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Camera Recommendations: Summer 2014

Alt textThis time around, we’re stressing the use of larger sensors that work better in low light, plus the cameras that will give you full 1080 HD at 60p. The 60p helps eliminate choppy videos that you often get on the lower priced cameras recording at 30p.

I personally use four cameras to record our games, one for trade and three for the team. On the side angle, I use three cameras all on one tripod. One older style camera that is programed at 30p standard resolution for the wide angle trade film. I also set up another camera with the same view, but with a newer 60p camera format giving great, non-choppy video, a 3rd camera that shoots at 60p which is zoomed in to see the box view, and an end zone view using a 20X 60p camera – none of these are for trade film.

I may add that the larger sensor cameras that shoot and operate with a shutter speed of 125 are good enough to pull stills off the video, something the players will just love.

If your school is on a budget I would encourage you to purchase at least one better camera; you will soon see the difference and so will your coaches.

The Top Dogs

Canon VIXIA HF G30 Full HD Camcorder

Great camera for end zone or side views. This is a high-end consumer model that won’t disappoint, costing around $1,200. You will also want to ensure you purchase a long play battery. Use a 16GB or larger SD card if you want to get the entire game on one card. One benefit of this camera is the LANC input if you plan to use a remote control. It has the 20X optical lens, which is great for end zone film. This camera is pretty easy to use with the touch screen menu, but still has all the bells and whistles for the user that knows how to get more out of a quality video camera.

  • Full 1080 HD at 60p
  • Records in both MP4 or AVCHD formats
  • Dual SD memory slots
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • 20X optical zoom
  • Touch screen menu on 3.5 inch high resolution LCD screen
  • Works well in low light with the large ½ inch sensor and large 58mm opening
  • Image Stabilization

Sony HDR-CX900 Full HD Handycam

Wonderful camera with the added bonus of a 1” sensor which makes this a great low light camera (even better than the Canon above). However, this camera only has a 12X optical zoom, which makes it better suited for sideline views. This camera’s zoom would be ideal for inside a gymnasium or for sports that have a smaller recording area. Because it’s the new kid on the block in high-end consumer video, it runs around $1,500 retail.

The Good Dog

Sony 32GB HDR-PJ650 HD Handycam

Great camera for the side views with 10X optical zoom. The 1/3 inch sensor gives solid low light performance. Currently available for $1,100 retail.

  • Full 1080 HD at 60p
  • 1/3 inch CMOS sensor
  • 12X optical zoom
  • 32GB flash memory plus SD card slot
  • Records in both AVCHD and MP4
  • Image stabilization

Bang for Your Buck

Sony HDR-CX220 HD Handycam

Fully compatible with Mac and PC, it runs for $250 retail, but you still get the 60p quality, as well as 27X optical zoom. And for any coaches with the habit of losing cables and cords, this one comes with a built-in USB - literally impossible to misplace – that you can charge through (2 minutes charging gets you 1 minute of recording time).

  • 1920x1080 Full HD 60p
  • SteadyShot image stabilizer
  • 27x Optical / 32x Extended Zoom
  • 2.7” wide Clear Photo LCD display

Canon VIXIA HF R21

With a 32GB internal memory and two memory card slots, you’ll never have to copy files to your hard drive before uploading. This is especially handy when filming HD video, which can take up nearly twice as much space as SD. Snag a brand new one for $549.

  • 32GB internal drive and 2 SDXC-compatible slots
  • Genuine Canon HD video lens with 28x advanced zoom
  • Canon 3.28-megapixel full HD CMOS image sensor
  • Dynamic IS stabilizer

Panasonic V100M HD Camcorder

For those coaches concerned with battery life, this is it. With 155 minutes of recording on one charge, you’ll have to switch out memory before you change the batteries. Internal storage only holds 16GB, but it’s SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible and on the more affordable side at $389 retail.

This camera also has Optical Image Stabilization instead of Digital Image Stablization. O.I.S. is a more advanced and effective form of stabilization, so if your team has an issue with recording shaky video - even with a tripod - this is the way to go.

  • 34x optical zoom (42x i.Zoom)
  • 32.5mm wide lens (F1.8)
  • Full HD image quality
  • 16GB memory

Definitely let us know if you have favorites that didn’t make the list! Or any recording tips that might make these cameras even more valuable.

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