Dedicated Video Camera vs Camera with Video Capability?

Matt W.

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Not looking to make movies for TV, but would like to share my trips with my family and friends. Looking for a lightweight, somewhat durable video camera. Would a decent camera with video capability work ok, or do I need a dedicated video camera? Just looking for 2-3 minutes videos at the max. Mostly close range but since most of my hunting is some AMAZING Alaskan country panoramic shots would be nice as well.

Thanks!
 

Matt Cashell

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What a great topic, HC!

I have tried both, and here is my opinion:

Big sensors make for great video. Typically as you go up in price with camcorders, the sensor gets bigger, and the quality goes up.

Compact cameras have smaller sensors. Some still make for very good video. They save weight and volume in the pack. Lately I have taken this route myself. Video quality is good enough, and compacts are really nice for digiscoping.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras Like Canon EOS and Nikon D series cameras have huge APS-C or full frame 35mm sensors and take astounding Cinema-style Full HD video. Hollywood even uses these styles of cameras for making feature films. Their drawback is size and weight.

Micro 4/3 cameras have sensors in between compact cameras and full size DSLRs. Video is right behind the DSLRs, from what I have seen.

Nikon's 1 series cameras have sensors smaller than Micro 4/3. I haven't seen much on their video quality.

The best balance, IMO, is mirrorless DSLRs like Sony's NEX cameras. They are pretty small and light, they have big APS-C sized sensors and the lenses available are very good optically. I am saving to transition to this style of camera myself.

I think dedicated camcorders are on their way out, personally.
 

dotman

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Another option would be a camera you can mount on your body and capture some action with and also just take video with, if you haven't see the GoPro here is a link to their website. You can get these for $199 - $299 depending on accessories. www.gopro.com

Now you can't zoom with this and from what I have heard anything 50 yards and out seems like it really is 50 yards away but it could make for a good camera to record your adventure. There is a video out there I saw not too long ago where someone put one of these in a crab pot and it was pretty neat seeing all the crab come in.
 
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Gman

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I don't think Canon makes one in this class. I tried an Olympus 4/3 (Pen series) and didn't love it. Ergonomics, aesthetics, pictures. Returned it and got the Sony NEX5N and am thrilled. Love it. Takes amazing pictures and video. One reason you'd want to look at the Sony in this size over the others is that it is consistently rated best in class for video. Since you started with that question it sounds important.

Aron also has the same camera and I'm sure will chime in at somepoint.

I got both of mine at Cameraland and they were awesome. Took back the Olympus have I had it for about a month and put it through it's paces. I wanted to like it, I just couldn't. Some things are like that. :) Took it back for full value, gave me a deal on a Sony, and shipped it out. Joel does the camera side of the house, Doug optics. I've always had good service from those guys.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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Thanks. I've worked with Doug in the past. I guess I'll have to hit up Joel. Is the NEX5N worth the upgrade from the NEX-C3?
 

Kevin Root

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A big obstacle that I've had with some of the medium or lower level digital cameras with video has been that they are pretty choppy on good image stabilization. A tripod of course helps solve that issue but it is nice having some good image stabilization built into the camera when needed. There is only so much on can do in the editing area with editing software to help stabilize or slow down the footage to take out that choppy issue.

Technology innovations are getting more advanced each day. There are a lot of great solutions out there for the average person to capture their adventures or memories on film without breaking the bank to do so. Cameras are getting better seemingly as fast as I finish typing this.
 

Gman

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I am looking into the NEX5N. The C3 only has 720P video.
This is why I went with the NEX5N as well. I have both the stock 18-55 lens and a 55-210 zoom. So far I've been very impressed with both.

A couple of tips if you're interested in purchasing - if you get a spare battery, ask for the promaster. It's relatively inexpensive compared to the Sony brand. Also, Joel turned me onto some promaster macro filters. Again, for like $20 or $30 it's a 3 filter set that is sort of a poor man's macro lens for a fraction of the cost. At my level of photography it's more thank I need.

The Sony does have sophisticated image stabilization and so far so good. But I haven't done a ton of handheld video to test as of yet.
 

herdbull

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I've been doing some research on the Sonys. Hands down they appear to be the best choice. I like them for there size, lens choices and just an all around great looking camera. You can save some cash if 1080 isn't a requirement.

I picked up a JVC Everio last fall for under $175 for video only. This thing is tiny, smaller than my point and shoot Olympus and will work great for HD video. Maybe I'm old school but I like to have a dedicated video camera because you always end up taking more video than you think.

Either way you won't go wrong with the Sony Nex series.
 
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Matt W.

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For those of you using a camera like the Sony Nex...

How do you protect it in wet weather?
How do you carry it on a backpack type hunt?
For the investment I'd like to keep it protected yet handy which is hard to do when one is using range-finders, binos, and trying to keep a weapon close at hand. ???

Is it fragile or is it at least some what durable? Hope to check one out in person this weekend. Thanks!
 

Gman

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For those of you using a camera like the Sony Nex...

How do you protect it in wet weather?
How do you carry it on a backpack type hunt?
For the investment I'd like to keep it protected yet handy which is hard to do when one is using range-finders, binos, and trying to keep a weapon close at hand. ???

Is it fragile or is it at least some what durable? Hope to check one out in person this weekend. Thanks!
I don't really worry about wet weather. If I were concerned about "wet" I'd use a freezer zip lock bag or an aqua pac. For absolute protect a dry bag would work.

