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Video Camera Suggestions

8:17 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am going to be doing some video for an outdoor type web site and I need a small and rugged digital video camera that can take a little abuse and is waterproof in case it gets damp or rained on.

I won't be dropping it off a cliff or anything, but I need something that if it gets banged around a little it won't die on me. Also want one that does high quality video and is easy to get video off the camera. Any suggestions are appreciated.
2:45 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator not2easy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Look at Contour:
Part of my review at their site:
This is a great video camera and there is a waterproof case for it too (under $30). Some of the top features of this video camera are the one touch recording switch so you arenít fumbling around to activate the camera or to stop recording. It uses a removable, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that is good for three hours, a USB recharge cable can connect to your computer and a separate recharger is available. Includes EasyEdit software that is MAC/PC compatible and your video is transferred to your computer via USB cable. Mac compatibility is up to 10.6 and PC compatibility is XP, Vista and Windows7. The lens rotates up to 180 degrees and has dual laser alignment to target your shots. The mic has adjustable gain, you can adjust settings for light and contrast. It weighs only 4.3 ounces so youíll barely notice it mounted to a helmet or goggles (mounts included). It includes flat surface mounts too so it can mount just about anywhere youíd like it to be. Includes one 2Gb MicroSD Memory card -good for 30 minutes recording- to get you started. Using a 16Gb card, it can record as long as your battery lasts and can hold up to 4 hours of mind-blowing video. The camera is impact, vibration and water resistant so you donít need to worry about a fragile sticker. All in all it is a well thought out camera and others think so too.
8:07 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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This is oversimplifying a very complex question. It's not easy to give a simple answer.

The Contour, eg, is a very specialized kind of camera: a mount or helmet camera with a fixed very wide angle lens, most useful for getting subjective action shots. It would be great for underwater with the proper UW case. A camera that's similar to the Contour is the GoPro HD Hero2. You can see a lot of comparisons between various Contour and the GoPro models on the web.

If you want to get a tight shot of anything even slightly distant, though, neither is going to be a useful camera, and their wide angle lenses introduce a kind of distortion that will produce pretty ugly close-ups of people as well. So you might instead (or in addition) want a camcorder with a built in zoom.

I'm assuming, btw, that this earlier post [webmasterworld.com...] from April 2010 describes some of your requirements. One big change from when you posted... most new cameras are using solid state memory chips, and hard drives are essentially phased out.

I think you need to decide what kind of subject matter you're going to shoot, and also decide on how really serious you want to get about the videos you make. It helps to have a sense of photography, writing for video, and editing as you begin.

- If you're going to take the camera on extended trips, you will want replaceable batteries and swappable memory cards. A long enough trip might require a solar charger.
- If you're fussy about exposure, you're going to want a camera that gives you a degree of manual control.
- If you're going to be shooting people who talk, sound quality becomes a very important factor, and you'll want some kind of external microphone input. You'll then start quibbling over how dependable the microphone connectors are, and how heavy they are.
- Weight, reliability, lens quality, image quality, degree and quality of image compression, also are considerations. A camera that's too light weight, btw, is extremely difficult to hand-hold steadily.

DSLRs can also provide some extremely good video, but you run into some tradeoffs - technical and ergonomic limitations - when you use them; and to focus them in video mode you may need to find some old manual SLR lenses. DSLRs are not optimized for video, but, in the right hands, they can be amazing video tools.

I've also seen sort-of-OK video from iPhones and iPads, albeit the microphone is on the wrong side of these devices for recording good sound. Ultimately, budget also enters into it. No way to give a complete guide in one post. Post follow up questions as you think them through.