Video Cameras 101:

I am looking to purchase a new video camera and am wondering what many of you use and/or recommend (or don't recommend). I have a small Canon but I am not all that impressed with it. I may be willing to shell out $1000-$1500 or so for a great video camera. I have read about the HD video cameras and also ones that records onto small dvd's versus mini-dv's. My main purpose would be videotaping my baby son, family events and of course storms.

Here's one that caught my eye except it's TOO expensive.
http://www.mysimon.com/Camcorders/9000-11630_8-0.html?mlpid=22694460

I like the size of these cameras because they are easier to use and seem more sturdy. So, my question is...what middle to higher end video cameras do you all use?
 
I would avoid any of the cameras that record directly to disc media. The video is compressed when burned to the dvd and when you get around to editing with it you most likely won't be happy with the results.
 
Howie, this is a tough one because everyone has different needs. I have a HD tv that necessitates high quality video. When I played my old camcorder on my new tv it was horrific to watch. I also have children that honestly will take up the majority of the filming with the camera I bought. Oh, btw, I bought this camera... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...689&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation. My review of it is that in normal to bright lighting conditions it is phenomenal. No way I would ever use anything else to record my memories on. When in lowlight, different story. The sharpness is still there but the noise jumps out at me. All in all it is still the best for the money out there imo if you need hd. David mentioned earlier about editing. Well, I don't edit too much. A cut here, a splice there, blah, blah, blah. I am sure that the mpeg 4, which my camera compresses to, is not the greatest for editing but I hear there are programs coming down the line that address this. Who really knows though. Anyway, I love my camera overall. It is a little pricey but when I added the wide angle lens to it and panned over a tornadic supercell it suddenly became worth the money to me. Being able to forever see in high definition the splendor of a plains supercell on my wide screen tv is truly awesome. Just my 2 cents.
 
Thanks for the great comments. I think I have to reseach the whole HD vs. normal D thing some more. I'm sure there are a lot of websites out there that have good reviews and comparisons.
 
Hi- There's some older posts on this and a few (of course the ones I needed) were in the time frame where the posts were lost earlier this year.
I went with the Sony HDR FX1. I've played with it some.. still trying to hook it up to the HD TV still so I can't give an assessment on how it plays on HD.
I like the camera so far... I bought the wide angle lens which doesn't give as good as a wide angle as I'd like but it's better than the one it comes with. I also got a circ polarizer filter 72mm but haven't figured out how to get it on the wide angle lens. Buttons are in a good place and it's relatively user friendly.
When you go to buy..beware.... I got mine off of eBay from a reputable source without any problems but there are a ton of rip-off places. They'll say camera is $1700 but if you want the box it comes in, the shoulder strap, the instruction manual, etc it's $3k.
Good luck and feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
L
 
;)
Hi- There's some older posts on this and a few (of course the ones I needed) were in the time frame where the posts were lost earlier this year.
I went with the Sony HDR FX1. I've played with it some.. still trying to hook it up to the HD TV still so I can't give an assessment on how it plays on HD.
I like the camera so far... I bought the wide angle lens which doesn't give as good as a wide angle as I'd like but it's better than the one it comes with. I also got a circ polarizer filter 72mm but haven't figured out how to get it on the wide angle lens. Buttons are in a good place and it's relatively user friendly.
When you go to buy..beware.... I got mine off of eBay from a reputable source without any problems but there are a ton of rip-off places. They'll say camera is $1700 but if you want the box it comes in, the shoulder strap, the instruction manual, etc it's $3k.
Good luck and feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
L

I think he said his price range was 1000-1500. Not 3,000 plus.

Anyways, I would go with a used Canon GL2 or a Sony VX-2100, as there are plenty of good deals from reputable sellers on there. I just picked up the GL2 and am pleased with how good it is in low light. These aren't High definition, but are great for chasing.

If you want one in that price range, Sony has a few out now in that price range.
 
For the $1,500 price range, HD is out as far as storm chasing is concerned. All of the sub $3k HD cameras use CMOS chips rather than CCDs. The way CMOS chips capture images result in significant problems recording lightning strikes. They are great cameras otherwise, but as a chaser I think the ability to reliably capture lightning is important.

A used VX2100 would be the best SD camera you could get for chasing. For that price range, you won't find any other camera that comes close in low light performance, which is very important with storm shooting.

It might take some work to find a good VX2100 for $1,500, but it would be worth the effort.
 
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I think he said his price range was 1000-1500. Not 3,000 plus.

