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Video / Buying Guide

Which Video Camera is Best for You?

         

In the ever-changing, innovative world of video production, making a new camcorder-purchasing decision requires up-to-date knowledge of the latest features available, along with an understanding of tried-and-true technology. Even seasoned professionals will need to take some time to research the myriad choices offered, then carefully determine which camera fits their needs. The specific requirements of wedding videography add another dimension to the process.

Reliability, exceptional video in low-light conditions, and high optical zoom range are some of the more important features you should be looking for when selecting a video camera suitable for wedding coverage. In addition, consider media format, audio inputs and the size and “look” of the camera. A handheld camera might shoot HD video, but will you stand out as a "professional" videographer without a decent-sized camera on your shoulder, or a solid tripod?

As you look over the wide range of cameras, you will, no doubt, be taking your clientele into account. Will you be covering high-end weddings with multiple cameras, are you currently at the entry level or perhaps shooting your very first wedding for a family member? Do you want all the bells and whistles or are you a purist who prefers sticking to the basics and keeping life simple? Ultimately, your list of preferences is unique to your work style and ergonomic requirements. In order to assist you with your decision, we have reviewed a variety of models selected specifically for capturing a couple's wedding-day memories.

Advanced and Intermediate-Level Camcorders

The Sony PXW-X200 is the successor to a perennial favorite—the PMW-200. It records up to 1080p60 video using the efficient XAVC Intra and Long GOP codecs with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. To fit into existing workflows, MPEG HD422, HD420, and DV recording options are available. Dual SxS memory card slots are provided, while simultaneous recording to two cards is possible for instant data redundancy and backup copies of your files. With 4 channels of high-quality, 48 kHz, 16-bit LPCM, you will have all the audio capabilities needed to cover every element of a wedding weekend. Shooting in low light is no problem with this camcorder. Three Full HD 1/2" Exmor CMOS sensors and a fast maximum aperture (f/1.9 on a Fujinon 17x optical zoom lens) will thrill you with the exceptional video you can capture under the chandeliers, in dimly lit reception halls. Weighing slightly more than five pounds, this camera is heavy enough for stability, yet won’t wear you out during hours of shooting. For a semi-shoulder mounted solution, the Sony PMW-300K1 is also worth considering.

Sony’s PXW-X180 Full HD XDCAM Camcorder features three 1/3" Exmor CMOS sensors. While it won’t reach the low-light capabilities of the larger 1/2" sensors of the PXW-X200, its 25x Sony G zoom lens offers more reach than the PXW-X200. It offers 10-bit 4:2:2 recording in a variety of codecs, with up to 1080p60 available in the XAVC Long GOP codec. Another useful feature is the camcorder’s Wi-Fi remote capability, when paired with the optional Wi-Fi adapter. This is invaluable for the “one-person band” shooting with two or more cameras, as it will let you monitor and control setting remotely using your smartphone or tablet.

JVC produces the GY-HM600 ProHD Camera, another worthy professional-class camera to consider. The HM600 can record up to 1080/59.41i HD video in MOV: H.264, MP4 and AVCHD. The Fujinon zoom lens features an impressive 23x optical zoom ratio. Standard sensitivity is rated for f/11 at 2000 lux for exceptional quality in low light. Two channels of 48 kHz 16-bit audio recording with 2 XLR inputs and a 3.5mm mini jack round out this advanced package.

The GY-HM650 ProHD Mobile News Camera offers the same features as the HM600, but with the addition of Wi-Fi connectivity and FTP server support. This compact camera allows you to record and automatically transmit footage to your home or office, a nifty feature if your editor is standing by for a “day of” presentation at the reception that evening. Like the HM600, the HM650 weighs 5.3 lb, giving you stability on the shoulder without being the heaviest camcorder in this roundup.

Sony’s HXR-NX5U is another solid performer. Its versatility in capturing different formats may fit nicely into your profile as well. Able to record 720/60p video in addition to 60i, 30p and 24p, this camera is versatile and easy to operate. The zoom range gets extremely high marks (20x G-Lens, optimized for advanced image processing) and you can choose to record on Memory Stick or SDHC cards.

If you are looking for a camera that supports both NTSC and PAL standards, Panasonic has built a camera for you to consider: AG-AC160A AVCCAM HD Handheld Camcorder. In today’s marketplace, worldwide compatibility might be an important enough factor to give this camera a closer look. Like many of the other cameras in this category, the AG-AC160A captures video at a variety of frame rates. This capacity allows you to create your own unique “look.” Shooting in 60p and playing back in 24p, for instance, gives you a very smooth slow-motion effect to incorporate into your final product. 

