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Best Camera/Video Recorder

Hello all!

I'm not really into the latest tech so forgive me if this type of equipment doesn't exist, but I'm looking for a handheld digital camera (like a basic Canon point and shoot) that also serves as a decent video recorder. I know lots of youtube vloggers use a go pro, but I don't know if those also take photos. Basically, I'd like something small and lightweight that does both, so I don't have to take 2 pieces of equipment. My current Canon camera takes decent pictures and also records video, but the video quality isn't as good. Thanks!

Posted by
925 posts

Last year I bought a Nikon Coolpix A900. I like the functions it can do plus, depending on the size of the chip, it can record a 1/2 hour video. It’s a little heavier than I would like but features were more important than 8 oz. I also carry a small travel size tripod and an extra battery. The screen viewfinder thing (you can tell how not technical I am) swivels so you can adjust it to fview your shot or do selfies. It can do auto or manual modes, aperture or shutter priority, wide angle or up to 35x zoom plus a lot of auto mode/mood settings. It does more than I know how to do.

Posted by
4686 posts

Justin, what are you planning to do with the videos? Share them on Facebook? Watch them on your TV at home?

Honestly, a decent smart phone can take surprisingly good videos these days. I am a still photographer and have a more serious camera than a P&S, but I'm not really serious about video. When I travel, I often shoot videos with the camera, but just as often I'll use my phone - because the videos aren't that important. The camera will have better quality for sure but if it didn't take video, I'd use my phone. The videos I get from my cheap phone are certainly of high enough quality to watch on my 42" plasma TV.

Whether or not you need a separate camera depends on how serious you are.

The most important thing for using a phone for video is to have enough storage. Video can eat up a lot of storage quickly. Most modern smart phones can accept expansion memory cards to add storage. Even my cheap Moto E4 I bought a year ago can accept a 128GB memory card, which will hold a lot of video at standard quality.

Posted by
161 posts

I plan to just use them for home movies and burn them onto a DVD.

I usually have my phone off and tucked away in Europe, plus video eats up its memory very quick. My current camera takes decent photos so I don't have a need to replace it; I was just curious if there was one that size that also does as good quality of video.

Posted by
440 posts

Do you still have a camera shop in your town. Give them a chance to earn your business. Buying online may not actually save all the much.

Posted by
4686 posts

It wouldn't make sense to me to have ANOTHER device - a phone and a still camera AND a video camera to carry around, have to keep charged, etc. I'd simplify: either use the phone for video or upgrade the still camera to one that also shoots good video. Given how incredibly useful and time-saving I find my phone when traveling nowadays, I don't keep it tucked away, either, and it costs almost nothing to use with a local SIM card.

As I noted above, one can usually add a memory card to a phone cheaply. My phone has a 128GB microSDXC card, which can hold a good amount of video unless you are shooting 4K-quality video (I don't). Some of the newer phones can handle memory cards up to 2TB (when they exist or at a practical price). My phone's memory card is larger than the 64GB card I use in my proper camera.

Posted by
10240 posts

Smartphone, a fully charged one will probably give you a couple hundred pics per day if you charge it overnight, and the couple hundred pics will include a number of videos, you might want to keep the videos under 10 seconds per video.

Posted by
4686 posts

Why would you need to keep the videos so short, Kent? I haven't needed to with my phone.

Posted by
30932 posts

Justin,

You may find this helpful - https://ordinarytraveler.com/best-travel-camera or this https://www.techradar.com/news/best-travel-camera .

I find that smartphone cameras have significant limitations in some conditions, such as low light or with moving subjects. I've also found from experience that it's prudent to have a "backup" in case of problems with the primary camera. One other advantage of a compact P&S camera is that you can replace memory cards as needed, so you'll be able to take more photos and videos without the limited memory concerns of a smartphone.

Posted by
4686 posts

I can pop in a replacement microSDXC card into my phone just like into my camera, so there is certainly no space limitation. Actually, my phone has far more storage than my regular camera.

