Obviously, in order to create videos you’re going to need a camera. The question is what kind of camera should you use? There are lots of different types of cameras that fit with the types of videos you may want to create.
Using your smartphone as your camera is an option although personally I wouldn’t want to use that as my permanent camera. I don’t really want to take up space on my phone with all of my videos. And depending on your phone, your camera might not be the best quality. But if you don’t have a camera to use right away, a smartphone works great, especially if you have a newer phone! Once you take video on your phone you can either edit them on a video editing app, or you could plug your phone into you computer or laptop and take the videos off of it from there. Also, if I do take videos on my phone, I’ll sometimes upload them to my Google Drive and then download them on my laptop. If you’re not sure you will like filming and editing videos then I strongly recommend just using your phone at first. You don’t want to buy an expensive camera and then end up not liking filming and video editing!
There are tons of different video cameras to choose from but I’m going to break it down into categories: Basic/Low End video cameras, and Advanced/High End video cameras.
– Basic / Low End
This can be from something as simple as the Coby Snapp $34.00 video camera, all the way up to the $200.00 Sony Handycam HDR-CX240 Camcorder. I think anything over $200.00 is where the higher quality video cameras come in. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t want something too expensive. Although, the Coby Snapp camera that I mentioned earlier is a pretty bad quality camera. It gets the job done, but it’s cheaply made and the video quality is poor.
If you find that you really like video editing and filming then I would recommend getting a Flip Video camera. Flip Video is actually no longer in business, but you can still purchase their video cameras on websites like Amazon. One of their models (shown in the picture to the right) is called the Flip MinoHD (2nd Generation) and costs $149.95, which may seem like a lot to some people. But if you really enjoy filming, don’t want to pay over $300.00 for a camera, and still want good video quality, then Flip Video cameras are perfect. I have the Flip MinoHD and it’s very simple to use. The red button is to record and select things, the play button is to watch your video clips back, and the trash can button is to delete videos. The little arrow keys are to move left and right in menus, and the plus and minus buttons are for zooming in and out. There’s a little switch to pop out the USB, and that’s it! It records up to 720p which is pretty good for such a simple camera. When you need a good camera to start out with, cameras like the Flip MinoHD are perfect.
If you want a camera that records 1080p but is still under $200.00, there are cameras for that as well. I have one called the Samsung HMX-W300. This video camera is not only 1080p, but it’s waterproof up to 16.4 feet, shockproof, and dustproof. There are more controls on this camera as well which gives you more options. The center button that says “OK” is to record and select things. This camera can take videos and pictures, so the small button on the top left of the controls is to switch between video and photos. You can watch videos and delete videos with the play button and the trash can button. There are also video effects, like sepia and fish eye, built into this camera which you can get to from the bottom right button. You can zoom in and out, and there is also an aqua mode button on the center circle. This button makes it so that the audio is better under water then if you were just filming normally under water. The USB comes out of the bottom when you flick a little switch. This camera costs $159.99 which is only $10.00 more than the Flip MinoHD. So if you are willing to pay an extra $10.00, you get a lot more features! If you look up 1080p video cameras online, there are lots of other video cameras that record 1080p and are under $200.00.
– Advanced/High End
Advanced, high end video cameras is where they start to get pretty pricey, but you get the best quality, and you get a lot of extra features.
A cheaper video camera that is more advanced would be the Sony Handycam Camcorder. This camcorder usually goes for about $224.99. So at this point you’re now over the $200.00 price range, but with cameras like these you start to see features you can’t get on cheaper cameras. This camera records in 1080p. It has 30x Optical Zoom and 60x Clear Image Zoom which means you can zoom in really closely on something without losing much of the video quality. This camera also has face detection which means it can actually see when there are faces in the frame. It has voice enhancement, noise reduction, and video and image effects. If you like the style of a camcorder better than the types of video cameras I talked about above, there are lots of camcorders that are under $200.00. They just aren’t going to have all the features that a camcorder like the Sony Handycam has.
There are lots of cameras like the Sony Handycam that can range from $300 to $800. For example, Sony has another Handycam camcorder that records video in 4K that costs $748. What kind of camera you should get in this range really depends on which features you want. If you want 4K video quality, you’re going to have to pay a lot more than a camera that records 1080p. You shouldn’t be paying that much for a camera unless you are serious about filming and video editing, and maybe even turning it into your career. However if you are looking at becoming a professional in filming, there are video cameras that you can get that are like the ones professionals use to film movies. Since
I’ve been talking about Sony cameras in this section, so I’ll continue with that company. Sony has a professional video camera called the Sony HXRNX100 Camcorder. This camera goes for $1,619.68. So this is obviously something you really need to think about before just going ahead and buying it. This camera has high sensitivity and high resolution. It has really great zoom 48x Digital Zoom. It also has something called Active Steady Shot that gets rid of the sway you would get if you were walking while filming. It has a three lens ring for focus, zoom, and iris manual control, and has slow motion and quick motion. You can also add attachments to this camera like a microphone for even better audio. If you really understand any of these terms or features then you really shouldn’t be thinking about getting a camera like this yet. There’s a lot of knowledge about filming that goes into using a camera like this, as it’s not as simple as just pressing a button and recording.
As you can see there is a really large range of video cameras you can get. I know I used Sony as an example for many of these, but there are tons of other camera companies you could look into. To name a few, there’s Cannon, Panasonic, and Samsung. Like I said, what you should spend on a video camera really depends on your experience and which features you want on your camera.
Action cameras are a little different then video cameras. Yes, they technically are video cameras considering they shoot video, but I put them in their own section because there’s something different about them. Action cameras are rugged and are meant to be able to hold up while doing things like mountain biking, swimming, and hiking. They’re built for moving around and being active, where as if you used a Sony Handycam to go mountain biking, it could easily break if you were to drop it. Action cameras also keep the video steady considering you are moving around a lot.
You may have heard of the popular brand GoPro. Lots of people post videos of their adventurous experiences on YouTube using a GoPro. To the left is a picture of the original GoPro Hero, which costs $129.99. Most action cameras like the GoPro have something called a Fish Eye lens which makes the video more wide angled. This GoPro records in 1080p. The button on the top is the record button, and the button on the front is the power button. The tiny little screen shows you how long you have been recording for. This GoPro doesn’t have a display screen on the back, which means you can’t actually see what you are recording. But because it has a wide angle lens, that shouldn’t really be a problem. The plastic case around the camera is called the housing and is used to protect it, especially if you are going underwater. The bottom black piece is a mount. GoPro makes lots of mounts and accessories that you can attach to the camera. GoPro is now up to the Hero 5. The Hero 5 is waterproof without having the plastic case around it, and also has a display screen on the back so you can see what you’re filming. It also records 4K video. The GoPro Hero 5 goes for $399.99, so if you’re not looking to spend that much then you may want to get an older GoPro. Although I wouldn’t recommend getting the first GoPro Hero after I had a bad experience with it, and also because there is no display screen. I would recommend going with the GoPro Hero 3+ which costs $245 and was the first GoPro to have a display screen. There are also other companies that make action cameras like Nikon.
This is a collage of the cameras that my brother and I have for making YouTube videos. The top left Canon camera and the bottom left Samsung camera are digital cameras which are really made for pictures, but you can take videos with them. The top right is the Coby Snapp, the middle left are 2 Flip MinoHD cameras, the middle right is the Samsung HMX-W300, and the bottom right is the original GoPro Hero.
So there you have it. I obviously didn’t cover every type of camera you can buy, but this is a general idea. What kind of camera you want to use is completely up to you and should depend on what you want to pay, what features you want, and what kind of videos you will be making.