The rule of thumb for videography and photography is to use what is in your budget when starting out. This is because videography and photography are hobbies in their own right; this means that when you get into it, your reaction could go either way. Unlike a job, with a hobby, you can either find yourself turned off by it and quitting the hobby or getting more attracted to this. However, one thing that isn’t always emphasized is that everyone has a different budget. Especially when moving up the photography ladder.
Beginner: $100 – $150
Flip UltraHD - The Flip UltraHD is a videography wonder. You may think, for such an inexpensive device, how incredible can it be? The Flip UltraHD is a common choice for both amateurs and professional videographers alike. The professional aspect enjoys the ability to have pleasant HD quality without having to carry a large camcorder or DSLR. The amateur group love not having to spend so much for such a good video experience. While the Flip is discontinued, many retailers still have them in stock. One thing you don’t have to worry about is finding one just yet, however when the time comes that they become scarce, Kodak is then a great alternative for pocketable HD video. In addition, the Kodak models offer full HD (1080p) quality.
Runner Up: Kodak Z models and Playsport
A Step Up: $200 – $300
Panasonic HM-TA20 - The rugged and waterproof Panasonic HM-TA20 offers you the security of a sturdy device with great quality to back it up. The Panasonic device is still considered a step up in the fact that it has the Flip layout feel that makes it approachable while still offering higher quality video. If your budget permits, this is a perfect camera to begin your videography with. If not, the Flip and Kodak models are great beginner devices. Plus, it comes with 1080p quality!
Runner Up: None at the moment
Prosumer: $500 – $700
Canon VIXIA HF M32 – This is a good camera for the money. That is a good and a bad thing. That is a good thing in the fact that you are getting a deal. However, it also means you get what you paid for. As anyone knows, that means there are going to be a couple of flaws. The navigation on this thing isn’t at its best, and for really good video quality, you’ll have to sacrifice memory and battery life. If you don’t find yourself using the touch screen too much and if you are okay with finding a large memory card, then this camera is a great step up from the more beginner pocketable cameras.
Runner Up: Canon VIXIA HF M400
Professional: $900 – $1000
Canon VIXIA HF S200 - The Canon VIXIA HF S200 is on the high end for midrange camcorders. This means that you get amazing quality and manual features while still being accessible to common users. The VIXIA HF S200 offers you full control over your video shooting with having the form factor of a familiar home movie camcorder. However, for the price, I am getting the same problems as with the Prosumer camera. The VIXIA HF S200 doesn’t have navigation as its strong suit. The HF S200 also is a memory and battery sucker, you need bigger memory cards and more charging to get the job done. All in all, the quality speaks for the experience you get with this camera.
Runner Up: Canon VIXIA HF S21
Cinema Crew: $1500 and ⬆
Sony NEX-VG10 - The high end professional will find this camera to be great to use. The prosumer will find the Sony NEX-VG10 as a great way to practice using a professional form factor in photography. The NEX-VG10 comes with a detachable lens. This allows you to get the custom ability that comes with a DSLR, with the quality of a high-end camcorder. If you have the money, this is the camera for you.
Runner Up: Canon VIXIA HF G10