View Full Version : Camcorder recommendations?

dave budd
20-01-2012, 08:39 AM
I've finallay submitted to the 21st century and have got myself on Facetwit, so now it's about time I got onto Youtube too. So far there are a couple of vids there that have been taken of me at shows by various people, but I would like to put some vids up myself :)

So, me being a technical ludite. Can anybod suggest a camcorder that will be simple enough for a monkey like me to operate (and then process the footage!) for as close to the cheap end of 150? (needn't be new if somebody has something to sell on ;) )

Really don't know what I need to look for in a camera. Image stabilising will be a must as I'm planing to use it alot for filming forgework and the like, though I'll get a tripod

Any advice and general pointers are very welcome!

thanks folks :)

Wasn't sure the best place to post this, so it's gone here :P

20-01-2012, 11:48 AM
The Argos clearance shop on Ebay might save you a bit of money. Mrs B. got a Samsung camcorder for 50 and it seems every bit as good as my very expensive Canon


20-01-2012, 12:22 PM
Most of the cheap camcorders have no place to plug in a microphone, and that can limit how useful it is for youtube tutorial. Cheap ones also don’t deal with wind noise very well. A few have no internal memory so you have to buy a plug in card or drive. Most are lacking in even basic remote control. And nearly all suffer from hiss.
Taking that into account you have to ask yourself is it worth spending maybe 50 more to get one that has a few more functions.

Ashley Cawley
20-01-2012, 01:40 PM
I can recommend the JVC Everio range, I've bought & used them personally and at work.

I'd go for something that's got a good quality picture (quite often you can actually search YouTube for example footage recorded on a model of camera your looking at, search for the model and word "test" on the end and people upload test footage so you can get an idea). You've also got to take into account that sometimes people can choose the wrong encoding setting when uploading to YouTube so if it looks absolutely pants it could be the persons fault, so checkout the specs also.

I'd recommend a camera that records to an SD Card (as oppose a hard-drive that spins and is easily damaged). Large SD Cards are relatively cheap now but remember you'll probably have to buy one to go with your camera.

Also as pointed out an external mic can make the difference between great videos and bad ones - most cheap cameras don't have a port to accept an external microphone, some do, you can pickup a cheap lapel mic for around 10-15 which does a much better job than the one built into the camera (it stops problems from wind noise and other noises drowning out your speech).

I also know my way round the editing software given out with JVC's cameras (PowerDirector).. if you did end up going that route I'd be able to give you a few pointers in the right direction as to the right settings to encode with for YouTube.

Ashley Cawley
20-01-2012, 01:44 PM
Yeah, you might want to look at spending 150-200 overall if you can.

Forgot to mention if you get a camera that doesn't have a port to accept an additional external microphone - that's not the end of the world as it is still posible to use a external mic (it's just more of a pain in the ass!)... I use a separate Digital Dictaphone, plug the lapel mic in there and record my audio separately (but at the same time) as I shoot my video, then I match up the separate audio stream with the video in the editing software - this can be a royal pain in the backside when you have multiple scenes and are cutting up the footage all the time because you have to match up the audio/video exactly - but it is my work-around for having a low-end camera with no mic port - and it works ;)

Ashley Cawley
20-01-2012, 01:55 PM
Talking about videos!.. I just checked the video I did on you at the RV Dave and it's had nearly 20,000 views to date ...


That's amazing considering the River Cottage Web Team did a short video on you and it's been on YouTube a couple of years longer and it's only had 555 views! lol.

The power of NaturalBushcraft.co.uk ;) When you start producing your own hopefully you'll share them on here, I can push traffic their way :)

20-01-2012, 02:56 PM
Have a look at the Flip camcorders. I did my Dartmoor Solo Videos on one and the quality is superb. True one handed operation and totally point and shoot. No controls except on/off and simple zoom.



20-01-2012, 05:02 PM
Interesting thread, I have been thinking about getting a small video camera so will be watching and reading developments, thanks Dave ;)

20-01-2012, 05:15 PM
Most of the cheap camcorders have no place to plug in a microphone, and that can limit how useful it is for youtube tutorial. Cheap ones also don’t deal with wind noise very well. A few have no internal memory so you have to buy a plug in card or drive. Most are lacking in even basic remote control. And nearly all suffer from hiss.
Taking that into account you have to ask yourself is it worth spending maybe 50 more to get one that has a few more functions.

