I’ve posted this in the general forum too:
I’m looking to invest in a decent but not overly fancy camcorder. Not fancy because I do a lot of processing with my videos post-shooting, so I’m rarely using footage “as is.” The main problem I have with what I use now is that it’s primarily a digital camera (Nikon Coolpix S620) and the zoom in factor for close-ups does not work well for movies (it works fine for pics though). I’m kind of bewildered by all the technical “wow” factors, which I know little about, when I look at reviews for camcorders…
Can anyone recommend something basic for me?
Thanks in advance for all input!
Maybe you should send PolarisDiB a PM.
Good idea — I shall do so! :)
If you don’t want something fancy you could get the nokia n8 phone, I think the results are brilliant and it doubles as a phone. Here’s an example http://www.vimeo.com/15874124
Wow, for real! That’s amazing – and to boot, I don’t even own a cell phone… yet. They say the best camera is the one you have with you. Thanks for the unexpected suggestion, Roboko!
two short films shot using the smallest of camera’s. the cell-phone. In Uranias, MIKO.
Cool, thank you! I love the idea of using minimal equipment. Mainly because at some point I cease to be technically-minded and just want to get to it, already! :)
Odilonvert, talking about PolarisDIB: http://mubi.com/topics/10269
that’s very informative.
@M — thanks, this is great!
the canon t2i
not a camcorder though :\
Well now this makes me curious… I’ve heard that many people these days buy traditional still cameras with video capabilities, but do those video capabilities measure up traditional video cameras? I guess what I’m wondering is, if a manufacturer produces a product that does only one thing, i.e. videos (and not stills), would it be a more reliable product than one that does more than one thing (stills AND videos)?
I’ve shot on the t2i and I found it to be wonderful, if you use it right.
Which, when it comes down to it, is what matters – how you make use of the camera you have, not the actual camera.
But back to the t2i, the quality was as good as you would need, and I found it to be very capable of different shots and lighting. It wasn’t expensive either.
Although, a still camera is a still camera, video capabilities or not, it was designed for still photos. Video cameras are designed for video.
If you’re not too interested in technical features, then once again, I found the t2i easy to use.
Try the VIXIA HF S200 I’ve heard some good stuff about this one. If you are looking to drop several grand you can go up to the nice GL2 which is professional grade but it sounds like you don’t need all that extra stuff. Your main issue with the smaller consumer grade camera’s will of course be your lens. The best pics I’ve ever seen came from a Cannon 7D. Bar none. Great topic btw, as I am researching the same thing.
“I’ve heard that many people these days buy traditional still cameras with video capabilities, but do those video capabilities measure up traditional video cameras?”
Sometimes better, most of the time worse.
The Canon 5D and 7D, for instance, are making huge rounds for the amazing resolution and interchangeable lens camera at a very cheap price and portable way. My mother sent me a little Panasonic still camera that has video recording capability on it for which I am shooting some stuff on my own. It’s quality is arguably the same or better than my old Hi8 camcorder.
However, one thing all these “still cameras” (which is just no longer the terminology for them, is it?) I think universally lack is a good way to record sound. One should never really record sound in-camera anyway, but it’s even worse. Furthermore, most of these still cameras require rigs or tripods to hold them steadier, because they are even more reactive to “handheld” shake than other video cameras that are on a basic level bigger, thus physically have a more stable center of gravity.
Thank you both, Redletterprints and PolarisDiB! As for $$, several grand definitely NOT in my price range at this time… :)
Sound is important for me, particularly as I would like the option of using ambient sound sometimes. I’ll have to look into that. But I’m not ready to go ultra-professional there yet (don’t know enough about the subject), just something decent to the untrained ear.
This, a Zoom H4n recorder, might be something you want to consider for your audio requirements. For recording ambient sound and for field-recording, this device is dependable and highly rated. It can be had for less than $300. These things cost what they cost, one reason why it’s imperative to do research and to purchase wisely. Once you get your basic kit in place though, you’re solid. I intend to purchase one myself, as I’m eager to begin creating field-recordings.
