Low Budget Camcorder Suggestions?

JarinsDigitalMedia
JarinsDigitalMedia Posts: 16
edited December 2012 in General
I know this question gets posted around alot, but it seems like every person has their own needs and preferences (which, of course, are different for me).
I'm looking for a camcorder with these:
-Under $300
-Manually adjust settings (focus, light, etc.)
-Not professional, doing hobby videos right now
-1080p preferred (not mandantory)
Tried searching the posts and doing some internet search, but not coming up with much.
Any suggestions? Does anything like that exist for my price range? It doesn't have to be really fancy, just decent quality.

Comments

  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    under 300 won't get you manually adjust settings... Go pro 3
  • At that price you'll have to try to find something used - ebay, amazon. B&H has a lot of used equipment that you might browse. Also, they have a new Panasonic x900m for $600
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/838813-REG/Panasonic_HC_X900M_HC_X900M_High_Definition_Camcorder.html
    Not my intention when I started this post, but I just realized I have a used JVC GZ-HD7U (over 5 years old) that I could part with.
    http://support.jvc.com/consumer/product.jsp?archive=true&pathId=171&modelId=MODL027875
  • PhilWesson
    PhilWesson Posts: 241 Enthusiast
    I'd go with something from Canon's HV series. You may be able to find something around your price range for the Hv20 or 30. It's 1080, and you can manually adjust. It is tape based, so that's an additional cost, but I've seen people pull some amazing quality out of it. I, myself am using an HV40, and I love it.
    I personally believe you should learn how to use the lower end cameras before you spring for something much more expensive.
    Additionally, I have an HV20 I can part with, if you're interested.
    HV20 Sample
    HV30 Sample
    HV40 Sample
  • Har
    Har Posts: 401 Enthusiast
    Go pro 3
    I've been curious about the Go Pro 3 myself after seeing the specs and what it's capable of - do you know if they've managed to do anything about the degree of fisheye/barrel distortion the earlier versions seemed to have on everything it did? I've been wondering how usable it is for more "normal" video situations as opposed to the action/sports/surfboard-cam kind of thing that seems to be its forte.
  • RossTrowbridge
    RossTrowbridge Posts: 423 Enthusiast
    There are several used Panasonic Lumix FZ150 cameras on eBay for around $200 right now. It's a bridge camera that does have manual focus (though it's done with the dial or arrow keys on the back of the camera). It shoots 1080p at 60 fps. I love mine and would recommend it highly.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    edited December 2012
    I recently purchased two Panasonic HC-V500M cameras for under$300 each. They shoot 1080p, even at 60fps, which is way cool for slow-motion stuff. They have full manual controls, and they are very compact. I have a similar compact Panasonic O got a few years ago as well, which was more expensive, and I have been very happy with it. Panasonic also has several similar models which are priced lower. They all shoot AVCHD, so keep in mind that you want to get the footage out of that format before editing. I use a program called PavTube MTS Converter to transcode the footage while I copy it to my harddrive.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/839115-REG/Panasonic_HC_V500M_V500M_Full_HD_Camcorder.html
  • Har
    Har Posts: 401 Enthusiast
    Axel: the price difference with the V500M aside - any thoughts on their V700M which has a larger sensor?
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/838812-REG/Panasonic_HC_V700M_HC_V700M_High_Definition_Camcorder.html
  • The cannon vixa hfr 300 is in your price range and will shoot really good video and give you decent audio. It has a lot of good settings built in as well as cinema mode. I shoot with the cannon hfm31 which is a higher end model from that one only because I needed to be able to add a shotgun mic and external mics to my set up. You can't really do that in the $300 dollar range.
    That being said the go pro's are nice ( I own one) but you really can't get rid of the fisheye because those camera were made specifically for extreme conditions where a wide pov is necessary and also the audio on go pros will always sound muffled because of the set up . The were designed more for video than for audio.
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Canon+-+VIXIA+HF+R300+HD+Flash+Memory+Camcorder+-+Black/4881133.p?id=1218570954700&skuId=4881133
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    I've not used the V700M, Har, but I'm consistently pleased with every Panasonic camera I've ever used, both in terms of image quality and build quality. So I'd expect that it is quite nice for the price. And a larger sensor is pretty much always a good thing.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast
    I stand corrected. Looks like a nice little camera to use.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506
    Axel
    You got those cameras for under 300 that shoot 1080. I see a lot of little camera for around 80 dollars that claim it is full 1080, but never look as good. I still yet to figure out why some of these cameras say that and in turn it does not. My phone claims 1080, but It still is not good as the cannon camera that cost me 150.00 dollars. I might pick me up one of those. I see that Sony offers cameras like the one you got, have you used any of Sony's lower end cameras? Thanks
  • Thanks for all the feedback! I find it's often easier to ask the people who are actually using the stuff.
  • I had a Panasonic Sdt-750 some time back, it was SUPER and the sdt-750 comes with a 3D lens ;)
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    Guitar74 - its because the actual image quality has very little to do with the number of pixels. More pixels do help, to an extent, but there are far more important considerations in how nice of an image a camera will produce. Primarily, the sensor size which receives the image. A bigger sensor means more detail can be capture, the focus can be sharper, and light sensitivity will be better. Those Panasonics I bought have fairly small sensors, but that's ok for what I am going to use them for.
    1080 is just a pixel count, and doesn't mean good quality. It just means the image is 1080 pixels tall.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out

