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View Full Version : Shopping for a camcorder: advice wanted



DanSkorupka
10-11-2012, 12:22 PM
My cheap little Vivitar Vivicam works but has proven itself to be a delicate little POS, audio, video, and stills are always low quality.
So I am thinking of getting a replacement.
I once had a Kodak Zi6 bought used but it kicked the bucket within a month.
Kodak and Flip both have good offerings but neither make camcorders anymore.
I have looked at the Sony Bloggie Touch, which has good reviews and features but no place for a removable memory card, and NOS Kodaks, which are rugged, convenient for internet posting and unfortunately have a non removable lithium battery with a short cycle life, same problem with some samsungs and toshibas.

I found another pocket camera that I am looking at purchasing.
https://www.google.com/shopping/product/1579344356912059542?q=alesis+video+track&num=30&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=iDN&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&biw=1366&bih=637

For audio it is supposed to be good because it has the same microophones as the Alesis standalone audio recorders. There are two steel arches over them for protection.
Reviews are mixed for the image. The camera component itself is standard def and lacks an optical zoom, F2.8 lens. It looks to be the working bits from a sub $60 webcam.
Image quality is supposedly (going from customer reviews) good (for standard def) but not flawless outdoors but gets grainy and blurry in very dim light.
Overall about the same results as a good smartphone.

Features are pretty good but not unique; usb and composite video out, regular light and flash, records mp4/mpeg for youtube and entry level editing software (many other cameras like this use MOV and sometimes a weird derivative of it that even VLC can't play), firmware is mac and microsoft compatible, headphone jack, standard 1/4" tripod thread, and the new firmware allows for recording audio alone as a wav
Package is pretty full; rechargeable lithium batteries, both usb and composite video cables included, along with a memory card and a pistol grip along with the usual.
One reviewer said "It's a solid metal, rubberized grip with a tripod screw on the top and standard mic stand mount on the bottom."

Google reviews are 3.5 stars with 108 written responses, more 5 star than 3 star, and most of the really bad ones are from before they fixed the firmware.
B&H photo had 3.5 out of 5 with 111 responses, again most of the really bad ones were duds from the old firmware or people who didn't articulate well.
Retail is $149, but it's often sold for less than $100
A reputable seller is now offering it for $39 with free shipping, 2 year premium warranty for an extra 7 bucks.

You all think I should get it, get something else instead (if so, then what), or just leave it alone and wait another year or two?
Note that I do not have the money for an iPhone.

Kaa
10-11-2012, 12:32 PM
What's your budget and what are you needs (resolution, etc.)?

Nowadays small dedicated camcorders are dead because P&S cameras shoot perfectly good video.

Kaa

Ted Hoppe
10-11-2012, 02:13 PM
Iphone changed everything. The 4s shoots great video. I love the contour + action camera... it is my favorite with good sound. put on a pistol grip and you have an amazing durable, water resistant with 1080p 30 frame camera under 200 dollars. sailing, outside and travel, this fixed lens camera rocks. I use it as part of my professional broadcast kit.

if you want to keep the video... I still love the mini dv format. Most people shoot and post to youtube or facebook. Sadly the video that is being shot is thought of as desposable as are their pictures. With a few exceptions, most people who shoot pictures and video will lose there content or control of their content within 3 years. A flash storage device camera is no old super 8 family camera. what you shoot now most likely will be in the bin along with the worn out hard drive you transferred it to. Unlike your old family films and photos, your children or grandchildren will most likely never see those things shot today in 50 years.