Video / Buying Guide

Which Video Camera is Best for You?

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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 am looking to upgrade our (pretty old) handheld camcorder to record our daughters volleyball games. Of course volleyball is a pretty quick sport with lots of movement.  Also, playing in anything from high school or college gyms with one or two courts to large convention centers with a couple hundred courts, lighting can vary greatly (but is never great). 

I need something small that I can set on a tripod at the end (or sometimes side) of the court, hit record and let it go. We are not into the college recruiting highlight reel field yet, so we are not looking at the $1000 or more range of cameras, but something more reasonable. Is there anything passable at half that cost? Just need something that will have good quality in bad lighting, and easy to upload so that I can share with the team. 

Hi Elizabeth - 

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.

I teach in a high school theatre department. I am looking for a new video camera that we can use to record our shows as well as live stream for back stage monitoring purposes. We record from the balcony that is approximately 50' away from the actors. We also need it to be wide angle enough to cover the entire stage width (up to 60' wide at the distance of approx. 50').  In addition, I would love something that would be really easy to set up for a live stream (and record at the same time) but that would be secure so that only the students in the show can watch from their school laptops.  Only other feature I think I would like is a larger hard drive in the camera so it can record without having to worry about a memory card.  Budget:  something under $1000 (I realize this may be a tall order).  I am open to suggestions of other options or features that I might not have thought of. Thanks for your suggestions. 

Hi Vicki - 

This may be the way to go:

Livestream's Mevo Live Event Camera combines a camera, a live streaming platform, and a video switcher to form an all-in-one story-telling device. Despite its palm-sized form-factor, the Live Event Camera fits a UHD 4K sensor behind a 150° wide-angle lens. This configuration endows the Live Event Camera with the capability of supporting 9 virtual camera angles at 720p resolution. Each virtual angle is controllable and selectable via the free iOS app (requires iOS 9.3 or later operating on iPhone 5s or newer) or Android app (requires Android 6.0 or higher and a compatible device). Using touch-based gestures; you can control each angle as if it was a real camera with a zoom lens on a tripod. With the Live Event Camera you can stream directly on the Livestream, Facebook Live, Periscope, and Twitter platforms. Alternatively use the UHD 4K resolution of the sensor to record sharp video directly to the internal SD card.

Note: check the Mevo website for updated iOS and Android mobile device compatibility

I'm wanting to start filming my girls in their rodeo events with a video camera that will shoot better quality than my iPhone 7. All  of their events involve riding a horse up to 30mph indoors and outdoors and I would be filming from a distance of 10ft - 250ft. I would like a camera that would show great quality when replayed in slow motion in order to break down each segment for coaching.

Hi Brian - 

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.

I'm a photographer for a Shriner's Temple. We presently have Nikon D7300 & D3100 cameras for still photos. We want to start video recording of meetings, parades and events (crabfeasts, bull & oyster roasts, etc) held here. We would like to capture videos of the parades and separate the individual units for training purposes and possibly produce a composite 'movie'. The 'projector' cameras sound like a nice feature. We have a budget of $2000 and need a tripod and other accessories. Is there a 'package' available for this? (i.e. dual 64GB cards, tripod, case, filters, etc.).

We are starting a high school broadcasting class.  We will be shooting on location footage as well as studio footage.  We are looking for a reasonably priced camera that would accomplish both of these tasks.  Some on location areas may be lower light.  Just starting so trying not to break the bank.  Thanks for any help.

Hi Tina - 

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.

Need help finding a great video recorder for filming high school football at night under the lights (in very low light).  I film from the top of the stands and do use a tripod.  Looking to spend around $750-$1,000 (the $150 models don't cut it).  I'm ok with refurbished or slightly used.  Also want to easily download to my MacBook to make an iMovie of the game. I film the individual plays and end up with 120 10-second clips, which I need to combine in iMovie.  Help.

Hi - 

The Canon 32GB VIXIA HF G20 Full HD Camcorder (Refurbished) shoots 1920 x 1080 Full HD video at 60i, in native 24p and 30p. With the 24p frame rate option you can give your footage a cinematic look. Using Cinema-Looks Filters you can boost that film look with multiple built-in adjustable filters. The HF G20 (Refurbished) features a genuine Canon 10x HD video lens with an 8-Blade iris, for more professional-looking video and stills. It has a 30.4 to 304mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. The camcorder is also equipped with a Canon HD CMOS Pro image sensor that supports improved low-light performance and a wide dynamic range. 

