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Camcorders


shellylh
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I am think of getting a small handheld camcorder but don't know what to look for.  I assume a bigger sensor is better for low light and you want a decent mic, optical zoom, and decent battery life.  That's about all I know.  I have read that midrange ($300-$600) is the sweet spot for someone like me.  I'm just going to use it for the usual recording friends, family, etc. 
 
I was thinking of something like http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00AW54Z4K/thewire06-20 or http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00AWZFJ22/thewire06-20 or http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HDR-CX380-Definition-Handycam-Camcorder/dp/B00AR95FRM/ref=dp_ob_title_ce or maybe something even cheaper http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HDR-CX220-Definition-Handycam-Camcorder/dp/B00AR95H16/ref=zg_bs_172421_14 but would be happy to hear other suggestions.  (I just found those by looking at the top selling camcorders at amazon).

 

Is there a brand that is king of handheld camcorders like Canon is for P&S?

Edited by shellylh
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I read all about camcorders right before I got one about a year ago.  The ones to get were the Canon VIXIAs.  I ended up with a refurb HF M40 direct from Canon when they were going EOL.  The main reason was for that large sensor which is great for low light situations.  

 

My advice:  get the HF M50 from here:

 

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/camcorders/refurbished-consumer-camcorders/vixia-hf-m50-refurbished

 

My refurb looked brand new.  You cannot do better for the money.

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I had a NEX 5 with 18-50 and sold it.  It is an odd shape for carrying around in a small bag (I would like to have zooming capability so the pancake lenses won't do) and doesn't fit in the hand as nicely as a camcorder.  I never found myself carrying it around when I had it.   I suppose it technically might be as small or smaller than a handheld camcorder.  I should probably go to Best Buy and try some out in the hand before buying.  

 

@Jacob:  As for the Nikon D610, if they don't have the problems of the D600, I may end up getting one...

Edited by shellylh
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If Nikon is Nikon, the D610 will be a fixed D600 (though my D600 hasn't ever had an issue) the same way the SB-910 is a fixed SB-900.

 

A friend of mine was so happy his D600 was trouble-free.  Then he went on a long trip involving multiple national parks with his D600 and sadly told me that after taking many shots (presumably getting it warm inside the body), he started getting the dreaded oil-spots all over the sensor, ruining the beautiful photos of national parks  :-[

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Hmm, I was looking into these camcorders and the handheld ones (in the price range I was looking) have sensors that are smaller than the sensor on my S95.  That makes me a bit worried.  I wanted to have a camera that can take 1 hour+ videos and I just don't know if the S95 or DSLR is going to be able to handle this (especially without getting too hot).  I have a Kodak ZX5 that is a camcorder but the quality of the video sucks (I accidentally bought two when I was getting one for my brother and then forgot to send one back).  

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If you want a camcorder, you should get a camcorder.  Consider the one I suggested.  The only logical upgrade from that (aside from a pro camcorder) is going DSLR.  If you want to go down the DLSR path later (even though you mentioned tendonitis issues), you can sell the camcorder and still minimize loss.  I would not consider any other path; too many compromises.

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I'd avoid DSLRs. Our photographers hate shooting with them. The quality is fantastic, but with even the minimum kit of clap trap to shoot video, they are BIG. And they require huge tripods, as well. The super-shallow (by video standards) depth of field looks great. Very film-like. But it's really hard to control. And yeah, depending on the model, they do tend to overheat on long takes.

Now video cameras that are good in low light cost a fortune. So I have no useful advice at all really.

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