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What would yield better quality: camcorder pass-through or buying a more recent dedicated capture box?

I have a Canon Elura 65 that I've used in the past to capture video from VHS sources. It produces 480i AVI files. However, I lost the AV cable.

So, should I get a new cable from EBay or buy a dedicated capture box?

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I'm not very experienced with VHS but usually you get the best results with a good VHS player rather than the on-board playback hardware of the camera. –  Professor Sparkles May 4 at 1:50
    
@ProfessorFartSparkle - That isn't what he is talking about here. He's talking about using an old DV camcorder as the capture device for an analog source. Many DV camcorders supported line input and would translate it to a digital signal. –  AJ Henderson May 4 at 7:57

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This is really going to depend on the quality of your camera and the quality of your VCR. In general, the circuitry that is used to digitize an analog signal has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 10 to 15 years, but also VHS tapes and VCRs produce limited quality to begin with. For maximum quality you will certainly want something with an S-Video input and a VCR deck with an S-video output to maximize quality.

As far as the line input goes, I'd probably favor the line input on a high quality camera from the end of the DV era over a cheap USB capture device, but a modern moderate or high quality capture device is going to do much better than even a high end in-camera analog to digital converter. Even cheap USB devices now are most likely better than cheap camcorders or early camcorders in the DV era, but millage will vary depending on the specific device.

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I forgot about S-Video. I went and looked at my VCR and it only has RCA plugs, no S-Video. Ebay has USB S-Video/RCA capture devices for $10. The Elura 65 cable is $5 (but enables me to use Firewire). –  TekiusFanatikus May 4 at 10:49

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