Hi I'm looking for an reasonably priced video camera that I can use to broadcast my band that is playing inside my establishment, on my outside seating area. It would need to be HDMI as I will be plugging into my HD modulator box. thank you for your help.

Hi Greg - 

The Panasonic AG-UX90 4K/HD Professional Camcorder records UHD 4K at up to 30p, and FHD up to 60p in variable frame mode. The camera supports 59.94, which is analogous to NTSC, making the camera compatible with US broadcast standards. Featuring an integrated 15x optical zoom lens and a 1" type sensor, UHD, and HD in MOV, MP4. The camera is also capable of recording HD in the AVCHD format.

The AG-UX90 offers gamma settings for eight different scenarios, and manual control rings for iris, zoom, and focus. To monitor the status of all settings, and to perform critical focusing functions, the camcorder features both a high-quality 3.5" LCD touch screen and a full-color LCoS 0.24" viewfinder with 1,560,000 dots of resolution. It incorporates two SD slots that allow for simultaneous recording in UHD and HD. You can also choose relay recording, which allows the recording to shift from one card slot to the other as the card fills up.

I am looking for a HD videocam for doing both scientific work and conferences/interviews.  1080p yes, with auto light adjustment and zoom, but most important are very low light sensitivity for near-total darkness without use of IR or other lights (my old Sony 510 with super night shot does better than most cameras today), also dual SD cards for recording.  Lenses suitable for reasonably close up work, and out for interviews, or conference shots.  I already have several Canon AF lenses, so if those could be adapted to a new videocamera, so much the better. Suggestions?

Hi James - 

We may not offer a video camcorder that will perform to your expectations in near total darkness.  This camcorder does offer a low lux shooting mode and responds very well to near no-light conditions when digital gain is applied (and when compared to similar and pricier cameras).:

The black Sony HDR-CX900 Full HD Handycam Camcorder brings broadcast-quality HD video to the palm of your hand. The 1" Exmor R CMOS sensor is approximately 8x larger than that of typical camcorders, allowing you to capture cinematic images with shallow depth-of-field for defocused backgrounds. The camcorder features a wide-angle Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens with 12x optical zoom plus 24x Clear Image digital zoom. SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode delivers smooth video, and 3-Way-Shake-Canceling adds electronic roll stability for even smoother results.

We are looking for some cameras to shoot live music session in a small studio space. We will be having bands/musiicans play love and want to video them with three cameras using a Roland V-1HD so we need to be able to live output the video to the switcher. We are starting out and don't want to go all in on the budget just yet. We will have lighting and will record the audio via a mixer before feeding to the V-1HD.

We want to be able mix the video llive so we can live stream sessions and mostly have a finished product at the end of the session even if that means a few mistaks or compromises.We will alos be using the audio on the radio live or recorded for later.

I am considering DSLRs but wonder if any of the mid-range $400 - $900 camcorders woulds also do the trick. I don't the higher priced pro camerasa re in our budget just now.. The oiptions are a bit boggling.

What would you reccomend?

Hi Magnus - 

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.  

By combining two images taken with different exposure times, the HDR Movie function suppresses blown highlights and blocked shadows for crisper, clearer videos. With HDR you can maintain gradation in your images in difficult shooting situations, like when your subject is back-lit. An external microphone jack is also featured for connecting a microphone.

Hi there! I am a Wedding Videographer looking to upgrade my gear. I am hoping to by 1-2 camera's, hopefully under or around the $3,000 mark if possible. Things that are important: Excellent in low light, Auto Focus, holds dual memory cards, and can shoot 120fps in 1080 or 60fps in 4K. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!!!

Hello,

I currently have a Canon Vixia HV30 that I have used to film smaller weddings and an annual dance recital. To film the dance recital, I have to film from a balcony about 50-70 ft from the stage. Most of it is dark except for the stage lighting of course. I film in the vivid cinema mode at 24p. I edit all my film on imovie and then burn to dvd using idvd. I wish I could have better film quality onto the discs, which I know I cannot put HD resolution on a 480i/p dvd. Have been thinking about buying a new camcorder with possible flash storage. What would be a good camcorder to film the dance recital with and to replace the Canon with, as I am sure there is better tech at cheaper prices now? Also do you have any recommendations for settings, accessories, and software to best publish the dvd's for the customers? Idvd has had the same themes over the years and I have about used them all. Thank you for any advice you can give!

Hi Cameron - 

Consider the Sony HDR-CX675 Full HD Handycam Camcorder , featuring 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.

