Looking for a HD camcorder.
March 19, 2010 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a HD camcorder.

I'm looking at picking up a HD camcorder (1080p) for a couple purposes. The primary purpose is to document my parents' stories and anecdotes in sitdown interviews. I'd also like to use it for weddings, vacations, and general use in the future.

It's gotta play well with Macs and I'm not really interested in Flips.

Make/model suggestions? Best review sites?
posted by entropicamericana to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I recently bought a Canon VIXIA HF200 and so far I really like it. I did some research on-line and that model was consistently rated pretty well.

It's small, flash-based, HD. iMovie recognizes it and seems to play well with it. It occasionally errors out when it imports a clip but attempting it a second time always works.

I don't use it enough and I'm not knowledgeable enough to go on at length about white balance, frame rate, or any of that nonsense. It's easy to use and the videos look pretty on my TV. That's what matters to me.
posted by bondcliff at 7:57 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

My girlfriend bought the Sony HDR-CX-100 about 3 weeks ago, which is the cheapest handheld 1080p HD camcorder that we could find. It was on Amazon for $315, but they recently raised the price to $390. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QWEZLG/ref=oss_product)

It works great with iMovie and even has 8GB of built-in memory. The only downside is that it requires the proprietary Sony memory stick, but for the price we were able to live with it.

We tried to like the flip camcorders- the picture is great and they are dirt cheap.. however, they just don't feel good in your hand and IMO they seem very unstable.
posted by adirondack at 8:01 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm waiting for Canon's new lineup to be released in mid-April, and will pick between the HF S200 and the HF S21.
posted by phaedon at 8:24 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm saving my pennies for one of these. It's brand new so it hasn't been reviewed yet, however the Panasonic 3-chip cameras always score highly.

If you're looking for reviews and info go here
posted by Scientifik at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2010

I did this exact same thing. I ended up purchasing a Canon Vixia (the one without the internal hard drive).

If you're recording stories, then you want something that (1) mounts easily on a tripod, (2) has a good microphone that won't pick up too much ambient stuff (consider getting a camera where you can mount a microphone, just in case), (3) has a window that you can move to various angles (you may not want to be behind the camera when you record your parents), and (4) has a remote control. I like having a camera that has AV-out as well, because then I can just plug it into the TV to see how the finished product looks.

I'd recommend something that uses SDHC flash cards. Not that you would fill up a 16GB card that easily, but it's very easy to switch them out if you need to. Beware Sony cameras, because they use a proprietary memory stick that may cost more or may be harder to find, and won't be useful for anything else except other Sony products.

Things like the Flip are cool, but they have very limited memory, and you might have a lot of shakey-cam going on, which isn't good for stories.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:41 AM on March 19, 2010

You might want to look into an hd-video equipped dslr like the Canon Rebel T2i.
posted by umbĂș at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, a review sites: I use CNET, cross-checked with Amazon reviews of specific products. I also generally like the AVS Forum.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2010

You probably should mention a price point or people will be all over the map.
posted by chairface at 10:56 PM on March 19, 2010

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