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Best Video Camera question

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

What is the best video camera for shooting ski and outdoor clips?  Looking for something that does good telephoto, action shots, and also works well in the cold.  Not a head cam.

post #2 of 7

Well, I guess it depends on your budge and what you expect from this camera.


Do you want it to be super compact, or are you willing to carry a backpack?


With DSLR's like Canon Mark II or III, you will get amazing cinematography, but you will have to work for that. No point and shoot, and lens are very expensive...


Sony has some good options, I have a NEX VG30, with has basically the image quality of a DSLR (big sensor) in a much smaller video camera body, plus when shooting in the auto-mode, you get some really nice features like auto focus, face recognition, eletric zoom etc, with is pretty cool,  since it's a interchangeable lens camera.

The 18x200 kit lens works very well in the outdoors and in sports situations.



I heard Panasonic has some great compact video cameras as well, but never really used them.


IMO, for action shots and sports, a camera must have a 60 frames per second rec mode. It makes all the difference on your final video.

The new GoPro records up to 120fps in its 720p mode. It's actually pretty cool!



post #3 of 7

Honestly, I don't know models, but I can tell you from using a bunch of them you really should try the model before you buy it. It can be in the store, but buying it unhandled is a very bad idea. I greatly preferred the older ones in some ways because they had zoom controls big enough for gloved hands.


My advice would be to not get obsessed over whether it has all the latest gizmos or the most megapixels or what the selling spec du jour is. Those things in actual use don't matter. What matters most is usability.

The camera that you like to use, and will use, is the best one. The "best" one sitting in the closet doesn't take good shots.


Some basics:

1) Is it big enough to comfortably operate with my hands yet I can and will carry it? - If you require a backpack to carry it around are you ok with that? (It better be pretty damn nice.) Can you carry it under your jacket or in a belt pack or what? This needs to be solved because if you don't carry it, you won't shoot any scenes with it.


2) Because you're shooting in bright snow, the viewfinder is absolutely essential. You will not be filming in general with the pop out screen. (maybe for some special shots where you hold the camera near the ground) You want one that has the diopter adjustment, and can be used with glasses - you might have sunglasses on. Better the viewfinder, better you see, better shots you take.


3) Zoom control. Ease of use and smoothness and speed is essential. You need to be able to operate the buttons easily and hopefully with a thin glove on the hand. Most have some sort of varying speed by pushing the button further one way. Can you make that work like you want it? Frankly, for video of skiing this is almost the most important aspect of all for the camera. At least for movement analysis or close up shots. Skiers come toward you and by you quite quickly. If you don't want them looking like they do on a cell phone, you've got to frame them with the zoom. Does the camera work well in this regard? No spec by itself can tell you that. You have to try it with your hands.


4) Image stabilization. - Important because camera shake is pretty annoying to watch on screen. Generally, it seems most are pretty good in that department.


There is no point in buying the "best' camera in specifications if it's not easily operated. The only way to really know is to put your hands on it.


Other things to consider:

- Can you take a still shot during the filming? If you do, how much delay is there? - Some of the delay when you press the shutter is ridiculous. Both delay before the shutter clicks, and after before it goes back to filming. You can literally miss two or three mogul turns by the time it gets back to film mode.


- Will it do burst shots? - Take those cool still pictures many times a second. How many shots/second?


Note. You may be able to get an older model that the public bypassed because it didn't have whatever silly spec was in vogue at the time, yet was an extremely good camera.

The public is fixated on megapixels for still cameras, I don't know what it is for video. There may be a model that you can get for 1/3 it's original cost because it didn't have something the public wanted. On the flip side, it seems that older more professionally oriented cameras can hold their value really well. Who knows for the future, as at some point people will want 3-D.

post #4 of 7

3d models are available but I think the latest thing is 4k which I guess is more high definition than high definition.  


I use a mirrorless DSLR, these are smaller than the big Canons and Nikons.  The viewfinder is electric rather than a true look through the glass, however it is super clear and accurate and the cameras are smaller and lighter.  Mine is a Panasonic and it takes great video and stills.


Things to think about.  Most of the DSLR's with interchangeable lenses don't have an electric zoom.  This doesn't mean you can't zoom in, it means you can't get a good smooth zoom while shooting.  A  DSLR will give you a lot more control over depth of field, film speed,size of zoom...  but for your use, shooting skiing and outdoor clips it may be better to have a dedicated video camcorder.


In a dedicated camcorder I would look for bigger or more sensors.  The prosumer models will be 3CCD (Charge Coupled Device) one for red, one for green, one for blue).  Less $ but good are 3MOS.  I know too much info.  But you don't need to go that big or spend that much to get something decent.


Different brands tend to have slightly different characteristics.  This is my personal opinion, but I think the color on the Canons is a little washed out... the color on the Sonys feels a little to harsh to me.  I love the Panasonics.  Have no idea about JVC.  However all make good products and it is a matter of preference.


Recording format:  I like cameras that record on SD cards.  They are cheapish and small.  With the AVCHD Codec you can fit over and hour and a half of full HD video on a 16 gig card.


Telephoto/ zoom has to be optical.  20x optical should be fine for most shots.


Cold drains batteries.  Get extras and keep them in a bag with hand warmers in your pocket or inside your pack.  


Your camera lens will completely fog up when you go into a warm lodge on a cold day.

Edited by crank - 12/10/13 at 7:36pm
post #5 of 7

Shooting video on the hill?   The first thing you need to decide is whether you are out there to ski or out there to shoot video.


The best cameras that do what you're asking (some weatherproofing, large zoom range, good quality) are cumbersome at best and difficult to carry and operate if you're trying to enjoy your day of skiing.


DSLRs have great quality and sharp lenses... but you will only get better quality video than normal if you know what you're doing and have a stable enough base to pan the camera with (DSLR's have manual zoom, and some are manual focus when in video mode... not easy wearing ski gloves).


You should just get a hand-held that turns on quickly, can be operated with one hand and has long battery life.   It takes quite a bit of leg work to shoot video on the hill that isn't boring.  Lots of riding ahead, or chasing, or hunting around for a good vantage point (plus avoiding other people on the hill).


Trust me.  I take my DSLR with me out almost every time I ride.... but i rarely shoot video with it because photos give me much better ROI for the time and effort expenditure.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Wow - and thanks.  Being a newbie  to video, this is all new language to me and I'll have to spend some time deciphering and learning.

post #7 of 7

What do you all think about the new Sony POV camera, looks like they used them for the film Way of Life

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