Recommend me a decent camcorder for $200-300

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by odinsride, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    Looking for a camcorder to use for recording guitar videos at home. Would like 1080p and an LCD screen that flips forward so I can record myself and see the LCD at the same time. Not sure if this is a standard feature or not, I know nothing about camcorders. I was looking at some camcorders at costco in this price range, brands were Sony, Samsung, JVC, Panasonic...they all basically seemed identical to me, so I was wondering what is a reliable brand?

    Microphone doesn't matter because I'll be overlaying recorded guitar audio onto the video file. Also a recommendation for a decent desktop tripod would be great!

  2. rx7dude macrumors regular


    Mar 29, 2011
  3. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    +1 for gopro black edition - one of the best (if not the best) camera in the low price segment.

    or get something like a glif holder for your iphone and a gorillapod as a desktop tripod.
  4. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I'll go against the grain here and recommend you NOT to get a GoPro. It's a great little camera and I love mine, but it sounds like you're really just in the market for your standard small camcorder style video camera. That being the case, with your budget, any of the major manufacturers offerings should do. There shouldn't be much of a quality difference between them.
  5. odinsride thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    Exactly, I don't need anything fancy, and the camera will pretty much be permanently stationary for my needs. I'll check out the Go Pro but not sure I need all that.
  6. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    I don't have a specific model in mind, but whenever friends ask me for advice in the lower end of the market I tell them to look at Canon's stuff and they always come back and tell me they were happy with their choice.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    For this. the go pro would not really work.

    Some features to look for

    Yes the fold-over LCD screen is a standard on most cameras in this price range. touch screen controls are too.

    One feature I'd look for is a microphone input jack and a headphone jack so you can verify the sound is working well. You also need manual level control over the audio. You really need these two jacks if you intended to use the camera to record audio.

    All built-in microphones are crap and sound horrible. You will need to place a mic on yourself (a lavaliere type) and unless the guitar has a built-in pickup you need another microphone on the guitar. This means TWO audio tracks. That's OK as most all recording devices have two tracks. Thisi s dual mono that yo mix to stereo later.

    You can have the camera record the audio but better some other device and then sync the sound in post. Believe me nothing sounds more amateurish than the poor sour you get using the built-in mic. This is OK for some thing but not music.

    Expect to send some $$$ on audio gear but you might have som already if you are into music.

    Don't bother with a "desk tripod" get a real tripod. The brand hardly matters just get the biggest and most sturdy one you can afford. Real pros will even sandbag the legs so they don't move. Those desk things have no stability.

    I have the Canon Vixia r500

    One feature you might like for capturing fast action. is that is does 60 frames per second. 1080/60p recording in MP4 at 35 Mbps.

    You will needs lights. Even a cheap Home Depot 500W work light aimed at the wall behind the camera makes a world of difference. NONE of these small $250 camcorders do well in low light but the do very good quality video if you can supply enough even and shadow free light. So don't aim those lights at the subject.

    The above camera also has OPTICAL image stabilization but that does not matter if used on a tripod.

    Yes I have made it more complex, saying "audio is not easy" and you need lights but you can escape this.
    I'm happy with the quality of the camera if you hive it light and use it on a tripod in the 34bps mode.
  8. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    I like the video the small Canons put out.
    The Vixia HF R500 looks like it will fit the bill. Since you're capturing the audio independently you don't need a mic input, but this one has anyway. For the price, that's amazing (granted it's 3.5mm not XLR, but waddya want for the money?)

    It also records MP4 files as well as AVCHD. I like the simple convenience of MP4 files, plus they go up to 35 Mbps - a bit better than AVCHD's 28 Mbps.

    Gorilla Pods are popular for small cameras. - check them out. As a bonus, you can tie them to things.

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