The Anchor: 5 low-cost HD cameras that come in handy for journos

30 Apr,2012

Gone are the days of bulky camera units…now any reporter can move around with slick video gear that doesn’t require a whole crew to function around with. Here are a few options of low cost HD cameras that can come in handy for journalists on the move, especially if you carry the tag of a ‘multimedia journalist’.


1. Kodak Zi8:

An easy to carry pocket size full HD camera. It’s a great combination of superior video quality and a reasonable price. It comes with an attached foldable USB which you can easily plug into your computer to upload videos. A step up from its previous model, Zi8 records full 1080p HD video. And it also has other video mode options like, 720p/60fps, 720p/30fps or a WVGA mode. You can also shoot stills at 5 megapixels. Another big plus is an external mic jack which helps you attach an external mic to get great sound quality. There are hardly any product offerings at this price that come with an external audio jack. The design is simple, it looks almost like a phone which you can easily slip into your pockets. It also features a few interesting tricks like face detection and digital image stabilization.

Price: Rs. 8000 approx.


2. Flip Ultra HD:

Another pocket size camera that records HD quality. Flip pretty much kick-started the pocket camcorder trend. The Flip, like the Zi8 comes with built-in software for uploading straight to YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. Using the side-mounted flip-out USB connection you can plug it straight into a PC or Mac to either copy your files over or upload them directly from the device. Like the Zi8, this too comes with a HDMI connection if you want to plug it directly into a TV. It comes with an internal storage of upto 8GB, enough for 2 hours of recording. In terms of battery, the Flip Ultra offers the best of both worlds: rechargeable battery pack, or the option of regular AA batteries if it runs flat and you can’t charge it. It has added features like image stabilization, and its low light performance is impressive as well.

Price: Rs. 9000 approx.


3. Kodak Playsport:

A shockproof, dustproof and a waterproof camera that records full HD video. If you want to record video outdoors, at the beach, or anywhere else there’s water, Kodak Playsport is a top choice. It can withstand drops up to 5 feet, and it’s as waterproof as ever, with the ability to shoot up to 10 feet deep. Unlike the Kodak Zi8, it does not come with an external audio jack or a built-in USB connector. You have the option to record in high-definition 720p at 30 or 60 frames per second or at 1080p at 30 fps. Videos are recorded as MP4 files which can be uploaded directly into YouTube and Facebook for sharing.

Price: Rs. 7000 approx


4. Creative Vado:

A pocket camcorder that can record 720p high-definition video. It scores over other camcorders for its solid video quality and feature set. Unlike other camcorders, it comes with a wide-angle lens that lets you capture wider scenes and more action in your videos. Like the other pocket camcorders, the Vado HD has an integrated USB connector that you plug into a PC to offload your footage and charge the camcorder. The integrated 8GB of storage holds up to 2 hours of 720p high-definition video in HD+ mode, up to 4 hours of footage in HD mode, and up to 8 hours of standard-definition VGA video. Like Kodak Zi8, the Vado HD includes an external microphone port for recording better audio, and it doubles as a headphone jack for listening to playback on a pair of headphones. The Vado has a superior low-light performance and a manual exposure control.

Price: Rs. 8000 approx.


5. Sony Webbie MHS-PM 1:

The Sony Webbie resembles the Creative Vado. What helps it stand out of the pack of camcorders is its inclusion of five different shooting modes. Apart from its 1080p recording, it can also shoot decent 5 megapixels stills. It also offers convenient uploads to YouTube and sharing sites via USB cable, although it lacks an integrated USB connector like in the Zi8 or the Vado. It comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a tripod mount. The other key feature is the Webbie’s swiveling, fixed focal-length lens that provides some shooting flexibility and lets you record yourself while looking at the sharp 1.8-inch LCD. A few shortcomings, you cannot charge the battery in the camera, you have to remove it to charge it. Also, it lacks the HDMI connector found on other competing models.

Price: Rs. 9000 approx.


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