If 1080p isn’t enough resolution for you and you’re ready to enter the world of 4K Ultra HD recording, then you may be interested in the Sony PXW-Z100. In today’s marketplace, the ability to record high-resolution images can do wonders for your business. It also makes for a good investment as the industry makes the transition to 4K. The PXW-Z100 utilizes Sony’s XVAC 4:2:2 10-bit intra frame recording format, which is the same found in their digital cinema PMW-F55 CineAlta camera. It can record true 4K (4096x2160) resolution video at up to 50 and 60fps – perfect for capturing those special moments. Of course, you can also record 1080p video if you’re workflow isn’t ready for 4K file sizes. Rounding out the camcorder is a G lens with 20x optical zoom and three control rings, dual XQD memory card slots, and 4K HDMI and 3G/HD-SDI interfaces.

Intermediate and Entry-Level Camcorders

There are a number of camcorders at the entry (and slightly above entry) level that will produce High Definition video and provide professional-quality audio as well.

Beginning with Panasonic’s well-balanced and impressive AG-AC90 AVCCAM Handheld Camcorder, the variety of options in this class is surprisingly good. The AG-AC90 looks much like the cameras in the advanced category, yet weighs only 3.3 lb. Since it shoots HD 1080p /1080i and boasts two XLR inputs, this camera does provide you with excellent pictures and sound, especially in optimal conditions. It also features Five-Axis optical image stabilization, which makes for smoother handheld videos.

Innovation is the key word to use when describing Sony’s combination camcorder / projector: the 96GB HXR-NX30 Palm Size NXCAM HD Camcorder with Projector. In addition to the built-in projector, Balanced Optical SteadyShot is the standout feature here. This image-stabilization system isolates the entire optical block from the rest of the camera body for exception results. The built-in projector could be that special standout element you bring to the table. Projecting raw footage on a wall during the reception is just one of the many possibilities you might consider. The HXR-NX30 also has XLR inputs and a 10x optical, 17x extended Carl Zeiss Lens. It has a single 1/2” ExmorR CMOS sensor and an internal 96GB flash memory capacity.

If you are looking for an easy-to-use, entry-level camcorder with a professional look, Sony’s HXR-MC2500 Shoulder Mount AVCHD Camcorder is an excellent choice. It weighs a hefty 6.2 lb, sports a nifty flip-up LCD above the color viewfinder, and has an ergonomic handle with Record button and zoom control for those essential low-angle shots. It has a single 1/4" Exmor R CMOS sensor and is equipped with a built-in LED light to assist in lower-light situations. There is a 3.5mm mini-jack input and a built-in 2-channel stereo shotgun microphone.

The HDR-PJ810V High Definition Handycam Camcorder with Projector is also a versatile and handy little camera/projector. With full HD 1920 x 1080 60p recording capability and a built-in video light, the PJ810V would be an ideal second or third camera to have for covering a wedding, in part because it is so easy to use and complements your package with a very capable projector. It also takes 20 megapixel still pictures (32GB flash storage included). The HDR-PJ710V features a Sony G lens with 12x optical zoom and Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. Sony’s Tracking Focus function and Intelligent Auto give you the ability to multitask while the camera does the work. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Channel Surround Mic will surprise you with its clarity. In addition, there is a mic input for your wireless unit, and the accessory shoe will hold a small receiver.

As with the advanced and intermediate level options, Sony also offers a 4K consumer camcorder with their FDR-AX100. The 1" Emxor R CMOS sensor is large – approximately 8x larger than typical camcorders. This lets you get some cinematic shots with a pleasing shallow depth of field. What makes the camcorder truly versatile is its recording options, letting you capture 4K Ultra HD 3840x2160 video at 24 and 30 fps, as well as Full HD 1920x1080 video in XAVC S, AVCHD, or web-optimized MP4. Like the HDR-PJ810V, it also features a 12x optical zoom lens and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC support even lets you use your smartphone or tablet. If you don’t need 4K recording, then consider the nearly identical HDR-CX900 instead.

As you can see from this diverse sampling of excellent camcorders, the variety of file formats, lenses and audio packages can be quite a bit to digest. You will likely see one or two cameras that pique your interest and will serve your clients’ needs as well as your own. When you reach that point, come into our NYC SuperStore, visit us on the Internet for a live chat, or contact us by phone at 1-800-606-6969.

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Hi!

I need to record LCD screens.  Screen capture software is not an option...I need to record the screen.  The problem is moire.

Are there any cameras that can get rid of this for me?

Thanks for the help!

Cheers!

Hi Rolf -

     Simple question, but the response may be layered and complex due to a myriad of contributing factors.  Please send us an e-mail describing your project, content, current camera and type of monitor/lcd screen you are shooting.  Please contact us via e-mail:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi I am looking for a camcorder that I can take on vacations and can also do a good job of recording my sons sports games that involves a lot of moving around so image stabilization is important and zoom. A camcorder that takes great pics would be a plus.

