Digital Focus: Master Your Camera's Flash Modes

Q&A: Transferring Hi8 to DVD

Dave, I need your advice. My Hitachi VM-H57A Hi8 camcorder isn't working properly. It is about ten years old and was great in its prime. I paid $1600 for it at the time, and the estimate for repair is now about $300. The owner of the shop suggested I not repair it, but instead buy a new camcorder. Here is the real problem: I have a ton of Hi8 cassettes. I would like to edit and transfer to CD or DVD. What should I do? Do I have to buy another Hi8 camcorder to play these tapes? Would you get the Hitachi repaired?

--Jay Mel, New York

I agree with the repair technician, Jay: I wouldn't spend that much money to repair a ten-year-old, obsolete camcorder.

It sounds to me like the ideal solution for you is a Digital8 camcorder from Sony. Digital8 video cameras record true digital video, like DV camcorders, but they also play old Hi8 tapes. You can connect your new Digital8 camcorder to your PC with a FireWire cable and transfer your old Hi8 tapes to the computer, then copy them to DVD. And when all of your old analog tapes are converted to DVD, you still have a new Digital8 camcorder at your disposal for shooting video in digital format.

I searched our Product Finder for Digital8 camcorders and found a few that are quite affordable--not much more than your repair cost, in fact. Check out Sony's $500 Digital8 Handycam DCRTRV140.

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