Video Camera For the 2023 Storm Chasing Season

Which Video Camera Should I Get For the 2023 Storm Chasing Season? ($500-$1,300)

  • Sony AX100

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • Sony AX33

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sony AX53

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sony CX900

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Canon Vixia HF50

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • Panasonic VX981K

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    5

Austin Honeycutt

Enthusiast
Jun 21, 2022
5
2
1
Kansas
I am a 15 year old that is looking to get my first camera for storm chasing. I am mainly looking for a camcorder but if there is a DSLR or Mirrorless camera that takes good video without overheating I might be interested.

It would be my main camera and would be mounted on my windshield or dash. I would also take it off and use it as a handheld. MY PRICE RANGE IS $500-$1300!

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW:
-Are we at a time where 4k is absolutely necessary or would a camera like the Sony CX900 that shoots 1080p on a "1" sensor work?

SOME CAMERAS I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT/CONSIDERING:
4K
-Sony AX100 for $1,100 used $1,300 new
-Sony AX33
-Sony AX53 for $1,100 new
-Panasonic VX981K for $800 new
-Canon Vixia HF50 for $1,100 new

1080P
-Sony CX900 for $600-$800 used

I would really like to know if there are other options too or if one of those would work. If you guys have any sample footage that would be greatly appreciated as well!
 
Aug 9, 2012
548
1,216
21
Macomb, IL
stormoptics.smugmug.com
If you want to go the mirrorless route, Sony A6400 is great for starting out. Crop sensor camera, but takes great photos and 4k video at 30 frames per second (about standard) along with full HD up to 120 frames per second (high speed). There is no real recording limit on this camera like there is with the A9 and A7R models (more higher end cameras). There is, it is basically whenever your battery dies lol. BH is currently sold out of them, but you can probably find a used body in great condition for 650 or so and then a lens would probably run you a few hundred more. I'd either go with that or a used Sony AX100, they are really solid chasing cameras. If you JUST plan on video then I'd stick with the AX100, but if you have photos in mind, then maybe give the A6400 a look. Its a lot of bang for the buck.

Edit: And no 4K isn't 100% necessary, however consumer 4k camcorders started being released around 2013/14 or so, so almost 10 years later, video of such is becoming more and more relevant....especially to stock news companies looking to buy it. Also as screen resolution increases, it will help future proof your catches. Yes there are software out there that you can upscale the video, but nothing better than shooting native in full 4k and having the original file.

There are 8K cameras now, but I don't see that becoming a "thing" for a long long time. It's more of a gimmick really and this is coming from someone that has one. Takes forever to edit the files and they are huge lol. So I'd say yes 4k is definitely worth the investment in 2022-2023.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Austin Honeycutt

Austin Honeycutt

Enthusiast
Jun 21, 2022
5
2
1
Kansas
If you want to go the mirrorless route, Sony A6400 is great for starting out. Crop sensor camera, but takes great photos and 4k video at 30 frames per second (about standard) along with full HD up to 120 frames per second (high speed). There is no real recording limit on this camera like there is with the A9 and A7R models (more higher end cameras). There is, it is basically whenever your battery dies lol. BH is currently sold out of them, but you can probably find a used body in great condition for 650 or so and then a lens would probably run you a few hundred more. I'd either go with that or a used Sony AX100, they are really solid chasing cameras. If you JUST plan on video then I'd stick with the AX100, but if you have photos in mind, then maybe give the A6400 a look. Its a lot of bang for the buck.

Edit: And no 4K isn't 100% necessary, however consumer 4k camcorders started being released around 2013/14 or so, so almost 10 years later, video of such is becoming more and more relevant....especially to stock news companies looking to buy it. Also as screen resolution increases, it will help future proof your catches. Yes there are software out there that you can upscale the video, but nothing better than shooting native in full 4k and having the original file.

There are 8K cameras now, but I don't see that becoming a "thing" for a long long time. It's more of a gimmick really and this is coming from someone that has one. Takes forever to edit the files and they are huge lol. So I'd say yes 4k is definitely worth the investment in 2022-2023.
Thank you so much, that helps a lot! I will have to look into the Sony A6400.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ethan Schisler

Wayne A.

