People often ask for buying tips on equipment, so here’s what to look for in a less-expensive ‘family’ level video camera. This specific request was for a teen and they were wondering what it would be like using an iPad for video, so we discuss that as well. The next level above these cameras mentioned, really is the sweet spot these days if you are a family wanting a nice camera that you’ll be happy with the quality, low-light performance over the next few years.

Ken Says:

Should someone just use an iPad for video & what’s the best way to buy an iPad:

  • Here are  refurb iPads: On Apple Site Here
  • It’s awkward to use for video and not really the best quality… the way to think about it is if you *really* want an iPad, the video and photo are OK add ons. But if you want to take nice video, there are a million better ways to do it.
  • Here’s an example video taken on iPad: YouTube Video HERE
  • Really any snapshot camera video would give you that quality.

What’s good as an inexpensive video camera for a teen or family:

  • If the goal is to take good video, a dedicated camera is great and the least expensive $129: On Amazon HERE
  • A real video camera is best for quick focus, zooming, etc. You want a digital camera that takes little SD camera cards to record onto.
  • You MUST make sure your computer is up to the task of video editing!
  • Better in low light (which matters more than you’d guess), a step up $199: On Amazon HERE
  • Here’s sample footage HERE
  • Review: HERE
  • They say not good in low light, but at that price, you’d expect that… and have to go up higher in price or to the still camera with video like the Canon Rebel.


Amazing Video Quality, Nice Still Photos… Not as Easy to Use: The Digital SLR Camera with Video

  • If the goal is to have a great still photo camera and stunning HD quality video (but not as easy to use for video, to zoom and focus, etc) then something like a Canon Rebel Series is great: On Amazon HERE
  • Look at this video quality: YouTube Video HERE


General Notes:

  • Make sure any camera is full HD 1080.
  • You can learn a lot here, but it gets pretty geeky: Digital Photo Review
  • And it doesn’t have to be these specific cameras or Amazon… but use them as a guide.
  • You’ll want an SD card— You want a ‘Class 10’ or faster to record video well $20: On Amazon HERE
  • You want  a nice optical zoom (digital zoom is never good, just ignore it when you see it… it adds no value).
  • If you really think your needs are really just getting  a few seconds here and there clips of friends goofing off, you might want to consider the iPod touch instead or carrying a full video camera.

Hope that helps some folks navigate all of the options and ways you can get HD video today!

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