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Video Cameras??

Hi again :)

I'm taking a backpack with me when I go to Europe this year and I keep thinking about getting a Video Camera. I realise that there is a greater chance of it being stolen, extra weight, etc, but I just keep thinking about how i would love to be able to film certain aspects and capture some of the atmosphere...

I was just wondering if people here think it's worth it to take a video camera... have you taken one?? did you find it valuable or a hinderance?? Did you also take photos too?? I will be travelling on my own, so I would need to switch between the video camera and the digital camera. I was just hoping for any feedback on having a video camera in Europe.

Thanks ;D

Posted by
1158 posts

I have a Canon A530 digital camera that takes movies.
They can be transfered very easy to a VHS using A/V cable.
I would not carry a regular video camera. Too heavy.

Posted by
1806 posts

My Nikon Coolpix digital camera also had a built-in video option for short movies.

Unless you are one of those people who films absolutely everything, I think it's more of a hassle with the weight/theft factors.

If your digital camera doesn't have video capabilities, I would suggest you buy maybe 1 or 2 of the small "disposable" video cameras available now (about $20 USD - not sure what they run in Australia). I think they take between 20 minutes to 1 hour's worth of footage. As you use them up, go to a camera shop and have them burn your film to a DVD so you can get rid of the disposable.

Posted by
9363 posts

Mine is a Sony Handycam. It's tiny (fits in a coat pocket) and weighs practically nothing. I used it quite a bit in China (in addition to taking pictures), and a few times in Ireland, though I mostly took pictures there. There are some things, like street performers, that are better captured on video than with still pictures.

Posted by
345 posts

My Canon digital camera (A720IS - about $200) records video that looks fantastic on my 32 inch television. Not sure how it looks larger, or on an HDTV.

The only thing to keep in mind is that when doing higher quality, it gobbles the memory cards. But, I've been able to combine a good 5-10 minutes of video and around 1000 photos at the highest quality on a 4GB card.

I'd def. choose a digi cam with a good video mode built in. Less batteries, cards, etc. to worry about!

Posted by
32050 posts

Leeana, in my experience, still photos taken with a video camera are not as good as those taken with a "dedicated" digital Camera. If you're more interested in video than stills, then a Camera such as the one mentioned in your link would be good. Be sure to take extra batteries and of course Plug Adapters.

If you're more interested in "stills", then a digital Camera would be better IMO. Most newer digital models have video capability, which seems to be fairly good (although not as good as a proper video camera).

On my last trip I took a dSLR and assorted kit, and also a Canon SD-870IS. I got some good video shots on the trip, and was sorry that I hadn't taken more! As mentioned in a previous post it's a good idea to have lots of memory (I was using a 2GB SD Card at the time, and had more cards available).


Posted by
51 posts

My Sony Cyber-shot takes pretty decent video in addition to 7 mega-pixel photos. That way you only have to carry one device. I can send you a video sample if interested of my son boogie boarding in Hawaii.

Posted by
6245 posts

I have always taken a SLR (still) camera along on all my trips. In the old days, it was a film SLR, now it's a digital one. My wife wanted a video camera before our trip to Italy. I was skeptical - I thought videos were tacky, and the last think I wanted was to spend our vacation shooting cheesey video footage. But I bought her a good quality DV camera, and we decided I wold shoot stills and she wold shoot video.

You know what? She was right, I was wrong. The footage she capture (as badly composed and unsteady and poorly shot that it was) is GREAT - it became one of our most fond momentos. After we got back I put together a DVD of our trip (thanks Apple iMovie & iDVD) and it has become a treasured favorite.

Nowadays we still have her shoot most of the video and I shoot most of the stills, but in addition to our "primary" still & video cameras, we also have compact point-and-shoot digital cameras that take decent quality stils AND video (Canon A-series, great little cameras!).

Consider getting one like that (e.g. Canon A720).

Posted by
115 posts

I forgot to actually come back and update, but I did end up buying that JVC video camera, however I bought one with a 40Gb HDD for the same price :) I will still take photos, but I know that there are just some things that I will definately want to film. While I am travelling on my own, at times I will be with other people, so will hopefully get them to take some photos while I film.

