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i have a panasonic. its not the same kind as yours but i was trying to use it as a webcam as well and had the same issue. i read the manuel and it said that it goes in auto standby if its on pause for more than 5 minutes. so i figured id just take the tape out. its not on pause so it wont stand by. i didnt think it would make a difference. but it did. i can use it as a webcam now. hope this helps
I use a DV camera that is not on Apple's "compatibility" list. (It should REALLY be noted that Apple sells camcorders in it's on-line store that aren't listed as compatible!)
Depending on which software package you are using, including version, results may vary.
I too had a fairly confusing frustration the first time out, but here's Jeffe's notes: FireWire! (USB is not for video). Start with iMovie: (FinalCut is higher-end, and thus is more picky about what it will take.) launch the application, then plug in the powered-on camera set to it's "play" (VCR etc.) setting (as opposed to camera setting.) If iMovie STILL does not see the camera, then I'd start to worry about compatibility, and contact an Apple SPECIFIC retailer (not a chain, like CompUSA etc.) for help.
BTW: Nice Camera! Let me know if it works out. I was contemplating Panasonic for my next camera.