I carry it on my left hip belt in a small Kifaru belt pouch for easy access during the day. It fits nicely in the small size and is always right there. At night or at basecamp I put it in a padded Kifaru pull out (I think it's the med size) with some bubble wrap around the extra lens to avoid parts crashing into one another (just enough to go around once). I use the padded pull out when I'm done for the day or if I don't want it riding on my hip. That way it's not getting crunched as I throw my pack around after a long day.

The Sony camera is not fragile at all. As durable as any other non-bomb proof-water proof camera. I certainly don't baby it when using it I just take precautions to make sure I don't sit on it. :)

You can also use a bino strap like one from Rick Young outdoors if that fits into your style of hunting but I have my binos on my chest already so that was out.

I take a small piece of Kelty triptease cord and make a little wrist strap on mine. That way when I have it in hand, I have the wrist strap there in case of accidential damage. I also rigged up a super light neck strap out of triptease and fishing swivels. Not the most comfortable but works well if you have a collar on (like a jacket) and comes on and off easily. I keep it in my pack in case I want to have it around my neck for a bunch of photos. But mostly the wrist strap set up does me just fine.

When not backpacking it all just stays in a padded camera case that was built for the smaller cameras...
 

larryschwartz

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One thing to keep in mind, especially if you are hunting in near or sub-freezing temperatures is that some of these digital cameras/camcorders don't operate in the lower temperature ranges. So, if you might be filming in COLD weather make sure to check on the specs.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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I don't think Canon makes one in this class. I tried an Olympus 4/3 (Pen series) and didn't love it. Ergonomics, aesthetics, pictures. Returned it and got the Sony NEX5N and am thrilled. Love it. Takes amazing pictures and video. One reason you'd want to look at the Sony in this size over the others is that it is consistently rated best in class for video. Since you started with that question it sounds important.

Aron also has the same camera and I'm sure will chime in at somepoint.

I got both of mine at Cameraland and they were awesome. Took back the Olympus have I had it for about a month and put it through it's paces. I wanted to like it, I just couldn't. Some things are like that. :) Took it back for full value, gave me a deal on a Sony, and shipped it out. Joel does the camera side of the house, Doug optics. I've always had good service from those guys.
What was it about the Olympus that you didn't like? Nex-5 vs the Olympus E-PL3 seems to be the two best options as I work my way through overthinking this.... :)
 

Gman

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I'm no camera expert so my opinion is just that but I didn't like the fit and finish to start with. It doesn't sit in the hand as nicely as the Sony. The Nex balances better. Compared to the Sony the Olympus feels less well built.

More importantly I just couldn't get the quality of pics I was looking for. I tried all sorts of comparison tests between my canon point and shoot and our canon SLR and it really didn't outperform the point and shoot. The Sony is giving me the picture quality I was going for.

Video is way better with the Sony and I like the way the Sony handles the video files much better. The Olympus requires you to use their proprietary software to pull the vid files off your card.

To add another thought on protecting the camera I also bought an extra warranty from Square Trade with a 30% off coupon - they are awesome about claims so now I'm not worried if the camera is damaged - they cover accidental damage, water, drops down scree slopes, etc.
 
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bearguide

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we bought a lumix gh2 by panasonic /it does great video / we are using it for filming eye of the hunter by tahoe films on nbc sports. the producer recomended it for backpacking hunts were the full size are to heavy and big
 

Jake Leibke

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I called and talked to a guy at Campbell cameras a few weeks ago asking about this same topic.
He told me a dslr type camera is I only good for about 10 to 12 minutes of video at a time then the sensors get to heated up and you need to let them cool down before the next go round. For what that's worth
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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I'm no camera expert so my opinion is just that but I didn't like the fit and finish to start with. It doesn't sit in the hand as nicely as the Sony. The Nex balances better. Compared to the Sony the Olympus feels less well built.

More importantly I just couldn't get the quality of pics I was looking for. I tried all sorts of comparison tests between my canon point and shoot and our canon SLR and it really didn't outperform the point and shoot. The Sony is giving me the picture quality I was going for.

Video is way better with the Sony and I like the way the Sony handles the video files much better. The Olympus requires you to use their proprietary software to pull the vid files off your card.

To add another thought on protecting the camera I also bought an extra warranty from Square Trade with a 30% off coupon - they are awesome about claims so now I'm not worried if the camera is damaged - they cover accidental damage, water, drops down scree slopes, etc.
Thanks that helps. What about the image stabilization capabilities of both? Is it hard to take clear pictures with the Sony (Olympus is supposed to be better here??)???
What lenses do you use and for what? Thanks!
 

Gman

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I found that it was hard to get clear pics with the Olympus. However, the guys at Cameraland thought I was crazy. The Sony, crystal clear pics. They look like full size DSLR pics most of the time. I mainly use the stock 18-55 lens. As mentioned I've been playing with the macro filters as well on that lens. I have the 55-200 zoom and I tested it a little but to be honest I just don't put it on as much as I thought I would. Unless you're getting some deal or really want the zoom I'd hold off and see if you need it. I am doing some goat scouting this upcoming weekend and hope to really put both lenses through their paces and see which works best with my spotter for handheld digiscoping.
 

Matt Cashell

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I am doing some goat scouting this upcoming weekend and hope to really put both lenses through their paces and see which works best with my spotter for handheld digiscoping.
Gman,

my recommendation is to use the 18-55 for digiscoping. I believe it has 49mm threading for filters. So you could get a 49mm to 58mm step adapter ring, a 58mm Tines Up adapter, and you will have a slick, solid digiscoping setup.
 
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