Smallest, "good" quality video for under $2k?

WRP

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
510
2
Boston
I know, it's a weird ask coming from me but I don't know consumer cameras really.

We have a client that needs to do unobtrusive follow-alongs at major retail store. This needs to be card based, "high" quality and size is a factor. Real small handheld would be ideal. Budget is up to $2000 but obviously cheaper is better. Just for a size idea, they thought my Canon FX100 (which is tiny) was way too big. It's being run by amateurs, so auto everything, no external audio, straight bare-bones with decent video quality for indoor well lit department store.

Thanks.
 

kevinfulton.ca

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2011
284
1
I know, it's a weird ask coming from me but I don't know consumer cameras really.

We have a client that needs to do unobtrusive follow-alongs at major retail store. This needs to be card based, "high" quality and size is a factor. Real small handheld would be ideal. Budget is up to $2000 but obviously cheaper is better. Just for a size idea, they thought my Canon FX100 (which is tiny) was way too big. It's being run by amateurs, so auto everything, no external audio, straight bare-bones with decent video quality for indoor well lit department store.

Thanks.
The Panasonic HCX900M looks like a nice one since it uses a 3 chip CMOS configuration. An older model was used for the POV camera on an Episode of Supernatural called "Ghost Facers". They sent us test footage for the Panasonic SD1 (might have been SD2, my memory is foggy) and the HVX200. The HVX200 was definitely superior in the fine details and wider color gamut, but the SD1 did well enough to hold it's own and ended up being used in the show (though they may have degraded it a little to enhance the "video" look"). It looked surprisingly good, even in low light, and could be mistaken for the HVX200 footage if you didn't know what to look for. The colors were quite impressive for a "consumer camcorder". The HCX900M is a more mature product so it SHOULD be just as good or better then the SD1. I'd look up that episode to check out the quality for yourself, but keep in mind that it's AVCHD so I'd take that into consideration when it comes to your workflow. Many camcorders of this type will also be AVCHD. Hope this helps!
 

boch82

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2008
325
24
I know, it's a weird ask coming from me but I don't know consumer cameras really.

We have a client that needs to do unobtrusive follow-alongs at major retail store. This needs to be card based, "high" quality and size is a factor. Real small handheld would be ideal. Budget is up to $2000 but obviously cheaper is better. Just for a size idea, they thought my Canon FX100 (which is tiny) was way too big. It's being run by amateurs, so auto everything, no external audio, straight bare-bones with decent video quality for indoor well lit department store.

Thanks.
What are you trying to shoot? Are you looking for a "hidden" camera? or just a basic consumer camera that will shoot to a card?

If you are looking to go real cheap you could get a go pro. I've mixed the go pro footage with HD Cam/Xd Cam footage and gotten pretty good results.

If you want a hidden spy cam, they have some button cameras that you can mount in a shirt. Not sure the quality though. Haven't had to use one in a few years.
 

WRP

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
510
2
Boston
This is for idiots to use. A gopro I don't think would appeal to them since there is no screen, not great audio and isn't idiot proof). It's not something you can just hand to anyone and is intuitive to use with the holding of buttons to get into different modes, etc. I want to give them a form factor that everyone knows, you flip out the screen and push the record button. I don't want them to have the ability to screw anything up.

They are literally just going to be following some people around a department store and getting their opinions on the store layout, ease of navigation, accessibility, etc. It really doesn't need to be fancy, but has to be small and not very noticeable to other customers. I think I'll look deeper into that Panny. That's the second time it has been brought up to me for this question on 2 sites.
 

boch82

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2008
325
24
This is for idiots to use. A gopro I don't think would appeal to them since there is no screen, not great audio and isn't idiot proof). It's not something you can just hand to anyone and is intuitive to use with the holding of buttons to get into different modes, etc. I want to give them a form factor that everyone knows, you flip out the screen and push the record button. I don't want them to have the ability to screw anything up.

They are literally just going to be following some people around a department store and getting their opinions on the store layout, ease of navigation, accessibility, etc. It really doesn't need to be fancy, but has to be small and not very noticeable to other customers. I think I'll look deeper into that Panny. That's the second time it has been brought up to me for this question on 2 sites.
The go pro hero does have and LCD screen....but if want something more than that check out the Sony NEX Camera....

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/717535-REG/Sony_NEX_VG10_NEX_VG10_Interchangeable_Lens_Handycam.html
 

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023

sigamy

macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2003
1,299
2
NJ USA
+1 for the Panny HCX900M or last year's TM900. These shoot 1080 60p, which looks amazing for a consumer cam.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,881
389
Hilo, Hawai'i
Canon VIXIA HF G10. Can be had for Around $1200 and is "prosumer" quality video, not as good as Canon XF 100 but very good for walking around a well lit retail store, plus it is SMALL! Really the best option for a hand held video cam that looks like a home video cam with near professional video out of the box especially in well lit areas.
Or get an XA10 and remove the mike input handle (easily done; it's meant to be removed) when doing the store job. More money, sure -- but then after the immediate job you have a camera with external audio inputs, etc. that you or they can use for other things.
 

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023
True, although I never though the XA10 was really worth the money because the image quality is the same as the G10 ... plus the OP already has an XF 100 which has those features on it in addition to the improved image.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,881
389
Hilo, Hawai'i
... plus the OP already has an XF 100 which has those features on it in addition to the improved image.
I forgot about that.

The XA10 was worth it for me, because I had a bunch of mikes, XLR cables, etc. left over from my PD150 days. So I wanted a camcorder I could use them with.
 

mmoto

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2009
51
0
Don't forget to check out the Sony RX-100. In it's size range, nothing beats it currently. At 1 inch, its sensor is quite a bit larger than the similarly-sized competition so low light shots look good.
It shoots 1080p/60 fps at 28Mbps.
Price is ~$650
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sony-dsc-rx100
 
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Artful Dodger

macrumors 68020
For a small camera I just tested out the Sony HDR-PJ710 at Niagara Falls, full auto as the manual features are limited and it was really good for the color and the on board mic. I would say it has very good stabilization as well as I zoomed in to the Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side and it was rock solid. I also should mention I used a GP-AVT1 grip with it which is also nice for this unit.

While I like my Canon much better for the manual controls, this Sony could be (in my opinion) handed off to anyone and it would capture just fine. I wouldn't think twice about saying press the record button and point to a person who never used one before.

Also has the option of 60P which with my SanDisk 16GB recorded around 1hr 18mins. fwiw. A very simple interface to add and it is easy without reading the manual to setup what you want before the hand-off or if need be on the fly.

Good luck :)