Looking for a HD Camcorder Recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ryanflucas, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. ryanflucas macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'd like to buy an HD camcorder. So far I'm really interested in a Flip HD since it looks about as easy to use as an Apple product would be. I'm looking for pros\cons, opinions on those who own a Flip, or anyone that might recommend I buy something else instead.

    I would be using this to shoot small videos of family, friends, my dog suitable for Youtube, my SmugMug gallery, Facebook, and stringing together in video projects on my iMac. I would like to have HD if possible since I know once I start re-encoding & editing, there is going to be some quality loss. I'm not sure if I can justify spending $400-$600 on a bigger camcorder since I'm not doing this professionally. Who knows, if I'm enticed enough I might go to that point.

    I know the Flip doesn't have optical zoom, and I don't want to use digital zoom at all if I don't have to. What I don't want to get is a unit that severly blurs the footage when I move the camera. I won't be running with it. If I take my dog out in the backyard and throw him a toy and he brings it back to me, I want to be able to move the camera slightly and see a clear clip of him running, without pixelated blurs. I'm assuming any special image stabilization is available on the Mac side in software? Do the Flip's have auto focus?

    Suggestions\thoughts? :)
  2. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    If you want a flip - buy one. There are many under $150 now that shoot in 720 format. I would not spend $400-600 on a flip camcorder. You asked for opinions. This is mine. Since you will be using it mainly for family projects, I would buy the least expensive model you can find, and use the remaining money on your family. Times are tough now. $600 for a flip is ridiculous to me when you can buy an AVCHD camcorder for that same amount of money.

    Either way as with any hand held camcorder, I would shoot as much of the time using a tripod and fluid head if you own one. Shooting techniques count for more production value than how fancy is your camcorder.
  3. ryanflucas thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    Flips are cheap I meant in comparison to spending more for a bigger digital camcorder. I know flips aren't $600. Lol. But seriously, you hit some good points.
  4. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    We use a Flip for our home movies almost exclusively now. The old SD MiniDV camcorder is collecting dust. It shoots 720p and the intergration that iMovie has with YouTube and AppleTV in the Share pulldown menu makes it extremely easy.

    Plus in Flip...movies get pulled into iPhoto, Use those clips in iMovie and share with the world!

    As for video quality...here's a Youtube example shot on our Flip:


    Make sure to watch at 720p for 'full effect'. ;)

    Some jumpiness when panning around...but I am not sure if that is more a result of YouTube or the camera itself. I don't recall...it dind't bother us at the time, but I thought I would point it out since you specifically asked about panning and blurring.

    You might want to investigate the Kodak offering in this type of camera. The Zi8 is a 1080p camcorder...also for less than $200.

  5. Seo macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2009
    Cupertino, California
    Any sort of movement can cause rolling shutter artifacts (which are apparent in the linked video) with CMOS sensors, although higher end cameras such as the EX1 and RED One can handle this better. I don't know of many decent consumer camcorders that actually use a CCD any more, so you'll just have to live with it. Things you can do to try and keep it steady are to try and use some method of stabilization. Don't run/walk/move while shooting, and don't jostle the camera around.

    However since it's only home videos, just try and stay still and do simple pans and tilts when necessary.
  6. danimal99 macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    I think the problem with Flips and similar cameras is that ANY moving around with them is almost nausea-inducing. And those cameras aren't the easiest to hold steady by hand either, from what I can tell, so there will almost always be some movement unless you put it on a tripod.

    If I were recommending a camera to a friend, I'd steer them towards something like a Canon real camcorder or if they just have to have a small camera, a Canon Powershot (I have a Canon Powershot SD780IS) as a pocket cam that also shoots 1280x720p video. It has an optical image stabilizer and is incredibly portable, but also suffers from a shaky appearance when it's being moved around. On a tripod it is fine.

    My personal preference though is to spend a little extra and get a real camcorder. For instance, I paid $239 for that SD780IS, then only $399 for a Canon Vixia HG20 (it was refurbished, and bought from the Canon store online back before Xmas). They are much better for shooting video, just not as portable.
  7. harddriveowner macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2007
    Spend the extra money

    Whatever you save in cost and size, you will not get the results in the video that you wanted. It will be shaky unless you use a tripod and your zooming will be much cruder.

    The big question is when are the upper end camcorders all going to be tapeless like the pocket ones? Anyone have a clue?
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Most of them, at the consumer level at least, already are.

    I say that for what you said your intended uses will be, get a Flip-style cam. I have a Canon HG20, a hard disc-based consumer camcorder. I absolutely love it. However, it is not nearly as convenient to use as a Flip. But I do a lot of things in the outdoors, and I wanted to capture the landscape in better quality than I would get with a Flip.

    For capturing a few seconds or minutes of the kids doing something cute, however, or the dog doing something funny, etc., a Flip makes perfect sense. If after a while you decide you want a more expensive camera, the Flip will still make an excellent carry-around companion, and you haven't broken the bank.

    I would consider the Kodak zi8 as well as the Flip. I haven't used one, but it has gotten excellent reviews. Does 1080p and has a removable SDHC card.
  9. jgraider macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010
    I spoke with a guy from B&H today, telling him I was looking for the very best picture quality producing HD Camcorder for $1000, as my #1 priority is pic quality. He said without a doubt the HV30/40 is the best, followed by some of the flash based Canon's. I stopped him right there and ordered a refurb HV30 because of this. Keep in mind he can sell many cams that are more expensive, but he recommended that. I'm just the messenger, no flames please!
  10. racketeer71 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2010
    WOW! Just WOW! That video is truly headache-inducing. I'm happy you posted it, because I was considering Flip for a short while, and that video makes me so happy since I decided not to go for a Flip.


    I think it's blurry and shaking all the time (not only when panning).

    Hope I won't see the same with the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D, which I plan to order when it becomes available.
  11. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    I'm in the same boat as the op, I want to upgrade to a new hd camcorder and keep going back and forth on what I want. I decided that I will probably do this: buy the new Kodak waterproof playsport which has:

    * Waterproof up to 10 ft
    * Full 1080p HD video
    * Electronic image stabilization

    Unless first user reviews are horrible; I'll buy the Kodak and use it when I take the kids to the beach, on vacations, etc. Anywhere that a small, easy to use, waterproof camcorder is needed. (Plus its cheap)
    But I'm also still looking to buy a better one, with better quality audio/video, that I'll use for those special moments when you want the best videos and are in a more controlled environment (birthday parties, school events, etc). Only problem with this is: WAY TOO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM! :confused:
  12. taskmanager macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    Wow a Canon Vixia HG20 for $399 even if its a refurb is a killer price.
  13. jgraider macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010
  14. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Canon HV30 = epic win.
    1080 HD
    can even do 24P if you wnat.

Share This Page