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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Help, not sure which camcorder to get.

Unread post by ossendryver » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:03 pm

Hi all

I really love my videography.

But I'm not sure which camera to get.

I live in South Africa and all the cameras I wanted aren't available here.

So I have Max R8500 to spend.

I'm not sure which one to get. can any of you help?

I have so far looked at the:
sony HDR - CX580 - no in SA
Sony HDR - XR260
Sony HDR - PJ260
Sony TD10
Canono FH - M52

What do you guys think?

Thanks for your help.

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Re: Help, not sure which camcorder to get.

Unread post by fee » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:47 pm

Ossendrywer ... I also love my videos, especially of Kruger. It really captures everything. This is what I did.
I had a Sony which I landed up busting (by mistake) the night before a trip earlier this year. I was distraught!
I have a canon camera sx 30IS which I used (with reluctance), but I must confess, the videos are just superior
to my video camera and have come out superbly.
Its HD which makes a big difference, and now I only have one piece of equipment to cart around - If you are only going to take a video then I recommend a video camcorder, and make sure its HD with at least a 40x zoom
If you want photos and video, remember photos off a camcorder are not as sharp as a cameras photos.

I learned to use windows movie-maker and convert all my videos to a dvd, with titles, music etc. Its so easy.

Not an expert to recommend a particular model. Phone and find out where the nearest Sony store is to you, and go in and check the different models out - the staff are quite helpful.

Would love to know what you choose - and how your videos turn out.

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cam corder card advice

Unread post by expat » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:54 pm

We have a trip lined up to KTP in May and I am thinking of getting my SO a cam-corder for Christmas but am not prepared to spend a fortune. He is just a "hobby" photographer (but takes super piccies) with an expensive Nikon camera. The cam-corder is more for fun. The cam I am looking at is a Vivitar DVR 1080P HD but I haven't a clue what all the numbers mean and what size microsd card I should get. Please can you give me some advice, remembering that SO is not a "professional" :cam:

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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by Hawk » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:37 am

It's very difficult to assess a camcorder without trying it out, so the next best thing is to read as many reviews on Internet as possible. The cam's manual is available for download on the Vivitar website, so that is a good place to start.

I have never seen a Vivitar camcorder, having only ever bought Sony, Panasonic or Canon, which are brands I would recommend.

First of all I would never buy a camera without being able to test some of the features, even if it's just a basic test in the shop to confirm it has the claimed features.

I had a quick look at one review and noticed that two reviewers stated that the DVR 1080p does not have a 23x optical zoom as claimed, and doesnt have an optical zoom at all, only a 4x digital zoom. This is hard to believe, but if true then I would definitely not consider it.

Most new camcorders are able to record quite a few hours of high quality video on the cams internal memory as well as to an SD card. We have a little Panasonic which records sufficient on the internal memory for our needs. It has provision for an SD card but we have never needed it, but of course that depends on how much you will film. Most cams I think use the standard sized SD cards. Make sure it's a good make and fast enough for video. Size of card is a measure of its capacity in Gigabytes. The cam manual will have details of how much can be recorded for each GB at differing video quality.

1080p refers to the resolution of the video in pixels. The p is how each frame is recorded. Keep in mind the higher the image quality, the bigger the files are and the faster the computer needs to be to edit the video. Most new cams use a recording format known as AVCHD, which is very space efficient, but requires a bit more computer power to edit and play.

For wildlife filming a good optical zoom is essential. Remember though that even with an optical stabilizer it is impossible to stop camera shake even with moderate zoom applied. "Manfroto" make a range of well priced ball head, car window clamps which although not meant for video, do work well as far keeping the cam stable.

i would think a 12x zoom would be adequate, unless you really get serious about close ups. Prerecord is a nice feature which is included in most new cams. it's useful if you're waiting for something to happen (eg a Whistling Rat to emerge from its hole), but you dont want to record your long wait. While switched on in film mode it will continually record a few seconds which it keeps overwriting until you press the record button.

Manual mode, and manual focus are also important if your'e going to get serious about your filming.

Interval recording is nice if you want to experiment with time lapse (clouds, flowers opening etc). There are lots of other clever features which I never use, but could be useful.

