Camera Help

I am looking to purchase a new camera, but sadly I can only spend at the most, $200 USD on one. I have a link to one that shoots in 1080p, Nikon COOLPIX L820 Digital Camera (Black), which is about $190, but it takes double A batteries, is that deal breaker? Should I shoot for a 720p, but sharp camera for around a similar price? Any advice or links you could send would be absolutely awesome!


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,681 Ambassador
    edited November 2013
    Any chance you can put off the purchase for a bit and save up some more money? Under $200 doesn't get you a lot of camera..
    Now, I went ahead and did some research on this model, and for the price it looks pretty capable (I'm a bit surprised, for example at how much zoom it has), but even Nikon's site doesn't say anything about it's video recording capabilities than "Full HD with Stereo Onboard Mic!" There's no information available about what codec it's recording to (h.264 is a probable guess--but what if it's AIC, which Hitfilm doesn't support?) or the data rate of the recording. There's no external microphone jack, and recording on most cameras with the onboard mic is a great way to get terrible sound.
    This Nikon does have a lot of built-in scene files, but there's no full-manual mode. Scene files are great to get you started, but manual is going to make what you shoot more controllable--lets say I'm shooting inside a room during the day, outside the window is probably a lot brighter than inside the room--I may choose, in a manual mode, to expose correctly for my subject inside and let the background blow out. In an auto mode the CAMERA might decide that it wants to expose for outside the window which will make my room too dark. Auto modes cause problems with controlling the shot the way you want.
    The maximum aperture of f3.8 isn't wonderful, and, with the small sensor, you're going to have issues getting shallow depth of field--especially since you won't have full manual control of aperture and shutter speed.
    AA Batteries aren't a deal breaker--they'll have a shorter life than a Li-On pack, but you can always carry extra batteries with you. You'd want to get two or three matched SETS of recharagble AA's for your camera pack for saftey.
    Now, Adorama has a refurbished, full-warranty l820 for about $160, so I found you a cheaper vendor than $190:
    But, if you can hold off for a bit and save up some more money, you should be able to get a Canon t2i or t3 for about $300. With the Canon SLR you'd be able to buy Canon EF lenses that could travel with you if later you were able to upgrade to a higher-quality SLR body, or even something like a Black Magic Cinema Camera! You'd gain the advantages of Manual Mode shooting for better image control, and the T2i has an external microphone port (I'm not certain about the t3). In the long run you'd be better off saving up for now and starting with something a bit better.
    Psssst. Xmas is coming up---tell everyone who asks you what you want for Xmas to give you $25 bucks---if they ask why, tell 'em you want something insanely expensive--like a $1000 camera. If friends and family give you cash instead of shoes, books, and movies, you'll be able to go buy better gear! ;-)
  • Are you saying that the camera with the four AA batteries might be an okay choice. I really don't have income of any kind, I am trying to get my Christmas present in order, like my parents asked
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,681 Ambassador
    Ugh---ok, I was updating my intial post into something much, much longer when you replied--re-read my now longer above.
    I understand now that you're a young'un on a budget, but, the above arguments might help you in talking mom and dad into an upgrade. Otherwise, for the price it looks like you've found a decent bit of kit. It will shoot, it will get you images to bring into Hitfilm and edit. The batteries are a minor issue. :-)
  • Thank you so much man, you've been EXTREMELY helpful. I have started thinking about the possibility of asking my parents to not really get me anything for Christmas and to use my Christmas money plus the money they'll spend for my birthday (in April) to purchase a $400-$500 DSLR. I don't know though my family is moving into (renting) a new house after this upcoming holiday season, so I think a lot of money will go into the move, but there ,might be a way. I probably start selling lemonade and hot cocoa again, because I make bank when I do that. I made about $125 last year with about 4 days' worth of selling.
    But seriously man, you have helped me very much. I think with me selling cheap liquids on the street corner, and saving up through celebrations, I could have a decent camera by the end of my freshman year. I think I want to keep you updated with my journey, is that all right? You've been really great!
