Want Something Light and Rugged? How About Pocket Camcorders

Although camcorders have been scaled down in size and weight over the last few years since the digital revolution, most of them will just not fit properly in your pocket or handbag. If that is your major bugbear, here are some handy pocket camcorders that might just fit your bill.

1. The Toshiba Camileo P100 is a sporty looking pistol like pocket camcorder that measures just 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 2″ and weighs under 6 ounces. It’s about the size and weight of an iPhone! Belying its size is a spacious 3″ touch screen with 5x optical zoom which is good enough for most purposes. The pistol grip is comfortable, but those with large fingers may find it a challenge to hit the right control buttons. The Toshiba P100 supports SDXC memory cards, which means that you can use up to 64GB for a solid 12 hours of full HD video. In addition, there is a video light for low-light shooting and shoots good stills at 8MP. As you’d expect from a small video camera, one major drawback is shooting time. It’s lithium-ion battery will only last about an hour, so plan your video shooting carefully. This is not for serious shooting at far away exotic places. Being a 2011 model, it is now going at street prices below $130 which is certainly a good buy.

Toshiba Camileo P100

Toshiba Camileo P100

2. Slightly better in specs and features is another pistol grip camcorder – the Panasonic HX-WA03. The sensor is a respectable 1/2.33in CMOS with 16MP. Still images ring in at 14.3MP. It renders images in Full-HD recorded on SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. It also has a 5x optical zoom and 15x iZoom, dropping to 6x with the Active image stabilization enabled. However don’t expect image stabilization to be as effective their mainstream camcorders like the $399 Panasonic HC-V520 for example, but it fairs very well on image quality. A common feature of most pocket camcorders is that they are more rugged. It is waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof and you can use it safely to a depth of 5M underwater. It retails for $199.99.

Panasonic HX-WA03

Panasonic HX-WA03

3. If you have a larger budget the $449 JVC Everio GZ-V500 is a compact unit that packs some big camcorder prowess into a pocket-sized housing. It comes with higher optical zoom (10x), a large aperture lens (F1.2) for good low-light capability, 32.8mm Wide Angle lens, optical image stabilization and snaps 10M Digital stills. The hand strap and screen allows you to handle the camcorder steadily with both hands, making it easier to shoot more smoothly than with a pocket model. It is very portable and light so you can comfortably slip it into a pants or shirt pocket. However it is not as rugged as the Panasonic. Video quality is not exceptional but decent enough. It has a slow motion recording function useful for analyzing your golf or tennis swing.

JVC Everio GZ-V500

JVC Everio GZ-V500

4. Kodak PlaySport (Zx5) is another great option if you want something really rugged for use in rain, snow, surf and sand. This waterproof/shockproof pint-sized camcorder produces pretty good video quality for its price and size, is easy to use, and has good editing/sharing software. However be prepared to accept the bare essentials as it does not come with a built-in USB connector, no flash or video light, the battery can’t be removed, and an anemic 4x digital zoom which has to be used sparingly. The default resolution is 720p at 30 frames per second which is slightly better than DVD video. It captures 5-megapixel stills. Sharing the video is made easy with ArcSoft’s MediaImpression for software and the Kodak Share Button app.

Kodak PlaySport (Zx5)

Kodak PlaySport (Zx5)

Sony’s Flagship Action Cam : Sony HDR-AS15

Sony HDR-AS15 With Waterproof Housing

Sony HDR-AS15 With Waterproof Housing

These days, there are a couple of options if you are looking for a POV or action camera. Very unlike a few years ago when consumers only had the GoPro to contend with. Sony has joined the bandwagon of POVs and released its very own Sony HDR-AS15.

Sony has pulled all the stops on the Sony HDR-AS15. Drawing on its years of experience in the digital camera and camcorder industry, it has combined its proprietary SteadyShot® image stabilization with an Ultra wide angle Carl Zeiss® Lens with a 170-degree viewing angle and Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor to bring consumers a high performance action cam. Together with drool worthy features such as built-in wireless LAN and a waterproof housing that can be taken down to approximately 200m, this action is certainly worth checking out!

Read the full Sony HDR-AS15 review here.

Veho Muvi HD NPNG edition Poses Competition For GoPro

Veho Muvi HD NPNG Edition

Veho Muvi HD NPNG Edition

GoPro had its day as the only extreme sports camera available for a while and has started to feel a lot of heat in terms of competition these days. The popularity of these cameras has certainly inspired many other manufacturers to product action cameras that have amazing features.

