Budget Pocket Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by DrawnToLife, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. DrawnToLife macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Alright, I'm going to go through my story, feel free to skip down to the actually question. So I was going to buy an HD cam corder a while back just to start working with HD film as 640x480 looks like poo. So I stumbled upon the Flip UltraHD. I go into reviews and what's not, and it sounds good. But I think, maybe there are alternatives. So I stumble upon the Kodak Zi8. I read reviews and I'm like, damn, this is way better than the UltraHD. So I'm like, okay good, Zi8 it is. But then I hear about the Sony Bloggie CM5. I was amazed that it had 5x Optical zoom. I heard that it's preformance was sub-par and the Creative Vado was better. Then I notice the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG102. And now I'm here.

    So, bottom line is that I want a good pocket HD Camcorder for under $250. (Memory optional.)
    I'm leaning towards the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG102.

    I was wonder what your choice pocket HD cam would be.
  2. skypark macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    Dayton Ohio
    Hd Cam

    I have the Flip HD Mino its a great HD cam to start with and the price is right. :apple:
  3. str8bucs macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
  4. DrawnToLife thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Well, the reason why I'm lost is because they're all within $20 of each other and I'd be willing to pay $20 more for a better product.
  5. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Kodak Playsport. It's the waterproof version of the Kodak Zi8. Does 1080p/30 fps as well as 720p/60fps, which looks amazing for faster moving action. The form factor is smaller than the Zi8, which is nice. Removable battery and SD card. And it's pretty inexpensive. I love mine and am blown away by how good a pocket camcorder can be.
  6. DrawnToLife thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Well, if it helps, my two purposes would be, amateur film making (Skits and what's not), and macro things like, showing off iPhone apps. I would also use the camcorder to vLog.

    The 12x Optical zoom sounded epic for a budget pocket HD cam, and seeing as it's relatively the same price, I thought I'd go for that. But I'm not sure, the Kodak and Flip seem like great beginner cams, but I kinda wanted something that would let me use for mini film projects and stuff.
  7. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Then you'll definitely want to go with something better than a pocket-cam. I'm not sure if you can find a good HD camcorder that fits your budget, but perhaps you can get a gently used one.

    Pocket-cams like the Flip, the Zi8, and even smartphones are great because they are so portable and easy to use. The disadvantage, of course, is that the picture quality isn't as good, they don't have the same zoom power, the audio is usually crap (but audio on regular camcorders sucks too without an external mic), and, perhaps most of all, they are hard to hold still. Unless you have very steady hands, the video looks shaky. And forget about panning. It's a trade-off for the small size and low weight. I hate carrying around my Canon HG20 these days, and instead just use my iPhone 4 or my Kodak Playsport. Then again, I'm much more into still photography and don't want to have to carry a DSLR and a "big" camcorder around when I'm out and about.
  8. Beligerent macrumors regular


    Oct 24, 2003
    Exeter, NH
    I've had the Flip Ultra HD and the Mino HD and I bought the Kodak ZI8 when it first came out. The Flip cams are definitely better. The zi8 had a mic input which was its best feature.
  9. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    12x zoom is very nice, but probably pointless if you don’t use a tripod – spice weasel hit the nail on the head when he said about steady hands, zooming in makes this far more of an issue.

    I haven’t seen much feedback about the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG102, but it seems a solid buy. However, I do agree with spice weasel about the advantages of pocketcams – and I certainly wouldn't say that the Zi8/Flip etc are beginner cams and the VPC-CG102 somehow isn’t. When was looking into pocketcams, more than one comment I read about the Zi8, more than one professional (and a hell of a lot of prosumers) considered it perfect for doing recording stuff like vox pops in the street and this is how they were going to use it or were using – this was to do with the convenience of a device that was so portable, had good image quality and an external mic.

    There’s plenty of footage online taken by various pocketcams, so I really would have a look and see what you think (Chris Pirillo has a couple of reviews).

    For most of the stuff you’ve said you’ll be using it for, a pocketcam and tripod (especially a gorilliacam!) would be fine. If you’ve no need to move around much when filming (e.g. your skits), then again, a pocketcam would do nicely.

    Do you definitely need HD? I’ve no idea what the price is in the States, but in the UK, the Sony DCR SX33 (as an example) is roughly the same prices as higher end pocket cams and is a lightweight camcorder. It may be that HD is a must, but if you’re going to just be uploading to sites like YouTube, then personally it wouldn’t be for me.

    The Playsport is slightly heavier (not that I doubt this will matter), has a 2.0” rather than a 2.5” screen.

    The Zi8 has a macro mode and an external microphone input.

    Both have exactly the same recording modes and same lens.

    Personally, I do think both are excellent.

    Most of the side by side footage I’ve seen indicates otherwise, but your mileage may vary – if you found that to be your experience, I can hardly tell you that you’re wrong!
  10. DrawnToLife thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Well, 640x480 and Youtube don't really look good in my opinion. And plus, 720p gives me more space to edit and looks better. I've only got to shoot HD once with a Flip and compared to a similar shot in 640x480, I felt that the HD shot was just more flexible.

    To be honest, I think my mentality is HD or bust. I've realized that I've kept moving up and saying to myself "Oh maybe just a little more for a better product." But now, I'm thinking I'll go back to barebones blogging. The Zi8 is looking really good right now :l If I'm going to go for a more film worthy camera, I might get a T2i but that's a different story.

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