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post #1 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok so this may be a bit unique. For the last 2 years I have been a storm spotter/chaser. No I am not intercepting tornadoes. I am a skywarn certified spotter. Anyway, i am looking to mount a cam in my car but I have a few things I am looking for.

*Must shoot HD
*Has wide angel lens or has threads to put one on
*Will not be JUST for storm spotting (possibly used for family trips and/or airsoft)
*Must have good audio quality and not to much wind noise
*Must record video to SD card
*Video must be in a popular format (.avi, .mov, etc.)
*Must not be more than $300

I have done A TON of research and looking at cameras along with reviews from both consumers and professionals. So here are the ones I think I am closing in on in my little "pool" of choices. Unless of course any of you fine folks have a better suggestion. So here is what I am currently looking at.

Sony HDR-CX190
Canon HF R20 with the Audio Technica ATR-55 if needed.
Panasonic HDC-SD80
JVC GZ-HM320
ContourGPS

Now the contour may not be a camcorder BUT its small, can be mounted on my wind shield, on my head for when Im playing airsoft, and MAYBE could somehow be used in family events and outings. In addition it logs GPS. Now it does not have a viewing screen like a camcorder BUT with for a small cost and a free android app I can use my smart phone as a viewer for the camera and I can change settings live. HOW COOL IS THAT RIGHT? Then again to actually have a screen attached to the camera and not require another device of course seems to make more sense.


Any thoughts on any of these as far as what would be the best camera for $300 that will serve me well in my hobbies and perhaps even in my family life. I just want HD with good video quality and good audio. Thank you all in adnvance with any help you may be able to lend on this.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 10:12 AM
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Avi and Mov are not formats or codecs, they are file containers, and AVCHD camcorders use the AVC codec in the mts file container. That said, there are plenty of software options that can handle this. As for the individual camera options, I do not have any experience to offer any advice on any of them. I would be more include to go for a camera with a 1/3'' sensor or larger because it is not going to be as grainy.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealcrazy8 View Post

I just want HD with good video quality and good audio.

I don't know enough about the cameras on your list to comment, but I would add one.

Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-HX9V

A few weeks ago it was selling at about $290. It seems to have bumped up a little to around $330.

Do searches on Vimeo and YouTube for "HX9V". You'll find the camera has been taken seriously and has many fans. I own one, it works very well and meets all your qualifications.

Bill
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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OH MY WORD! at first i was like, ok that's a cool point and shoot camera but I dont need one of those...then I read on...lol I may have to throw this one in the pool. I will be doing more research on this. Im very interested to see the video it produces.

Any other suggestions, comments, etc. would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 12:30 PM
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For your budget , i would recommend canon hf r20. Its the only camcorder in this price range that has a headphone and a mic jack - a must if you want good audio quality.

If you can stretch your budget for around $400 , then i would suggest panasonic fz150 or pansonic tm90 if you can find it for that price.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealcrazy8 View Post

...Im very interested to see the video it produces...

Here is what it can do: http://vimeo.com/25088008

Here it is mounted on a windshield: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utlm7Vi_G_E


The HX9V is a very capable camera for the price. The Panasonic FZ150 is better, in my view, but it is at least $100 more.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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WOW!!! that vimeo video was absolutely beautiful but that other one, not quite as well but that could be for many reasons. I must say I think I am now officially torn between...

Canon HF R20
ContourGPS
Sony DSC-HX9V

I know one of the big things is low light and video quality. A lot of cameras seem to not do well in low light. Well at what point can you start calling it "low light"? Im also thinking since I would quite possibly be using this primarily for storm spotting, wouldn't stormy conditions be considered low light, or does it need to be a bit darker than that?
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealcrazy8 View Post

WOW!!! that vimeo video was absolutely beautiful but that other one, not quite as well but that could be for many reasons. I must say I think I am now officially torn between...

Canon HF R20
ContourGPS
Sony DSC-HX9V

I know one of the big things is low light and video quality. A lot of cameras seem to not do well in low light. Well at what point can you start calling it "low light"? Im also thinking since I would quite possibly be using this primarily for storm spotting, wouldn't stormy conditions be considered low light, or does it need to be a bit darker than that?

The "other one" appears to be at high noon with glare on a dirty windshield.

Here is a video I did in a dark room with a fog generator and a pocket flashlight for fill. The camera did fine. Halloween Power House of Peril

This one is a short clip in an ice arena with the lights low. Again, the camera did fine. Ice Show

This one is also at high noon, but no windshield. I am hand holding and you can see the image stabilization being challenged. It was a very windy day and you can hear where the "wind noise cancellation" feature is overwhelmed. Desert RZR Ride With Mike

I agree the FZ150 could have a few more features, especially zoom. But, the HX9V is truly a pocket camcorder, therefore I have it with me frequently. The FZ150 would not fit in any pockets I have.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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OK OK OK....I think im sold now....lol So do you only get that type of wind noise in extreme situations then? The IS in that camera is still impressive considering all the bouncing around that was going on. Thank you all very much for your input. If anyone else has any other suggestions I would be open to considerations, but I think this might be the one...lol
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 01:58 PM
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You might want to check the specs on the Canon HF R20.

The current "holy grail" of HD video is 1080p60. Discussion will vary about how important that really is to the eyeball in front of a TV, but it is still the current version of "highest standard" in consumer camcorders.

It appears the Canon HF R20 does 1080i60 (interlaced). It will do 30p and 24p (progressive) but not 60. HR R20 Manual Check pages 59 through 61.

60p may not make video on TV or YouTube that much better. But since it is taking 60 full shots a second, clipping snapshots out works good. I did a video where I wanted to slow down and dramatize the shooting of an antique rifle. I cut 7 separate frames and then displayed them for a half second each. The 60p is what I think made it work well. 1776 Ferguson Rifle The sequence starts at about 2:00.

Being able to pull snapshots might be useful to a storm chaser. 60p could be useful to you.

Bill
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealcrazy8 View Post

... So do you only get that type of wind noise in extreme situations then? ...

I have a much more expensive camcorder that is about the same. I think it might be more accurate to say there is "breeze noise" cancellation, not "wind noise". When it's truly zip up your jacket windy there isn't much anything can do. Watch the weather channel.
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-19-2012, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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that was very cool to watch...Well I just found that B&H has this camera for only $279 AND its in stock so I think I will have to order one with my next paycheck. Thank you very much for showing me this camera.
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