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Old October 5th, 2011, 10:26 PM   #1
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Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

I have a friend looking for a camera that is going to film him at bars/pubs/clubs when he is performing (stationary). So I'm looking to suggest the best camera for low light in his price range (which isn't much). He has a Tascam recorder for the sound and I don't think he is picky on resolution but I think it would be ideal to have at least 720p. Frame rate isn't an issue so 24fps or higher.

Suggestions.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #2
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Re: Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

That's a low budget to expect decent low light performance... frankly he's probably looking at a Point & Shoot camera that also shoots video... but there are several halfway decent options in that department. This year's Sony cameras with the 16 MegaPixel CMOS are not too bad even in pretty bad lighting - and they start as low as $220, which you can beat by shopping around. Canon and Panasonic have similar cameras in the point and shoot category, though I'm not as familiar with them.

In reality, will there be stage lighting or some sort of light on the performer - while the ROOM may be dark, it's pretty typical to have enough light on the performer that most cameras will do OK for at least part of any given performance...

I shot some very dramatically lit concert footage with a DSC-TX7, and aside from it not having much zoom, I actually was surprised by how good the results came out. I'd have no problem shooting with one of the current crop of these cameras - they don't look like much, but the results are pretty good. They are a couple stops slower than a dedicated videocamera, but if the lights get that low, you're pretty screwed anyway, at least on that budget!
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Old October 6th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #3
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Re: Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

Well at the last performance he did I used a FilpHD to record a song and he was pretty happy with that, however the flip doesn't have a zoom so in some venues he would be too close or too far away.
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Old October 6th, 2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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Re: Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

At least the bar isn't set too high <wink>. Most of the Point & Shoot cameras have at least SOME zoom range, some not terribly much. The TX10 and TX100 that I typically carry around are 4x IIRC, they do seem to be well shy on the "long end" (tele), and you can't always move in closer... but fairly good image quality.

Some of the other models have more zoom range, and if he bumps the budget just a tad or is a super shopper, the HX9 is pretty well getting rave reviews, with one BBC reporter using it in the field (he posted here with some samples). I can't speak to that specific model, but I'd expect it's passable for low light from some samples I've seen, and firsthand knowledge of the other cameras using the same sensor.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

Last Christmas I bought my wife a Panny Lumix DMC-ZS6 for $220. Very decent 12x optical zoom Leica lens, shoots 720P30 video - we're both happy with it.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 06:53 PM   #6
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Re: Best Camcorder for $200-300 Range

Yep - lots of bang for the $$ in some of these P&S cameras nowdays. Just got a Sony DSC-HX100V - not really a "pocket cam", but 30x optical, 60p video, and a very nice ergonomic package with a small add on flash bracket (ends up like a mini-FigRig). The only thing I'd wish for is more manual control in the video feature, and a little better low light performance, but definitely a decent little camera overall.
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