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Author Topic: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?  (Read 1974 times)


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Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« on: September 04, 2016, 12:38:28 AM »

Hello Everyone,

I am trying to make some demo videos of spin-tops, but I am having extreme difficulty recording with my camera. I am currently using a

"Flip Video" camera, if you are familiar with it, and while it does the job, the videos are of terrible quality and cannot use them for commercial endeavors. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good camera that is able to take proffessional videos and pictures for commercial/professional use? I am trying to develop a website and do not think my camera will be able to take pictures suitable for a professional enterprise.

I would also appreciate any recommendations for some video editing software, if you would please be so kind as to make a suggestion.

By the way... I know it sounds ridiculous, but I would prefer recommendations of good cameras, that are "economical", as I am unable to afford anything very expensive. I do need it to be able to take professional quality pictures however, so if that means a bigger price tag, then so be it.

I appreciate your advice my friends!




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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2016, 11:53:20 PM »

This is a subject I am keenly interested in. The best suggestion I can offer for a camera is search youtube for reviews. The reason I say this is you have only given a broad concept of what you wish to do but there are cameras that do specifics better than others. Will you use is outdoors, does it need to be waterproof, changeable lenses, power considerations such as ability to plug into the mains or how long is battery life if needed, 4k resolution or 1080p/HD?, frames per second (fps)at what resolution, Why fps is very important if filming fast moving scenes,  physical size, price range. Then there is all the accessories you might need such as lighting, external mics etc.. This topic is more about knowing what questions you should be asking so I hope this give a few considerations.

With editing software amazing things can be done. I don't put to much time into my videos (obviously, lol)  because I don't really care about becoming a brand name without a face or a youtuber with a tops channel. With the few editing packages I've bought/used in the past I found it really depends on how much time you wish to put into something. Many companies selling editing software allow a trial. Again, use youtube for research.

A professional is a professional because that is what they do,  so I say weigh up your effort and time for the result you factually think people will care about. If it's that important then pay a professional to make it and do what you do best.

Over all, think more about exactly what it is you want to produce and then research on Youtube as there you can see results that people have already made. Believe me when I say that a professional can usually take a good picture with a cheap camera better than a novice with a high end camera because the pro understands things like lighting and composition and probably knows how to use editing software very well. My videos are crap in quality not because I shoot them on my phone, but because I just don't make much more effort than the basics of "can I see what it is", lol...

I did a minute of searching youtube and found this, it look like a nice video camera and although I don't have one it supposedly does 60 fps at 1080p and has a cable to plug into the wall. I'm not saying this is best for you, but it gives you some criteria of what to look for.

Hope this helps
All the best, let us know what you get :)



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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2016, 03:21:00 PM »

Maybe is commonplace, but I would buy a camera with the possibility to disable the autofocus and the other automatisms.
In mine (Canon Legria) I can't, and I am not always happy with the results. 
I was a photography enthusiast, printing by myself black and white photos from my negatives in the darkroom. I had a large 6 x 4.5 camera.  The best results are obtained using the camera fully manually, when possible, (if you have the time to do so).
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 03:25:22 PM by Iacopo »

Jeremy McCreary

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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2016, 04:40:49 PM »

I don't have a specific camera recommendation for you, but my video adventures with (i) the camera in my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone, and (ii) a high-end Canon 7D DSLR may be of interest. Like Iacopo, I'm an old photography buff with a lot of experience shooting stills. However, I'm fairly new to videography. I want all the things Iacopo wants in a still camera, but my videography needs seem to be quite different.

Why the camera phone usually works for me: For videos of tops in action, I've actually come to prefer the phone camera -- mostly for the autofocus and autoexposure features. The phone's image quality is plenty good enough for YouTube in 1080 HD, and it has important features that the 7D actually lacks -- most notably autofocus and autoexposure while shooting. It also has a fairly capable "pro" mode allowing some valuable manual control. Autoexposure can be turned off in pro mode, but I don't yet know of a way to disable autofocus.

For reasons I don't quite understand, the phone's low-light performance is much better than the 7D's, even at low manual ISOs. And at ~10% of the 7D's weight, it's also much easier to handle, albeit at the expense of increased shake. Tripod mounts for smartphones are cheap and effective. (I like Reticam products here.)

The biggest problems with the DLSR: When the camera-subject distance changes significantly during a shoot, the DSLR must be refocused manually. And if exposure changes during the shoot, the correct exposure must be recaptured manually as well. Canon views these as "professional" features, but I generally find them a royal pain in practice -- even in tripod shoots with both hands free. A professional videographer might be quick and accurate enough to maintain decent focus and exposure with the 7D and a moving subject, but I certainly can't! Lack of an assistant to handle the tops during the shoot (my usual situation) makes the problem much, much worse and often impossible. The great weight of the DSLR also makes it almost impossible to hold and shoot with one hand -- even with a grip.

Where the DSLR shines: The only time I turn to the DLSR for top videos now is when I need its aperture-priority mode (absent in the phone camera's "pro" mode) and its huge depth of field. I also turn to it now and then for its interchangeable lenses and its ability to mount a polarizer. (The lenses mainly help me fill the frame without close-up distortion.) The DSLR's image quality is a little better, too -- but not enough to make me want to use it for video on a regular basis.

My YouTube channel has many LEGO top videos. I don't hold these out as examples of what to do, as I'm still a pretty lousy videographer. The last video shot with the 7D is the one entitled "Technical LEGO: R-rail, a simple RC dragster".
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 05:52:10 PM by Jeremy McCreary »
Playing with the physical world through LEGO


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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2016, 06:26:39 PM »

This thread made me think of my old Yashika-D 120 twin lens reflex so I looked it up on google and almost choked when I saw the price they go for. I need to call ol' mama and ask if it is still in my pile of junk stored in Canada!


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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2016, 12:39:03 AM »

Without seeing what your results are, it's difficult to point blame at the camera. 720p is OK, which is what a Flip can do, but they aren't really meant to be a great camera. Handy and convenient, yes.

My DSLR and my two newer SD-based camcorders all do a better job. One is a Canon camcorder, the other is the Sony. My DSLR is a Nikon D3200(a mid-range DSLR since I'm migrating from my stolen advanced point and shoot to this one). You could have lighting issues as well.

I'd say throw up a 30 second video. Doesn't have to be great. I do recommend upgrading past the Flip cams. I have 2. They are neat, they work great,but I don't put a whole lot of faith into their final results unless the lighting is great. You can get amazing results under $200 if you choose wisely. If you go the DSLR route, it just costs more. The larger lenses often can work in your favor.
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jim in paris

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Re: Camera For making videos/pictures... Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 07:37:49 AM »

hi all
i side with Iacopo on the topic of simple photos:

if you can adjust the speed and diaphragm , you have control on the depth of field
and the addition of simple white panels to direct the light where needed can provide very good results
with low to medium digital weight
there was a very good article in woodturning mag some years ago on "how to photograph your work"
if i can find it , i'll post it

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