You will probably want to edit your video after your trip, so a computer with some sort of editing software will be necessary. There are a number of low priced and even free apps available that do a good job. Windows comes with "Windows Movie Maker"

I hope some of this helps. If there is anything else I can help with, let me know.
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Soft Top
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Re: cam corder card advice

Unread post by Soft Top » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:03 pm


I bought the previous model to the one below a year or so ago: ... 4-pdt.html

It is pretty cheap but does take great video.The zoom is highly powerful but beyond around 12x it is not possible to hold the camcorder steady enough in hand for decent piccies so I would suggest a window mount, (less than £20 on ebay), for use in the parks.

It has no internal memory and the HD video does suck memory like it is going out of fashion. I have two of these in mine: ... NhdD0xNw==

I get much more video than 1 battery charge can give, about 2 hours per card IIRC), on this so I would think 1 would be plenty - I have 2 batteries thanks to my clumsiness dropping the first camera into a public lavatory within 24 hours of buying!

Definitely something to look at in the shop.


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Video help Please NEWBIE

Unread post by trailrunner » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:05 pm

So here's the thing. I currently have a pretty good DSLR setup with a Canon 7D, 450D 70 - 200mm Zoom, and 300mm lenses with a few other smaller primes and general zooms so feel relatively sorted for our trip to Kruger in three weeks. I am a serious amateur photographer with what i would term an intermediate knowledge of photography and learning all the time.

I would like to have a mid range video camera that I and the missus could use in conjunction with the still camera's, question is what do I buy?

Budget would be up to about the R5K, R6K mark max I haven't shot any film on a video in many years and played briefly with the video function on my 7D but that is pretty much dedicated to stills.

So things to consider would be obviously budget, ease of use, decent zoom and then finally whether it would be wise to try to get a slightly better specked used camera and if so what do I look out for?

Any advice here would be much appreciated.
24-26/08 Lwr Sabie
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Re: Video help Please NEWBIE

Unread post by Hawk » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:43 pm

Hi trailrunner. Phew! where to start, it's a big question. Things change so quickly in the camera world that it's hard to keep up with the latest developements, the newest of which seems to be the advent of 4k video. This is the latest very high resolution video format. My only experience of it is that my new cell phone records in 4k Ultra High Definition. I know very little about it except that the image quality looks fantastic at somewhere around 3600x2500. (thats a guess). This of course makes the files very big and requires sofltware and hardware that can handle it, but it's obviously the future standard.

Next standard down from this, and I wouldn't go for anything less is full HD at 1920x1080 50p. the 50p part here is very important.

I've got 2 video cameras that I use for our wildlife trips. A panasonic FZ200 which is a a mirrorless still/video combination. Costs around R6000, has a 24 times optical zoom and is for it's money a brilliant little camera.
A big plus is the ability to hold 2.8f throughout the full 24x zoom.
It's biggest failure in my opinion is the manual focus, it's horrible. It shoots full HD and lower in AVCHD and MP4. It also shoots 100 frmaes per sec, which gives very nice slow motion at a very good image quality. Of course you lose audio at that FPS. It aslo does 250 FPS but the quality is poor and not worth using. The FZ200 is not in the DSLR league, but it can shoot quite good stills. I know Canon, Nikon, Sony etc have similar offerings and my info is probably quite outdated.

My first and newest camera is a Canon XA20 which is brilliant it's class, but is R23500.00. Same as the FZ200 it does full HD 50p AVCHD and MP4, has a 20x optical, but its slow motion is only 50fps.

I'm a hobbyist, not a pro, so I can only offer an opinion from that level.
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Re: Video help Please NEWBIE

Unread post by trailrunner » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:06 pm

Thanks Hawk,

I have been a Canon man for some thirty odd years now and think that they produce a great still camera range.
I am however a bit of a technophobe when it comes to video and think that creating a large budget for a camcorder would be completely wasted at this stage. I am a serious amateur with relative knowledge regarding wildlife photography just not very good and learning all the time.

Your Panasonic sound about right is that the best value for money at this point?
I really just want something to supplement my pics and also you never know what you are going to get in Kruger so it may be really worthwhile to have the video functionality on hand.

As this is a relative afterthought I figure that around R4K would be the absolute budget so if there is anything half decent for that sort of price I may very well be a buyer.

Many thanks

24-26/08 Lwr Sabie
27-28/08 Letaba
29-30/08 Olifants
31-03/09 Satara
4 - 5 /09 lwr Sabie

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