ASK RICK --
ago my sister and I bought a Canovision E60 and the enjoyment of owning it has
been spoilt by problems with the batteries.
The one that came with the camera would only ever play for 10
minutes. This was probably our fault as
we didnít realise these batteries had a memory. There was no large print warning about this.
year we bought another battery which gave us about 20 minutes. When I recently used the camera I fully
charged all the batteries before going away and the charger flashed for the
usual time (40 minutes for battery number 1 and about 1 hour for number 2) but
as soon as I put them in the camera, number 1 flashed ĎBattí and played for
three minutes, number 2 only lasted for two minutes.
I am really
sick of this problem - it has spoilt owning a camcorder. Is there a solution to this problem? We cannot afford to keep buying batteries. I took the camera back to the shop where we
bought it and all the assistant did was put it on a discharger; it made no
difference at all. I know itís possible
to buy a discharger, but these may be similar in design to the one in the
Would it be
possible for you to solve this problem?
I canít afford to spend too much money.
thought. Do you leave the camcorderís video light switched on? If so then the
battery running times will be very short. If not then three possible causes
spring to mind. In order of probability they are that youíve got two duff
batteries; thereís something wrong with the charger, or thereís a fault with the
camcorderís power management circuitry. The only way to find out which one it
is, is by a process of elimination.
the battery. Hopefully the shop where you brought your camcorder will be able
to help. Ask them to let you try a new, fully charged battery, on your machine,
most reputable dealers will be only too happy to oblige, especially if they
sold you the replacement battery. A standard capacity battery, in good
condition, should last for at least 15 to 20 minutes with normal stop/start
shooting. If you get these longer running times (with the light off..) then the
camcorder is okay. Next check the charger, and again ask the shop to help by
letting you charge their known-good battery on your charger, then check the
running time again. If the battery takes a full charge then your batteries are
almost certainly the problem. If there is a problem with cell-imbalance then a
few charger/discharge cycles, using a discharger may restore some capacity,
otherwise youíll have to buy a new one. It might be a good idea to buy a
battery discharger in any case, used properly it could prolong the useful life
of any new batteries you might get.
I want to
carry out live editing of events at my school, editing the material from up to
4 cameras as the event is happening to save editing it all afterwards. We want
to use a mixture of Panasonic S-VHS and Sony/Canon Hi8 cameras. In another area we would have monitors to
view what the cameras are filming and a continually recording S-VHS machine.
then switch between the camera which is inputting to the S-VHS machine. Is there a switching device which would do
this? We would also want to be able to
record a live commentary on the S-VHS machine while the event is happening?
All this is
possible, but I have to ask the question why? Itís a recipe for disaster,
unless youíre a moonlighting Ďon-lineí video editor, and can somehow
choreograph the whole event, to ensure you know precisely when and where all
the important action will be taking place. Youíre making four recordings
anyway, so not edit all the best bits together later on, and there no reason
why you canít mix in a Ďliveí commentary, made separately on a tape recorder,
or recorded on one of the camcorder soundtracks. Doing it this way requires no
special equipment, though an edit controller would make life a lot easier. If
you want to edit Ďliveí, using four domestic camcorders, then youíre going to
need a digital vision mixer, so you can switch cleanly between the four
unsynchronised video inputs, the only one that can do that is the Videonics
I have a
Canon 8mm camera and now have a small selection of cassettes. The problem I have is that 4 of these we
bought with the thin plastic covers, the rest have proper plastic flip covers. Can anyone tell me where I can get hold of
empty 8mm flip cassette cases? I have
tried various outlets to no avail.
asked several tape manufacturers and accessory dealers but no luck. Iím sure
someone out there sells them, and would be only too happy to supply you. Hopefully
theyíll read this and let us know, if so weíll pass it on.
listen to my plaintive wail,
I bought a
Panasonic at a sale.
pounds off the M.R.P.
looked good to me.
All set to
transfer my films of long ago
To my brand
new Panasonic FS 88 video.
commended - best buy it said
all the whites have turned out red.
Pacific rollers not so white
Grannyís hair - a terrible sight.
So is it
back to my Super 8 Eumig flicks
eighty one Iím too old for tricks.
If all is
lost break it gently
advice would help aplenty.
to reply in rhyme
Iíve got the time.
camís a good machine
so itís odd
your colours look unclean.
balance needs a fiddle
to do, no knobs to twiddle.
camera at the screen
light, so only white is seen
Fit the lens
cap, it has a filter thatís white
WB button then itíll be all right.
Itís not a
trick, you can do it with ease
the instruction book next time, please!
I am in
need of some advice on what editing machine to purchase from the variety of
options available. I am new to the
field of camcorders and have purchased a Sanyo VM EX25P which Iím reasonably
I have had
the use of a friendís Camlink Processor/Mixer which is adequate for the time
being. Looking long term I would like a
quality editor now, then I would save for a quality Processor/Mixer and then
buy a better camcorder. My editor would
have to be able to be used with any new updated equipment I may buy.
about £600 to spend and have read in your magazine about the Hama 220, Sony RME
500 and the Vivanco 5055VRT. I may be
able to stretch to the GSE MPE 200SX.
