The Best Video Quality From A Tiny Camera
July 30, 2008 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a very small camcorder with decent image quality. I got the Panasonic SDR-S7, which is a great size, but the video quality is just a step above YouTube, and I'm thinking of returning it. Is it possible to get better image quality out of an equally tiny (or nearly as tiny) camera? Any recommendations?

I should note that I'm more size-sensitive than price-sensitive; I'd happily pay more for better video quality, but I'd rather not get too much bigger. I figure that a so-so camera that's small enough to take everywhere is more useful than a great quality camera we leave at home.
posted by yankeefog to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How much more money are you willing to spend? I just got a Canon Vixia - shoots in HD and is about the size of a soda can (5.1 x 2.9 x 2.5 inches, vs. 4.5 x 1.2 x 2.5 inches for your Panasonic, making it about 1 inch wider and 1/2 inch longer). It shoots in Hi-Def, has pretty good low-light video, and has great sound quality.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:30 PM on July 30, 2008

i use my nokia n82 phone... great video quality....
posted by dawdle at 11:22 PM on July 30, 2008

The Canon HV20 is popular for its small size and high quality. I don't have one, but this professional filmmaker thinks they're great.
posted by muta at 1:41 AM on July 31, 2008

Wait until Kodak's answer to the Flip comes out in August and see how it gets reviewed. The Zi6 records in 720P at 60fps and lists at $179.95. Of course it only records up to 32GB and the lens is only 4.1 mm, f/2.8, fixed focus. But hey, it's small.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:57 AM on July 31, 2008

Seconding the Vixia (though I got the HF10) which is just an awesome little shooter that does full 1080p/30 high def (though good luck editing that on a mac). For something even smaller that shoots hi-def try the new iteration of Sanyo's Xacti (the HD1010). I've never used one but it sure is sexy. These are both fairly costly alternatives, but the image quality on the Vixia at least is stellar.
posted by The Bellman at 8:25 AM on July 31, 2008

I'm not sure what your price range is, but the v1253 is cheap and shoots 720p video (samples!). It's around $180 new, but you might be able to find it cheaper. Product Dimensions: 4 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches ; 5.3 ounces

The Zi6 looks interesting, but I'd also recommend waiting for some reviews.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I'll check out those cameras.

By the way, I discovered I was being a little unfair to the SDR-S7. It turns out that there were some problems with the TV I was using to watch the video I had recorded. Having fixed the TV problems, I would say that the SDR-S7 is definitely better than I had feared. It's still not amazing, though, and I'll definitely check out the other models you suggest.

(This is not to cut off the discussion; if anybody has any other suggestions, I'll check them out too.)

posted by yankeefog at 8:44 PM on July 31, 2008

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