The Veho Muvi HD is just one of GoPro’s competitors and looking at its NPNG, or No Proof, No Glory edition, GoPro’s competition packs a punch. The Veho Muvi HD NPNG edition comes with a 8GB microSD card and it is designed to be held like a phone. It comes with a small LCD screen on the back and a simple menu system with a series of really simple controls that allow users to navigate. On the left of the camera, you will find a power switch, mini-jack for video-out, mini-USB and mini-HDMI port.

Included in the box is also a waterproof case that can be used up to depths of 60m and for as long as 60 minutes. The one thing that users will love about this Muvi HD is the included remote control. It is simple and reasonably logical and comes with a built-in battery. The Muvi HD can also record at 1080p, 720p at both 60 and 30fps, 960p and WVGA.

For folks who have a tighter budget, the Muvi HD is certainly worth considering especially since it is fabulous to use, produces great video and is dead simple to use.

Canon C100 : Beyond The Usual Camcorders

Canon C100

Canon C100

Canon’s C-range of camcorders is stunning, to say the least. In fact, when the mid-range Canon C300 was released last year, it was an immediate hit with independent producers.

The Canon C100 was recently introduced and it is the cheapest of the C-range. While it does not quite match up to its big brother, the C300, it still qualifies as a professional video kit, especially with its ‘Super 35mm’ sensor, DIGIC DV III Image Processor and EF lens compatibility.

Folks who already use a Canon DSLR camera and are looking to take the next step up into video production, can certainly consider the C100. It sure makes stiff competition for its DSLR-based rivals.

2013 Canon Mid Range Camcorders Come With Wi-Fi

Canon’s lower to mid-price range of camcorders have always been good value for money for delivering quality video with ease of use and great features. This year’s mid-priced models the Vixia HF R40 and HF R42 are decked with more new features like Wi-Fi connectivity, powerful 53X zoom, DIGIC DV IV image processor and a 3.28-megapixel full HD CMOS image sensor, along with full HD at 60P and 35Mbps AVCHD recording. And with Canon’s new CameraAccess app you can now control the camcorder from another room!

Even though they are priced below $500, the R40 & R42 are solidly built but light and handy. With its built-in Wi-Fi and custom apps, remote shooting and streaming is now made very convenient for bloggers or those who just want to share videos on the go.

Picture quality is commendable as they come with 60fps Full HD capability, a wider-angle 32mm lens with an improved optical zoom. It’s also a bonus that they can record MP4 and AVCHD simultaneously.

Battery life is also an area of improvement Canon has been working on. These new camcorders use a new battery that will see them go twice as long, which is important since the Wi-Fi function can be a real drainer.

The HF R40 (8GB) costs $399.99 while the higher model HF R42 (32GB) retails for $499.99.

Look out for a full review of these camcorders.

New Kid On The Block : Monoprice MHD Action Camera

There’s a new kid on the block! It’s the Monoprice MHD Action Camera and it is, by far, one of the least expensive POV cameras available in the market at less than $100.

The MHD Action Camera not only records in 1080p, but also features a compact, lightweight body, simple point and shoot functions and multiple mounting options. While it is a decent camera, especially with its price point, folks whose priority is video quality should consider something like the Contour Roam2. All in all, the Monoprice MHD Action Camera makes for an affordable and easy-to-use waterproof camera of choice.

Why Buy A Full Size Camcorder

With the proliferation of smartphones and and more and more DSLR cameras with video recording functions many a question has been asked why do I need a camcorder? The reason is that these devices do not do a good enough job. If you had saved for an expensive 3 week vacation to Europe taking in sights of the Swiss alps, Eiffel Tower and the Vatican, do you want to save these precious memories on low resolution videos on your smartphone or tablet?

I guess you get the picture. Full size camcorders capture videos that are clear, sharp and in focus. Most if not all of today’s camcorders record in high definition. The colors are rich, even in low light and downcast conditions. The higher end models take good quality stills too.

Trying to zoom smoothly using a smartphone or DLSR is difficult and almost impossible, whereas the optical zoom on a camcorder, which usually ranges from 10x to 50x, is smooth, gradual and even. And of course, optical zoom blows the digital zoom you find on smartphones out of the water.

Also most camcorders have swiveling LCD screens that swing out from the body which can be tilted. This makes it easier to take videos from more angles and is easier to compose. The higher end models like the Canon HF G20 and Sony HDR-PJ650V come with viewfinders too.

