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Hi8, higher grade 8mm. 350-line resolution compares with 8mm/VHS's 250 line. A lot of video noise and color shifting. Analog signal through out, hard to edit on PC, the capture and editing gear are extremely expensive.
Digital 8, Sony's idea to sale their Hi8 inventory in this digital era. Video information is digitally recorded on Hi8 tape. If you have a lot of old Hi8 tape at home digital8 machine can play them back. Hi8 tape is twice as big as mini DV and some one with a pair of picky eyes say the picture quality is not on par with Mini DV.
Mini DV, Digitally recorded on digital tape. Easy to hook up with PC so the capture and editing equipment are cheap. 400-450 line of resolution. Very clean picture looks like DVD even on my 50-inch projector.
When shop for mini DV, look for Sony, Canon, and JVC, avoid Panasonic by all means. I chose Canon because its cheaper than Sony and it has the feature I want. Canon's optical stabilizer is far better than that digital one, absolutely no compromise of image quality. And progressive scan mode shows great on HDTV, photo mode etc. I also compared the low light shooting, this Canon appear has less grain and retain the color well than Sony in the same price range.
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