Hi Cheryl -

Camcorders are not my first choice for still photography. That said, this is a great all-around choice and does take decent stills:

The Sony FDR-AX53 is a palm-sized Handycam camcorder that combines a Zeiss 20x optical zoom lens and a high-sensitivity image sensor to produce crisp and high-quality UHD 4K video. The Exmor R CMOS image sensor supports UHD 4K video capture at 24 or 30 fps using Sony's XAVC S codec and features pixels that are approximately 1.6x larger than the previous model for enhanced performance in all conditions, particularly low-light scenarios. The camcorder also features Sony's Balance Optical SteadyShot image stabilization technology to help produce smooth and stable footage throughout the zoom range. Further enhancements include improved autofocus speed and accuracy, a lower-noise built-in microphone, and a high-speed 1080p 120 fps recording mode to create high-resolution slow-motion content.

      Product Highlights:

  • 4K Ultra HD 24/30p & 16.6MP Stills
  • Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • 26.8mm Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* Zoom Lens
  • 20x Optical Zoom & 40x Clear Image Zoom
  • Balanced Optical SteadyShot
  • Fast Intelligent AF
  • High Speed 120 fps Recording
  • 3.0" LCD Touchscreen / 0.24" Color EVF
  • 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Microphone
  • Wi-Fi / NFC Connectivity

I am looking for a video camera primarly for recording a whiteboard learining session in a office conference.  We want to record a number if instructional videos to post onto our website.  What would you recommend?

Hi Brian -

     The Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder records 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps in MP4 format. The HF G40 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens and a manual focus ring that can easily be set to control the zoom instead. The camera supports Wide DR Gamma and highlight priority mode for improved image clarity. Assignable buttons and full manual control allows you to customize the shooting experience and take control of your image.

     At the very minimum, consider adding an external shotgun mic to improve the audio:  

The VP83 LensHopper Shotgun Microphone from Shure is a compact camera-mount condenser that provides detailed, high-definition audio with DSLR cameras and camcorders. An integrated Rycote Lyre shock mounting system provides isolation from vibration and mechanical noise.

The VP83 LensHopper features an easily accessible three-position gain adjustment and low-cut filter, allowing it to adapt for different recording environments. Its lightweight, yet durable, metal construction provides dependability and long-life. The VP83 easily mounts to a standard-size camera shoe or a 1/4" threaded stand. The convenient, attached 3.5mm cable connects to your camera's audio input. Its efficient operation boasts 130 hours of battery life on just one AA alkaline battery. A foam windscreen is included to guard against wind and environmental noise.

Hi, I have a Sony HDR-CX440 HD Handycam and using it to monitor a welding process, particularly the center of the welding. But I'm having trouble with getting a good focus with it. After using ND filters to reduce the brightness, all I get is a blurry ball of light that doesn't show much else. I need another camera with better focus to be able to view the welding tip clearly. I'm not sure what features to look out for in getting better focus. Could you recommend video camera options that can do the job well, around the range of $1000?

Hi Adeola -

Your particular application is not well suited for consumer grade camcorders.  Your project may require an industrial type machine camera with a highly specialized lens.   Please contact us via e-mail with the approximate subject to camera distance:  AskBH@BandH.com

I'm looking to get a video camra to tape my wedding and for the honeymoon in Itaily? I'm looking for lightweight and easy to use camra. Do you thinks a gopro would be a good choice? Any other suggestions?

Hi Karen -

GoPro offers some great cameras but they would not be high on my list  as the prime camera for wdedings and vacations.

You may find that a conventional camcorder, equipped with superior lenses (optical zoom and auto focus) and processors, a friendlier user interface, and ergonomic form factor, to be the better, more versatile choice for you.

The Sony HDR-CX675 Full HD Handycam Camcorder features a wide-angle Sony G 30x optical zoom lens and Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with 5-Axis Intelligent Active mode to help you capture smooth and stable footage throughout the zoom range, even while on the move. Intuitive, grab-and-go operation is further benefited thanks to a Fast Intelligent AF system that works to help keep your subjects in sharp focus. The camcorder's Exmor R CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor combine to support 1080p video up to 60 fps and still images up to 9.2MP, with files recorded to either microSD memory cards or the internal 32GB of flash memory. Advanced features include a 5.1 channel built-in zoom microphone, interval photo capture for creating time-lapse videos, and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity for wireless control and file sharing.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

What about SONY HXR NX 100.It is also a good camera for low light wedding.

Hi,

I'm a teacher looking to use video in my classroom. What would you recommend? I will need a good sound quality as well as reasonable picture quality. It also needs to be a good price and not break the bank.

