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Video camera for skiing

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey, I'm looking for some tips on buying a video camera for taking high quality skiing shots. I'm considering a Canon GL 2


In shopping around for the best price, I find they are wildly all over the map. It retails for $2999, but many on line deals can be had for under $2000, such as this one

And then I found a couple for under $700, like this one for $599

I just can't believe $599 can be for real for a $2900 camera. I haven't bought a camera mail order for a number of years, but I remember back then there were some sleazy outfits around. Anyone have any current knowledge/experience/advice/warnings they could share?

And any suggestions on other camera choices would be welcomed too. Thanks.
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yikes, just did some further research. Found this site that rates these outfits, and it seems to be a pretty ugly picture, with many scam operations. Here's what they say about my $599 seller.

post #3 of 20
abes of maine is reputable.
Edit: Actually I had heard that they were, it looks like they've gone the same route as all the other online camera shops (calling to try to sell accessories) judging by reviews sites.
They don't appear to be a scam though: (0 bbb.org complaints over 3 years: http://reports.bosbbb.org/Boston/Pub...aspx?firm=5787)

bestpricecameras is known to be a scam.
Also that page has a lot of alternative names/websites for the company

post #4 of 20
I recently bought a panasonic AG-DVX100B Mini Dv camcorder from an online source I found on Ebay. At just over 2K they were about $1,500 less than any authorized dealer I could find. The camera is brand new and in perfect working order. They did try to sell me a ton of accessories. Very hard sell. I regret to say that I bought a tripod, spare battery, camera light and filter kit through them. I later realized I could have gotten better quality for a similar price and the tripod is junk. I will likely replace the filter kit with better quality soon as well. I also bought a third party warranty which is pretty common and is transferrable if I were to sell the camera.

My advice, if you do buy from a discounted online retailer, do not purchase any accessories form them. You will need and want filters, batteries and a halfway decent tripod.

The link below is to a forum that mainly deals with editing in Final Cut Pro, but there is a good section on DV cameras as well.


Panasonics are popular and very good camcorders, but for skiing, the canon may be better, I'm pretty sure it has a longer lens. I'm looking at spending another $800 to add a good quality doubler for longer zooms.
post #5 of 20
Photo/video equipment? Go to www.bhphoto.com Good prices and service. Or try www.adorama.com

FWIW, I probably wouldn't spend a lot of cash on a camera that's going to be out in the elements/suffer condensation unless you're doing pro/semi-pro productions. If you get a prosumer camera, you'll need all the bags, etc. I've just hung my inexpensive camcorder on a neoprene camera strap inside a bag & it's been fine. Sometimes I use plastic bags to prevent/reduce condensation.

On the consumer level, I've had a lot of quality video shots with inexpensive mini-DV camcorders, i.e. the kind that only cost about $300 now. I've had a Sony PC5 and an HC40, and the PC5 was virtually bulletproof for 5 years of trips in all sorts of conditions (snow & rain storms, etc.); the HC40 is less durable.

Anyway, get a camcorder: it's very entertaining to watch the "dailies" with your friends on a big screen apres ski and then put them into a full blown movie for next year's trip.
post #6 of 20
I use this one.

Consumer Products Home :: Camera :: Digital Cameras :: PowerShot TX1 PowerShot TX1Digital Camera

Also have a canon dv mini cam but I like the size of this one and the ease of transfering video and stills from the card. Have used Canon for years and the optics can't be beat IMHO. Also like BHphotovideo, great company to work with. As far as Manufacturers warrenties. Make sure you deal with an "authorized" Canon, Nikon etc dealer. Non-authorized dealers will sell the same product for less but the service after sale is a crap shoot. Usually requiering you to ship back to the vendor rather than being able to use a local manufacturers rep.
post #7 of 20
Man, I wish you could do 720/60p recording for less than the HVX-200 costs. Higher framerates would own.

On that note, my favorite piece of as-yet-vaporware:
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by Worker View Post
abes of maine is reputable.
Edit: Actually I had heard that they were, it looks like they've gone the same route as all the other online camera shops (calling to try to sell accessories) judging by reviews sites.
They don't appear to be a scam though: (0 bbb.org complaints over 3 years: http://reports.bosbbb.org/Boston/Pub...aspx?firm=5787)

Abes of Maine (located in NJ oddly) is legit. I haven't bought from them but I had a mystery box show up at my house last month with someone else name on it. I tried to find the person for a week but they didn't exist so I finally opened the box. It was a $1,300 Canon SLR and an invoice billed to me. I called my credit card company and sure enough it was fraud using my card. The scumbag had tried to order another $1,500 item when they didn't get there first camera and Abes cancelled the order before even hearing from me or my cc company. Anyway I called Abes and they were cool about it and very professional. I shipped it back to them (at their expense of course). I would do business with them.
post #9 of 20
I've bought lots of gear through www.buydig.com They have this camera for $1729 after rebate. That seems to be about on par for discounts at legit dealers and in-lne with Abe's.

