Video Camera

Old Feb 14th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Video Camera

Hello Everyone,

I was just wondering what, if any, kind of video camera you used on your safari. I have seriously been considering purchasing one lately since the price of most has come down a great deal with the advent of DVD and HD cameras. Was it worthwhile for you or did you find it too bulky to have. I should say that I'm really not lloking for anything high tech. Just some nice images and good sound.

julimbo is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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I bought the Sony's HDRFX1 HDV Handycam® Digital Camcorder with Manual Zoom Ring and is very happy with it.

The picture quality,sound etc is out of this world!Watching my videos on a 55'' Hitachi HD tv(Director series) with B & W speakers and surround sound is definately woth it-go HD you won't be sorry!
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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I used a fairly cheap Panasonic, the most important feature was a 30X zoom. If I could afford it I would be hard pressed to choose between such a great zoom versus a high def video camera.

Following are links to some of my videos (I took over 8 hours):

videos by Kevin:

Giraffes in Samburu Checking Out Walking Humans:

Giraffe Crossing River:

Leopard in the Samburu:

15 Reticulated Giraffes Feeding Together in Samburu:

Samburu Dancers:

Lions Mating in the Samburu:

Mama Cheetah with Four Cubs:

We Get a Bit Too Close for a Mama Elephant:

Last of the Wildebeest Crossing:

Are we dinner?:

Lion Kill in Masai Mara:

Kevin from California
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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I agree with safarinut with the thought of going HD. We bought the Sony HVR A1U for our Kili climb and Maasai Mara migration trip this past July/Aug. I think it may be a little smaller and less expensive than safarinut's (but also probably not quite as good though heads and shoulders above our non HD models). It is easy to use and the quality of the images spectacular. As so many tv's now have or will have dedicated HD inputs it is simple to connect. It is a bit more challenging to turn high def minidv into highdef or even regular dvd for easier viewing but with the advent of new hd dvd burners I suspect it will really be very easy. Canon even makes a palmcorder size so it is no longer an issue of hd means a very large camcorder. Obviously, there are hundreds of standard minidv camcorders that range in price from a few hundred to a thousands of dollars and also digital cameras that take pretty good movies in an mpeg mode on SD cards or the like. The problem with dedicating a digital camera as a video also is running out of memory and not being able to down load it. Tapes last at least an hour and there are some new hd tapes that are 85min.
Sorry if this is more info than you wanted or needed.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 12:41 PM
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I use a Sony vx2100 which is an awesome camera. However I think to get competent images and most importantly sound you do not need to spend $2000+.
Optical zoom is important, digital zoom is a waste of time, don't even think about using it. Also seriously consider some kind of stabilization. I have a light weight tripod that I can set the camera up on, then I tape long segments at sightings and edit down for the best shots when I get home. Also get a Mac for editing, very easy to use.
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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Last May I used a Panasonic PV-GS500 and we got great video. The bad was that my wife had to be the camera person on safari while I operated the Canon DLSR, thus the videos have lots of shake, stops/starts at wrong time, etc. I tried my best to get her up to speed, but even with that we still have some great footage. GM at our lodge became the camera man for our wedding ceremony and that footage came out very well. Hindsight, wish I had spent a little more for an HD camcorder, but choices weren't that great a year ago. I added an extended zoom mic from Panasonic & also their external video light(wedding use only). The mic was awesome
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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For what it is worth, my opinion....

I would agree that the GS500 is excellent, especially if you are what could be called a "serious beginner" (make sense?). Ease of use is comparable with Sony unless you want to go manual, it is great in low light,and the image stabilisation is excellent(no small thing on safari). We chose it over an HD camera because HD technology is new and therefore probably still overpriced for what you get, because our own tests (at the airport duty free!) showed the image stabilisation to be way better, and because it offered great low light performance outdoors (not by professional standards of course). The only better alternative involved spending considerably more.... so price was a consideration. Sound is really good too.

Negatives: It does not film in unlit darkness (well it does with limited range but any movement is blurry) but I didn't want grainy green movies anyway.

Here are a bunch of differing opinions by owners/users/people with too much time on their hands... scroll to the bottom of the page.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Thanks everyone. I plan to spend part of this weekend at various camera stores to see what's out there. Hopefully I'll get to bring one home.

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