Thanks

Hi Jools -

By pairing the HC-V770 Full HD Camcorder from Panasonic with your smartphone you can record two camera angles at once. A main image from the HC-V770's sensor in full HD and a secondary picture-in-picture image from your phone's camera. But the HC-V770 works by itself, too. It features a 20x optical zoom lens with a 29.5 to 612mm equivalent focal length - giving you a wide angle when zoomed out, and a substantial amount of telephoto when zoomed in. Able to record slow-motion in Full HD at up to 120 fps, it can also perform in-camera interpolation to bring the final frame rate up to 240 fps

Through their lens design partnership with Leica, Panasonic incorporated a Leica Dicomar 20x optical zoom lens with four separate optical groups and a maximum aperture of f/1.8. To keep excessive image vibration to a minimum, for steadier handheld shooting, the HC-V770K features Panasonic's HYBRID O.I.S.+, which combines optical and digital image stabilization to provide 5-axis correction. Adjustable settings allow you to find a stabilization mode most appropriate for the kind of shooting you are doing. From OFF for tripod work, to Normal for regular handheld work, all the way up to Strong for those times when things really get shaky.

This camera also features an external microphoine input and a cold shoe for connecting and mounting an external shotgun microphone for enhanced audio recording in your classroom setting.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi 

I'm looking for a camera for sports videos.  As most of the games are outside at night under the stadium lights I need something that performs well in low light and has good image stabilization.  Also focus speed is important to follow the action.  I am considering the AX-53 but am willing to pay more if the quality and combination of features is better along with better image quality.

Thanks in advance for your opinion

Hi Warren -

Stadium lights actually are designed to simulate daylight conditions.  The Sony FDR-AX53 4K Ultra HD Handycam Camcorder should work well under these circumstances.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hello, As i said before, i m looking for a camera for short films, documentaries, live concerts and interviews, but most of all a "gun and run" camera and easy to care. You suggest me the HXR-NX100 NXCAM Professional Handheld Camcorder from Sony and since it has the same price with Sony PXW X70 I would appreciate a lot a comment why not to choose the x70 ? isn't it for this target group ? why it's a bit more expensive ? thank you in advance :)

Hi George -

Ultimately the choice is yours. Will you need the 3G-SDI that is featured on the PXW X70?  If not, then the

HXR-NX100 should serve you well.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi I am getting ready to start filming and have been doing a lot of research on cameras i have been looking at two cameras one is a canon vixia r70 camcorder and the other is a canon rebel t3 or t5 but i dont know which one
Camcorder or dslr

Thanks Andrew

Hi Andrew -

The DSLR cameras you have mentioned have no external microphone inputs.  Consider the "i" versions of each.  Be aware that DSLR's can take grat looking video footage but are far more difficult to work with camcorders which are deigned specifically shoot video.  The DSLR will also be limited to less than 30 minutes of continuous video recording. The Canon  Vixia series of camcorders will also include a wide range zoom lens and a provision for using an external microphone, which is absolutely essential for quality results.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi Andrew -

You will need to consider ease of use and continuos recording duration.  The Canon Vixia HFR70 offers continuous recording to the capacity of the installed memory card and a wide focal length zoom lens with easy provisioning for an external microphone.  It is also very easy to use and virtually a point and shoot camera with just a few manual shooting options.It is easily the most economical choice. A DSLR offers the best image quality and a plethora of choices when it comes to lenses.  Continuous recording time is limited to less than 30 minutes.  Typically a rig will be desired to mount various accessories , like an XLR audio adapter, microphone, monitor, etc.  If you are a novice, I recommend starting with a camcorder tolearn the craft of filmmaking befor learning to master all the components and work flow of the more complicated DSLR filmmaking.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi,

I havce been uhsijg a Panasonic NV-GS400 for vidoe family and mostly our bands on stage wiuth fill stage lights on auto settings.

Most of the time it is fine and we have got some great footage.

To try and stay up with things, I am thinking of going up to 4K but have a limited budget of about $1000 or so.

I have been looking athe FDR AX53 abd the AX100 although there is quite a dif in price abd the 100 takes me a little over budget.

I also want Hi Fi.  Are there other video cams please who would suit my use and be in that price range. My main criteria is 4k Wif Fi and good for shooting bands on stage.

Thanks

David

Hi David -

The SONY FDR-AX53 should serve you very well.  It has all the bells and whistles consumer shooters are looking for and should offer you outstanding footage for your stagework also.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hello!

I'm currently loking into a new video camera! just looking for a good, reliable run and gun style with manual controls, Manual rings, waveform monitor, Nd filters, shutter speed adjustment, 1080p/60fps and a solid ability to shoot in low light. looking at $1400-2000. Thanks!

