Advice on new HD Camcorder?

Started Jan 29, 2013 | Questions thread
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dcr55
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Advice on new HD Camcorder?
Jan 29, 2013

Hi all,

I hope you have the time to assist me with a camcorder purchase, because things are not going as easily as I had expected. I have spent hours digging around in an attempt to find the right camcorder for my needs, but I keep landing in confusion because I just can’t lock one down.

I have been tasked with purchasing a camcorder for my company. The camcorder will be used for recording web “usability” sessions. These sessions consist of a fixed overhead camera mount, pointing straight down on a table surface, which records a person who is attempting to navigate black and white paper prototypes of website mock-ups via scenarios we provide (click there, do that, where would you go to do this, etc). We use the design feedback to create the site from there.

We have been using the JVC GZ-MS230 Everio, which is SD 640x480, also which records in that MOD file format. I was converting this file by renaming to .MPG and then running it through Expressions because I have to ultimately end up with a Windows Media friendly format (wma is what I have been using). After all was said and done, the videos were acceptable, but hardly optimal for crisp viewing. I figured anything would be better than this camera…

Once we purchase this new camera, it will be a long time before we get a budget allowance for another one, so this one must “do it all”. Then of course, the budget we do have is tight. $350-$650 should be good, but anything closer to $350 is better, which I am quite certain is impossible given my research so far.

The camera requirements I thought we would need are as follows:

-  HD recording w/HDMI output, A/V output – (we sometimes stream to an observation room)

-  Mic input

-  Remote Control (optional or included)

- Windows friendly export and conversion (files must be viewed in Windows Media Player)

- Good focus from approximately 3-4 feet away – we record 11 x 14 sheets or slightly larger

- The rooms are pretty well lit so low light is not essential and we can always boost lighting

The problem I ran into quite quickly in my research was the remote control part. I simply do not see many camcorders that have one, and if they do, the camera itself is already meeting the top of my budget or exceeding it drastically. The Canon VIXIA HF M50 looked decent, and I found a Sony HDR-PJ30V (slightly older) for around $459, but with a new crop of camcorders arriving soon, I am just overwhelmed with which one to settle on.

Thank you in advance, and sorry for such a long first post!

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Pentax Optio M50
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