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BUYING GUIDE 2012
Welcome to the Adorama Learning Center buying guide to little High Definition camcorders that will go anywhere to capture the action!
Tiny cameras that shoot HD videos and can mount on steering wheels, biker helmets and more have become popular items this year, and are generally priced within reach of most consumers. This article explains what they are, how they work, and recommends top models.
There is a new category of video cameras—HD Video Action Cameras —that is turning the world of sports videography on its head. Sometimes, literally.
Check out this video, courtesy GoPro, to see what these kinds of cameras can do:
Now that you've seen that, is your heart pumping a little bit faster? Let's go to these amazing camcorders and learn more!
HD Video Action Cameras are designed to fill a niche that existing products do not currently serve. There are traditional camcorders that have the ability to take not just home video but professional grade movies. Then as many a YouTube viewer has seen, the ability to record video on smartphones and even tablets is increasingly popular, providing the ability to instantaneously record an event for posterity. But what about when a person wants to record an activity as they are engaged in it? For that there is the growing space of HD Video Action Cameras.
HD Video Action Cameras come in small, tough devices that can be mounted on helmets, on bike handlebars, and steering wheels (such as the GoPro Hero2 Motorsports Edition, available from Adorama and shown above), and have been used to capture the participant’s point of view when skiing, sky diving or skateboarding, to name just a number of athletic events, to record the users accomplishments, or lack thereof. However, they are not limited to just those types of activity. They also make a good, small format substitute for larger camcorders in some situations as well.
Features to look for
Many of the issues in selecting a good HD Video Action Camera are the same as in selecting any camcorder and the primer in the Adorama Learning Center Camcorders & HD Video section is a good starting place. However there are some issues that stand out in particularly for these devices.
Resolution: One of the first areas you should look at is what resolutions the camera can record video, hopefully there will be more than one so that you can make adjustments according to need. Do you want more video or higher quality? Make sure you can choose. Many HD Video Action Cameras can also serve as a simple still camera, and offer a wide range of features as a camera including time-lapse photography.
Storage: Storage is always an issue, particularly with video which seems to have a voracious appetite for space it is even more important. At the highest quality level. video can take as much as 8GB per recorded hour, or roughly somewhere between 100MB and 200MB a minute. HD basically comes in two formats ,with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 1280 x 720 resolution. The difference is huge as the 1080 resolution has 2.25 times the pixels than 720 at the same frame rate.
As a side note, having a dedicated external drive to load video into is often a good idea, since it takes a lot of space, and when editing video it’s good to know that you suddenly do not need more storage. Use a fast drive; it will slow when it is almost full.
Ruggedness: When looking at the camera consider the entire package and how you are going to use it. Does it have a water proof case or just water resistant?
Extras: Will you be mounting on your bike, on a helmet or will it always be handheld? Does it come with mounting brackets? Every extra that is added can open up new uses that will bring additional enjoyment.
A good example of the specialization that can occur in this space is presented by the GoPro HD HERO2 Surf Edition. Camera kit, available for the Adorama price of $299, is designed for use in the water by surfers and others, and can be used by hand, but also features a mounting system for surf boards. As expected, it has a waterproof case good to 197 feet.
Capable of filming in three resolutions, it includes the ability to film in full 170 degree wide-angle 1080p video. It can also serve as an 11 megapixel still camera, and shoot as fast as 10 frames per second. It comes with a 32GB SDHC card that can store 4 hours of 1080p video. The camera supports both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.
The CamOne Infinity 5MP is another video cam that would meets the needs of a water-bound sports enthusiast. At an Adorama price of $249.99 it supports two recording speeds: 30 frames per second when recording at 1080p resolution and 60fps when recording at 720p.
Waterproof down to 170 feet, the CamOne can be preset to shoot pictures at every 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds for time-lapse imagery. It has two MicroSD card slots, each capable of supporting a 32GB SD/SDHC card for hours of recording time. It has a built-in 1.5-inch screen so that you can view what you are recording. It comes with a helmet mount, handlebar mount and a flat mount among other accessories.
The Sony MHS-TS22 Bloggie Sport Camcorder, at the Adorama price of $178, is a versatile, lightweight device that could be easily mistaken for a smartphone. It shoots up to 1920 x 1080p video and has an HDMI output; it also takes up to 5.0 megapixel still images. It is shock proof, dust proof and waterproof up to sixteen feet. It's also drop resistant up to five feet. The 5 ounce camera features a 2.7" LCD touch screen display that is fully operational underwater. The Bloggie is equipped with 4GB of internal flash memory, which supports up to two hours of HD video.
It has a built-in LED for low light situations and has both a 4x zoom and an auto macro that enables filming from as close as 4-inches away. Designed with social media in mind it allows images and video to be tagged and then uploaded to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.
A good option for the entry level user looking to just get their feet wet in the personal video cam space is the Wildgame Innovations AC3 Hi-Definition 3MP Action Cam. At the low Adorama price of $69.95 it still has a host of features including a 4x zoom and a variable horizontal lens.
It can support up to a 16GB Micro SD card for storage and has 3MP resolution and supports 848 x 480 WVGA mode. It can short multiple high speed photos in camera mode and has a series of four different mounting brackets including one that allows it to be attached t a tree or other stationary object.
There are plenty more HD Video Action Cameras. Browse the Adorama HD Video Action Cameras department to find the camera and appropriate accessories best fit your needs.