Hi Corey -

Probably as good as it gets within your stated budget range:

The HXR-NX100 NXCAM Professional Handheld Camcorder from Sony brings high-quality performance, adaptability, and ease of use to a compact, handheld body. The camcorder features a single Exmor R sensor with Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, Sony G lens with 12x optical zoom range, and a 24x Clear Image Zoom. The integrated zoom lens features individual lens control rings for focus, iris, and zoom. The lens can be used in either full-auto mode with servo control, or as a completely manually operated lens.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Panasonic ag a.c. 90 is better than sony hxr nx 100 because of quick auto focus and sharpness.SONY HXR NX 100 is better in full manual mode and ac 90 is good in auto.....

Hello

I m looking for a camcorder for videography (short film) and "runand gun shooting".  Shalow depth of field would be nice but autofocus and real good low light performance is firts priority. Not very heavy since we are going to shoot handheld so image stabilization is also important. I m goint to spent aroun 1500~ 1800 $.  4K is not thus important now, but 1080p with at least 60(50fps) is important as well. What we are looking is a  semi-pro (no pro, but also no amauter) handheld HD camcorder with good lowlight and good stabilization. Any suggestion ? thanks

Hi George -

Consider the SONY HXR-NX100 NXCAM Professional Handheld Camcorder which brings high-quality performance, adaptability, and ease of use to a compact, handheld body. The camcorder features a single Exmor R sensor with Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, Sony G lens with 12x optical zoom range, and a 24x Clear Image Zoom. The integrated zoom lens features individual lens control rings for focus, iris, and zoom. The lens can be used in either full-auto mode with servo control, or as a completely manually operated lens.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Why not to prefer the PXW-X70 instead of NX100 ? what are the differences bewteen these 2 models ? It seems they both have the same lens and sensor. Which one is better for low light ?

thanks
 

hi,

I want to make videos of my acoustic band playing live and in the studio. I will record music separately, but want to record spoken voice to the camera audio, so audio quality is important. I also want all motion capability and enough resolution/image capture speed to avoid "jello" rolling shutter effect when focusing on stringed instruments being plucked.  I can spend up to $1500 or so for the right solution..less is always better...what would you recommend?  Thanks, Paul

Hi, I should also have said that it would be great to have wifi remote control capability, so I can set the camera focus and recording with my iPad

thanks,

Hi Paul -

The Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder records 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps in MP4 format. The HF G40 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens and a manual focus ring that can easily be set to control the zoom instead. The camera supports Wide DR Gamma and highlight priority mode for improved image clarity. Assignable buttons and full manual control allows you to customize the shooting experience and take control of your image.

The HF G40 records to dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots. You can record to just one or both simultaneously, and the dual card slots also support Relay Recording, which automatically switches video recording to the second media card when the first one fills up. For steady shooting in a variety of conditions, the camera offers intelligent Optical Image Stabilization with powered and dynamic modes. This feature enables five-axis correction to correct camera shake throughout the full range of motion. For shot preview and image playback, the HF 40 is outfitted with a 3.5" OLED capacitive touch display and a 0.24" tiltable color LCD viewfinder.

The HF G40 also provides dual-band Wi-Fi technology that lets you share your videos quickly, using a variety of methods. You can use compatible wireless networks, wireless hotspots, or iOS mobile devices to share footage. You can also use Wi-Fi to back up and quickly transfer files. Canon equipped the HF G40 with a number of professional shooting functions and advanced display features including Focus Assist, Zebra Pattern, Color Bars, Test Tone. Slow and Fast motion recording is available as well as interval (timelapse). Some of the camera's other features include Audio Scene Select, headphone and microphone jacks, HDMI connectivity and a Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe that supports attachment of a variety of shooting aids including lights and microphones.

Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder - IN  the Box:

Hi Paul -

The Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder records 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps in MP4 format. The HF G40 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens and a manual focus ring that can easily be set to control the zoom instead. The camera supports Wide DR Gamma and highlight priority mode for improved image clarity. Assignable buttons and full manual control allows you to customize the shooting experience and take control of your image.

The HF G40 records to dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots. You can record to just one or both simultaneously, and the dual card slots also support Relay Recording, which automatically switches video recording to the second media card when the first one fills up. For steady shooting in a variety of conditions, the camera offers intelligent Optical Image Stabilization with powered and dynamic modes. This feature enables five-axis correction to correct camera shake throughout the full range of motion. For shot preview and image playback, the HF 40 is outfitted with a 3.5" OLED capacitive touch display and a 0.24" tiltable color LCD viewfinder.

The HF G40 also provides dual-band Wi-Fi technology that lets you share your videos quickly, using a variety of methods. You can use compatible wireless networks, wireless hotspots, or iOS mobile devices to share footage. You can also use Wi-Fi to back up and quickly transfer files. Canon equipped the HF G40 with a number of professional shooting functions and advanced display features including Focus Assist, Zebra Pattern, Color Bars, Test Tone. Slow and Fast motion recording is available as well as interval (timelapse). Some of the camera's other features include Audio Scene Select, headphone and microphone jacks, HDMI connectivity and a Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe that supports attachment of a variety of shooting aids including lights and microphones.

Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder - IN  the Box:

Hi, I'm looking to buy a camera to do video ethnography work. So I would be shooting a lot on the fly, in people's homes, in dark spaces, with no lights, for sure. I have a DSLR, but that autofocus on that is driving me crazy. I don't want something that's too big so as to scare off the participatns in the projecct (interviewees, if you will), but I do also want the picture to be really good. What are the best options? We're looking at a budget of US$3000 at most.

Thanks so much for your time!

Hi Tanvi -

I recommend considering a professional camcorder.  The HXR-NX3/1 NXCAM Professional Handheld Camcorder from Sony brings high-quality performance, adaptability, and ease of use to a compact, handheld body. The camcorder features a 3-chip Exmor sensor with Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, Sony G lens with 20x optical zoom range, and a 40x Clear Image Zoom for 35mm equivalent focal lengths up to 1152mm. It also features Wi-Fi connectivity for transferring video files from the camcorder to mobile devices, as well as controlling camera functions from your smartphone or tablet. A network-friendly 720p, 3 Mbps MP4 recording option allows for easy transfer and compatibility with computer, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

With the Ver. 2.0 firmware update, the HXR-NX3/1 offers you a choice of XAVC S HD or AVCHD 2.0 recording, and it supports framerates up to 1080 60p for recording smooth motion. 60i, 30p, and 24p modes are also available. You can also record in the DV format, letting you fit the camcorder into existing DV workflows. Media is recorded to two SD memory card slots. You can choose to record simultaneously to both cards or use the relay mode which switches recording automatically to the second memory card when the first one is full. The two card slots can be controlled independently from two separate record buttons. An HDMI output connector provides uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 signals while shooting for use with external recorders.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I have been using  a T4i Rebel to record sermons in a mostly poorly lit church chapel. The best lens I have for low light is the 1.4 50mm which does not work in the location that I record from. Therefore I use the EFS 15-85mm Canon lens and make do as best I can. Obviously the video is quite soft. Based on my focal length it seems a 28mm would do fine. Would a nice prime do a good job indoors in poor light?

What might be a further option for me? Since my initiative of recording the sermons the church has become more interested in the capabilities this media has. Let's say I have a budget of $5k. What would you recommend? Should I upgrade my DSLR? Upgrade to a faster lens? Is there a camcorder that would be a better choice? Any options to mull over would be appreciated. Thanks for your response.

Hi Chris -

The Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens should work nicely.

I like using a camcorder for worship services related applications.  Consider the:

Sony PXW-X180 XDCAM Handheld Camcorder featuring three 1/3" Exmor CMOS sensors and a 25x Sony G zoom lens with 26mm wide angle. It records high-quality, 10-bit 1080p video using the XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP codecs. It also offers MPEG HD 422, MPEG HD 420, AVCHD, and DV codecs to fit into a variety of broadcast and production workflows. Other key features include a 0.5" OLED viewfinder, dual SxS memory card slots, proxy recording to SD cards, and an electronically controlled variable ND filter. The camcorder can be controlled wirelessly with a smartphone or tablet using the included wireless LAN module.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Thanks for the response!

I am looking for a superb camcorder for videoing weddings, movie making and music videos. I am just getting back into the video business and have never done any HD work except for a few shots with my Canon 5D Mark iii.  Do you have a great suggestion that will serve the all around needs that I have?  I would like to have CF card ability as well as dual XRL jacks and OIS.  Thank you in advance

Hi Curt -

The XF300 Professional Camcorder represents Canon's entry into professional solid state video acquisition. Following on the heels of its widely respected XH line of tape-based camcorders, the XF300 takes advantage of the latest HD technology--along with Canon's newly developed MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec--to record Full HD video to affordable Compact Flash cards.

Nearly everything you'd want in a handheld, pro-level camcorder is here in one sleek package: three 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensors, multiple bit rates (up to 50Mbps), variable resolution and frame rates, industry-standard MXF file wrappers, a newly developed L-Series 18x zoom lens, HDMI/Component/Composite outputs, and full image customization. With its exceptional levels of image quality, ergonomics, and control, the XF300 is the perfect tool for applications such as ENG, documentaries, independent features, and event videography.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi there - We're operating a retired thoroughbred farm and need to film each horse as it through various exercises when it first arrives and then those same exercises after a number of months to show the progress it's made.  Some exercises will be done outdoors and some in an lit indoor arena.  We'd like to use a tripod for stability if possible.  Sound is not important as we plan to have pro voice overs and background music tracks added in post production.  HD quality is important as is the ability to shoot some scenes in slow motion.  Also, not an excessive amount of bells and whistles so as not to be too daunting to use right away.  Any thoughts on some cameras with these capabilities from say $500 - $1500?  Thanks!

