing and editing

The camera can be connected to a computer using either USB 2.0 (cable included) or FireWire (cable not included). Adobe Premiere fans will like the FireWire, because Premiere Pro 2.0 is not really suitable for USB capturing. The accompanying software does a better job at USB capturing, because device control works. However, to use scene detection (place each captured clip into its own file), the software will rewind the tape a bit at every splitting point. I can't imagine that this is good for the tape nor the tape mechanism, and it's also completely unnecessary because Premiere has no problems capturing and splitting it all in one go.

Two editing programs are supplied: SweetMovieLife for basic editing and MotionDV STUDIO for (slightly) more advanced work. Because Premiere is my preferred piece of editing software, I only used MotionDV STUDIO for the USB capturing. First (and last) impression: have seen worse.

Conclusion

If image quality is your primary concern, this is the camera for you. In low light, too, it remains very usable. The picture stabilizer works pretty good. But don't buy this camera to take still photographs.

Audio quality is decent, but the mic picks up sound from all around the camera. The lack of a microphone input is a severe shortcoming.

The rest of the feature set is excellent, and the backlight compensation and night shot are nice additions. Remember to buy a FireWire cable if you intend to use anything but the accompanying software.

On the usability front, this camera is decent, but not excellent. If you're afraid of buttons and menus I'd recommend looking elsewhere, but anyone with a little bit of technical experience will have no problem controlling this camera.

Personally, I'll be returning this beast because I know I'll want to plug in an external microphone at some point. But if it weren't for that … I'd definitely go for it.

62 comments:

jturner6 said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this review. This couldn't have come at a better time! I've been swaying between the GS-85 and the GS-320. I've also thought about the Sony HC-96. Your review has provided some useful insight. If you happen to buy the HC-96, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well. Thanks again!

Thomas ten Cate said...

Wow, great to see that someone appreciates this review. I'm wondering how you found it?

As the microphone input is a must for me, I will not be trying the Sony DCR-HC96. I ordered a JVC GZ-MG575 instead. A different price class, definitely, so I'm curious to see whether it's worth the extra money. Of course I'll post a review of that camera too, once I have it.

But I recently heard of an interesting alternative to mic input: use a minidisc recorder to record the sound separately, then recombine the audio and video in editing. This is a breeze in Adobe Premiere, because you can sync the minidisc audio on the camera's audio visually, by comparing the shape of the sound waves.

So if I don't like the JVC, I might be going back to my good old Panasonic after all. It may seem strange but I grew a little attached to it in the two days we were together. Sniff.

William said...

Tom, my thanks to you as well for your time to review the panny. What you mentioned about the mike input is interesting. Guess you could use a little digital Olympus like the W-10 or something.

Thomas ten Cate said...

Thanks for the comment. Wonderful to see that people are actually finding this useful!

But please pretty please, I'm dying to know how you found this thing. It's not exactly like I'm on the first page of Google or something …

(By the way, it's Thomas, not Tom, I think it suits me better.)

Dries said...

I think we find you by this link: http://reviews.cnet.com/Panasonic_PV_GS320/4864-6500_7-32330317.html?ctype=msgid&messageSiteID=7&messageID=2409217&cval=2409217&tag=uolst

:)

Dries said...

By the way, would there be an other camera (same price class) with better low light performance ? Else I will buy this one I think!

Thomas ten Cate said...

Ah, so they did put it up on CNET after all! That explains.

I haven't had the chance to play with other cameras in this price class, so unfortunately I'm unable to help you, dries.

Albert Low said...

Great review in helping to choose a DV. I found it very usefull. Thanks for your effort.

Premnath said...

Hi,

Thnaks very much for the review. It is very helpful.

Premnath

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review!
I found your review thru http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Panasonic-PV-GS320-First-Impressions-Review.htm.

The video frame captures helps to discern video quality, eps. regarding the low-light capabilities.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Thomas for a very thorough review. I found you through cnet.com

Chuck said...

Hi,

I also saw your review on CNET and just wanted to say thanks for putting in the time for a complete review.