Posted by
30932 posts

Andrew,

Not all phones have the capability of MicroSD cards, including my iPhone, and therefore have finite memory depending on how much was purchased with the phone. Despite the advantage of being able to take memory cards, that doesn't help the other limitations of smartphone cameras. There's no way that the lens in a smartphone camera can compete with a larger sensor and a quality Leica (or other) lens which some P&S cameras have. A smartphone camera can most definitely not compete with the sensor and lens in a DSLR nor the flexibility that provides for shooting in different conditions.

While it is possible to get acceptable quality photos or videos with a smartphone, the main question to consider when shopping for a new camera is what quality of photos & videos the user desires. In many cases travellers will be visiting a location once in their lifetime, so good quality memories is often at the top of the list.

Posted by
4686 posts

Thanks, Ken, you've given me another reason never to want an iPhone! Nice to know my cheap $105 USD Android phone can handle a 128GB memory card. True, I may not care as much as Justin about the quality of my videos - as I said, I really care only about stills, and for that I use my regular camera.

I would suggest however to anyone who is wondering about the phone video quality to TRY it! The quality may be better than you think. For vacation videos of decent quality, they may be more than adequate.

Posted by
440 posts

Retired photographer and video guy here. Do your viewers a huge favor and take a class in how to shoot engaging and entertaining video. There are books and online tutorials if you can’t get to a class. 1. hold the camera or phone horizontal. 2. Hold the thing still. 3.if you must pan or tilt or zoom, do it slowly and deliberately, do it for a reason. 4. The mic is on the camera which makes the person holding the camera the loudest thing that is never seen. 5. Your viewers want to see where you’ve been and who you saw. They already know what you look like so leave the selfie stick at home. 6. Post production and editing are the arts of removing everything that would waste your viewers’ time and fixing your mistakes. Be merciful to your viewers. Be ruthless about your poor work.

Posted by
30932 posts

Andrew,

FWIW, I've been really pleased with my venerable iPhone. It's been like the "Energizer Bunny" of phones, it just keeps working day-after-day (although I did get the battery replaced to take advantage of the special offer from Apple). While I do use it for the occasional photo, it's only a supplemental photo device. Photography is an important part of my travels, so I always pack a full sized DSLR and a P&S on all trips.

bogiesan,

Great tips!

Posted by
339 posts

I have a 3+ year old Canon p&S that has a pretty good optical zoom that I use for both photos and video. I watch the Video from my trips last year and this on my 70” tv and the look good enough for an amateur.

We took a Canon dslr with us for more serious photos but I don’t think your average person needs that.
The point and shoot easily fits in a pocket.

Posted by
607 posts

"Why would you need to keep the videos so short, Kent? I haven't needed to with my phone."

Long videos are usually boring. The next time you watch a movie, time each shot. You will find that the average length of a shot is less than 10 seconds, more like 5 seconds. A 1 minute panning shot of a city view is a real snoozefest, imo. A 10 minute video of your baby sleeping can be summarized in a 10 second shot.

I stopped shooting videos years ago, especially when everything went digital. I did not like dealing with hundreds of little digital video clips. I actually preferred using the old 8mm tape. I would only take 10 to 30 second shots. A kids birthday party or other significant event comprised 5 or 10 shots and the whole video event may total about 2 - 5 minutes. I edited as i videoed. If it was a good or interesting shot, I kept it. If it was a bad shot, i just rewound and recorded over top. I usually fit a whole year of events into one single 90 minute videotape. I only own about 11 videotapes in total. I converted all of my tapes into digital and put in some titles and index. I figure when i am old and invalid, i can watch these old videos of my family, events and trips. After my kids grew up, i was no longer interested in video because the action was less interesting. Maybe if and when there are grandkids, I will take it up again. For now, I just spend my time taking thousands of photos on my vacation.