Help buying a cheap video camera (really cheap)


Ok, so I want to make my own satyrical newscast/TV show, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on a camera. Most of it will be studio work, but I hope to do a little "out and about" shooting as well. Mostly what I'm looking for is a good webcam, but I also want it to be like a low-quality, autonomous camcorder.

I have a few questions:
  1. Can I record straight to my computer? (i.e. remove the need for a large amount of camera memory).
  2. If I don't do very much remote shooting, what kind of memory is the best? A memory card?
  3. Can I see the real-time shot on my computer? (i.e. remove the need for quality on-camera monitor.) I know iMovie has the capability. I just wonder about different kinds of cameras.
  4. Does quality really matter if I have good lighting?
  5. How do you record video onto a computer? I'm guessing USB or Firewire.
I also have a few priorities:
  1. Better than webcam quality. - Decent, in other words.
  2. External microphone support.
  3. Video out.
  4. I guess I need a little monitor.

If you look on eBay, there are a bunch of $50 cameras that look really, really cheap. They look kind of like the cheap sort of camera I'm looking for, but I have a feeling they're probably trash. I guess my main question is how do I know when something is trash?

Sorry about all of the questions, but I think most of them are pretty simple. I appreciate your help.
Wow...50 bucks?! For a video camera? no way man, thats some old skool VHS or super 8 shit.

If you are doing any kind of News/t.v. show, you want a GOOD camera. something 3ccd, Digital, or Hi-def. i have the new sony Hi def Z1 and absoultly love it, its expensive though.

How much are you looking to spend...max?
Well, I went to price cameras on eBay, and ... um ... 50 bucks looks pretty attractive. Oh, well. I might fork out $200 tops.

I know a cheap camera isn't going to look crystal clear. But I'll be happy as long as you have to ask yourself "is this picture clear?" to see that it isn't. I don't want the first impression to be a trashy picture.
Honestly...200 bucks...You will get what you pay for. you will need at least 500 bucks for a camera that will do what you want. Save up, do it me, the diff in quailty will be night and day, and you will be glad you did.
A miniDV camera will give you the best quality for your money. Plus, they're cheap. Maybe not $200 cheap, but you might be able to find something on eBay.
You'll need a camcorder that does firewire/iLink, too.
Well, I bought a Canon Optura 200MC off of eBay for $235. The body is a bit scratched, but it's in surprisingly good condition.

I'm having a little problem with it. Since that is a different topic, I started another thread. Any help would be appreciated.

I attached a picture taken with the camera. It's pretty good for a video camera. I suppose I could have taken a better picture, but I kind of like this one. The mirror was a little dirty.

Thanks for the camera-buying advice.


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