Any camcorder without Mic inputs seems to have this flagged as a big negative. But I'm not sure I will miss it for everyday family and home events. Is there something I'm missing that makes these so important?

Seemjs like another cord/gadget to fuss with that will make it that less likely for me to even take the camera out of the bag...

Thomas ten Cate said...

The internal microphone can be just fine for many situations. But if you ever find yourself wanting or needing more than the internal mic, you do not even have the option of using something else.

But you're right; if you intend to buy a camera for casual use, a microphone input is probably not really needed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas,

I very much appreciate your review regarding the NV-GS320 video camera.

FYI: I bought this camera yeasterday based upon your review, so your review was absolutely helping me deciding in what camera to buy :-)

Br,
Bjørn

Kristian said...

Hi Thomas,

Great review. I've bought the beast, and I am fairly happy with it (especially the three CCD's - they produce excellent quality for the money).

What I am missing the most is the manual focus ring. The joystick just doesn't give enough control and feeling with the focus.

The lack of a jack for an external mic isn't that much of a problem for me. I tend to shoot in noisy environments, and I don't think that anything but a really expensive external mic would help me here. Instead I usually end up adding music and speaks to the scenes when the noise is unuseable.

I got the camcorder for USD $400 (+ another $40 for UV filter and some tapes), on a business trip to the US. This is somewhat cheaper than in the EU, but be aware that the US version (PV-GS320) only can help you with 16:9 recordings, as 4:3 is recorded in NTSC ;-).

Thanks for taking the time to post reviews like this.

Thomas ten Cate said...

kristian, thank you for the comment! Glad to hear that you like the camera.

It's true that focussing with the joystick is completely worthless. On the other hand, the autofocus is very decent so it's not much of a problem.

PAL vs. NTSC must of course be the difference between the two types. Why didn't I think of that? Thanks for pointing it out!

James said...

Hello, Thomas,

You da man! Seriously, a very informative and well-crafted review. I obviously amongst many others) am grateful for your efforts on behalf of the camcorder consumer. You have a flair--a gift, in fact--for expository writing. I'll delve into your blog for both entertainment and edification and won't be surprised if you do this sort of thing as a livelihood.

Best wishes,

Jim

Thomas ten Cate said...

Wow... that's really a lot of praise... *blush*

Doing this for a living is probably not my thing, but I might do something like this on the sidelines, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, clear, detailed review. Thanks so much for doing this which has really helped me decide on my next camcorder.

Found it via google search for model number +review.

Thank you for posting such an excellent piece of work - you have my complete respect!

Brendan (London)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Thomas.

I am looking for a replacement of my NV-DS37, which was my first camera ever. However, it died a year ago.

I never got to converting the tapes to DVD. So now I'm looking for a reasonable camera that uses mini DV tapes (worked fine for me), hoping I can playback the old tapes too.

Do you know if I can play these old tapes on the GS-320?

Regards,
Mark

Thomas ten Cate said...

As far as I know, MiniDV is MiniDV, except when using the newer cameras which use other compression formats while recording to a MiniDV tape. If your old camera recorded to plain old MiniDV you should be fine.

James Bosch said...

Thanks Thomas! I enjoyed reading through your detailed review.

One feature I've not yet been able to confirm is if this unit has analog inputs for digital archiving. I have a relic of a Hi8 camcorder and various Hi8 tapes I'd like to archive onto digital media. Does the Panasonic have the analog inputs?

Lawrence Newcastle UK said...

Hi Thomas Ten Cate,

I brought this camcorder yesterday and cant wait to have a play with it.

You might like to know that The UK Consumer Association (Which Magazine) makes this camcorder its best buy.

I may have finally found your review a day late but I am pleased that there is nothing seriously wrong with the camera and it will do me as an entry level gadget.

Cheers

Thomas ten Cate said...

James,

I don't think the camera supports analog video input. The specifications do not mention anything of the kind either.

David said...