EF0
Jul 11, 2022
25
18
1
Oklahoma
I will be using an old film camera instead of a digital one. That way I can lower the F-stop and make my pictures look different than anyone else. That was the case on June 20, 2009. Anyway, good luck with the modern equipment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Austin Honeycutt

Austin Honeycutt

Enthusiast
Jun 21, 2022
5
2
1
Kansas
Yeah, that is kinda where I am. I was really considering the Sony AX100 because it has a 1" sensor and you can find it used for $700-$1,000. But it is 8 years old. I don't have enough money to buy the Sony AX700.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wayne A.
Jan 7, 2006
596
828
21
USA
www.skyinmotion.com
If you want to go the mirrorless route, Sony A6400 is great for starting out. Crop sensor camera, but takes great photos and 4k video at 30 frames per second (about standard) along with full HD up to 120 frames per second (high speed). There is no real recording limit on this camera like there is with the A9 and A7R models (more higher end cameras). There is, it is basically whenever your battery dies lol. BH is currently sold out of them, but you can probably find a used body in great condition for 650 or so and then a lens would probably run you a few hundred more. I'd either go with that or a used Sony AX100, they are really solid chasing cameras. If you JUST plan on video then I'd stick with the AX100, but if you have photos in mind, then maybe give the A6400 a look. Its a lot of bang for the buck.

Edit: And no 4K isn't 100% necessary, however consumer 4k camcorders started being released around 2013/14 or so, so almost 10 years later, video of such is becoming more and more relevant....especially to stock news companies looking to buy it. Also as screen resolution increases, it will help future proof your catches. Yes there are software out there that you can upscale the video, but nothing better than shooting native in full 4k and having the original file.

There are 8K cameras now, but I don't see that becoming a "thing" for a long long time. It's more of a gimmick really and this is coming from someone that has one. Takes forever to edit the files and they are huge lol. So I'd say yes 4k is definitely worth the investment in 2022-2023.
As someone who begrudgingly went the mirrorless route a couple years ago, despite originally wanting more of a "press button and forget it" camcorder dedicated to video: isn't there still a considerable difference in low-light image quality favoring the A6400 over the AX100? Their sensor sizes appear to be 25x16 mm vs. 13x8 mm, respectively, which is quite a difference. However, I've never owned a Sony camcorder, so I don't know how this theoretical difference manifests in practice.

I will say now, after two spring seasons using the A7r ii for video: it's definitely harder to manage than a camcorder, but not prohibitively so. The worst part for me is the lack of an infinity focus lock, which my old camcorder had. I typically end up trying to back-button focus on the horizon after reaching the focal length I'm going to use, then leave it alone until I have to zoom in or out again. This has definitely led to comical bouts of frustration and interrupted tornado shots. But the quality of the footage (I'm shooting in APS-C mode, so should be very similar to A6400) when it's focused properly, even a bit after sunset, is simply fantastic compared to what I was coming from.

Overall, I'd recommend the Sony mirrorless route to anyone on the fence... as long as you're willing to put a bit more effort into learning and using it than a camcorder. I'm interested in Ethan's thoughts on the image quality difference vs. higher end camcorders, though.
 

Austin Honeycutt

Enthusiast
Jun 21, 2022
5
2
1
Kansas
As someone who begrudgingly went the mirrorless route a couple years ago, despite originally wanting more of a "press button and forget it" camcorder dedicated to video: isn't there still a considerable difference in low-light image quality favoring the A6400 over the AX100? Their sensor sizes appear to be 25x16 mm vs. 13x8 mm, respectively, which is quite a difference. However, I've never owned a Sony camcorder, so I don't know how this theoretical difference manifests in practice.

I will say now, after two spring seasons using the A7r ii for video: it's definitely harder to manage than a camcorder, but not prohibitively so. The worst part for me is the lack of an infinity focus lock, which my old camcorder had. I typically end up trying to back-button focus on the horizon after reaching the focal length I'm going to use, then leave it alone until I have to zoom in or out again. This has definitely led to comical bouts of frustration and interrupted tornado shots. But the quality of the footage (I'm shooting in APS-C mode, so should be very similar to A6400) when it's focused properly, even a bit after sunset, is simply fantastic compared to what I was coming from.

Overall, I'd recommend the Sony mirrorless route to anyone on the fence... as long as you're willing to put a bit more effort into learning and using it than a camcorder. I'm interested in Ethan's thoughts on the image quality difference vs. higher end camcorders, though.
Thank you for responding, it gives me so much to consider!
 
Aug 9, 2012
548
1,216
21
Macomb, IL
stormoptics.smugmug.com
As someone who begrudgingly went the mirrorless route a couple years ago, despite originally wanting more of a "press button and forget it" camcorder dedicated to video: isn't there still a considerable difference in low-light image quality favoring the A6400 over the AX100? Their sensor sizes appear to be 25x16 mm vs. 13x8 mm, respectively, which is quite a difference. However, I've never owned a Sony camcorder, so I don't know how this theoretical difference manifests in practice.

