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Old Jun 30, 2013, 10:39 AM   #1
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Default Cheap, probably will-get stolen cam w/ long video time?

I'm going to be using something called a Soloshot to take movies of me surfing -- camera stays on the beach on a tripod and follows the action via remote control worn by the surfer. That being the case, there's a reasonable chance the get-up will get stolen. Losing the Soloshot would be bad enough, but add an expensive camera to that, and, well, you get the idea. So, is it possible to find something that costs under $100 and ....
has a zoom of 12x or more
can record for around 1.5 - 2 hrs at a time, even if that means it has to automatically restart itself every so often.
takes reasonably good videos.

That's about all I need but that in itself may be an impossible combination. Got any ideas? If not in a regular camera, then in a flash-based videocam of some sort?
Remember: cheap!

Thanks!
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Old Jun 30, 2013, 1:07 PM   #2
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My first reaction is that such a camera doesn't exist at the price you want it.
You probably need at least 450mm max zoom range and maybe more. Some of the newer travel zooms go out that far and even farther, but I have almost never seen them at less than $150 and most of them cost between $200 and $400.
My second reaction is that if there is a travel zoom on a tripod or some other kind of device on the beach, it will almost certainly be stolen, which is what you had figured, too.
My third reaction is why not just get a friend to hold the appropriate camera and take the pictures/videos? It will be cheaper and you will probably get better pictures.
My fourth reaction is, "Do you have access to a private beach?"
I recommend that you look at an Olympus SZ12 which has a 24X optical zoom and one of which is selling for $129 on Ebay.
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Old Jun 30, 2013, 3:47 PM   #3
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Thanks very much for your thoughts and suggestions. Though the camera and Soloshot might get stolen, I'm kind of doubting it'll actually happen. For one, I can hide it in the bushes (and still get a clear view of the h20). For another, I live in a small New England town and know most everybody, so any thief would most likely have to be an out-of-towner or some aggro kid on a bender. I don't mind playing the odds.

I looked at the SZ-12 and it seems to fit the bill. The only problem I see is something I'm going to have issues about with all cameras -- the 4gb recording limit. In the case of the Olympus, that gives me 29 min in HD, 80 min in 640 x 480 fine; and almost 3 hrs in 640 x 480 regular. Obviously, I'd prefer HD but ... how bad is the quality of 640 regular and fine?

I was also thinking about an older generation digicam like the Canon FS100. I can get a lot of time off its best-video mode, XP. But, how does XP compare to, say, 640 regular? Is it better? (FS100 is about $30 less than the SZ.)

Thanks again for the help!
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Old Jun 30, 2013, 7:20 PM   #4
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I may be wrong, but I wouldn't settle for VGA on a setup like this. It's going be too small to satisfy you. I would go for 720 HD. Best Buy has a Sony Camcorder on sale for $200 with 27X optical zoom.
I suggest this. Borrow somebody's camcorder or digital camera with a decent zoom. Buy them a pumpkin pie afterwards. Take the camera and have a friend or relative shoot you (surfing) with that camera for 5 or 10 minutes. Then review the video. It will give you an idea of what zoom range you need and what resolution and quality of picture will satisfy you. Then you can narrow your search for a camera/camcorder that will give you what you want.
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Old Jun 30, 2013, 9:52 PM   #5
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Sears has the SZ-12 for 80 bucks. Go here:
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00351041000P

Great price for an ok camera.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 7:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo View Post
Sears has the SZ-12 for 80 bucks. Go here:
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00351041000P

Great price for an ok camera.
Thanks for that but 29 minutes at 720HD just won't work for me. I really need an hour and a half. That maybe be impossible with a P&X. And it may be impossible w/ a cheap camcorder, too, given that battery times seem to be terrible with less expensive gear. Sigh.
Great price on the SZ-12, though. Just wish it'd work for me.

Last edited by linter; Jul 2, 2013 at 8:21 PM.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 7:25 PM   #7
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sadly, the recording time for HD won't work for me. oh well. thanks anyway for your help!
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 6:50 PM   #8
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In that case, I think you would be happier with a camcorder. Maybe not for less than $100, but for $200, you might be able to get something with a decent zoom, HD output for an extended time, and decent video/still picture quality.
Check out dealsofamerica for some quotes on good camcorder deals.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 8:09 PM   #9
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thanks, robbo, very helpful all the way around. think i'll post this question on dp as well, to see if anyone there has any ideas. thanks again!
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