Best video-recording compact?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Changepoint, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Changepoint macrumors member


    Oct 15, 2008
    Looking for a digital compact, under 600, which could also replace the need for an HD camcorder. Wondered if such a compact existed?

    I was looking at the Lumix LX3.
  2. dalvin200 macrumors 68040

    Mar 24, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    panasonic tz7 has just come out... have a look into that too!
  3. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    It really depends on how much quality you're willing to give up. Seeing as how you have a $600 (dollars right?) budget, the bar is set pretty high. You can get very good HDV or AVCHD camcorders for that kind of money. But since you're looking for a "hybrid" device, you have to allow for some compromise.

    First compromise is that the "compact" point-n-shoot (P&S) cameras are typically limited to 1280x720 video.

    Second compromise is that the microphones aren't that great.

    Third is that you may not be able to use zoom while recording ... although the newer ones do allow for it ... and the Panasonics allow for optical zooming.

    Take a look at the Panasonic ZS3 (aka TZ7) or the Canon SX200IS. Both are 12x zoom cameras that are pretty compact. The Panny has a better movie mode (AVCHD-Lite), but the video currently has problems with iMovie. The Canon has more manual controls on the photo side, if that matters to you, but you can't optical zoom when shooting video (M-JPEG).

    Both are about $350. You can look at the previous generation Panasonic TZ5 which has a more compatible movie mode format (M-JPEG)

    If you're willing to dump the compact requirement, and perhaps increase your budget a little, you open up your options.

    Panasonic will release a new micro-4/3rds camera that incorporates a 1080p mode. It's almost a mini SLR with interchangeable lenses. I think these will go for $800 or so.

    Also, Canon and Nikon have dSLRs with movie modes, but they are much bigger and even more expensive. If interested, look at the Canon XRi (~$900) and the Nikon D90 (~$1000).

    If you have money to burn, look at the Canon 5D Mk II. ;)
  4. Changepoint thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 15, 2008
    The Panasonic ZS3 looks spot on, I could hopefully get round the iMovie issue with some handbrake converting? Thanks for the advice, the fact you both came up with the same model makes my choice very straightforward :eek:

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