Suggestions for Digital Movie Camera under $900.

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Real Estate Agent with Maxfield Real Estate

I'm getting ready to take the next step into video for my listings as well as for my blogs. There seems to be a myriad of cameras out there, but I would like your suggestions as well as what add ons should I get.

I was looking at the Canon Vixia HF200 and the Canon Vixia HF20.

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Rainmaker
1,364,299
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio

Steve - I haven't found a video camera yet that is priced under $1000 that has a wide enough angle lens for video taping the interior of a modest sized home.  I am looking for a full frame digital SLR camera that also does video...if my Canon 40D did HD video it would be great because I am using the 10-22 lens which maths out to about 16mm...plenty wide for most of my homes.  Best of luck and I will watch your blog with hopes that someone has discovered a new wide angle video camera.

April 18, 2010 03:59 PM #1
Rainmaker
200,788
Steve Bush
Maxfield Real Estate - Moultonborough, NH
603.455.7428 - NH Lakes Region

Hi Sam,

Thank you for the input. I already have a Nikon digital SLR the 70s body and I have great lens to do the necessary work I need for single shot photography, but I'm thinking that I need the camcorder as the 70s body doesn't do movies so to really start to make a statement, especially in my blogs as well as with additional video for listings as needed, an additional camera is needed. I've been doing a fair amount of research and the camcorder that comes up #1, though over $1k, is the Panasonic HDC-TM700.

April 18, 2010 05:13 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,364,299
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio

Steve - I would pass on that particular model of video camera because the lens is a 35mm on the widest setting.  Hope this helps!

Here is a partial review:

"The lens has been upgraded, however. The new Leica Dicomar glass is now equivalent to a 35mm wide angle at its maximum width"

 

April 19, 2010 12:44 PM #3
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Steve,

  I will also be interested to see what you ultimately decide on.  I guess it depends on what you are going to use the video for.  Is it to simply document the property, or are you going to be on the video speaking and giving a tour?  The 'virtual tour' type videos that are out now that are exclusively simple pans over still images don't really do very much more than just take more time to view the exact same still images that you could see outside of the video. 

 I am going to shoot my first home video myself next Sunday after an open house.  My intent is to use it as the opportunity to give my own "pitch" for the home, pointing out the features that I want to talk about.  Under 1:30 in length, and used to augment the still photos, not try to replace them.  In other words, for me the wider the angle the better (of course!), but not the single biggest concern.

So what is my biggest 'wish' for my next digital movie camera?  A microphone input!!! Recording a separate audio track on some other media, and then trying to splice it together with the video using editing software is not as easy as falling off a log.  What kind of video editing software are you planning to use?   How nice would it be to plug audio into the camera and be able to have it all right there for editing, with the ability to have great audio on the tour regardless of how far away from the video camera you were, or whether you had your back turned to the camera pointing out a feature of the home, etc.?  For me, this trumps the wider lens, but where are the video cameras with microphone inputs??

 I have a couple of videos up on my website (default page), if you would like to see what direction I am going to try to go in.  One of the key factors is going to be how much total time it takes to go from raw footage to final, edited video.  I need to get quicker at the software.

Good luck!!!   (BTW-- I looked up the Panasonic you mentioned, and it seems to be under $1k, not over it.  Is that right?)

April 25, 2010 12:07 PM #4
Rainmaker
200,788
Steve Bush
Maxfield Real Estate - Moultonborough, NH
603.455.7428 - NH Lakes Region

Hi Tim,

Sorry to not get back to you sooner. I'm not 100% sure what I will be using the camera for except to augment my blogs and Facebook Fan page. The idea of doing my own virtual tour is also of importance. All that being said, I think I'm a little over whelmed still with what's out there. Sam mentioned that the Panasonic I was thinking about only had a lens at 35mm at its widest setting. I'm not sure if that's as critical a component as it is in my still camera, but that's just because I don't fully understand the lens thing with these cameras, as you pan anyway.

Which video camera did you use this past weekend and how did it go?

April 27, 2010 02:16 AM #5
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Steve,

 I looked at those Canons that you mentioned, and they DO have an external microphone input, so that's great!  I am not in the market right now, but the next free $800 or so that I have to spend (ha!) I think those Canons are where I will look, too.   (I went down in price from yours, looking at the Vixia HG20, even.)

 I only mentioned the Mic input as one of those things that you might not think about right now, but could end up being a lifesaver later on, depending on what you ended up wanting to do with it.  Something similar would be if you told someone looking at still cameras, "All other things being equal, get the one that uses regular "AA" and "AAA" batteries as opposed to a funky proprietary battery because as much as you think you will be able to always have charged batteries, sooner or later you will appreciate being able to drop by a gas station or drugstore and get fresh batteries."  Something along those lines.

I just have a little Sony Handycam right now with no Mic input- which explains why I keep harping on why I want one!  I hope to shoot something this coming weekend, not the one that just passed.

I think those Canon cameras look great.  I will be interested to hear your experiences of playing around with them, in PARTICULAR in our real estate settings.  I will of course use mine in this setting, as well.  Thanks for being the guinea pig! 


April 27, 2010 07:56 AM #6
Rainmaker
157,442
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Great to listen in to this conversation as I've just started learning with a simple Flip Video camera that has a built in mic. Can't say anything about the quality as so far I've just taken first few videos and yet to download and edit them.

June 14, 2010 10:35 AM #7
Rainer
16,212
Ray Lane
OpenHouseHD - Salt Lake City, UT

Hi Steve,

I am a video pro, and always used very expensive cameras.  The problem I had was that when I was shooting in a home or in a small business setting, the cameras were just too big to get a good shot of the room.  For that reason, I went looking for a camera that was small, but could still perform well.  The one that I found was the Canon Vixia HV30 (essentially the same as the HF you mention, but it uses tapes instead of a harddrive).  The reason I chose the Canon was...

1. You can control the iris, so the image won't change from dark to bright every time you pass by a light or a window.

2. It has an audio input for an external mic.

3. There is a HUGE community of users that are very active, and they love to come out with all sorts of add-ons for this thing

4. It's small and inexpensive, yet takes a great picture.

After using this camera, I have actually put my big cameras aside and started using the HV30 for a major portion of my work.  I absolutely love the results.  You will need to add a wide-angle lens; but there are many out there and they are pretty cheap.  Make sure that the wide-angle you chose is a 'follow focus' lens, so that you can use it even when you zoom in.  Some of the cheap lenses won't do that, and if you zoom in, the focus will be bad.

 

Hope this helps!

 

------

Ray 'The Video Guy'

www.openhousehd.com

June 14, 2010 10:42 AM #8
Rainmaker
157,442
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Steve, It was time for me to upgrade camera (also have flipvideo) so yesterday, I picked up Nikon D5000X D-SLR at BestBuy in Portsmouth. Camera there is $699, or I got package for $889 which includes Nikon 55-200mm telephoto lens, 8GB card & bag.

Got scared but check the Nikon site and it says ...

D-Movie Mode with sound

Record 720p HD movie clips enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.

June 25, 2010 12:03 PM #9
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Rainmaker
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Steve Bush

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