Buying a new camcorder for filming outdoor sports

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    • #48486

      Hi, I am trying to decide on a camcorder to film outdoor sports. I will be mainly filming mountainbiking so fast action and a lot of it will be in wooded areas so not much light.

      The most important things I need are fast autofocus in bright and lower light conditions and manual controls for white balance, iris, shutter speed (independant or priority).

      I don’t need to take stills and do not really mind about sound. I don’t need high definition but saw Canon have "instant AF" on some HD models. Is this on any SD models as well?

      I was looking for something around the price of a Panasonic GS320 or Canon Optura 50 but could maybe stretch a little more for something much better.

      I am mainly interested in MiniDV format but am open to suggestions.

      Lastly if you can think of anything better for the job that came out in the last few years I’d really appreciate it.

      Thanks for reading this and for any advice, Dan.

    • #199225

      Hi Dan,
      I was in the same position as you a while back but perhaps my ideal-use is different from yours.
      Mostly I wanted a camcorder for skiing and mountain biking so I decided on a helmet "lipstick" style camera. Basically these are just auxillary lenses that connect to a standard camcorder. So I needed both the helmet cam and the camcorder. In order to be able to pause, record, and turn off the camera while it was in my pack you need to have LANC jack on the camcorder (not all have this).
      I ended up with a Sony DCR-TRV18 about 3 years ago (they don’t make it anymore, but Sony is a good brand to go with). Its been great although I rarely use it without the head cam.

      The Head cam I use is called Jones Cam and I chose it over the more popular VioSport because it had more scan lines.

      For non-headcam applications there are new camcorders popping up specially made for sports.
      The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA6 Weatherproof Camcorder has some nice features like waterproof, shock resistance etc. and doesn’t cost an arm-n-a-leg.
      – Small
      – MPEG4 (no tape save size and weight)

      – Small (not a "real" camcorder)
      – MPEG4
      – Quality of zoom and picture tweaking not as good as regular camcorder

      Samsung is also making a line of "Sports" camcorders that include an auxillary lens so you can do the head-cam setup if you want. This is basically what I did but I bought them separately rather than all-in-one.
      The newest model is the samsung sc-x300L with Wired External Camera
      there is also the x105l camcorder x205l camcorder x210l camcorder but I think all of these are discontinued now. The x300L seems to be the new current sports camera by Samsung.

      Anyway, it certainly matters if you want Point-of-View shots. I have had no problems with my headcam and everyone who views the videos remarks how clear and colorful the image is.

      Best of luck. Ride on.
      – John

    • #199226

      Thanks for the reply JVANV, I will definately look into getting one of those in the future but for now want to concentrate on improving my filming from an observers point of view.

      I had narrowed it down to a Canon MVX40 and an NV-GS280. However, on the camcorderinfo website they say the Canon is slow to adjust focus and exposure in auto mode. It does have a manual focus ring which I don’t think the Panasonic has. To be honest I would prefer not to have to rely on manual focus.

      Does anyone have any experience with the GS280 when filming action scenes?

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