A friend down the street uses the GL2 for professional video and commercial use, and he took video at my daughter's wedding this summer. It produces exceptional quality, stable and well balanced video. Out of my price range, but what the heck. That is not a small unit to be hefting around skiing, although the handle will be nice for moving shots.
post #10 of 20
Good quality camera aside...

You could buy a cheap (even second hand) mini DV unit with a 3.5mm AV socket, and a pencil cam (you can pick these up for little over $100. I attach the pencil cam to my goggles and run the feed into the camcorder. It's fun playing with 1st person perspective footage...just don't get carried away and believe yourself to be in some bizarre PS3 Heroes of Telemark-themed shoot-em up.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks all for the feedback/info. Crank, thanks for the link, that's going to be helpful. Garret, I want that camera! Dino, I've been hearing a lot of good about dealing with B&H. Cirq, the weights not an issue as it won't be a camera to have in the pocket for the occasional shot while rec skiing, I'll be hitting the slopes for the sole purpose of setting up and shooting. Quality footage is the main priority.
post #12 of 20
Good luck with your purchase. Watch out for condensation if you go from the ski hill into the lodge; it can screw up your nice camera/camcorder pronto. Here's one link from a google seach using "condensation skiing camera" (of course, there are lots of others): http://books.google.com/books?id=XdR...05MbmRovt6CyTc
post #13 of 20
Get several extra batteries and chargers. Keep the spares warm inside your layers. Cold quickly saps the life from the batteries.
post #14 of 20
Dino is right about the condensation. The biggest problem is when you go from being out in the elements into a warm lodge. I've had cameras quit working because of that. They always come back once they dry out though.

I use the chemical handwarmers for keeping batteries warm in my pack.
post #15 of 20
If I were going to use an expensive camera the way Rick describes, I'd find one of those insulated lunch bags that could hold the camera and use that, along with a desiccant, to control condensation and moisture. Something like the smaller selica gel container (A) in this pix from the Lee Valley catalog:

post #16 of 20
The silica is a good idea. I have read that the large ziplock bags work well. When you are heading in, Seal the camera up inside a ziplock bag, and leave it inside your pack. Do not open the pack until the pack and bag are at room temperature. Seriously, the biggest problem you will have is condensation and that is worst when coming into the lodge.
post #17 of 20
One more thought on Batts...

You mention you are shooting from a static position so portability is not paramount.

I occasionally use a "powerpack" that consists of a compact 12v jumpstart system, a 12v/110 inverter (looks like a coffe mug) and the camera's power cord/base. The three items all fit together into a small backpack. Plug the three together and the cam will run "plugged in" for many hours in very cold conditions.

Also, good article on instructables.com (sp?) about building a very compact aux power source from 7 AA batteries. Check it out. Try it if you dare.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

I ended up getting a Canon GL2 video camera. I used it over the winter to capture footage for the DVD series. Overall, I'm very pleased with it. The image quality was very good. The 20x optical zoom is excellent.

With the strong zoom, you need a good tripod and video head to get perfectly stable shots, though. We started out with a lower price tripod head, but it just didn't cut it. Bought a Bogen 501, and what a difference. If you need crisp shots, don't skimp on the head. I also added a remote that mounts to the tripod arm, so we can operate the camera without ever having to touch it. Helps eliminate shake, and even expands the zoom speed options. Very nice,,, highly recommended.

Very important for shooting on snow; get plenty of neutral density filters. The GL2 has an internal ND filter that you can turn off/on,,, but I still bought an assortment of screw-ons of various strengths to use in combination, and always had them on. Big difference in exposure quality, and very inexpensive.

The camera provides the option to shoot interlaced or frame mode. It's not a true frame mode, but for doing slow mo in post production is makes a big difference. Always shoot frame.

For my post work I bought a mac pro 8 core, and a 30 inch screen. I have 4 hard drives, 2 of which I partitioned, for a total of 6 drives and 2600 GB's of storage space. I upgraded to 10GB's of RAM. The system is very powerful,,, renders are very fast,,, and I'm very pleased.

I installed Final Cut Elements to do the editing. If you're new to editing, as I was, it takes some study time to learn to use the program, but once you have it down work flow is smooth, and provides all I need at this time in tools. Very pleased with Elements.
post #19 of 20
Hey is your cam waterproof?
post #20 of 20

What type of mounting will you be using? I can help you out but it depends on how heavy and big of a camera you tolerate.

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