    I've been curious about the Go Pro 3 myself after seeing the specs and what it's capable of - do you know if they've managed to do anything about the degree of fisheye/barrel distortion the earlier versions seemed to have on everything it did? I've been wondering how usable it is for more "normal" video situations as opposed to the action/sports/surfboard-cam kind of thing that seems to be its forte.
    The whole idea behind a GoPro is the fisheye. It's not something they're trying to work around, it's a feature. The whole point of those cameras is to be used for action/sports POV stuff. I have an OG Hero, and they've definitely come a long way since then, but it's not really designed to be used as a "normal" video camera.
    However, I do think it'd be pretty cool to mount a bunch of Hero3s on musical instruments and shoot a music video like that. :)
  • Har
    Har Posts: 401 Enthusiast

    The whole idea behind a GoPro is the fisheye. It's not something they're trying to work around, it's a feature. The whole point of those cameras is to be used for action/sports POV stuff. I have an OG Hero, and they've definitely come a long way since then, but it's not really designed to be used as a "normal" video camera.
    Yah, I've come to realize that - best to use the right tool for the right job of course. :)
    The instrument-mounted camera idea was actually one of the things I had considered the GoPro for, now that you mention it! I've done a few quickie things like that for fun using my cheap Logitech webcam clamped to the headstock of my guitars and basses....but man, that long USB cable hanging off it is a real pain.... :)) ;)
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    Indeed, if you don't want the specific features the GoPro offers, pretty much any smartphone these days has an HD camera that is just as good, but without the unique features of the GoPro, like the fisheye.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506

    Guitar74 - its because the actual image quality has very little to do with the number of pixels. More pixels do help, to an extent, but there are far more important considerations in how nice of an image a camera will produce. Primarily, the sensor size which receives the image. A bigger sensor means more detail can be capture, the focus can be sharper, and light sensitivity will be better. Those Panasonics I bought have fairly small sensors, but that's ok for what I am going to use them for.
    1080 is just a pixel count, and doesn't mean good quality. It just means the image is 1080 pixels tall.
    I figureed it was something to do with that, but wasnot for sure with the cameras. So, what kind of descent camera can you get for around 300.00 to use outside and get great quality or in a dusky environment. I got a cannon rebel t3i, but it is something I dont want to take on trips. Thanks
  • Hey, I got a Samsung HMX-H300BN for Christmas! This has the features that I was looking for (and more):
    -1080/60i
    -720/60p
    -Manual focus, aperture, shutter
    -Custom point focus
    -Custom white balance setting
    -Gridlines
    -Low light shooting
    -Time lapse recording
    Now I just have to play with it to see how well it works. Again, thanks for all the feedback.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,034 Enthusiast

    I figureed it was something to do with that, but wasnot for sure with the cameras. So, what kind of descent camera can you get for around 300.00 to use outside and get great quality or in a dusky environment. I got a cannon rebel t3i, but it is something I dont want to take on trips. Thanks
    its Decent ;) and there is that sony that has been mentioned.
  • Jonokk
    Jonokk Posts: 6
    i have the Canon Vixia Hf M500 which is just over 300$ to my knowledge. it also has a mic jack for external mics.