CyberLink PowerDVD 17 Ultra  - B&H # CYPDVD17U

Hello,

I am an artist and I'm looking for a camera that has 12 btit, 4:4:4 color sub-sampling, log gammas, RAW , good dynamic range and low-light performance. The most important thing for me is the colour science. It does not necessarily need to have 4K capabilities and I cant go over $10,000 (don't mind buying second-hand). What would you suggest?

Many thanks in advance. 

Hi Ana - 

Retaining the familiar form factor of the original URSA Mini, Blackmagic Design's URSA Mini Pro 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera brings expanded control set and increased functionality. The most noticeable difference is the addition of external camera controls. No longer will menus have to be accessed to change exposure settings, activate slow/fast motion, or engage focus assist or other functions. The exterior of the camera also gains a monochrome LCD panel which displays essential shooting data at a glance. Another welcome pro feature is the implementation of built-in ND (neutral density) filters. The four-position wheel switches between two, four, and six stops of neutral density, plus a clear filter for no exposure reduction. Behind the display, two SD card slots have materialized beside the CFast 2.0 slots, enabling more affordable media to be used for less intensive recording formats. The default electronic EF lens mount is user-interchangeable and adjustable to ensure proper flange-focal distance.

At the heart of the camera is Blackmagic Design's acclaimed Super 35mm 4.6K sensor block, known for its ability to capture cinematic images with subtle gradients and large dynamic range rated at 15 stops. Like the URSA Mini, the URSA Mini Pro can record high resolution raw sensor data in the CinemaDNG format onto CFast 2.0 memory cards at up to 60 fps. The raw files preserve the full dynamic range and color tonality output from the sensor so you can have greater control over the look in post-production. However, data-heavy uncompressed raw files aren't always easy to deal with on-set, so in addition to uncompressed raw recording, the URSA Mini Pro provides compressed raw recording at 3:1 and 4:1 compression ratios to save space while retaining post-production flexibility.

Hello,

I work for a performing arts organization that is interested in recording rehearsal studio footage. Currently we use a canon vixia hf g30 on a tripod, but we are interested in installing a mounted camera that would stay in the studio. Ideally this would have a very wide angle lens in order to capture the rehearsal area that would be about 50' wide and only 5' away from the camera itself. We would love to be able to record through the SAN network or some other way to store the video to a remote network, and possibly the ability to stream wirelessly the capture.  The ability to start and stop the video recording remotely would be a strong bonus.

Thank you for any guidance!

Hi Jessica - 

Please send us an e-mail so we can get a better idea of your budget range, available lighting and network's capabilities and bandwith:  

 AskBH@BandH.com

Which Video would be recommended for making videos about medical procedures?

"Which Video Camera"

Hi Satya - 

There are lots of ways to go with this type of project and you may need more than one camera.  You might like the idea of a doctor, surgeon or nurse wearing a POV type of camera for that "in the moment", live  perspective.  Much will depend upon your budget, scope, and nature of the project.  E-mail us the details and we will be happy to reply with our recommedations:   

AskBH@BandH.com

Hi Satya - 

There are lots of ways to go with this type of project and you may need more than one camera.  You might like the idea of a doctor, surgeon or nurse wearing a POV type of camera for that "in the moment", live  perspective.  Much will depend upon your budget, scope, and nature of the project.  E-mail us the details and we will be happy to reply with our recommedations:   

AskBH@BandH.com

Greetings!

I own a bar and wanted to put a camera on the bar at face height so when customers come up we can interact with people and record their experiences etc. So the shot is predominately stationary trying to just capture people from the bust up for "close up" interactions. Because it's a bar, it's loud and rather low light. I am looking for something with a small footprint that handles a few specifics (in order of importance).

1: solid sound in a loud environment or the ability to add a mic 

2: functions well in low light situations

3: offers an easy way to "bookmark" moments on the fly for easy editing later (so we don't waste time fiddling with the equipment when we need to be selling drinks) 

4: is durable and if possible waterproof/resistant

I am currently interested in the Hero5 and wanted to make sure there wasn't a better option since I'm not really "in action".

Hi Matthew - 

Consider these cameras (both do a nice job in low-light) that will save you a few dollars and may be perfect for your application.  I would also suggest a suction cup mount:

Proudly displaying the Tough badge of honor, the black Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is a rugged action camera ready to capture all of the action in resolutions up to UHD 4K at 30 fps. Compared to other action cameras, the TG-Tracker doesn't require a separate camera housing to provide its toughness, with its body shockproof from drops up to 7' and waterproof to depths of 98.4'. It's also dustproof and will operate in temperatures as low as 14°F, so whether you're at the beach on at the top of the slope, the camera is up to the task.