Hi Carmen -

The Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder records 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps in MP4 format. The HF G40 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens and a manual focus ring that can easily be set to control the zoom instead. The camera supports Wide DR Gamma and highlight priority mode for improved image clarity. Assignable buttons and full manual control allows you to customize the shooting experience and take control of your image. Ffast or slow motion effect may also be added to your captured video by letting you record in a different frame rate than the one you use for playback. You can record interval video from 0.4x speed to 1200x speed.

The HF G40 records to dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots. You can record to just one or both simultaneously, and the dual card slots also support Relay Recording, which automatically switches video recording to the second media card when the first one fills up. For steady shooting in a variety of conditions, the camera offers intelligent Optical Image Stabilization with powered and dynamic modes. This feature enables five-axis correction to correct camera shake throughout the full range of motion. For shot preview and image playback, the HF 40 is outfitted with a 3.5" OLED capacitive touch display and a 0.24" tiltable color LCD viewfinder. 

The HF G40 also provides dual-band Wi-Fi technology that lets you share your videos quickly, using a variety of methods. You can use compatible wireless networks, wireless hotspots, or iOS mobile devices to share footage. You can also use Wi-Fi to back up and quickly transfer files. Canon equipped the HF G40 with a number of professional shooting functions and advanced display features including Focus Assist, Zebra Pattern, Color Bars, Test Tone. Slow and Fast motion recording is available as well as interval (timelapse). Some of the camera's other features include Audio Scene Select, headphone and microphone jacks, HDMI connectivity and a Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe that supports attachment of a variety of shooting aids including lights and microphones.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi thank you so much for this info! I make craft videos by myself and the camera I'm using now (Canon EOS Rebel T3) is very hard to keep in focus and tetious to upload footage to computer. I'm looking for something perferrably with HD that I can basically set-up in areal view over hands and forget about for extended periods of time and that stays in focus without much notice of auto focusing.  I would also like to l record directly to hard drive of computer for continuous shots that I could speed up with adobe premier/after effects and is easy to use. The camera shop recommended a Sony DSC-RX100, but I'm concerned I need more than this. Any recommendations? If example is needed here is a video I made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1kwm8ExypY It looks awful I know haha. I'm so confused on the video aspect ans complete novice. Thanks in advance, not sure where to go for advice. ~Chels

Hi Chelsea -

We do not offer a camcorder that will record directly to the computer.  Please send your inquiry to us at the e-mail listed below so we can discuss your particular needs and options in detail.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hey I don't know if you're still active on here or not, but I do have a question. I am wanting to start shooting music videos, but my price cap for a camera would be around $500 give or take.
Audio recording does not matter, as I would usually be using bands' pre-recorded audio, I just need the best bang for the buck as far as full HD and image quality and motion/framerate goes... Thoughts?

Hi Craig -

Consider the HC-V750 Full HD Camcorder from Panasonic which features Full HD 1920 x 1080 recording along with an Advanced Level Shot Function and a 5 Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer+(O.I.S.+). The O.I.S.+ has a three-level setting (Off, Normal and Strong) which doubles the tilting correction range for even better effectiveness when moving and shooting. The improved correction algorithm provides better tracking even when tilted quickly.

It also features the combination of an all-new lens, sensor, and engine for enhanced zooming and high sensitivity. The engine is about 1.5 times faster than previous models for high-speed processing of the enhanced MOS sensor's signals. The 6.03MP MOS sensor delivers sharp video images with high resolution. A brand new 4-drive lens system is incorporated to enable a powerful 20x optical zoom within a compact body size.

The Crystal Engine Pro+ engine enables slow motion video shooting in Full HD with smooth playback at 240 fps (actual recording is 120 fps) with Intelligent Frame Creation. This simple touch-operated function can be enabled during regular shooting to switch to slow-mo. The super slow motion is shot in Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. Built-in modes like Miniature Effect, 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, and Time Lapse Recording also help to inspire and creatively control your shooting.

The camcorder also features built-in Wi-Fi and is NFC (near-field communication) enabled for even more flexibility when pairing up with optional HDTVs and mobile devices. It also includes a Baby Monitor feature that allows you to check in on a sleeping baby in another room (when the camcorder is connected to your home network with a smartphone). You can speak to the baby using your smartphone and even be notified when the baby cries or when a voice is detected in the room. Ustream allows you to live stream video over the Internet as well.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

So I got really excited about this article, till I discovered your idea of entry level was still over 1000$.
I'm dealing with a legit, entry level budget, of like 100-300. I'm not looking for anything facy perse, but at least 720p recording and preferably 1080p.
What do I plan to do with it? Not entirely sure, which is also why I am looking for something cheap. Probably mosty music videos/tutorials. Also worth mentioning audio quality is irrelevant to me, I use real microphones and record stuff serparately. I am a firm believer in the fact that purpose built machines are better; an audio recorder will record audio better than the most expensive video recorder you could find, using the same microphones.

