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Looking to get a video camera

GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm a college student who attends school in the heart of Toronto, and for my 21st birthday I decided i'd like to pick up a solid video camera for my travels (I live in Texas).

It's something that I always wished that I had up there (as well as down here), because there are so many interesting sights and venues where a standard camera won't do justice. It's much easier and effective to get a good swipe shot of the world around you rather than take fifty pictures of the same area to portray the sheer scope of things.

I went looking at Best Buy's selection a couple of days ago. After a good half hour of testing things out, i've come to the conclusion that this is the body type I want for a VC:

canon-fs21-16gb-flash-memory-camcorder.jpg

Canon_FS200_Handling2.jpg

It's a small (but not too small) build, with a button layout that's not only easy to figure out, but extremely comfortable for the hand. The only problem is that the actual quality of the video isn't that great :(

Since this will mainly be used for environment shots, I need a good lens with some better-than-average zoom capabilities.

There was another brand, Panasonic I believe, that had a camera with flat-out incredible video and zoom quality, but as expected it was in the late $800 range, and that's without adding the various extra costs to it. Also, the camera was leaning towards the bulky side, and i'd like one that I can pull out on a whim (as well as not get mugged for it).


So i'm kinda stuck here. Ideally i'd like to get one before this Saturday, where I might possibly go to the Kemah boardwalk to get some good photo/video opportunities.

Any suggestions?

Godfather on

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    GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Also, what is the average price range i'm going to encounter here for a decent one?

    Can it be between the $300-500 price range, or do the quality ones not surface until past the 700 mark?

    Godfather on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Check here, they do pretty good reviews. The price floor is $500-550 for an HD camcorder, and that's online so add another $100 and tax to get it in a store unless you can find something used. Haven't shopped for SD cams in a while, but you could get something easily in your price range, just not sure if it will deliver the Picture Quality you want.

    Not sure which Canon you got there, maybe the FS-100? That one's SD, the HF-100 is the HD equivalent, same general form factor but tons more resolution. If you want superzoom you can't do HD. HD camcorder zooms are like 10-16X while SD camcorders can be 40-60X. You can get a tele-converter to extend the zoom range, but it's a kludge with drawbacks (the lens zoom range may be constrained, AF may not work so great, additional distortion, vignetting).

    If you don't like the PQ of an HD camcorder, you're only bets are to spend a lot more, like a near-pro grade camcorders ($3000+) or find a DSLR that records HD video ($700-3000 for the body and then you need lenses). If you go the DSLR route, know that there are certain compromises (not shaped like a video cam, probably no continuous autofocus, not sure about the performance of auto-white balance).

    The Panny you liked, could have been a 3 CCD model, which I think tends to give better color performance.

    Djeet on
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