Capture MiniDV Tapes with an HD Camcorder

Monty writes, “I just bought a new HP computer with Windows Vista and yes I want to edit video. My MiniDV cameras won’t work with Vista and I don’t know if there are any HD cameras that will work with Vista. If there is do you know if a HD camera can play MiniDV tapes?”
High definition camcorders that record in the HDV format on MiniDV tapes typically have a standard definition mode as well. For instance, the Canon HV20 I use regularly will automatically detect that the tape in the camera contains MiniDV footage, so that when you transfer video to your computer from the camera, it will capture the standard definition MiniDV footage. The only caveat to this is the software you are using must support the HDV format as well as standard MiniDV, otherwise the software will not recognize your camera. This shouldn’t be a problem for Windows Vista users, but in testing standard definition capture from my Canon HV20 on a Windows XP machine, I couldn’t get the XP version of Windows Movie Maker to recognize the HV20.
As a side note, most MiniDV cameras will work with Vista software as long as you are using the FireWire connection. I know there are a few MiniDV cameras from Sony that also added support for transferring video via USB and that typically fails on Vista because there are no Vista drivers for most of the cameras.