Help me choose the right one

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    • #40016

      I’m in the market for a vid camera but don’t have a clue which one to pick.

      In the past I’ve had those 8mm cassette types that are a pain to transfer to different formats and are the size and wieght of a brick.

      My main videoing is of everyday situations ranging from low light backpacking through to bright sunny beach locations. I would like a camera that is as good at taking long shoots as short, rugged and waterproof if possible, small in size for travel and is easy to upload to the net. Off the “would likes” the size is probably of most importance, I feel that if it is no hassle to have with you, your’e more inclined to take more footage. I’m also thinking about one of the dual photo/vid cameras???? Anyway hope you can help cheers.

    • #172197

      I have an Aiptek Personal Media Recorder. The B&H catalog calls it the MZ-DV. It can take photos, record video/audio clipsandjust audio clips. It’s also an MP3 player. I call it my Swiss army knife camera. It’s $170 from B&H, but my parents got it at Circuit city for less than that, i think.

      I’ve shot3 of my last 5 short filmswith it, includingthe documentary of my family’s trip toeurope. It was good through metal detectors/customs as long as I had it in my checked bag.It’s the same size as my hand – lots smaller than your averagecamera.It’s more like a cell phone without the phone.

      This is a Flash Media Camera, so there’s no tape involved. You record into the internal memory of the camera, then hook it up to your computer with a USB cord.Controls: There’s no manual controls. You can mess with exposure and zoom, but the focus is very limited – it’s a switch on the front that you can flip between “far” and “near”. It has two qualities of photo and video: “good” and “bad”. “Bad” means you can hold more stuff. I used to have it on bad all the time, but I got a 1GB SD card, so the video quality is better now.

      I’m getting a more professional camera, but for hiking/traveling/outdoors, my camera is hard to beat for it’s size, weight, costand ease of use. The exposure setting is buried in a menu, but it works pretty well for adjusting between indoor stuff and the bright outdoors.

    • #172198

      I’ve also used several Aiptek cameras over the past six or seven years. I find they are a great value for their cost and can honestly recommend them. But (my Sony bias is showing) I’m now using the Sony NSC-GC1 camera/camcorder and just love it. It shoots 5MP stills (and smaller) and shoots MP4 video. The controls are more accessible than similar controls on my older Aiptek’s, but they are about the same size & weight. I also have a great deal of control over exposure with both auto modes designed for several “night” shooting situations, beach & snow conditions, spotlighting or backlighting. You can also set exposure to higher or lower EV’s (which are the equivalent to f-stop adjustments.) They even have a high speed shutter option for fast action. But they do not have any internal memory to speak of, it can only record one 5MP photo OR 10sec of MP4 video. So you have to get a Memory Stick Duo Pro to use it, but like all flash memory these days, they aren’t expensive (and they last forever.)

      The NSC stands for Net Sharing Camera so it is ideal for posting videos on the web. I use mine mainly to shoot videos of kids & cats, but it is my primary still camera. One thing I really like about it as a still camera is the built-in flash has an excellent auto control. So I almost never get close up objects “flashed out” into white blobs. And if you run into a situation where you’ve got flash issues, they can usually be solved using the EV adjustments for the flash. The close focus is only 1.5 feet, so that limits me, but you might not find it a problem.

      I got mine when it was released and paid the price for that. Currently they retail in the under $80 range (plus the cost of your flash memory.) These type of cameras have been increasing in popularity and many (if not most) manufacturers are introducing their own versions of cameras aimed at web video production. So from how you described your intended uses, I think you’ll want to look into the power options of the cameras. The battery in the Sony NSC-GC1 is a special design and isn’t something you can get a couple of extras for back-up and changing in the field. However my last Aiptek used a common battery pack, so I always had power when I needed it. And it used the slightly less expensive SD cards to record to.

      Hope this is sorta what you were looking for. I also have a Sony HC20 i got from eBay for shooting unplanned video footage. It records to miniDV and has all the usual bells & whistles, including a stereo mic input for decent sound. It is the size of six miniDVD discs stacked up, so it fits into coat pockets with room to spare. When I switched from carrying my Digital8 to this miniDV camcorder, I thought I’d taken the camcorder out of my shoulder bag since it seemed so light. And, of course, the video is standard DV so you’d have to capture it and compress it for posting on the web.

      So there you go, another ad for Sony camcorders. So I’ll close by saying all the manufacturers have equivalent equipment of comparable quality, but I’m hoping this will give you a starting point.

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