I have purchased this camera and am well pleased, but one feature is missing, and it is one that I miss. During recording, I do a lot of on-the-fly editing, that is taking shots then rewinding get rid of scenes that aren't pleasing, or ran too long. One can't rewind in the record mode with this camera, and it is hard to rewind to a precise spot in the play mode because the search speed is fast. Only with the remote can one search is slow motion.

David said...

One more thing:

Vista compatible software is available from Panasonic, but the installation instructions are incomplete. Download all of the large setup files 000-007 to that folder. Clicking on the final, crucial, .bat file doesn't initiate a download, rather takes one to another window with the contents of the file. In the same folder, create a .txt file, copy and paste the .bat file contents into it and rename it to something like setup.bat. Now double-click on that and a new setup.ext file is created and it is THAT file you should open to start the installation.

http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/soft/download/motionDV60E_LE.html

David said...

Try this:

http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/soft/
download/motionDV60E_LE.html

Sammy said...

Hi Thomas,

thanks a lot for your personal review on the camcorder. As there were not that much reviews around, it was very useful to find yours. Video image quality, plus being able to edit the footage, is my primary concern. In that viewpoint, MiniDV is still the way to go. This cam has 3CCD, and pricing is still very decent. As I don't plan to buy an external mic, I think I'll go for the NV-GS320. Your mentioned Mediamark price seems very reasonable, guess I'll pay them a visit ;-)
Thanks a lot, man!

Abram Burel said...

Hi Thomas!
My son has the option to choose between NV-GS320 and the HC-96.
My personal thought (since he is only 17 yo, this matters :) ) is that the Panasonic is a beter choice, at least for the manual control possibilities.
Could you support this?
I came to this blog by just looking on Google for "NV-GS320" and have some patience to the second page :)
Regards,
AB

Thomas ten Cate said...

I played around with Sony cameras at the shop. I can't say much about actual picture quality and such, but I must say the Panasonic just "feels better". Sony and Canon would be second best at that front. Also, I don't like the idea of getting fingerprints all over your precious LCD, which in a Sony is also a touch-screen for most of the cam's controls.

Ric Ricland said...

Good review.

Would have liked a video clip.

Mic input is important to me.

What would you recommend in this price range?

ric

Thomas ten Cate said...

Thanks.

Would have liked to put on a video clip, but it would need to be uncompressed to really say anything, which means big, which means I don't have the space for that.

If you really need the microphone input, there is not much choice in this price range. There's not really any specific camera I can recommend, sorry.

Chuck in Virginia USA. said...

Thomas - thanks so much. I too found you via CNET user reviews.

Consumerreports.org lists the PV-GS320 as #1 and the Canon ZR-800 as #2 in their latest listing of mini-DV camcorders. Their list does *not* include the ZR-850 which would be a better rival, though both Canons are in a lower price category -- making them a better buy for the price, on the one hand, but both CNET and Consumerreports editors rate the GS320 higher overall (independent of price). Consumerreports rates the audio quality of the GS320 lower than the ZR-800 - consistent with your findings.

However - the main reason I'm writing is that I'm in the same situation as James Bosch (25-June). I want an A/D for conversion of analog video to DV. (Hi8 in my case, too.)

Time was, this was a standard feature. E.g., ZR-700 had it. And the CNET review explicitly dings the ZR-850 for *not* having it, but no other reviews mention the feature.

Inconsistent on the reviewers part.

What is needed for A/D is a "composite video/audio INPUT"

See what CNET Specs call the "Expansion/Connectivity:Connections."

Most camcorders now only offer the composite OUTPUT, or no composite at all.

Has anyone found a moderately priced, good performing, current mini-DV camcorder that has this?

Or is there a better way?

Perhaps I've just found one answer to my own question: Sony makes a VRD-VC30. This looks promising.

I'll stop here, and post. Perhaps some of this may be useful.

Cheers!

Deep said...

Godd job,

I really liked the way that you have scripted the review. It is very interesting to read.

I am actually looking to buy my first Camcorder. Looking for miniDV format. This one looks to be a good one for me even without my preference for manual focus rings.

Thanks,

Deep Kumar

Matrix said...

