Video Cameras

Disclaimer: I searched and found nothing…

I’m looking into buying a video camera for next year to make a video of the full FIRST season and my local Lego League tournament (that I’m now too old for :frowning: ) Anyways, I’m looking for a camera for under 350 dollars and preferably closer to 300. Right now I’m looking at this! camera. It has a 24x zoom that I figured would help get close up shots from afar. Any advice/what do you use as a video camera?

That seems to be a pretty good camcorder for the price. Try to see if you can get a better price.

One thing about a MiniDV camcorder that is annoying is the media that is uses. Different tape manufactures uses different lubricants in their tapes, and some camcorders heads do not write well to some media. It is best to check reviews to see if the heads are sensitive to one particular type of tape or not.

Yup, he said it absolutely right. If you do go looking around for other cameras
Look at optical zoom, not digital. Try to fit a tripod in the deal - it’s worth it.
Study user reviews carefully and beware that all are not true.

What about battery life?
Seems to me like it should be a key factor (Or at least, availability of very long life batteries)

Most camcorders have removable batteries, and a lot of the manufactures only give the consumer a starter battery.

Here are a couple of key factors, in my opinion, when purchasing a camcorder is:

  1. The CCD. If a camcorder has tri-CCD you will get much better color then you would with just a mono-CCD. Also look at the size of the CCD’s, bigger ones can give you more resolution.

  2. The Optical Zoom, the bigger the better. Digital Zoom is absolutely nothing, and if you have to magnify something beyond the optical zoom, a piece of editing software will probably give you better results.

  3. Analog Video IN port, and External Mike. These might be insignificant to the casual user, but they come in very handy. If you have some old analog tapes, you can convert them using a Video IN. An external mike is also good because the onboard microphones usually pick-up the noise of the heads while they are writing to the tape. In the case of a robotics completion, it is not much of an issue, because the sound around you is much louder then the DV heads writing.

  4. Like I stated above try to see if they are sensitive to one type of tape or not. I have found that some people who bought cheap camcorders only to find out that they have to buy expensive tapes to get the best quality. Also when you make your purchase, make sure that you buy a cleaner tape that the manufacture recommends.

  5. Also check out what type of light requirements the camcorder needs. Some camcorders function very well in low light conditions, while others are very bad at it.

  6. Just a note, If you are thinking of buying a camcorder to act like a camera, you will be seriously disappointed. Even though they are getting better, they will only be marginally better than camera phone in terms of quality

Also a big thing to watch is the type of tape or media the camcorder takes. And also watch for availability in your area and cost. You might get one camera really cheap but the tapes cost a fortune and viceaversa.


I have the exact model of that camera from 2003 and that series has been pretty reliable in general. The compact size is great for me, since I don’t have a very steady hand. The only downfall is that it doesn’t shoot well in low light situations. The back light and light is alright, but if you are in a somewhat dark room, it is kinda hard to see. If that is going to be a problem for you, I’d recommend a Sony. Their “Night Shot” is an excellent feature for shooting at night or in low light situations.

If you are going to be digitizing footage, stick with a digital camcorder like that with the Mini-DV tapes.

They have excellent reviews over at Camcorder Definately worth checking out the reviews before you go out and buy something ^^