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Video camera guidelines: how much money?

The Canon Vixia HF200

The Canon Vixia HF200

A couple of weeks ago,  I wrote a post about video cameras. In the comments to that post, Kathleen Flores, adviser at UT-El Paso, wrote:

I’m considering the Sanyo Xacti. It is only $160 but has no microphone/headphone inputs. I want to get something inexpensive so that I can purchase at least four or five cameras and equipment (I could make a mojo kit for $250) to make them accessible for our students. Has anyone used these or have any other suggestions. I would rather get more students doing some basic multimedia than just one or two using the more expensive equipment. Whenever a new student wants to use our more expensive equipment, I always shudder and hope they take care of it. I was thinking that this route would encourage more experimentation and participation.

I don’t have any personal experience with that camera, but I do want to reiterate my personal preference in the quantity vs. quality debate as it regards video equipment: where possible, try to do both.

Budgets being what they are, it’s sometimes impossible to purchase both prosumer and consumer quality cameras. But if it is possible, I’d recommend purchasing some consumer-level cameras for reporters to take out into the field and experiment with, and then get a couple of higher-end prosumer cameras for the photography staff, and people who really seem dedicated to exploring video online. The amount of control over the quality of the images and sound is vastly different between the two.

This is similar to the iMovie vs. Final Cut (use your imagination for the PC equivalent) debate. You can learn quite a lot with iMovie, and for most breaking news or quick turnaround work, it’s a fine product. But if someone is really interested in video, a higher-end editing package is a worthwhile investment.

Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “Video camera guidelines: how much money?

  1. Having done this stuff for awhile, I'd say that a microphone input is a basic minimum requirement for any sort of video you want people to watch. Your external microphone can also be cheap—Radio Shack is your friend here—but depending on the level of ambient noise, doing a basic interview with an internal camcorder mic can result in insufferable audio. It's gotten a little better now with solid-state recording (less whirring noise from the tape spool, etc.) but still…

  2. I think you put the wrong question! I say this because the question should be "What do you need the camera for?"After you now exactly what you will do with that camera you can ask "how much money?". Anyway when you buy a camera you need to have some extra money for: Camera case, memory, batteries, filters, reflectors etc. All "extras" will cost a lot. That is why i said the correct question is "What do you need the camera for?" and only after that "how much money?"

  3. I think you put the wrong question! I say this because the question should be "What do you need the camera for?"
    After you now exactly what you will do with that camera you can ask "how much money?". Anyway when you buy a camera you need to have some extra money for: Camera case, memory, batteries, filters, reflectors etc. All "extras" will cost a lot.
    That is why i said the correct question is "What do you need the camera for?" and only after that "how much money?"

  4. I think you put the wrong question! I say this because the question should be “What do you need the camera for?”
    After you now exactly what you will do with that camera you can ask “how much money?”. Anyway when you buy a camera you need to have some extra money for: Camera case, memory, batteries, filters, reflectors etc. All “extras” will cost a lot.
    That is why i said the correct question is “What do you need the camera for?” and only after that “how much money?”

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