  • By the way, I hope you don't think I ever have money just because I have Hitfilm Ultimate 2, because I absolutely never have money. I was just lucky enough to stumble across a tweet (retweeted by Hitfilm) that was from a company who had gained Ultimate as a tier and were giving a couple copies away, that was most likely the best day of my life. But again, seriously thank you sooooo much man!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,681 Ambassador
    Please do--I do a lot of work for colleges, so i deal a lot with students and people who are just learning, and I like watching people's skills develop. :-)
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,681 Ambassador
    edited November 2013
    Oh, one last thing--I brought up Canon DSLRs because I happen to be a Canon user, But Sony and Nikon also make DSLR's that shoot video. Again, a lower end Sony or Nikon will let you take your lens with you if you upgrade to a better camera body, there are adaptors for Sony and  Nikon lenses for Black Magic Cinema Cameras, and there are adaptors for Sony DSLR lens for some of Sony's higher-end camcorder bodies, so the principle holds--a lower end DLSR makes ugrading gear easier, you'll get better image control, and, ultimately, better images--but don't feel you HAVE to look at Canon.
    Also, if you search the internet you can often find better prices than Amazon, Adorama or B&H video, but most of these VERY low price vendors are selling you "grey market" gear. This means that you're getting a model technically meant for sale in another country. The tradeoff here is that you might be able to save another hundred dollars, but you won't get tech support from the manufacturer--which means you have to take care of your gear. But it's an option for you (and/or your parents) to think about.
    In the meantime, here's a quick list of DSLR's that shoot 1080p video and manufacturer's suggested price--remember, you can ALWAYS find it cheaper than MSRP.
  • IronFilm
    IronFilm Posts: 1
    edited November 2013
    I totally agree with the other comments about going with an interchangeable lens camera.
    As if you're taking filming even moderately half serious you'll find what matters a lot is the *LENSES* (or as it is often referred: "the glass").
    You'll end up finding yourself investing far more in lenses with time than on camera bodies! Plus the great thing is as you upgrade your camera bodies (as they're electronics and thanks to quickly advancing technology they do get "obsolete" rapidly) you will still be able to take your lenses with you onto your next camera body! (as glass doesn't get obsolete like electronics do!)
    Out of all the interchangeable lens systems out there I highly highly recommend getting a Micro Four Thirds camera. As the Panasonic GH series (which are *the best* interchangeable lens hybrid cameras out of them all for filming with) is part of the Micro Four Thirds System, and for when you want to make the big step up to cinema cameras the Blackmagic Design cameras also use Micro Four Thirds.
    Plus the fact which I love the most about Micro Four Thirds is due to their mirrorless design you'll be able to use almost any lens ever manufactured in history with the use of a simple cheap adapter! Fantastic. Because of this I've been able to build up a large and expansive lens collection for my Micro Four Thirds cameras at a very low total cost. 
    I'd recommend a Panasonic G6 (or perhaps the GH3) as the camera to go for, it is a truly great camera for an incredible price. 
    However.... even an affordable Panasonic G6 is about 3 times your budget :-/ I would recommend saving up for it. 
    Or finding a second hand Panasonic GH1/GH2/G2/G3/G5 to buy instead (I got a Panasonic GH1 second hand for only US$200! I reckon I scored quite a bargain there).
    However if you must buy new and you can't stretch your budget to a bit higher, then you're in luck as right now there is quite a deal on an Olympus E-PL3 with a kit lens:
    **Olympus PEN E-PL3 Red 12.3MP Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens, $199**
    Now as Olympus also use the Micro Four Thirds lens mount this means you'll be able to leap right in to experimenting with other lenses to use with your camera, and still be able to keep all your lenses and accessories for when you move up to a better camera in the future such as a Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera or a Panasonic G6 (by which point in a couple of years time from now I bet you'll be able to find a Panasonic G6 for under $300 easily!). 
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,681 Ambassador
    IronFilm raises good points. I tend to not think about the Micro Four Thirds cameras because I have been on Canon since before MFT existed, but, again, all the points I raised on DSLRs apply to MFT cameras, so that's a good option.