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Old Jun 2, 2010, 12:02 AM   #1
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Default Recommendations For Compact Camera That Takes HD Video

Everyone,

I am looking for a compact camera that records HD video. I intended to use the camera as a pocket camcorder. I was looking at the Kodak ZI8 and Playsport camcorders, but decided I would check into compact cameras for better optics. I would like for recommendations on a compact camera with the following features:

1. Compact (fit in pocket)
2. Wide Angle Lens
3. 4x Optical Zoom or Higher
4. Good Low Light Performance ISO 3200 or higher
5. Able to use optical zoom while recording video
6. No video recording length (if possible)
7. Macro mode for close up still shots
8. HDMI Output
9. I would like to spend $200 to $225 (if possible)

Thanks for your help
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 12:26 AM   #2
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The camera that is likely to closest fit these criteria is the Panasonic LX3. Video recording length is usually related to country of origin. In the UK for example, the manufacturer is required by law to limit recording time. In the US/Canada/Japan, you will have no such restriction on this camera. The price will be more like $390 USD.

No camera exists to my knowledge that fits your criteria in the $200-225 range unless you want to buy a used camera.
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 7:11 PM   #3
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Thank you for taking the time to post a recommendation. I knew that I was asking a lot. Do you have any recommendations for a wide angled camera, that will let you use optical zoom while you record video, and produces good quality HD video.

Do you think that the point and shoot cameras will produce higher quality video than a pocket camcorder like the Kodak ZI8 or Playsport?

Thanks
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 7:30 PM   #4
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The Zi8 is typically considered one of the best pocket camcorders though its still image quality (if its even capable) will be poor. None of them will do well in low-light. The cheapest low-light camcorder is the Sanyo Xacti which was going for about $350 last year. However, the IS was terrible so it virtually required a tripod. The other cams that provided low-light capability equal to it currently range in price from $700-1200. There are cameras that can do as well or better such as the Panasonic GH1 but that is around the $1000 price point as well.

To stay in that $200 price range, you're going to have to give up a few things. The Fuji F series cams can do low-light fairly well and they are at the $200 mark However, they don't do HD video and they are essentially only 5MP cams that require a steep learning curve to get optimal performance.

We can rule out the other larger sensor cameras like the LX3 due to price. We can do the same for the higher end P&S pocket cams like the ZS7 and HX5V.

If you can forgo the low-light performance (and you will essentially have to), you could look at the ZS3, which have actually gone up about $60 since they were discontinued. You could certainly find a used one cheaper if you wish. Another option is the ZR3 which is $237 at B&H Photo.
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 9:07 PM   #5
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Give up on the 3200 iso, no compact can shoot well up there. They put it in but even the s90 do not perform well past 1600iso.

But the for your price range, the panasonic zr1 is a good option along with zs3 if you can find one. ZR1 is selling for 167 dollar at costco.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 12:36 AM   #6
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ZR1 doesn't do AVCHD; ZR3 does though.
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:09 PM   #7
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I’ve done some research since my last post. I am comparing the Lumix ZR3 to the Lumix ZS7. The only major difference I can find between is them is the ZR3=8x and ZS7=12x optical zoom. As far as I can tell they share pretty much the same internals, is this true?

Also, can I expect pretty much the same HD video performance from the ZR3 as the ZS7?
Thanks.
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 9:22 PM   #8
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An additional difference between the ZS7 and ZR3 is that the ZS7 has a stereo microphone and the ZR3 has mono microphone.

This is a little confusing because in the ZR3’s specs, beside the HDMI connection for audio says Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator.

I guess this is so that the mono audio is output in a digital format for HDMI?
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Old Jun 5, 2010, 12:52 AM   #9
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The 2 models are very similar in image and video performance. The ZS7 mainly just adds a few features such as GPS, longer zoom, better LCD, etc.
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Old Jun 5, 2010, 12:53 PM   #10
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Five-O

Since you have the Panasonic ZS7 and Sony HX5, which do you prefer for recording HD video?

Do you notice the image jurking while you're recording video with the ZS7, while zoomed in and tracking a moving object? I was watching a review of the ZS7 on youtube and they noted this issue. They said that it was due to the anit-blurring technology built into the camera.

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