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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay.  I need to get a new camcorder, my old one died.  I have no clue on even where to start.  I'm not really big on using a camcorder but we do use it occassionally for say birthdays or christmas, sporting events and school functions.  My 7 yr old has his first school play coming up in about a week and a half and I would really like to get in on "film".  So any input and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 

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One thing I would suggest, is to consider a digital camera with video capabilities.

I have a Canon Powershot SD750, which is a still camera but can take videos - which are so good, that I hardly ever pull out my camcorder anymore. Some of the newer ones have more powerful zoom capabilities, and image stabilization - making them a pretty good, inexpensive, all-purpose video camera.

You would need a tripod and a good seating position to shoot something far away like your child's play.
 

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If you just want something to slip in your pocket, check out the Flip cameras.... They are very tiny, relatively cheap and have surprisingly good audio/video.

I have the MinoHD, which can record 60minutes; they just released the UltraHD, which can record 120 minutes....

MinoHD UltraHD

Amazon carries the basic colors, but if you buy from the Flip website, you can design your own case, or choose one of their designs....

This is the one I have (click to see the larger pics on the website):

 

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I have this one, and absolutely love it.


I wanted a video camera that didn't have in internal memory that could get full, but I didn't want to have to keep buying DVDs to record to either. I chose this one because it also allows recording on the memory stick (Sony's SD card). When I'm finished recording I just pop the stick out and transfer video to my PC without even having to hook the camera to the PC. Plus with several different sticks I can record whatever I want then decide later how i want to group it on disks. I can record my husband's races on it and if i don't feel like changing the card can put a birthday party on the same stick and put them on different disks when I'm ready. I've also take video of my husband's races, or then kids' football games on several different sticks throughout the season and then put all the races on one DVD and all the football games on another.

****My best advice is to go to the electronics store and play with all the different cameras. This will give you the best feel for them and help you decide which is right for you. Let me tell you when I went to store to buy, this camera it wasn't the one I intended to Buy, but after handling it and several others it turned out to be the one that i liked the best, and with the features i wanted most.

Anyway good luck in your search.
 

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Stitch -

I just bought a new camcorder recently: a Xacti HD1010:



It's about mid-range price-wise for consumer camcorders (Amazon has it listed at $617), but it has a LOT of nice features, including a 10X zoom (note: even though it has image stabilization, you still have to hold it very steady), and lots of shooting modes. It also doubles as a capable still camera, although not as good as one of the higher-end SLRs. And it's very portable. Best of all, even though it has a lot of features, it's REALLY easy to use. The data goes to an SD card that you can either run across to your computer from a USB cable, or plug it in directly with a little adapter ($10).

But the most important thing is that it takes really nice images, even in fairly low-light conditions (although you start to get a bit of noise in the image when the lights start getting really low). 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all so much.  When I bought the original camcorder it was a lot easier.  There were not as many options compared to now.  I got into the store and started looking and immediately got a major brain cramp.  I do like that fact that most have the card option instead of having to buy a dvd.  The memory cards take up less room and weigh less compared to when we used to have to carry around a couple of tapes.  How long does the battery life usually last on these things?

Harvey I do have a camera (Sony Cybershot) that has the video capability.  Do you happen to know how much of a drain on the battery it is when you use the video option?  I might have to do some test runs with this and see how the video comes out.

Kreelanwarrior - I like the ease of use I'm definitely not looking for something that's difficult or for a more serious user.  How's the weight on this camera?  Is it fairly light?  I also like the option that it can work as a regular camera.  That is something that I think would be very handy instead of having to carry both with you.

rla1996 - How is the weight and ease of use with your Sony?  I did see that one when I went to the store and it seemed to be pretty popular (a lot of people were looking at it). 

pidgeon92 - I've seen those before and they look really neat.  I like that they are so small so it wouldn't take up a lot of room in my purse.

I have also been told that some of the camcorders have the capability to get a picture from the video that you have taken.  Is that a standard feature on most?  I think I would definitely be interested in that option.