He did but the link he provided was for the HDR FX1 so I thought I'd provide some info on that specific camera.
It is possible to pick up a used one from a repupitable dealer for closer to his asking price or wait and like all other electronics the price will drop.
Sometimes if it's a "tight squeeze", I still try to hold out and get a better model.
Where there's a will there's a way.
Laura
 
:mad:
For the $1,500 price range, HD is out as far as storm chasing is concerned. All of the sub $3k HD cameras use CMOS chips rather than CCDs. The way CMOS chips capture images result in significant problems recording lightning strikes. They are great cameras otherwise, but as a chaser I think the ability to reliably capture lightning is important.

A used VX2100 would be the best SD camera you could get for chasing. For that price range, you won't find any other camera that comes close in low light performance, which is very important with storm shooting.

It might take some work to find a good VX2100 for $1,500, but it would be worth the effort.


If I hadn't gotten the deal of a lifetime on the Canon GL2, I probably would have went with the Sony VX-2100. GL2 has 6 lux as compared to the VX with 1. The FX 1 has 3, and for the extra 500, I would have to go with that if I had the money (which i don't).

I like the 20x optical on the GL2 compared to the VX's 12x.

The new Sony FX 7 recently came out, and if I had the 3700 I would definitely get it!

You can find used GL2's all over ebay, reputably, for 1300-1800. But beware!
 
GL2 has 6 lux as compared to the VX with 1.

That is why you got the deal on it. Any camera with that high of a lux for storm chasing pretty much means you should leave your camera put away for tornadoes at dusk because you won't be able to see anything.

That is also why I have not taken the HD plunge yet since nothing in HD under $10,000 is as good in low light as the VX2100 or PD170. HD high Lux or SD with Low Lux to see what can't be seen...

Just looking at Ebay right now there is some cheap VX 2000 which have lux ratings of 2. A lux of 2 is still pretty darn good for storm chasing and filming your kids.

Another thing to consider is this, production companies really don't care what camera you shot the tornado on. HDV or SD, it is all the same to them because HDV is not true HD so unless your recording on a FireStore setup with a Panasonic P2 system in DVCPro HD 50 straight into the FireStore, your only shooting what is called HDV or Half Def Video.

If you look at the productions from the tsunami of 2004, look how much video is shot on P.O.S. cameras. Some are even camera phones but the video tells the story of a dramatic event.

If your looking to get into video these days to make money off of storm chasing, don't. The market is so saturated and the main client, TWC, they bailed on the stringers for the most part unless you have some insane video and then there going to try and get that video for next to nothing. Think of it this way, what is your tornado video worth when the guy in Boston charges $400.00 for video of people walking down the street? This may have gone way past the scope of the topic and may be something for another topic in the chaser bar and grill section.

But, your best bet for video is not the HDV if your looking to use it in a semi professional setting such as storm chasing to sell your video. I would stick with a VX2000 which should be in your price range.
 
GL2 has 6 lux as compared to the VX with 1.

That is why you got the deal on it. Any camera with that high of a lux for storm chasing pretty much means you should leave your camera put away for tornadoes at dusk because you won't be able to see anything.

That is also why I have not taken the HD plunge yet since nothing in HD under $10,000 is as good in low light as the VX2100 or PD170. HD high Lux or SD with Low Lux to see what can't be seen...

Just looking at Ebay right now there is some cheap VX 2000 which have lux ratings of 2. A lux of 2 is still pretty darn good for storm chasing and filming your kids.

Another thing to consider is this, production companies really don't care what camera you shot the tornado on. HDV or SD, it is all the same to them because HDV is not true HD so unless your recording on a FireStore setup with a Panasonic P2 system in DVCPro HD 50 straight into the FireStore, your only shooting what is called HDV or Half Def Video.

If you look at the productions from the tsunami of 2004, look how much video is shot on P.O.S. cameras. Some are even camera phones but the video tells the story of a dramatic event.

If your looking to get into video these days to make money off of storm chasing, don't. The market is so saturated and the main client, TWC, they bailed on the stringers for the most part unless you have some insane video and then there going to try and get that video for next to nothing. Think of it this way, what is your tornado video worth when the guy in Boston charges $400.00 for video of people walking down the street? This may have gone way past the scope of the topic and may be something for another topic in the chaser bar and grill section.

But, your best bet for video is not the HDV if your looking to use it in a semi professional setting such as storm chasing to sell your video. I would stick with a VX2000 which should be in your price range.
 
Thanks for the great posts. I think the VX2100 and 2000 seem to be the most recommended. I really have no plans of making videos to sell but would like some good videos for my own collection. If I get a great video one day and the TV station want the footage, they'll have to pay me several thousand dollars for the rights. LOL. I worked at an NBC TV Station for 8 years and know how much money they have if they really want something. :)
 
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