A lot of people ask me — especially lately — what type of videocamera I use. It’s a Panasonic PV-GS120, and there’s a photo of it on this blog’s masthead. I like it a lot, but it’s obviously time for an upgrade.
This post won’t give you advice on cameras, but I describe my typical process for purchasing any high-consideration electronic device. Maybe it will help you. If you’re serious about commercializing your work, go with a prosumer HDTV. Otherwise almost any decent digital camera will produce a picture far better than you’ll ever see through online compression.
- I do ask around a lot. But don’t ask people who make good videos, ask people that are really anal-retentive about what they buy.
- I visit pcmag.com, zdnet.com and consumerreports.org (the latter is fee-based and often lags). These sites starts help me identify top models or brands. Naturally the model numbers rarely synch up but it’s a good start. When I bought my digital-still camera (Rebel XR), I was seeing it as a top camera on all of these sites.
- Now I’ve identified a few brands and model numbers that look good. So I bounce between sites to confirm it. I used to use epinions, but now I check to see if the Amazon ratings are good.
- If I’m stuck between several brands, I default to the long-winded digital video camera experts. There are people that write novels on these things, and they’re usually one of the top listings if you search “my model review -buy” on Google.
- Finally, I do shop around on the froogles, but often decide to get it at Best Buy or Circuit City. By now, I can’t wait any longer and I want to confirm the feel of it. I don’t mind paying a 5% premium to not have to wait for it and know I can run it to the store.
Note- this is if you’re going for a consumer camera or simple prosumer. If you’re going HDTV or $1000 plus prosumer (Cannon, Sony, Panasonic), then you want to try some trade magazines and BHP Photo.