What HD video camera do you recommend?

In this post over on the Digital-Know-How Blog, I summarized my typical response to the FAQ about "what video camera do you recommend...?"

Owing to the fact that each of us will have different values for what the highest and best intended uses are for our chosen camera, as well as the value we each expect to receive from it, I shared the decision matrix I sometimes use to help my friends focus on the best camera for them based on their--and your--highest and best intended uses.

The referenced article has the lowdown on the "how to" about the matrix.

In the meantime, below is a sample based on my preferences.  I'm publishing it under a creative commons copyright, so feel free to reproduce it for non-commercial purposes.   Or, if you're an existing ScreencastingWizard subscriber (free) or a Digital-Know-How member (fee-based course) then you can go into the downloads/resources area and simply download the Excel worksheet.

hd camera selection decision support tool

(click image to enlarge)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Do you already have a camera that you're happy with?  What model do YOU recommend, and do you currently use all of its features?


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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of ScreencastingWizard.com; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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One Response to What HD video camera do you recommend?

  1. Doug Lipman says:

    Hi, Mel,

    I have enrolled in and bought all three of your Udemy courses. I find them incredibly helpful – not only on the technical level (HOW to do things) but, even more importantly, on the planning and understanding level (WHAT things should I do?). Thanks! (Once I finish watching more of the lectures, I’ll post some rave reviews.)

    Two small suggestions about your excellent “camera decision matrix”: first, you mention “XLR adapter,” but not “external mic input (1/8 inch).” I would suggest including them both, since each can be important to a separate group of users:

    1. A 1/8 inch “external mic input” is sufficient for two groups of folks who want good audio in their cameras:

    A. Those who use a dynamic mic, such as an Audio Technica ATR-3350 (which includes a 1/8 inch plug) or a handheld mic with a plug that can be used with a simple 1/8″ male adapter.

    B. Those who use a pro mic requiring XLR (and, likely, phantom power) but already own a conversion box, such as the JuicedLink RM222. I bought such a conversion box years ago, realizing that the $300 for the box would allow me to connect my pro mics (e.g., Countryman E6) to inexpensive HD cameras (and virtually any other recorder) – if the camera comes with a 1/8″ input. (For example, I just bought a refurbished HFR-40 from Canon, which includes full HD AND a 1/8″ mic input for under $200. The result is not equivalent to a prosumer camcorder or DSLR camera, of course, but is quite excellent for online video instruction.) Thanks to the JuicedLink box, I can have excellent sound with a low-priced consumer-level camera. (And this is the second inexpensive camera I have used with it – so I’ve saved more than the cost of the JuicedLink, twice!)

    2. The “XLR adapter” is a must for folks who use pro-level mics and do not have (or want the bulk of) an adapter box.

    Second, you might consider listing WiFi as a feature, since it enables (crude) remote file transfer, but also, more importantly for users like me, remote control. In the case of the Canon Vixia HFR40, for example, WiFi plus a smartphone or tablet is the only form of remote control available – a must-have feature for those of us who record alone or who have cameras mounted in inaccessible places.

    What do you think?

    Doug Lipman
    Storytelling Coach
    http://www.StoryDynamics.com

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