Posted by
1568 posts

YES. It is well worth taking a Video and Digital camera. During our 8 week trip we took 11-1/2 hours on our Video camera and 797 pictures on the Digital.

Cherished memories.

Posted by
216 posts

Yes, it is worth taking a video cam, particularly since the new formats (DVD, flash drive) have made them so tiny. These just slip into a pants pocket!

No, it's not a good idea to buy a JVC product. I recently had 4 different JVCs fail or needing repairs. My JVC DV camcorder has been repaired twice, with software/chip problems being the cause. Well-documented problems that the company is not addressing. (My other failed pieces were an expensive DVD recorder, a car CD changer, and a VHS/
dvd player). One reason the JVC products are so much cheaper than other brands. Caveat emptor!

Photos taken with a camcorder are usually soft and poor quality. Film taken with a still camera is short and will max out your capacity quickly. I know that it's no longer common to sit the family down to show vacation movies, but do it for your own enjoyment.

The new Canon 950 camcorder would be my first choice, with any cam having a viewfinder (not just the LCD screen) and a diopter adjustment on it getting my nod.

BTW, I am still taking my JVC camcorder to Europe next month, but I am prepared for trouble, so I may buy another DV cam just in case.

Reason for DV? Better image quality and lower cost. The normal DVD/flashdrive cams have lossy recording, resulting in poorer image. Only the new HD machines can equal DV, but they are so pricey.

Also be sure you get a large capacity battery or a backup battery that can recharge while heading out. Maker certain the charger is multi-voltage too.

Posted by
75 posts

I don't know if they sell them in Aust., but the Flip video camera is very cheap, has gotten great reviews, and is the best selling video camera on Amazon. Buy some rechargable batteries. It is set up so you can directly load your videos to Youtube or myspace if you want to. Google them and see what you think.

Posted by
1158 posts


Everything can be stolen anywhere is the world, even a little coin from your pocket.
I have a Canon dgital camera that take videos, in PAL and NTSC formats. I would never carry 2 cameras with me. Too bulky and as you said I don't feel like switch between them.
Use common sense when you travel and you will be fine.
When I take pictures I wrap the camera's cord around my wrist, then I put it back in my day pack, which I always carry with me. I got a camera case that I can put around my belt. It has a snap closure and I feel OK carrying my camera like that most of the times. When I am done takeing pictures for a while I prefer to put it inside my backpack.
Good luck and don't be afraid!

Posted by
111 posts

I use my digital Canon 800 IS camera for video and stills. I brought my laptop with so i can unload my camera. Memory cards are now inexpensive these days and so I bring few with me while vacation. I could have used my uncle's video camera but, it's just too much to pack and didn't want to lug it around as well as making time when charging my cell, ipod, gps, laptop, camera with 1 plug. My cousin brought a camcorder on their honeymoon...the camera didn't get stolen but 1 of their tapes were. Someone went thru the pockets of their bags and took it. She would rather have had the camera stolen than the tape with the recorded memories.

However, the camcorder can come in handy when young kids are involved. Kids can be very energetic, excited, unpredictable and bouncing all over the place and so the camcorder would probably be easier on the kids than stop, smile, pose numerous times for the camera beside the garden, on the beach, in front of the statues ...etc.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Leeana, you mentioned that you already bought a camera, so I'm just adding to the thread in case anyone else is interested in this topic.

My husband and I recently got back from Turkey and Greece. We took 3 cameras with us and I'm not sure we would do that again, but they each have their own special qualities. 1) Our old Canon digital which is considered quite bulky nowadays, takes wonderful night time shots and has the stealth photo-taking ability using the vari-angle LCD. 2) A Canon SLR (RebelXT). Good for manual control settings and 3) Canon PowerShot TX1 camera, also with the vari-angle LCD. This is a pocket sized 7.1 megapixel camera that takes photos and HD movies (bring lots of memory cards). Small and easy to travel with.

Taking movies on our trips really enhances the library of images. Photos are wonderful, but digital movies capture a deeper experience for us especially when you add sound.

If we could only choose one camera to bring on our next trip, it would be the PowerShot TX1 as a good all around light-weight camera.