That being said, I am coming from recording video off of 80-90$ Nikon Coolpix point and shoot digital cameras, which suprisingly record 720HD and decently well under good lighting; so any upgrade I imaging would be massive by comparison.

I have had my eye on the earlier model Go Pro cameras,  because of thier portability, ease of use, 1080p capability, and their versatility for high action sports. What I am not sure is if you give up anything that would benefit stationary vieography for these features (also keeping in mind I didn't have many benefits to begin with). I don't necesarily have any plans for high action sports recording, but it would sure open the door to possibilities, and that doesn't mean I don't have ideas, so I wouldn't just be buyinga action camera for no reason, it just wouldn't be my main need out of the camera.

Do you think one of the 199-299 models of GoPro could be viable options? or would there be something more suitable in that pricerange (I don't have a problem with something that isn't action capable, GoPros just seem like cost effective units)

Thanks in advance for your time
 

Hi -

In this price range, the best bang for the buck is the Canon Vixia HF R600. 

The Canon VIXIA HF R600 lets you capture sharp and steady Full HD video by combining a 57x Advanced Zoom range and SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer. It features a 3.28MP CMOS image sensor and a DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor that delivers up to 1080/60p video. Video is recorded to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards in either MP4 (up to 35 Mbps) or AVCHD (up to 28 Mbps) formats. A 3" capacitive LCD touch panel is provided for easy framing, quick playback, and intuitive operation. Designed with all levels of users in mind, the HF R600 has a wide range of features to automatically adjust image stabilization, zoom magnification, and image control settings to help you get the best possible images. A high-capacity 1840mAh battery is included for longer shooting times.

Product Highlights

  • Record up to 1920 x 1080/60p Video
  • Canon 3.28MP Full HD CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor
  • AVCHD & MP4 Recording Formats
  • 57x Advanced Zoom & SuperRange O.I.S.
  • Capacitive 3" LCD Touch Panel Display
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card Slot
  • Intelligent IS with Four Shooting Modes
  • Framing Assistance Function
  • Fast & Slow Motion Recording

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Does anyone know, what is the best Camcorder for concerts? ive been borrowing my teachers CANON G20 (which is awesome). want one, somewher in the mid prices, to the high price. also, not to big of a camcorder since some arenas/stadiums wont let those medium/big one's in.

so yea, any suggestions?

Hi Elijah -

Since you are already a CANON fan, consider the Canon VIXIA HF G30 Full HD Camcorder which shoots 1920 x 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps in either AVCHD or web-friendly MP4 format. It also supports Native 24p Progressive Mode recording, which will give your footage a more cinematic look. You can use built-in Cinema-Looks Filters to enhance that "film" look as well. The HF G30 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens with an 8-Blade Circular Aperture for more professional-looking video and stills. The lens provides a 26.8 - 576mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and a manual focus ring that can easily be set to control the zoom instead. The camera also provides a 2.91MP Canon HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor and DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor for wide dynamic range and improved low-light performance.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I am looking for a great camera and camcorder combitionation for filming weddings around the $1,700 mark?  It needs to have a professional look to it since this is for a business.  I would like suggestions on something that provides me with high quality images, filming, works great in low light scenes, provides great focusing techniques.  Are there any good 4K options around this price range?  Thanks, Phil.

Hi Phillip -

Innovative and portable, the cutting-edge Sony HXR-NX30 Palm Size NXCAM HD Camcorder with Projector is a handheld, excellently built HD camcorder that's capable of capturing AVCHD video in Full HD 1080p at 60 fps, as well as high-quality digital still images. It's equipped with 96GB of internal flash memory, an LED video light and NightShot capabilities. It also supports all AVCHD recording formats at 28 Mbps.

The true innovation behind Sony's HXR-NX30 is its 1/2.88 ExmorR image sensor and ultra-wide angle Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens. The lens is mounted within a gyroscope, which affords unbelievable image stabilization. Sony's calls their innovative technology Balanced Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode. In fact, you can choose to shoot in fixed mode, without stabilization, or you can easily switch on the SteadyShot whenever needed. This feature is great for walking and shooting or for journalists who may need to hold the camera steady, high-above their head while demanding the truth in front of city hall.

Note the dimensions and weight specifications:

Dimensions (WxHxD)With Battery: 2.8 x 3.7 x 5.8" (7.15 x 9.45 x 14.8 cm)
With Hood, Battery, Microphone, XLR Unit: 5.3 x 7.2 x 12.2" (13.55 x 18.15 x 31.05 cm)WeightBody Only: 1.36 lb (615 g)
With Battery: 1.57 lb (710 g)
With Hood, Battery, Microphone, XLR Unit: 2.43 lb (1100 g)

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

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