Do you want to make sure that you spec the right video camera? Then firstly consider how you will be using it and what you really need, as this can save you from potentially over-spending or creating sub-standard video.
If you need something that will be used occasionally to film in a back-office to create content for your website then of course you can get by with a lower-end camera than if you are filming in multiple types of locations every week.
In this video camera review, we take a look at the camera choices you have as you start out with your video-making.
The HD Video Camera
There are some compact HD video cameras that fit in your pocket, like the Flip or the Kodak Zi8; these will do a good job for you if you’re just starting out with video and only need something basic. They can be bought for under $200. There’s also the Sony Handycam which remains an option.
The video component of these cameras seems to be evolving a bit quicker than the audio, so it’s useful that these devices have microphone jacks that allow you to set up external audio.
With these simple cameras, most of the key functions are fully automatic so you will get sharp, in- focus video without too much technical expertise. This is possible even with the iPhone 4 nowadays.
A final note – if you’re using these “hand-held” cameras for shooting studio-style video then use a tripod for steadiness – this will improve the quality no-end.
A Big Notch Up
If you are after a more serious set up and have some experience in filming video than you may want to consider another option.
DSLR cameras have become more popular recently. These are Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras and they are increasingly being used to film professional quality indy movies, commercials and other types of video that previously required very expensive equipment and specialist know-how.
Around a thousand dollars will get you the camera; you will also need to buy the special lenses to give you functionality, but you can get really high quality video from these devices on account of the massive light sensors that allow them to process digital images very effectively. This takes the level of video up a notch from the basic devices mentioned previously.
DSLR cameras do still have limitations – for example with audio (external audio set ups are possible though, so they may not be the answer to all your dreams, but technology is improving all the time; it’s worth keeping an eye on these devices.
A camera like the Sony Z1 would be considered a high-end solution for small business video and it weighs in at around $7000.
Along with the higher price comes increased functionality that the experienced video shooter requires. It allows you to customize settings more, with manual adjustments to features like audio and white balance (control over light and colour balance), which affect the overall quality of your video.
These types of advanced cameras are better if you are shooting in different light qualities – inside, outside, different times of day etc – and will allow you to create great video wherever you are at whatever time of day.
So – which is the right standard of camera for you? Hopefully the above video camera review information gives you a good starting point for choosing the right device; more information and advice on all aspects of web video production can be found in the Lights, Camera, Profits! workshop. Just click here to learn more about it.
I got an AgfaFoto Eclipse Explorer which is similar to the Flip and I’ve been having a great time using it. Although I have yet to use it for video marketing, but I’m getting there. I’ve read somewhere that the Flip brand will be stopped within this year so I’m curious where this HD camera category will be going.
What camera do you use David? I personally am looking at a Canon D60 with a 18-55mm IS & 55-250mm IS Lenses, right now. Not sure though how the HD quality is.
Hi Chris. Dave is using Canon EOS 60D and he says the HD quality is superb and that he hasn’t used a better camera 🙂