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Need least expensive HD cam with viewfinder and tracking focus

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I friend of mine is in the market for a good camcorder (HD) that will not break his bank; less than $600. Items which should be included are:

1. viewfinder
2. spot focus/tracking focus
3. decent low light capabilities

If there are any other things that he might deem important, I don't know. He is a still photographer wanting to get into shooting good HD video. His subjects would include family, real trains, and model railroads.

He has been on a couple of shoots with me shooting trains, and has used my Sony SR11 and FX7. He likes those cams, but really is interested in tracking focus, which my cams don't have. A viewfinder is a must, did I say that already? Lastly, I don't really know if he is brand specific or not.

Thanks.
Railfan (Mike)
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Railfan View Post

1. viewfinder
2. spot focus/tracking focus
3. decent low light capabilities

The Canon Vixia HF M41 meets that criteria. Although new ones aren't being made anymore, there are refurbished models. Canon was selling them last week for under $300, but are out of stock now. Probably will be on ebay or Craigslist.

You can also get a Panasonic X900M now for $698...but if last December 2011 is any indicator with the previous Panasonic model, you may be able to snag an X900M in December (2012) for closer to $600.

This is good time to wait for the upcoming sales.
post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Railfan View Post

1. viewfinder
2. spot focus/tracking focus
3. decent low light capabilities
Mike,

You might take a look at the Panasonic FZ200. My "friend" (wife) owns last years FZ150.

Panasonic calls it Dynamic Tracking or AV Tracking. It has a viewfinder. It has a big lens for low light. It even has a mic input for serious audio from the big trains. It is $50 under the budget.

FZ200 at Amazon

Bill
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the information guys. Will look into your recommendations.

Mike
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