Lots of digital devices can capture video, including basic cameras, smart phones, and tablets. But when it comes to shooting important events, it's crucial your videos are clear, sharp and in focus. For those, here's why you'll do better with a full-size camcorder:
Updates to camera or camcorder firmware—the on-board software that runs an electronic device—take place just as frequently as smart-phone firmware updates, particularly for advanced cameras like the Nikon D5200. But the process is a little different, since updates don't show up automatically on your camera, as they do on your phone.
At a recent Green Day concert, my daughter and her friend both took pictures of the band with their smart phones. We were sitting pretty far from the stage, so they had to zoom in to compose and capture their photos. Since they were shooting with smart phones, they had to use digital zoom—which will almost always result in photos or video with degraded image quality.
The brand-new Canon Vixia HF G30 is a pricey full-sized HD camcorder, at $1,700. The high price means it has a lot of high-end features—a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen display, wireless capability, and a 20x wide-angle zoom lens. It also has one feature that many older timers (like me) will love: A color viewfinder with a very high 1.5-million dot count, which should mean what it shows is sharp and clear.
A few years ago, GoPro reinvented the sports camcorder market with its line of small, compact models. Today, GoPro sports cams are now selling so well that 2012 market-share data placed GoPro as second only to Sony in terms of all total yearly camcorder sales. I recently spent some time with GoPro's latest model, the wireless Hero 3 Black Edition version ($400). Here's what I found:
At this year's CES, one major trend was confirmed: As smart phones ramp up their camera and camcorder features, companies that make the latter two devices have had to adapt to keep up and to offer features you can't find on phones (yet, anyway).
Camcorders these days are facing a lot of competition from other devices—particularly from smart phones, but even from digital cameras. While you won't see a lot of new models coming out, those that do appear have extras that set them apart, as does Sony's HDR-PJ790V.
Like other camcorder makers, Sony has been struggling, in part because many consumers are shooting more video on smart phones. With some estimates showing camcorder sales down significantly, Sony has introduced just 11 new full-sized HD models (ranging from $250 to $1,600), the fewest they've debuted at CES in several years. More significantly, the company will no longer offer some popular standard-definition and pocket (Bloggie) models.
In the past, Canon has avoided introducing devices with wireless features, excepting its printers. But today, the company has changed course: Four of the eight new products it's announcing—two cameras and two camcorders—include wireless capabilities: the 16-megapixel PowerShot Elph 130 IS ($200) and a new concept model, the 12-megapixel PowerShot N ($300), and the Vixia HF R42 ($500) and the Vixia HF R40 ($400) HD camcorders.
Lots of people taking photos and videos with their smart phones, but that doesn't mean cameras are going anywhere. They are evolving, however, and we expect to see innovative new models on display at CES in January.
Sony bungee-jumped into the sports camcorder market recently with two Action Cam models, one with and one without Wi-Fi. I've been shooting with the Wi-Fi model (HDR-AS15, $270) for a while. In short, if I ever work up the courage to go helicopter skiing or skydiving, the Sony Action Cam could certainly capture the video on my way down.
Few events have lighting that's as dramatic or challenging as All Hallows' Eve, better known as Halloween. Whether you're using a camcorder, a digital camera, or even a smart phone, here are some things to consider when you're capturing video of family and friends on this magical night.
Sony today announced the NEX-VG900, a camcorder with a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor—the same type of sensor Sony is including in two new cameras. Unlike the digital cameras with full-frame sensors that Sony also announced today, though, it's unclear how much benefit such a sensor it to camcorders.
Sony today unveiled its first tiny, sports-oriented camcorders, entering a market that has until now been dominated by GoPro, which has spent megabucks at various extreme sporting events and produced some popular models. The Action Cam will come in two versions—the HDR-AS15 Wi-Fi model, $270, and the HDR-AS10 (no Wi-Fi), $200. Both are priced slightly lower than the GoPro.
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