Incorporating optical image stabilization and 4K recording, Sony's FDR-X3000 Action Camera produces sharp videos and still images with reduced motion artifacts from vibrations and other camera movement. The ultra-wide-angle lens opens up versatile framing options for recording your adventures, and the included underwater housing is watertight to 197', letting you plumb aquatic depths right out of the box.  (NOTE:  No external microphone input)

The DDMOUNT MINI Fat Gecko Mini Camera Mount from Delkin Devices is a locking suction cup camera mount that makes video and photography possible from almost any smooth surface, especially when size and weight are critical--on surfboards, motorcycles, wakeboards, ATVs, helmets, windows and more. With an adjustable joint and a 3" extension bar, it's also easy to set up shots over a windshield, around an instrument panel, over a binding, or anywhere else where a standard tripod or camera mount wouldn't work.

EXTERNAL MICROPHONE:

The Polsen OLM-10 Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone is an all-in-one solution for recording hands-free audio to both channels of your camcorder or DSLR, as well as most devices with a 3.5mm mic-level input that cannot supply phantom power. It is a self-powered clip-on electret condenser mic designed for accurate voice reproduction in home and video webcasting applications such as presentations, interviews, dictation, and corporate video. The microphone's small, 21-mm long lightweight body allows for discrete placement with the included tie-clip while its 20-foot long cable gives you ample distance from your recording device.

Featuring a 3.5mm dual-mono TRS output connector, the mic sends audio to both the left and right channels of your recorder. Thanks to its omnidirectional polar pattern, the OLM-10 provides a uniform response that will not cause the bass-boosting proximity effect common with cardioid patterns, while allowing you to move freely without off-axis rejection causing a drop in volume. The in-line power switch allows you to quickly mute the microphone as well as preserve battery life when not in use. A windscreen for reduced noise and plosives, 1/4" adapter, and LR44 battery are included.

Hi. I am an wedding videographer planning to upgrate my video camera from HD TO 4K . i am really confused  should i  buy PANASONIC AG UX 180 or go for SONY PXW-X150  can u please suggest a best camera foe me. 

Hi Allwin - 

For the wedding or event shooter I like:

The Sony PXW-X180 XDCAM Handheld Camcorder features 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.

I want to start some road trip videos on my bike. I want to buy a compact camera which will serve both as helmet camera (people generally us action camera) and for filming tourist places like forts, markets, beaches, landscape etc. The camera must be under 200gm. I was thinking about Sony dsc wx220 but it's old camera. Any suggestions plz.

Hi Vikrant - 

I love this system:

Incorporating optical image stabilization and 4K recording, Sony's FDR-X3000 Action Camera produces sharp videos and still images with reduced motion artifacts from vibrations and other camera movement. The ultra-wide-angle lens opens up versatile framing options for recording your adventures, and the included underwater housing is watertight to 197', letting you plumb aquatic depths right out of the box. For those that want precise control over framing, Sony's Live-View Remote is included. The LCD screen provides confidence monitoring as well as remote camera control.

I noticed there were no Panasonic cameras in the lower "budget" section of this list. What do you have to say about the HC- series from Panasonic with 4K ? Is the Sonys better in any way?

Hi Fredrik -

The HC  Panasonic cameras are quite comparable but the Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder  has the best sensor:

The Sony FDR-AX100 Full HD Camcorder brings 4K Ultra HD video to the palm of your hand, delivering resolution four times that of Full HD. The 1" Exmor R CMOS sensor is approximately 8x larger than that of typical camcorders, allowing you to capture cinematic images with shallow depth-of-field for defocused backgrounds. The camcorder features a wide-angle Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens with 12x optical zoom plus 24x Clear Image digital zoom. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode delivers smooth video, and 3-Way-Shake-Canceling adds electronic roll stability for even smoother results.

I need a camera for video shoot at home mostly my kids activities , my 1 year daughter walking etc...;

I bought the Gopro Hero 4 and 5 , gave me noisy quality if the light is not that bright (if daylight is great).

Got the Nikon D5500 good quality but the video will blur then focus on my kids activities can not give you the constatnt crystal clear quality .

Bought the Sony FDR-AX33 , the video quality is not that great if the light is not bright.