Thanks again everyone I really appreciate the options.  When I told my husband I was going to post this question he just thought this board was about the Kindle and books.  He had no idea how many different topics are available over here and how helpful everyone is.  :)
 

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stitch said:
...
Harvey I do have a camera (Sony Cybershot) that has the video capability. Do you happen to know how much of a drain on the battery it is when you use the video option? I might have to do some test runs with this and see how the video comes out.
...
Not as long as you'd get out of a "real" camcorder, certainly. I've done several long videos, I think I can get about 35 minutes of filming off of a single fully-charged battery.

Capacity is another consideration. I can get about 30 minutes of video on a single 4GB SD card. So for long videos, the real camcorders have an advantage as well.

I have 4 batteries for my SD750 - I bought them so I'd have juice for a 6-day hiking trip I went on last summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Harvey - I will definately have to take that into consideration in regards to the length of time you can record.  I have no idea of how long this play is going to last and knowing my luck the battery will drain before the end and I will miss something important.  :D

I will definately have to go out a get atleast one more spare battery for camera.  I have a bad habit of not remembering to charge the battery and of course it is always at the worst possible time.  :)
 

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stitch said:
Kreelanwarrior - I like the ease of use I'm definitely not looking for something that's difficult or for a more serious user. How's the weight on this camera? Is it fairly light? I also like the option that it can work as a regular camera. That is something that I think would be very handy instead of having to carry both with you.
Stitch -

It doesn't weight much, but is still pretty sturdily built. They ads say you can stick it in a back pocket, but that's not really realistic unless you have really baggy pants (although you could put it in a cargo pocket, I suppose). Unlike most guys, I carry all my "stuff" (wallet, keys, two cell phones - one of which is huge - and whatever other junk I need) in a bag (pic below), and it slips in there easily. It's not nearly as light or small as the Flip, but it can do a lot more if that's what you need (particularly the zoom - that's very handy).



I have also been told that some of the camcorders have the capability to get a picture from the video that you have taken. Is that a standard feature on most? I think I would definitely be interested in that option.
I don't think that's very widespread among camcorders, but many have that feature, including the HD1010. There's a limitation on the size of the image you can take, depending on what video quality you're shooting at (I think the max is 4 megapixels; the camera mode can shoot up to either 8 or 10 MP, I can't remember which).

As for recording time, I've mostly used it as at the kids' soccer and baseball games. I've recorded for most of an hour at the soccer games, and still had plenty of battery power, so I can't give you an idea of how much endurance it has because I haven't found the limit yet! I have a 16GB SD card, and have put quite a lot of video on there in 1080i HD mode - I've never had to use the other 4GB card I had as a backup before transferring the clips I wanted to my MacBook Pro. And the cards are pretty cheap and small (only disadvantage: potentially easy to lose!), so that's not a problem. A HUGE step up from DV tape and DVDs!!
 

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pidgeon92 said:
If you just want something to slip in your pocket, check out the Flip cameras.... They are very tiny, relatively cheap and have surprisingly good audio/video.

I have the MinoHD, which can record 60minutes; they just released the UltraHD, which can record 120 minutes....
We got a Flip MinoHD recently, too, and like it a lot to drag around with us and do family stuff. I don't know if it would be as good for something like a school play, though.
 

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I would go with a Sony as well, used to have one and that thing was a machine!!  Never gave us any problems and was very durable (i dropped it a lot ;))
 

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I would consider the new Canon T1i, an excellent DSLR still camera with HD video capability built-in. Price is $899, with 18-55mm image-stabilized kit lens, or $799 body only.

 

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stitch said:
rla1996 - How is the weight and ease of use with your Sony? I did see that one when I went to the store and it seemed to be pretty popular (a lot of people were looking at it).
The weight and size are both amazing, but then I prefer they type of camera the straps to your hand because I feel it gives you a steadier picture. The light weight of this camera makes it easy to hold up for long stretches of time, though if its going to be more than 10 minutes I tend to use the tripod... I'm lazy that way. As for size I want out and bought an actual camera case (for a photo camera not a video) that is so small that I can easily carry the video camera in my purse.
 
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