I should maybe have qualified that better: For what Mrs B wanted the little c/corder is fine
But as you rightly point out, if you want to present tutorials and the like then it is better to find that does have a decent remote control, the provision to take a clip mike and possibly even noise suppressing software built in
You've mentioned getting a tripod; from my own experience I would say that this something spending money on as they tend to be more robust and will last better.

20-01-2012, 05:26 PM
got a Panasonic HM-TA1, one of them cameras with the usb inserts that slides out. fairly good I around 100 and heres one of my videos using this camera http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq_Dd8fnjy8

20-01-2012, 10:29 PM
Love that RV vid, looking forward to a repeat at this years event :rolleyes:

dave budd
20-01-2012, 11:56 PM
thanks for the tips. The search will continue for a bit. Folk over on BB have suggested that my DSLR may have video, I'd nt even considered that since to me an SLR is for taking pictures and a camcorda is for moving images. But that;s me being old fashioned maybe

The external mic is a very good point and one I will look to have. I can't see be being arsed messing about with dictaphones and fitting the two bits together! Ideally I want to set the scene, do my thing whilst filming, edit the rubbish out and add titles and maybe captions, then stick it on the web. The less messing about I have to do with any part of the process the happier I will be :)

Also, thanks for posting that vid from the RV again, I've not watched it since you first posted it up. It's rather good! I can see why people have commented on it :) Id forgotten that I had been through the whole forging process on your film. It almost looks like I know what I'm doing!

Adam Savage
21-01-2012, 01:17 PM
Most DSLRs have video, but the picture is often jerky with those, even the HD models. One of the drawbacks of bunging a video function to a still camera (same as the useless stills function on a camcorder :)). If you can afford the 150-200, you would be much, much better off with a dedicated camcorder.
Also, if you are just using it for youtube, you don't really need HD, as it will just make editing and uploading painfully slow, with not much difference in picture quality. Also frame rate is a good thing to look out for. 24-30fps is about the standard, but if you can find one higher, I'd go for that.

Ashley Cawley
21-01-2012, 03:44 PM
I don't think a flip-cam would be the right choice; although they do pull off a good quality picture they're more for point and shoot whilst you hold it not really a tripod type camera.

Most DSLRs have video...Did you mean to say compacts? I wouldn't have said most DSLR's have video (unless your talking about buying a new model and spending the best part of 1,000) I've got a Canon 450D DSLR it doesn't do video and I would dearly love it to! Most digital compact cameras do do video and that's what I used for NBC's early videos and as you can see the video quality wasn't as good...


But that was a good few years ago now and compact cameras do have much better video quality.

Yes I would checkout your DSLR if you've got one and see if it does video already.

At some point this year I'm considering selling my JVC Everio video camera and my Canon 450D DSLR to buy a newer model DSLR that does HD video aswell as takes good photos - This will nicely reduce the size of my camera gear that I take to the woods every time.

Adam Savage
21-01-2012, 07:14 PM
Most of the entry level DSLRs are rolling out with video these days, Canon not so much (I guess they try and focus on the photography side more) ((no pun intended :))). I think all of the Pentax DSLRs have video now, Nikon are putting video on the lower ends stuff, not sure about the high end, and Olympus (I know, not great cameras, but hey), are adding video to lure in the customers too :). I think the marketing behind it is simple, the entry levels are what most Joe public buy (if the want to try DSLRs that is), and many folk like the "extras", all singing, all dancing, pieces of tech, these days.

02-02-2012, 11:07 AM
I have just bought a panasonic hm-ta20 HD mini cam. Waterproof, dust proof and drop proof.


I know the image quality might not be great but I think I woud prefer to have mediocre quality and use the camera rather than buying something expensive and worry about carrying it, dropping it, getting it wet etc....and for under 100.
Has anyone else had much experience with mini video cameras?

02-02-2012, 11:16 AM
I decided to get a waterproof video camera considering most of my shooting is outdoors, on canoe trips, etc.
This proved to be handy in that you're not worried about getting it wet, but the price for that is poor sound pickup
and no wide-angle, and no mic plug-in....having said all that maybe the waterproof units have improved in the last 3 years?