Buyer's Guides

The 7 Essentials of Buying a New Camera

Steve Garfield is a video blogging pioneer and has advised Fortune 500 brands like AT&T, Kodak, Nokia, and Panasonic. We’re thrilled to present this excerpt from his book Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business.

When I first started shooting video, it was with a Canon PowerShot S400 Digital Elph. It took movies at 320 × 240 and had a three-minute time limit. I used the camera for more than a year and never hit the limit because all my videos were short. I’d shoot little clips and then edit them together and post them online.

Now you have many more choices in both quality and shooting length.

Seven Things to Consider When Choosing a Camera
1. Camera Size
How does the camera feel in your hands? Will you be comfortable shooting with it? Do you like a small or large camera? Do you want to carry a camera with you all the time, in your pocket? How large is the view screen? A larger screen makes it easier to shoot and review your footage.

2. Video Format
Do you want to shoot HD video? Consumer grade HD, AVCHD, or standard HD? Are you satisfied with standard resolution? Where is your final destination for the video? Online, computer? DVD? TV? Do you want to be able to copy the files off the camera to edit them directly?

3. Sound
Is the on-camera microphone good enough for your needs? Do you want the ability to plug in an external microphone? Do you want a headphone jack to monitor sound as you shoot?

4. Tripod Mount
Do you want an option to be able to attach a tripod to keep the camera steady?

5. Expandability
Do you want to be able to replace the batteries and storage on the camera? Some cameras can only be recharged via USB while others support replaceable batteries. Where is the video stored? Internal memory, SD card, memory stick, hard disk, DVD, or tape?

6. Streaming
If you are interested in streaming live video, does the camera have video-out ports that allow you to stream? You need FireWire if you want to stream to a computer.

7. Price
What’s your price point? An inexpensive camera is a great way to get started. You can always decide to spend more for additional features later.

Excerpted with permission from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business, by Steve Garfield. Copyright © 2010 by Steve Garfield.


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