Thomas,

Iam also writing a review about the camera and iam using using your website as a reference...

Iam going to mention some more points on my site..Pls let me know if you have any concerns.....

Thanks
Matrix

Thomas ten Cate said...

Nice! Others may be helped by your review too, so here's the link.

Anonymous said...

thomas

i cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you put into this review. it was well organized and extremely helpful.

Anonymous said...

hey thomas,

you really make me wanna buy this camera...nice review brother!

Howard said...

Hi Thomas! Thanks so much for your very comprehensive, thoughtful, and well-written review. I have been going crazy trying to find a suitable camcorder mainly for capturing home movies of the kids. I have always been a Canon fan, but found that the ZR850 does not quite hit the mark. I think you have me convinced that this camcorder is the way to go! Any thoughts about Canon vs. Panasonic? Also, how do you feel about the future of minidv vs. DVD and hard drive formats. Thanks again, and I found you based on your review at CNET. -Howard

Thomas ten Cate said...

I played around with the Canon HG10 (?), a HD camera, and it struck me as a very good camera. Example movies I downloaded looked very impressive. Apart from that, I only have experience with a Canon of several years old; but that, too, is a fine product for its age. So yes, Canon is definitely a brand to consider. As long as you avoid JVC.

With HD cameras becoming more popular, I think MiniDV is in for a comeback, and direct dvd recording is (justly) doomed. Hard drives are convenient; the pros and cons of hard drive vs. MiniDV are obvious, and which is better for you depends on how you plan to use the camera.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic review Thomas. Your descriptions were in high detal and explained camera functions very accurately.

Best regards,

Jim

mar said...

Hello I have the exact same camera and i have a problem.. I am not sure if you can help me but it is worth a try. The problem is that when I am trying to connect the camera to the USB port it doesnt show up on the computor. It works with firewire on my laptop but I don't have that on my stationary computor and there is where i have Adobe Premiere I have windows Vista aswell if that couses the problem, thanks for a great review and i hope you can help me
Thanks marcus.
Btw sorry for bad english i am from Sweden :P

Thomas ten Cate said...

A shot in the dark, since I don't have this camera anymore... but maybe this helps.

Did you turn the camera on? I'm going to assume you did.

Does anything show up on the computer screen at all, for example, a balloon saying something about a new device? If so, it's a driver problem.

If nothing happens on the pc at all, the problem could be either with the USB port, the cable, or the camera itself. Try whether another device works on that port (e.g. your mouse). Try a different cable. Try connecting the camera to another computer.

Hope this helps...

mar said...

Yeah ofc i did turn it ON =)

Um.. no nothing came up at all, just the sound of connecting something to the USB.

Yeah the USB port works fine with other devices in it (tried mouse, keyboard, ipod cable connection and it works just fine) Tried the other 5 USB ports aswell and still nothing comes up

I guess it's the cable then because it doesnt work on any other computer in the house either.. But I was think if you maybe need a program installed on your computer to make it work? I got this 2 programs with the camera but they doens't work on Windows Vista.

I guess I have to buy a new cable or maybe a mini firewire port.

Which is best btw? Firewire or USB?

Thanks for your time to help me, Marcus

Thomas ten Cate said...

If you get the sound and no popup then everything is fine.

But, as you say, you need a program to transfer the video to your computer. Have a look here:
http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/info/vista.html

Apparently Windows Movie Maker (bundled with Vista) can do the transfer, but take note of the footnote that says that sound near the end might be damaged.

A better option would be to get updated versions of the bundled software. The "Please click here" links in the Remarks column take you to updates of both MotionDV STUDIO and SweetMovieLife. Simply follow the instructions stated there.

You could also look on the Panasonic website or contact them to see whether updated versions of the camera's software are available.

As to FireWire versus USB, it doesn't really matter in this case. The data transferred is exactly the same in the end, and the transfer goes at playback speed in both cases.

Thomas ten Cate said...

Also be sure to check out two comments by David about Vista software. Scroll up!

David said...

Ditto all of the above posi-comments, Mr. Typethinker.