I will say now, after two spring seasons using the A7r ii for video: it's definitely harder to manage than a camcorder, but not prohibitively so. The worst part for me is the lack of an infinity focus lock, which my old camcorder had. I typically end up trying to back-button focus on the horizon after reaching the focal length I'm going to use, then leave it alone until I have to zoom in or out again. This has definitely led to comical bouts of frustration and interrupted tornado shots. But the quality of the footage (I'm shooting in APS-C mode, so should be very similar to A6400) when it's focused properly, even a bit after sunset, is simply fantastic compared to what I was coming from.

Overall, I'd recommend the Sony mirrorless route to anyone on the fence... as long as you're willing to put a bit more effort into learning and using it than a camcorder. I'm interested in Ethan's thoughts on the image quality difference vs. higher end camcorders, though.
The low light image quality of my A7SIII and just total image quality in good lignting with the new 10 bit color is leagues above the AX100 I had. Even my A7RIII, imo can shoot clearer video under strained circumstances than my AX100 would handle

I started using the Gripper 115 XL with extender arm for mine. Just be careful to make sure it’s secured to the window as dropping a mirrorless camera is much more damaging than a DSLR (they are more fragile in that aspect) and the weight is significantly more than the AX100 and even 700, which is why you’ll need the arm for it
 
  • Like
Reactions: Austin Honeycutt
-Are we at a time where 4k is absolutely necessary or would a camera like the Sony CX900 that shoots 1080p on a "1" sensor work?

SOME CAMERAS I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT/CONSIDERING:
4K
-Sony AX100 for $1,100 used $1,300 new
-Sony AX33
-Sony AX53 for $1,100 new
-Panasonic VX981K for $800 new
-Canon Vixia HF50 for $1,100 new

1080P
-Sony CX900 for $600-$800 used

I would really like to know if there are other options too or if one of those would work. If you guys have any sample footage that would be greatly appreciated as well!
I think the complete lack of any new camcorder cameras from the major players indicates the future for consumer level Camcorders. Although most are now years old the prices have remained way too high in todays market and in comparison to mirrorless competition. A pity regarding camcorders as they are so much easier to use and near always have a decent zoom if needed. Probably the same fate for DSLR's too.

Mirrorless with 4K is probably the way to go. If you can get a model that has a flat colour profile like Panasonics V-Log or similar even better as you can create HDR type footage by colour grading in video software like Da Vinci, or Final Cut pro.

Having said all that I fess up that I use a Nikon D780 which is a DSLR with some Mirrorless features. The 4K is outstanding in my opinion and on a UHD TV you can tell the difference from 1080p.

In regard to the CX900, do you have the Sony PJ790 over there ! I think its a better camcorder. It has a great little microphone and even includes a small dead kitten for wind reduction. The projector is a useless gimmick however. Its 1080P like the CX900.

Regards
 
  • Like
Reactions: Austin Honeycutt

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
1,327
307
11
55
Richmond Virginia
www.harkphoto.com
I see a number of camcorders (Canon, Panasonic) listed as coming soon on the B&H website for October and November. I can't determine if any of these will be a good major upgrade and useful for chasers. Most of these are in the "camcorder" section. In the "consumer camcorder section", there is an upcoming listing for a Sony FDR-AX43A. I don't know what the "A" is for. The AX43 is a fairly useless entry when the 53 is still available. They also have a listing for a Canon Vixia HF G70 UHD 4K that seems like a bit of a downgrade from the G60 except for a slightly faster lens. So far, I am unimpressed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Austin Honeycutt
Aug 9, 2012
548
1,216
21
Macomb, IL
stormoptics.smugmug.com
I see a number of camcorders (Canon, Panasonic) listed as coming soon on the B&H website for October and November. I can't determine if any of these will be a good major upgrade and useful for chasers. Most of these are in the "camcorder" section. In the "consumer camcorder section", there is an upcoming listing for a Sony FDR-AX43A. I don't know what the "A" is for. The AX43 is a fairly useless entry when the 53 is still available. They also have a listing for a Canon Vixia HF G70 UHD 4K that seems like a bit of a downgrade from the G60 except for a slightly faster lens. So far, I am unimpressed.
Any model that Sony releases with an A after it, is has been meaning that they are using a different screen. They ran out of the old screens that had the Sony logo on it so they had to re-release the A7RIII and A7RIV as A7RIIIA and A7RIVA due to changing the screen to one that doesn't have the sony logo on it. I'm guessing the same thing is true here. It is all part of the global chip shortage which is keeping certain cameras and lenses off the shelves longer than a day or two.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bill Hark