Byron Campbell
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Having no luck researching random search results on Amazon, I decided to turn to the experts at BGG for help. This seemed like the most appropriate forum.

I am looking to buy a camcorder primarily to record gameplay videos for YouTube. I am looking for a low-end model with basic functionality and the following priorities:

1) I am primarily looking for a small "action cam" or Pov camera that I can use to record hands-free video. A small, unobtrusive tripod would be an alternative.

2) Since I am recording indoors, it needs to be good in low-light conditions.

3) It should have decent audio recording or be easy to record via an external mic.

4) Ease of use is a high priority, particularly when it comes to uploading the video to YouTube. Something that plugs in via USB and uses a simple file format, or even something that uploads directly via wifi, would be best.

5) I am looking for a budget option, $50-$100. Not a professional photographer or video reviewer, for hobby use only.

What are your recommendations?
 
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Mike Wuerthele
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Got an old iPhone, or similar? On the Apple side, anything iPhone 4 and up will do this nicely.
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Hanna Dickhut
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I'm not a videographer, but with that sort of budget, pawn shops are likely your best bet.

If you can bump your budget up, a used Canon Rebel (or Nikon equivalent) would be your next best bet for doing photography and video. It's a nice entry DSLR with video capabilities, so it's going to be useful beyond reviews. I only recently upgraded my Canon Rebel XTi after using the heck out of it for 8 years.

Again, I don't do video, but that's what I'd do.
 
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Alexander Banks
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20sidesofnerd wrote:
Got an old iPhone, or similar? On the Apple side, anything iPhone 4 and up will do this nicely.


I second this. In response to each of OP's points...

1) It's small compared to most cameras. Regarding a tripod, there's tons of inexpensive photography accessories, including tripods, available for iPhones.

2) I found both my old 4 and my current 5S deal with a range of lighting conditions very well.

3) The microphone on modern iPhones (4 and later) is really good. You could also plug the earbuds that came with the phone for a lapel mic setup.

4) Can upload to YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-sharing platforms (including cloud storage such as Google Drive if you have the appropriate app) directly over mobile data or wifi via the camera app.

5) Chances are you or a friend has one. Otherwise, a used/refurbished iPhone 4 will typically go for around £50-£100 ($70-$140).
 
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Vic DiGital
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Houston
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I'm a professional video producer, and everything Alexander Banks said above is accurate. People are shooting feature films (low budget, to be sure, but still capable of being projected on movie screens, or at least large TVs), on phones, so they can definitely handle web videos.
 
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Byron Campbell
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Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has an "old iPhone" lying around....

For my budget and needs, I felt it was best to just splurge a bit and get a GoPro Hero+ (intro level model).
 
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Alexander Banks
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kittenhoarder wrote:
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has an "old iPhone" lying around....

For my budget and needs, I felt it was best to just splurge a bit and get a GoPro Hero+ (intro level model).


That would've been my second recommendation, but I didn't know if the wide-angle lens would work for your needs
 
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Vic DiGital
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kittenhoarder wrote:
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has an "old iPhone" lying around....

For my budget and needs, I felt it was best to just splurge a bit and get a GoPro Hero+ (intro level model).


I'm a little confused at your resistance to using a phone. I have to assume that you don't have a smartphone of any kind, or else you'd have discovered how good even two or three year old smartphone cameras are. It doesn't have to be an iphone. Android phones (especially Samsung) have as good, or better, cameras than iphone.

If you already have a good smartphone, just use that. No need to get another phone just to record videos.

If you don't have a smartphone, then this is the perfect opportunity to graduate into one. For the price of a GoPro, you could get a great Android or iphone. You'd have a great camera, AND you'd have access to the thousands of great apps. A GoPro is great for certain kinds of shots, but for what it sounds like what you want to do, it's going to end up causing frustration for you. Just my two cents.
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Simon Fradette
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VicDigital wrote:
kittenhoarder wrote:
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has an "old iPhone" lying around....

For my budget and needs, I felt it was best to just splurge a bit and get a GoPro Hero+ (intro level model).


I'm a little confused at your resistance to using a phone. I have to assume that you don't have a smartphone of any kind, or else you'd have discovered how good even two or three year old smartphone cameras are. It doesn't have to be an iphone. Android phones (especially Samsung) have as good, or better, cameras than iphone.

If you already have a good smartphone, just use that. No need to get another phone just to record videos.

If you don't have a smartphone, then this is the perfect opportunity to graduate into one. For the price of a GoPro, you could get a great Android or iphone. You'd have a great camera, AND you'd have access to the thousands of great apps. A GoPro is great for certain kinds of shots, but for what it sounds like what you want to do, it's going to end up causing frustration for you. Just my two cents.


I don't think it's resistance as much as simply NOT having a phone. I'm in the same situation as OP (looking to record stuff) and most people at first suggest using a phone, but I simply don't have one, nor really feel the need to get one.
With that being said, do you really think using a phone would yield similar quality to a dedicated camera (like the GoPro), considering filming is the main goal?
 
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Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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Kayril wrote:
I don't think it's resistance as much as simply NOT having a phone. I'm in the same situation as OP (looking to record stuff) and most people at first suggest using a phone, but I simply don't have one, nor really feel the need to get one.
With that being said, do you really think using a phone would yield similar quality to a dedicated camera (like the GoPro), considering filming is the main goal?

It depends on the recording conditions and the output format. Today's phone sensors have come a really long way and if you have good light where you record, and publish to web only, a phone's full HD output is easily enough. Where dedicated video recording devices outshine phones is recording in low light, recording high dynamic range scenes, recording high frame rates, recording high (4k) resolutions, and providing direct access to the video signal through a direct HDMI output or the likes for highest-quality uncompressed video.

I'm speaking of "dedicated video recording devices" and not camcorders because if you want something that takes good video, you're better off with a photo camera today than with a video camera. Something like a Panasonic GH4 is used by many professional videographers. If you get something dedicated for video, don't get a camcorder. Camcorders are a dying breed and technologically outdated. (The exception are the highest-end cameras used for cinema.)

A GoPro is something else entirely. A GoPro is an action camera, and it shines because it has all of that "throw it against a rock and it'll still work under water" thing going. What decides video performance are mainly two things: Optics, and sensor size. The GoPro has slightly better optics than smartphones, but it does not have a larger sensor than top-end smartphones. And the optics are made for action scenes, too, with fisheye distortions that work great for action shots but don't work at all for board game videos. You can remove these distortions, but that'll digitally alter the image and make the image quality from a GoPro objectively worse than the image quality from a smartphone.
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