Where to Buy Cheap Video Camera and Gear- New and Used (B&H)

Unknowingly I was approved as a B&H affiliate last December (I should check e-mail more often). So here’s a banner below. For those of you that don’t know, affiliate programs allow bloggers and website owners to earn some small portion of your purchase if you visit the e-commerce site via the blogger’s coded link or banner. So bookmark this page!

A lot of people ask me what video equipment to buy, and where to get it. I default to BestBuy for impulse electronics, and often buy from Amazon.com. But my “heaven on Earth” is the NYC B&H store. I’ve mentioned it several times before (even before I had the old “affiliate” hidden agenda. 🙂

B&H is like FAO Schwartz for digital video, audio and camera nerds. They sell video cameras, digital accessories, sound gear and computers. Prices are amazing, and I’ve never had an issue with service or returns (bought my recent Canon HV20 there for a steal). I’ve been burned by NYC retailers before, but the place is run by Amish I think.

My original blog (revverberation.com) was littered with low-revenue text ads, but I’ve deliberately not junked this blog up with low-profit Google text ads. They’re an eyesore. But here’s an affiliate banner for B&H. I have no idea how much I make if you go there via this banner, but I thought I’d give it a try. I’m pimping, but I know I’m not steering you wrong.

So if you’re on the market for gear and you can find a better price at B&H, go there via this link and you’ll be helping me offset my Bluehost fee for this blog! Again- I wouldn’t send you there if I wasn’t really happy about my experience with B&H, and most of the prosumers (professional/consumers) I know buy all of their gear at B&H — whether they live in NYC or not. Double check Amazon.com because occasionally you’ll find a better price there, but the options on Amazon for video enthusiasts are limited.

The actual NYC store is a dreamland. Get there if you can. I drove past it recently with Mr. Safety and told him about the giant conveyor belts that shoot your product from the warehouse to the register and he thought I was teasing. When I shop there I hear circus music in my head and people’s heads transform to giant lollipops.

How to Buy a Digital Video Camera

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Drool at the Mac iPhone… Engadget Has the “Blow by Blow”

nerd.jpgMy sister sent me this elevator photo this morning and titled the e-mail “Nerds.” It’s the crowd going to Macworld. She works for “big media” and they’re interviewing Jobs today. But she doesn’t deserve to. It would be like her watching me interview (insert name of famous fashion designer).

So have you been reading the blow-by-blow on Macworld? If not, get off this blog immediately and see Engadget! They’ve got details and photo of the new iPhone. $500with a plan, and available in June but only through Cingular. Yes you can watch videos on it, as well as surf Google Earth and anything else you can imagine.


It’s a Phone


It’s a Lil’ Television

 My favorite part of the stream-of-consciousness post is when Endgadget said, of Cingular CEO Stan Sigman. “Man this guy is a total snoozer.”

Anyway check out that new iPhone and feel free to send it to me as a Fathers’ Day gift.

What Digital Video Camera Should I Buy?

canon-elura-100-large.jpgWhat camera should I buy? I get that question a lot, even though I don’t tend to be “state of the art” with my equipment. But if I were on the market for a digital camcorder I’d get the Canon Elura 100 (no I don’t get paid to endorse). It’s less than $400 and here’s what makes it a decent choice. And an excellent gift (hint):

  1. I learned about it in Smart Money’s Sept. 2006 article titled “Home Movies.” Indie film star Edward Burns calls it a “no brainer,” and he reviewed cameras up to $800.
  2. This insanely detailed review at CamCorderInfo.com compared it to other brands in the same price range, and it came out well.
  3. CNet gave it a “very good” at 7.2, and readers gave it a 7.6.
  4. Consumer Report (which is usually a last resort since they’re often way outdated on electronics) gave it a 55- which is in the “good” range but closer to “very good” than “fair.” It marked “very good” on picture quality, but “fair” on audio quality. Consumer Reports gave the Elura 85 a better mark (71) but it’s closer to $500.
  5. Epinions (consumer reviews) gave it a 4/5 rating. Watch out for the “hissing” sounds the mike picks up from the tape motion. It’s an issue I’ve seen pop up in many reviews, but it’s primarily an issue when you’re shooting in low sound. I don’t go anywhere where low sound exists.
  6. I researched endlessly my Canon Rebel XT still camera and I’m really happy with it. So Canon wins points.

Unfortunately PCMag hasn’t reviewed it yet, which is surprising. I put a lot of weight in their reviews.

I usually got to BestBuy for impulse. But they’re not in stock, and they’re not cheaper. Plus I hate the pressure to buy the warantees. Amazon has it on sale… here’s the link (I do get an affiliate fee for anyone buying it through this link, but in my experience nobody uses affiliate links).

Buy Canon Elura 100 at Amazon

Best Tiny Video Cameras for Sports and Action

Just yesterday we were looking for a good helmet cam. Today I picked up my copy of PCPhoto and discovered author Kim Castleberry has done the homework. These are my words below, but I’m sourcing Kim’s article.

1) The Samsung SC-X210L is the high-end camcorder that is really fun to hold (rubber exterior and very elegant). Every time I go to BestBuy I stare at it. It has image stabilizer and the ability to play MP3s and video with high-quality MPEG4. Price is $599. If the good folks at Samsung want to send me a “demo” for review, help yourself. You’ll never get it back.
2) Viosport Adventure Cam 3: This one needs to be plugged into a camcorder and will require a battery pack and wires. But it’s the kind of camera you’d get if you already had a great camcorder and wanted a nice lense to mount on your head when you sky dive. $329. Can’t really see a big market for these.
3) ATC-1000 Action Camera: My favorite because it’s cheap ($119) and integrated (no other pieces needed). It records lower resolution but here are some examples of it. You can buy it for as low as $80 at Amazon.com.
4) Digital Blue Tony Hawk HelmetCam: It’s a wireless device with a 12-foot range, video editing software and 32MB that can record up to 40 minutes of low resolution video and sound. Seems more like a toy for kids than a camera. $99.