Video cameras that give me video files
May 24, 2010 1:27 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a decent hard-disk-based video camera for home use that doesn't record video on its hard disk in some proprietary format. I just want to be able to copy / move / delete the video files in Windows Explorer.

I bought a camera (similar to the DZ-HS303E but with 40 Gb HDD) and I regret it, since it records video into a big container file rather than standard separate video files, and I have to use the manufacturer's software to extract the files to my laptop. It's clunky and takes ages, and I have to go back as a separate step and erase the videos from the camera.

It's possible you could characterize the container file as non-proprietary, since it turns out to be one mongo video file the size of the whole HDD that theoretically could be copied and then chopped up, but I count this as proprietary for the purposes of this question. I just want to take the individual video clips, copy them and use them without any conversion whatsoever and without the use of any special software.

Which formats would you consider "standard", and which video cameras do this? (Don't need an exhaustive list, but recommendations would be welcome).

Bonus question: is there a feature or keyword in the advertising or literature that would tell me this when I'm looking?
posted by blue_wardrobe to Technology (3 answers total)
If the description says it creates MOV or MP4 files, you should be okay with those. Sometimes it will come down to which playback software you've installed (side note: VLC will play absolutely everything, forever and ever, Amen).

I've played with a Flip camera, and even those didn't produce universally-playable files, and those are probably the most user-focused, consumer-friendly option right now.

If it says "AVCHD" in the description, you do not want that one.
posted by bryanjbusch at 1:39 PM on May 24, 2010

Yes, VLC could play the file as a whole, but could not recognize the beginning and end of the clips within the mongo file. I had to FF and REW to where they started and ended.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 1:42 PM on May 24, 2010

Any camera that says "AVCHD" on the side. These days, that's almost all of them.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:20 PM on May 24, 2010

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