Sony HDR-PJ790V

Sony HDR-PJ790V

In addition some full-size camcorders have unique features. For instance, the Sony HDR-PJ790V includes a tiny projector, the top end Sony HDR-TD30V comes with two lenses for 3D video capability. The latest ones even come with Wi-Fi features for convenient and quick upload to YouTube or your computer or instant sharing with friends on their tablets other mobile devices.

Canon Launched Two New Pro Camcorders XA20 and XA25

Hot on the heels of the recently announced Vixia HF G30, Canon officially announced the launch of 2 new camcorders to its professional range: the XA20 and XA25. They are successors to the Canon XA10 that Canon launched two years ago.

Canon XA20

Canon XA20 With Handlebars that house XLR inputs and a mic holder.

These new compact pro camcorders feature a brand new Digic DV IV processor that allows the XA20 and XA25 to record 1080/60p AVCHD video. They can also record AVCHD and MPEG-4 video via dual SD card slots. This is a significant improvement over the older image processor which was not powerful enough for these functions. The new CMOS sensor is also larger and it adds more flexibility to the image stabilization function.

Important features like zoom has been has been doubled to 20x. A new zoom lever and a focus ring to control zoom gives better control. Also improved is a brighter touchscreen in the form of a new 3.5-inch OLED screen that uses less power and thus extending the battery life.

It also comes with built-in WiFi so you can upload video directly to YouTube and Facebook. A nifty feature for those who want to share videos immediately with friends and family.

Canon has tentatively list the price of the XA20 at $2199 and XA25 at $2699.

Sony Made Significant Improvements To Their High End Camcorders

Sony has been gaining market share in the camcorder market and sales have been improving over the last few months helped in part by a cheaper Yen. They remain highly committed in the prosumer camcorder segment and have been putting in much research and innovation in improving their flagship models.

Their 2013 flagship camcorder Sony HDR-PJ790V. It replaces last year’s HDR-PJ760V. It records at full 1080P 24.1-megapixel high definition video with an improved Exmor R CMOS sensor.

Sony HDR-PJ790V

Sony HDR-PJ790V

It comes with improved specs like Balanced Optical SteadyShot stabilization, a 10x optical zoom, 96GB of internal memory, GPS, manual control, 60p/60i/24p frame rates, and an optical viewfinder. Sony is still the only brand offering a built-in projector. The new model’s built-in projector is much brighter as Sony has upped the lumens to 35. Also added is an input so that the projector can play video from other devices and not just video from the memory card. Its 96GB of flash memory stores a massive 38 hours of recording which is more than adequate even for a long vacation.

The audio portion has also been updated with a multi-interface shoe, and HDMI connector and mic capable of 5.1-channel recording.

You can even use your smartphones and tablets as a remote control for the PJ790V if you buy the optional ADP-WL1M1 Wi-Fi adapter. It also allows you to instantly share your videos and photos online, or conveniently backup all your videos and photos on your PC. It’s a great option to have.

The Sony HDR-PJ790V retails for $1599.99. A full review will follow.

Have Fun With The GoPro Hero 3

Action cameras have been hot news to home movie buffs and pro videographers. You can often see them popping up in cars, attached to helmets, on bikes and in boats. Why? It’s because these video cameras capture interesting videos from unconventional angles not usually seen on boring home made videos and deliver the adrenaline on film!

One of the hottest action videocams in the market now is the GoPro Hero 3, the latest from a company whose main niche is wearable and gear-mountable cameras and accessories. The popularity of such videocams spurned an industry supplying mounts, harnesses and contraptions enabling you to stick a GoPro to anything that moves.

GoPro Hero 3

The latest Hero 3 is an ongoing evolution and is now smaller and lighter without sacrificing on image quality. What makes it even more popular is its ease of use making it an idiot proof camera. You can even strap 2 Hero 3’s side by side for creating 3D video. GoPro also provides a smartphone app so that you can use your phone as a viewfinder and change settings. A great feature to have.

Specs wise the Hero 3 is a tour de force. Comes with f/2.8 wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel sensor that lets you shoot in 4K at 12 fps, 2.7K at 30 fps, 1440p at 48 fps, 1080p at 60 fps, 960p at 100 fps, 720p at 120 fps and WVGA resolution at an incredible 240 fps. It even comes with and built-in WiFi. Being an outdoor action camera the it is robust enough to be knocked, dropped or used in a wide range of tough environmental conditions.

With better hi def video quality and versatility the GoPro Hero 3 is a serious little piece of equipment.