Need help choosing a camcorder

sevieman's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 10/27/2010 - 8:56pm

I am totally new to camcorders. I
administrate a group called Guitar League I want to buy a camcorder to accomplish the following:

1. We have performances and presentations on guitar related
issues. I want to be able to video them. They run about an hour.
2. I want to be able to edit and upload to YouTube.
3. I want to be able to video my own rehearsals to use as a
practice tool.
4. I want the unit to have the capability to record external
audio, either from a mic, or from a direct feed from a mixing

I have researched a lot of info on the subject but it is like
reinventing the wheel for me and the more I read, the more
confused I get. I am looking for someone in the know to tell me
basically what camcorder to buy, and what editing program to

My budget will be in the $500 to $1000 range, though price is
certainly an issue. In other words, I need to get a camcorder to
meet my needs, but at the lowest price possible.


Gregory Watts's picture
Last seen: 4 years 12 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 2:31am

Stevieman; I currently have the Sony DCR-SR47. I wish I had not bought it after realizing that for video you really need to go better. I am currently thinking about this JVC I know it is out if your price range and it was mine until I started looking at video quality. If you can get by with medi-orka quality then the Sony is a good bet. it is around $350.00 depending where you buy. Here is a link to several in that price range

But there are much better qualified people on this forum to suggest lower priced cameras then I am.

As for software, You will NOT be able to download a free good editing program.
I use Videostudio Pro X3 you can download a full function that you can save the finished product without any marks for 30 days FREE.

I have been using Corel products since the days of 3.11 and love them. As far as VS X3 goes it is the quickest, fastest easiest editing program to use with tons of professional features See my work with it ( and if you buy as you get better you can add more and more to it. The abilities are endless.

But I will leave the cameras to the other guys

 "A Photo Captures but a Moment in Time: Video Captures a Lifetime in a Moment"

Luis Maymi's picture
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 09/26/2008 - 4:58am
Plus Member


Now that I have a professional camcorder I finally
understood what other Videomaker members keep bragging about "you cannot
expect professionals results with such low budget". Hopes are not
lost my friend, in your case I recommend the Kodak Zi8 because you can connect 1/8" mics and it record "HD". Its around $150. You can buy an SDHC card to record up to 10 hours in HD, a cheap tripod, a decent 1/8" mic, some cheap lights at your hardware store or on Ebay. For editing software start with what you have, Windows Movie Maker for Windows or iMovie for Mac. Check Videomaker Editing Software Buyer Guide for more info on video editing software.


"The meaning of a movie are the characters, the life of the movie is the music, but the magic is in the editing" –

doublehamm's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 11/29/2009 - 5:52pm

If your budget is for the camera only, I would go with a Panasonic HDC-TM700. I use 2 Z5Us in my business, and this little Panasonic almost performs better when both are set to full auto. Of course manual adjustments will help you get the best video. But if you don't have the need to really dive into video and need something that performs well straight out of the gate, $750 for the Panasonic goes a LONG way for the novice.

EvanG's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 09/24/2010 - 10:58am

You can often pick up a nice used Canon GL2 on ebay within that price range. Quality and features are tough to beat for that kind of money, in my opinion.


Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. ~ Winston Churchill

Jeffrey Roldan's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 10/27/2010 - 4:46am

I'm a huge fan of Sony and any of their consumer HD cameras. I would personally avoid tape, it slows up the process.

For editing Final Cut Express or just stick with iMovie (if you're a MAC)

Jeff Roldan

hmueller's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 07/03/2009 - 6:12pm


In the price category you should look at the Canon HF M300. It shoots full HD, has an external mic input and a 15x zoom

You are limited to the size/duration of the video that you upload to YouTube. So you would have to edit your videos to less than 10 minutes.

You would also need a tripod which will add a few hundred dollars to your budget.

XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

Features I'd try to look for in this situation are manual controls and low light performance. Lower end Canon camcorders do a pretty good job in this. You won't have to plan on paying for a more than $30 tripod if you don't want to move the camera. You'll end up paying at least $100 for a "Fluid Head" tripod if you want to pan at all while recording.

O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabalization) is certainly something to look for if you plan on panning or taking handheld shots.