To confuse the issue I am unsure about getting a good VCR with an editor
built in. My current VCR is a Hitachi
VTF 770E which is getting a thrashing from my daughterís Disney tapes! What do you suggest?
think you need to spend anything like £600 on an edit controller, the Videonics
Thumbís Up (rrp £250) will do everything you want, now and in the future. How
about the IQ Studio Edit Controller (see review this issue)? Itís a very
capable design, and it only costs £170. I think you can forget VCRs with
built-in controllers, thereís only one on the market (Panasonic NV-HS1000),
that can operate your Sanyo camcorder, and it costs around £1000
As Iím new
to the world of video cameras I am having a few problems with battery
packs. I have a Samsung VP-U10 which
none of my local dealers cater for. I
would be very grateful for any information on replacement battery packs.
be a problem. All Samsung 8mm camcorders to date have used standard 6-volt ĎNPí
style batteries, the same type that fit the majority of Sony machines. Some
accessory battery packs can be a tight fit on Samsung machines, and there have
been problems with their chargers not working with other makes of battery; if
in doubt take your camcorder and charger along to the shop, so you can make
recently purchased the award wining Hitachi HV70 weatherproof camcorder I have
discovered that footage often has a bluish tint to it especially peopleís faces
and light coloured objects. This is
particularly noticeable in daylight recordings.
recommendation of someone I tried a Skylight B and UV filter but this has had
no effect on the picture. Can you
suggest a solution to my problem?
as though the automatic white balance system on this machine may need
adjustment, it should be optimised for daylight recording, and whites should
look white. As youíve only had it a while, and itís presumably still under
guarantee, have it seen too.
Could I ask
you what video recorder you suggest I purchase as I have just bought a
Panasonic S90 camcorder. I have a
Philips Matchline TV and have had to change my recorder from my present
Panasonic J35 to get the advantage of S-VHS.
I am at a loss to know which one to go for - your advice would be most
sure you really want a Super VHS VCR? If youíre going to be doing a lot of
editing, and make VHS copies from your edited recordings then they make sense,
but off-air recordings wonít look any better, and there are no pre-recorded
S-VHS movies available. However, if you still want one, then look no further
than the Panasonic NV-HS100, apart from being an excellent all-rounder, it has
a built-in edit controller that will work with your camcorder.
Last year I
was given a JVC GRAX55 camcorder. I am
now experiencing difficulty with adding sound.
I have taken advice from your magazine and purchased a sound mixer. This worked but the picture quality was
totally unacceptable - very grainy as soon as the mixer is activated. I have even tried some with sound only to
avoid any involvement with the picture.
Apparently this isnít possible with JVC but a friend with a Sony
Handycam and a Tandy Disco Mixer appears to get acceptable results.
tried using a Camlink 2000 Hama (sound only) and currently have an Archer audio
visual mixer enhancer. The sound is
fine but the grainy picture appears when any mixer is switched on. A JVC dealer suggested I may not be able to
separate the video from the audio from the signal on the JVC - perhaps this is
due to the DIN plug to 2 phonos on the JVC.
advise me on what Iím doing wrong?
This is a
bit of a tangle. I assume that what youíre trying to do is mix in a new
soundtrack on your recordings, when copying or editing to a VCR. If thatís so
then there will be a reduction in picture quality, how much depends on several
factors, including the quality of the original recording, the tape youíre using
and the performance of the VCR. Under ideal conditions the drop in quality can
be barely noticeable, on a bad day it can be almost unwatchable. If, on the
other hand, youíre not attempting to make a copy, but merely wish to replace
the soundtrack on your original recording with something else, then you can use
the audio dub facility on the AX55, though you will need the optional remote controller.
Alternatively you can audio dub VHS-C tapes on any suitably equipped VCR, using
a cassette adaptor. This works on the tapeís mono linear soundtrack and will
not affect the video part of the recording.
little confused about the interaction problem with the mixer, the AV output on
the AX55 (and pretty well every other camcorder as well) consists of separate
video and audio signals (hence the two phono plugs, or three on stereo
machines). At no time do the signals come into contact with each other, unless
you use an RF adaptor, so unless the mixer is fault thereís no way it can
affect the picture.
a Canon UC100 with a 12x zoom lens. I
found the colourful playback quite acceptable but was disappointed by the lack
I know very
little about video cameras and thought a 12x zoom would be the same as
binoculars - clearly not so. I want a
camera with a more powerful zoom and really prefer a better quality of
picture. So do I save my money and buy
a Hitachi Hi 8 with its 20x zoom and
almost broadcast quality? What about
video heads in such an expensive camera?
It is said that the life of video recorders is approx. 2000 hours. Is this likely to apply to cameras?
really compare a camcorder with a pair of binoculars; camcorder lenses operates
across a much broader range, from wide-angle to telephoto. Some camcorders,
including the Hitachi model you mention, have electronic zooms, that use
digital processing to enlarge the image, unfortunately this degrades the
picture, and beyond about 15 to 20x enlargement the picture looses detail and
starts to look Ďblockyí. The alternative is an adaptor lens. These are
available in a range of magnifications, from 2x up to 5x and beyond, so a 12x
zoom effectively becomes a 24x zoom and so on. Thereís much less reduction in
picture quality, using an optical adaptor, but they can be quite expensive, and
thereís the problem of stability. Once you get over 15x magnification it
becomes increasingly difficult to hold the machine steady. You will need to
mount it on a tripod, and a good one at that, as any slight movement is magnified
as well. Camcorders with image stabilisers help, which brings us to the Canon
UC8Hi. This is the first camcorder to have 20x optical zoom, and a no-loss
optical image stabiliser, soundís like itís the one for you!
never quote head lives, thereís too many factors involved, including the make
and brand of tape used, how often the machine is serviced, or the head are
cleaned and the atmosphere in which the machine is used or stored. We know of
machines that have clocked up a lot more than 2000 hours, and theyíre still
going strong, in short itís mostly up to you. Why worry? Even a 1000 hours is a
long time, thatís equivalent to two hours use a week (a lot for most family
users) for a period of ten years!
” R. Maybury 1995 1406