Of course, depending upon the camera you purchase, you may or may not be able to mount this recorder, but, from what I’ve seen of your work, having to record non-synchronous sound might not be an issue for you. Again, just know what it is you want to accomplish before buying.
Thanks, K.J.! This is something I will take into consideration. Sound is something I’d like to delve into a bit more in the future, so even if I don’t get into it heavily now (due solely to cost), I do want to start learning more about it.
This was going to be my next camera but it seems like it’s no longer available (was a few days ago) Not really sure why http://www.vistek.ca/store/ProVideoCamcorders/252898/panasonic-agaf100-micro-fourthirds-avchd-video-recorderbody-only.aspx
It seems that Canon 7D and 5D are being used for feature-length films, with t2i coming up a close third…read this thread on Garage today:
Can I Shoot…
It seems Vixia is getting good review camcorder-wise, with the only caveat being the expense…:
Alright, I’ve read a ton today. I’m feeling like it might be better for me to wait for a while, technology is improving so quickly in the digital realm. One thing I find really important that camcorders don’t seem to do very well (at least within my budget?) is deal with low light. I really like shooting in low light — which in this case means shooting AT NIGHT — the photos I’ve taken with my little camera make me very happy, and I’d like to do more videos with night scenes. I’d hate to spend a bunch of money on a camcorder that doesn’t do that as well as the DSLRs seem to, according to what I’ve read. I’m kind of trending toward a camcorder because they’re all in one. The whole lens thing with DSLRs means more expense, and more equipment. Although the former is more of an issue for me than the latter, at least at this stage of my “lucrative” life.
Do you guys agree about that weak point with camcorders? Or have I been reading nonsense?
No, not nonsense, but certainly not dire either. You just have to understand a few things. I’ve seen impressive nighttime footage taken with a Canon HV40 ($649) and a Canon Vixia HF-S10 ($1400). Then you get into higher ISO levels and how that can adversely effect your image. Many of these devices don’t have an eye-level viewfinder, only a swivel LED panel that often isn’t bright enough; is that a deal-breaker or not? Then there are the sensors. CCD sensors are still superior to CMOS sensors, but technology is closing that gap. Anyway, wherever you shoot at night a light source will be necessary- a full moon, neon in a liquor store window, or sodium street lamps, you do need light. Welcome to videography!
Yeah, I’ve heard about those LED panels, it seems everyone has a complaint about those. What’s the solution — a miner’s lamp on one’s head to read them at night? :)
The Vixias do get good reviews… No problems with light sources, that’s what I like best about shooting at night, those lights against the darkness. The sensors, which equipment has which? Does it depend on the manufacturer and model (some camcorders have CCD and some have CMOS)? Wondering how quickly that gap between them will close…
Yes, the type of sensor used is a manufacturer’s decision and it will be the same across the entirety of their product line. But don’t worry about this stuff, at the price point where you’ll be shopping, the type of sensor the camera has isn’t really much of an issue. If you were choosing between a Sony EX-1 and a Panasonic HPX-170, say, which would each set you back thousands of dollars, it might then become something you’d consider, because the EX-1 (Sony/CMOS) appeals to some with its deep color saturation, while the smooth and natural vibrancy of what you’ll get with the HPX-170 (Panasonic/CCD) pleases others. I don’t want to send you down the black hole of geekdom (I will not talk about AVCHD). Over time, and depending upon the level of participation you’re comfortable with, you will learn what you need to know accordingly.
The best thing to do, when you’re ready to go shopping, is to pick a couple cameras, at your price point, naturally, which fit your needs. Visit a reputable dealer and talk to a salesperson. These people love talking this stuff.
Don’t wait for technology to close this gap or that one. These gaps, it’s all manufacturer driven. They each have to satisfy their hardcore user base while enticing them and others with rumors of what’s coming next. The big three: Sony, Panasonic, Canon, they each have superb technology. All the rest of it is just jockeying for market shares.
Thanks much, K.J.! I actually am going to go and talk a salesperson’s ear off this Saturday. Will let you know what comes of it!