I found yr rvw via videomaker.com which had a sidebar review of the PV-GS320 which in turn mentioned your (more extensive) review and gave the url to yr blog.

Anyway, I had been researching the camera as I had bought a pair (thinking shooting bands with one static and one roaming cam) at Circuit City (open box specials, $210 each plus the guvnor's tax) and in my mad rush forgot to check for such (so I thought) basics as mic in, headphone out and analog in. I was so bummed that I made up in my head the existence of an RCA or S-Video to Mini-DV adapter and went looking for it. ha.

I have a bunch of of old VHS-C (remember THAT format?) and now need to decide which would be quickest/cheapest-convert to DVD and try to edit from there or buy a PCI or USB card/device to convert analog to DV. Any advice? Seriously, these old tapes are about to turn to either dust or stone.

Ciao4Now,
dkw

Thomas ten Cate said...

I would do this with a PCI tv-in card and hook it up to your VHS player. Last time I used these cards was years ago, and back then there were noticable differences in quality between the cheapest and the somewhat more expensive cards. So it depends on how important these tapes are to you, I guess. Sorry I can't be of more help :)

mar said...

Well tried Davids thing.. with copying the text into a txt document and then rename it to setup.bat and that worked and made a new installation file but i still get same problem..
I cant install this shit on vista..

"The contents of this file cannot be unpacked.."

This is what i get:
http://i363.photobucket.com/albums/oo77/marfus/fail.jpg

mar said...

I will remove the files and download them again and see if that works.. because i found out the the 2 first files, 00 and 01 isn't 20 000 kb just 13 000 kb and 3000 kb.. maybe that is the problem

mar said...

I competed the installation and most of it went fine till this happend:
http://i363.photobucket.com/albums/oo77/marfus/ggg.jpg

please need help! this drives me crazy!

Thomas ten Cate said...

Having neither Vista, nor the camera, nor the software, nor your computer to mess around with, I'm afraid I cannot be of any more assistance here, sorry...

Anonymous said...

This is a cool review. Got this cam on ebay yesterday to do some videos of extreme sports and look forward to getting it. Sweet review

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your review. It's just amazing.
But I need your help about video noise. Why the images are looking fine (without noise)in the view-screen and noisy when downloaded to the computer (using usb)?
my computer is dell 1737 (3Ghz proces., 3GB ram)
my email:divaofsn@yahoo.fr

Thomas ten Cate said...

That's probably because your computer screen has a higher resolution. The camera's display is simply not capable of displaying the noise in detail. In general, the larger an image is displayed, the worse it will look: the image simply doesn't contain that amount of detail.

bootlilo said...

Professionals know their requirements . Is their anybody selling this camera NV GS 320 from Panasonic at less than 200$. i'M ready to buy. Contact at anupkg@hotmail.com or +919845081797

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review and the fact that you still follow up on this forum. I have been using this camera for about 3 years now and am very happy with it. There IS an AV/Headphone socket on my machine, but I was disappointed with the fact it had no mic input (which I expected it to have and didn't check it out first!). DV tape is still a very useful medium as you can carry extras around in the field and don't have to rely on downloading once your disc if full.
The movies taken with this camera are a big step up from my old Canon and even now it's hard to get a better HD unit at a similar price level (it cost me the equivalent of about 300 Euros 3 years ago).

mts mov converter mac said...

By the way, would there be an other camera (same price class) with better low light performance ? Else I will buy this one I think!

Thomas ten Cate said...

This article is over five years old now, so I doubt it's very relevant anymore. Better do some new research with what's on the market now!

Costas said...

Hello everybody, I have been offered a panasonic nv-dg320 video camera. I could never install the cd software on a windows vista. I continued to take films without editing them. Now I want to digitalize them. I download the software from panasonic site but I cannot install it because clicking on the sweetlife bat.file it shows a row of instructions. Can anybody help me please?

best keylogger said...

it seems powerful, but I would like to choose canon. Canon is much easy to use than Panasonic, I think.

videotool said...

panasonic is great, I own one;