The Toshiba Gigashot GSC-R30 is my fourth video camera since I started filming for a hobby in 1990. It is compact, fairly lightweight and records hours of DVD-quality video and/or tens of thousands of digital pictures without any change of media. I bought it in early April 2006 (my previous camera, a Mini DV model by Sony, had developed problems with its zoom after a close encounter with sea water).
Initially I was considering another DV model or maybe a DVD-R recorder, but Toshiba’s new hard disk recorder caught my eye in the store. Its 30 GB capacity far exceeds the 1.3 GB of DVD recorders or various memory card-based recorders. The R30 includes a 30 GB tiny 1.8″ hard disk while the slightly more pricey R60 features a 60 GB drive. That’s enough for almost 7 hours / 14 hours of DVD-quality video or 30,000 / 60,000 digital pictures at 2 Megapixel.
The 60 GB model also includes a docking station or cradle for recharging or connection to the computer. The cradle provides an Ethhernet network connection on top of the USB connection, which may be useful if you want to view clips from more than one machine, but the R60 was not in stock when I purchased the camera.
At home I can hook up the camera to my computer using a USB 2.0 cable and it acts just like a USB 2.0 hard disk to the computer. I can browse the folder tree inside the camera using Windows Explorer. Any video clip on there can be played using the Windows Media Player or an MPEG-2 player of your choice. Burning a DVD is fairly easy.
Because of the MPEG-2 recording format, no conversion with loss of picture quality is required to produce a DVD on your computer. I would recommend backing up the files inside the camera onto your computer’s main hard drive or onto an external USB drive, even before you burn DVDs.