Help me pick a video camera
December 19, 2008 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me pick a video camera (more inside)

I am looking to purchase a video camera in the next couple of months. My goal with this is to shoot the most professional looking video that I can, knowing that I don't have a professional level budget. I would be very interested in knowing what my best bet would be at around $500, $750, and $1000. Above $1000 would be hard to do, but if there is something truly amazing just above that point I would certainly be interested in hearing about it.

I am fine with purchasing a used camera, but I don't know if this is something I should be buying new.

I am planning to put together a set of short musicals and music videos. I would also like to use it for some home videos. I do not need something very small, I would rather have something big and high quality.

I am really an audio guy, not video, but the projects I have coming up will require some substantial video work done on my part, so I need to learn fast.

What I need to do is come up with options, see if they will work for the projects I have lined up, and determine whether I am better off doing it myself or hiring it out to someone else.

posted by markblasco to Technology (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe a used D90? You can look on to see footage from different video cameras to see if they suit your needs. Helped me choose between the flip mino hd and the creative vado hd. The D90 can do amazing things with focus, that would probably be really cool with the kinds of musical video production that you're going to be doing!
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 11:06 PM on December 19, 2008

Canon Vixia.

Pick your medium. HV/HF -- whatever. Best consumer cam on the market today
posted by nitsuj at 11:28 PM on December 19, 2008

Though I've not used it myself, I understand the Canon HV30 (or HV20 if you can find it) gives the best bang for the buck.

See Jason Scott's evaluation.
posted by jeffmilner at 8:57 AM on December 20, 2008

Seconding/thirding the Canon HV30. It's the best in the price range - even though it doesn't have very good manual controls. It has a lot of accessories, and a very large user base of folk doing the same things you want to do - have a look at to get some idea of this camera's popularity.

Several things to keep in mind: Capturing from tape is drudgery (it takes as long to capture as it took to shoot), which might be enough to drive you to a flash memory based camera like the Canon HF11, even though the picture is very slightly lower quality (and you really have to be an obsessive pixel-peeper to spot the difference). These cameras are small - if you want to "look like a pro" or whatever (this is important to some people, I guess), then you'll have to shell out more money for a less consumer looking camera.
posted by The Monkey at 10:37 PM on December 21, 2008

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