I almost gave up , all what I need in evening time at home to shoot excellent quality video, please advise

Hi Tom - 

     If you require 4K, then consider the Sony FDR-AX100 Full HD Camcorder  which brings 4K Ultra HD video to the palm of your hand, delivering resolution four times that of Full HD. The 1" Exmor R CMOS sensor is approximately 8x larger than that of typical camcorders, allowing you to capture cinematic images with shallow depth-of-field for defocused backgrounds.  The back-illuminated technology improves low-light sensitivity and combines with Sony's Column A/D Conversion to reduce noise by 50%. This is great when shooting in dimly lit environments such as night landscapes or indoor scenes. This camcorder features a wide-angle Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens with 12x optical zoom plus 24x Clear Image digital zoom. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode delivers smooth video, and 3-Way-Shake-Canceling adds electronic roll stability for even smoother results.  

you do not think AX53 will be much different in low light settings ?

All I need is a camera that can feel like quality footage while being relatively cheap (probably under 500 bucks).  As long as the footage looks good, it has an internal stabilizer (not a necessity but it would be nice), has good sound quality, and can zoom in and do other basic things like that, I'm satisfied.  Just in case it helps, I just make short films with my friends, which we take kinda seriously, and we're looking for a new camera that can do all that (really the only difference from our current camera is the video and audio quality, but it doesn't have to be hollywood-level)

Hi Jacob - 

     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 external microphone input, manual mic level control,  interval photo capture for creating time-lapse videos, and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity for wireless control and file sharing.

I am just starting out filming my own mini docs. I want something intuitive and user friendly as I am not a techy person at all. I also care for great image quality and maybe internal stabilizer. Ideally it will be cost-efficient as well. Advice is welcomed. Thanks so much!!!! Excited to finally shoot on my own!!

Hi Michelle - 

The Panasonic AG-UX90 4K/HD Professional Camcorder records UHD 4K at up to 30p, and FHD up to 60p in variable frame mode. The camera supports 59.94, which is analogous to NTSC, making the camera compatible with US broadcast standards. Featuring an integrated 15x optical zoom lens and a 1" type sensor, UHD, and HD in MOV, MP4. The camera is also capable of recording HD in the AVCHD format.

The AG-UX90 offers gamma settings for eight different scenarios, and manual control rings for iris, zoom, and focus. To monitor the status of all settings, and to perform critical focusing functions, the camcorder features both a high-quality 3.5" LCD touch screen and a full-color LCoS 0.24" viewfinder with 1,560,000 dots of resolution. It incorporates two SD slots that allow for simultaneous recording in UHD and HD. You can also choose relay recording, which allows the recording to shift from one card slot to the other as the card fills up.

Panasonic Optical Technology

The integrated Leica Dicomar 15x zoom lens was designed specifically for professional HD video production and features a 24.5mm equivalent focal length on the wide end of the zoom when recording FHD for a 24.5-367.5mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range and a 35.4 to 531mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range when shooting in UHD. The lens combines four lens groups and incorporates Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and when shooting in HD it supports 5-Axis Hybrid image stabilization.                         

My nephew was just accepted into the Olympic Development Program for soccer, and requested I video all of his games so that he can review what he does and make improvements.  I am considering the Sony AX53.  Do you think this will be adequate?

Hi Kinga - 

Great choice!  Not adequate - superb and more than equal to the tasks you describe.

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.

I am a high school teacher and just started a Media Arts class.  We've got a couple point and shoot cameras as well as GoPros.  We have a donated Canon XA10 - but we have mainly been relying on camera phones as the majority of our projects are classroom art project based and our focus has been on getting familiar with the Adobe Creative package.  However, we have recently been offered a job to film many of our school's soccer games and to put together a highlight reel of sorts.  I anticipate using the XA10 but want to purchase another comparable camera.  What recommendations do you have?  

Hi Robbie -

Why not another XA-10?  

The Canon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder is a fully featured, ultra-compact pro video camera that shares nearly all the functionality of the XF100, but in an even smaller, run-and-gun form factor. Sporting a 64GB internal flash drive and two SDXC-compatible card slots, the XA10 can record literally for days without running out of memory. Able to capture AVCHD video at bitrates up to 24Mbps, the camcorder's native 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensor also lets you choose 60i, 24p, PF30, and PF24 frame rates for customizing the look of your footage. Bringing further professional oomph to that footage is a Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens, with lowlight sensitivity and a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 30.4mm-304mm. The lens features a 58mm front filter thread.

Hi!  I am wanting to buy a video camera for my 13 year old daughter who is interested in film making and video editing.  She would need something entry-level as she has only been filming with her iPhone.
 

Hi Amy - 

     Whether up close or far away, the white Canon VIXIA HF R700 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 R700 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. Highlight Priority mode allows you to capture a more natural looking image, and the camera supports fast and slow motion recording. A high-capacity battery is included for longer shooting times.

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