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Guidlelines for cameras filming fast sport/action sequences:
Get a brand that is one of the following: Canon, Sony, Panansonic
I perfer Canon, I think they offer the best image as well as the best control, some people may not agree with me, everybody has their favorite brand. Unfourntuantly Canon does not have a lot of nice mid priced cameras right now. As I said before I NEED a camera with some weight. It is a major failing in consumer camcorders that they are getting smaller and lighter. Heavy cameras have good momentum that allows for jitter free imaging, even when being held freehand. I don’t think you will find a NEW Canon camera that will fit that description so you may want to check Sony or Panasonic.
Get a Camera with variable frame rate and exposure settings: Even if there are no other manual controls you HAVE to have this. You will not get good image quaility without it. If you need to know why just look up information on framerate and exposure settings, but it basically has to do with the way DV camcorders work.
Try to get a camera with image stabalizing capabilities: Helps reduce jitter.
I’d say other than that it is really up to you as to exactly what camera you can get. With your price range you are looking at a consumer camcorder, and since they are small you will want to look into buyung or building a DV stabalizer.
You cannot get it new, but if you are willing to buy a used camera I can suggest what I always suggest:
Canon’s Optura Xi. It was a short lived camcorder from Canon, mostly because it sat somewhere between Professional and Consumer and so consumers didn’t want to spend the money and professionals wanted a much nicer camera, but I think it is just about one of the best enty level camera you can buy. It gives you great manual control as well as automatic control, and it has variable frame rate and exposure settings. I’m sure other people will suggest their favorite types of cameras. Just take the time and do some research before buying. If you can go find a camera store that has a good variety and try some out. Find one you like. And if you ever need help with anything remember Videomaker. always a great place to get some advice.