Which consumer camera should you use for your close-up?

Which camcorder will best capture your close-up?

I’m often asked what is the best consumer video camera (i.e. something for $300 or less) to buy for someone looking to get started with video blogging on YouTube. Maybe you don’t plan on reviewing products or sharing your innermost thoughts with the world, so I use the word “video blogging” loosely. Even if you just want to purchase an inexpensive camera to record video testimonials, here’s 3 simple rules of thumb to consider:

  • EASE OF USE. The best consumer video camera will ultimately be the one that’s the most user-friendly for you to use. If the video camera is a hassle for you to record with because of an overly complex menu, you’ll be less likely to whip it out at a moment’s notice. And that’s what consumer video cameras are perfect for: capturing those incredible unplanned moments just in time before they pass.
  • BASIC FEATURES. If I were going to buy a handheld video camera, I would probably go with the Kodak Zi8. It outshines the popular Flip cameras in a couple key areas. One is it’s external microphone jack, so you have the option of recording much better audio. And two: it seems to be much more user-friendly when it comes time to do any editing to your video footage, whether you’re on a Mac or PC. Look below for a How-To video on the Zi8.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY. Before you buy, decide if you really need to buy. Because I’m a big advocate of reducing our carbon footprint by not constantly upgrading to the latest gadget, I would say that the “best” video camera might just be the one you already own. Since my iPhone 3Gs records video, I’ve been able to suffer through the limitations of the video quality because it’s so convenient to carry around and, also, the lower quality image can actually be a nice way to contrast the higher quality look of the HD video I shoot with my Panasonic HVX-200. Additionally, many computers come with webcams and software, such as Photo Booth for Mac, preinstalled which allow you to record the video right to your computer.

How has your experience been with different consumer video cameras? Your comments may just change my mind… Maybe.


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