T Nation

Cameras and Camcoders: UPDATE!


This has always been an amazing Forum to keep updated on Technology...and it's been a while since we talked about Camcorders and Cameras. So, let's discuss!


I can't believe how rapidly the Technology has changed; and what amazing pics and videos can be taken with something that can literally be carried in your pocket. What has also been interesting is the "blurring of the line" between Cameras and Camcorders as more and more Cameras have video capability.

So my questions for discussion:

1) In what circumstances would you still get a "stand-alone" Camcorder?

2) What do you see as the main disadvantage of the video/camera combination?

3) In the "higher end consumer" range (say 500-$1,000); what would be your "dream" camera? (By the way...the new Nikon Coolpix "Zooms" that are being advertised now; that are in the range of 350-$400; seem to be a VERY good value for the price).

4) What are your thoughts on this new Nikon Coolpix "Zoom" line?

5) In the "higher end consumer" range (say 500-$1,000); what would be your "dream" camcorder?

As always; THANKS guys!

Let's Discuss!




If you really want to get technical, look at the sensor size of the device. The larger it is, the better (generally) quality image it will capture (and video, I mean) and the better it performs in low light. They generally have lower noise in the images they capture.

Larger sensors tend to have better dynamic range and can handle highlights better.

Ideal camera/recorder would be a large sensor with at least 10x optical zoom, image stabilization, and ideally a 3-CCD camera, one sensor per each pixel of RGB, which is what the more expensive Canons, for instance, are like.

But, if we mean consumer level, I want large sensor, good optics (that includes LARGE aperture), GOOD battery life, and ruggedness...and I'd like variable compression and 1080p recording. Storage? Give me a built in SSD or flash memory, at least 128 gb but ideally 256 gb.


Thanks, Ponce!

I don't completely understand ALL of the specs you presented; but of those that I do, that is also what is becoming amazing...a lot of what would have been included only in a "Professional" level camera and/or camcorder, is now almost "standard" starting points at the consumer level.

So...what products do you like and why?



Just a "BUMP".

(I sure hope that most people aren't just taking pics and videos with their cell phones!)



One thing that I dislike about shooting video with a camera designed for still photos is the weight of the actual camera. I find it much easier to hold and keep steady a bigger, heavier camera. I have a couple of digital cameras that all shoot HD, but it's harder to get that steady shot versus when I used to shoot on normal video cameras.


My dream video camera would be a Red: http://www.red.com/products

My dream camera would be a Nikon D3X: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Digital-SLR-Cameras/25442/D3X.html


I'm not buying that shit anymore. Soon as I bought the Canon XTi (DSLR but no video) , the XSi dropped in price. Then the T1i came out with HD video. Than like 2 days later the T2i came out. I just googled and there's apparently a T3i.

These things advance so fast that I just don't want to bother. I know computers are the same way, but I'm an IT guy and the computer I built 3 years ago works almost as good (for my pursuits) as a brand new one. The same can't be said for cameras. The T2i shits all over my XTi in every single aspect.



Check out dpreview (dot) com

Although, it is mostly for still cameras, but there is news of upcoming portable camcorders.

There's an upcoming Samsung that looks great but I haven't read reviews on it yet.


I have a Sony HDR Sr-12, 120 Gig hard drive with 10.2 CMOS sensor, it also has a still photo feature.

Pros: Battery life is awesome (but only because I bought the extended battery, stock battery lasts 15 min (wtf?!). Can take pics while recording HD video. Storage is a bitch when filming in 1080p (19 hrs) fills up all 120 Gigs. The only drawback I found was the size of it, but I have some decent size hands so I was ok, but my ex-gf I took to Europe couldn't handle the size (zing!). I managed to cover it in my peacoat and take pics of the Sistine Chapel hidden in my coat. Pics came out pretty cool seeing that I was just aiming up towards the ceiling.

Seriously a badass experience filming my month in Europe with an HD camcorder/still camera. Come home, plug that shit into your HDTV and watch it in crazy clarity, it's like you never left.



As always...thanks, guys!

Rhino...what do you like in the "High-End Consumer" end (~ 500-$1,000 or so)...for both a camera and camcorder?

Sam...I agree...this technology has gone absolutely NUTS! I've approached things similar to you...get "more-than-sufficient" for my needs...and if it still does the job, I'm good.

I've gotten to the point where I have to upgrade things.



Well I started out shooting on film with Nikon SLRs so when it was time to upgrade to digital, I bought a D100 used for around $800. Virtually any Nikon or Canon in the $500-1000 price range is going to perform well.

One of the most important factors IMO on the clarity of the pictures is the lens you put on the camera. You may consider buying a camera closer to the low end of your price range so you can afford some nice lenses. I would start with a 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens to get you started taking great quality pictures and then add lenses as you go. The prime lenses generally have a sharper image than the zoom lenses.

There is a lot of great photography information in regards to cameras on http://kenrockwell.com/

As far as camcorders go, I have owned both Sony and Canon. The canon gave me better pictures overall. Haven't worked with too many expensive video cameras so I can't give you any input on those.

I do own a GoProHD and that little thing is pretty awesome. Not made for normal filming but I have taken it diving with me and it's made some cool underwater footage ad it's relatively cheap..