Need Advice About Home Video - Digital Video Camera vs. Reg Digital Camera

So, I have an older 2002-era Canon digital video camera that films to small tape cassettes, and I was considering upgrading to a more modern one that records to memory cards of some type.


I started taking short video clips with my new 2008-ish small Nikon pocket sized camera that until now I only used for stills.

My question is, what are the benefits of buying a full-on digital video camera these days versus just sticking with my small digital camera that can do video when needed? Is it worth it to upgrade, is there a significant qualitative difference nowadays? Only thing I can think of is the quality of the movies would be better.

The advantages are mainly: better lens, better resolution. Motion will be far less blurry than on your handheld camera too, because the framerate will be better (unless your pocket camera is one of the nifty new ones that isn’t crap in this regard).

If you do decide to upgrade, these are the quality metrics you should pay attention to:

  1. Format of recording. This is made up of two parts:
    1a) Resolution. Standard Definition is 720x480 (for NTSC land), Then the two High Definition resolutions are 1280x720 (720) and 1920x1200 (1080). Each company misuses the HD jargon in a different way, so to be sure find out the real resolution. 720 is usually the sweet spot now: SD is dying, and 1080p is substantially more expensive.
    1b) Interlaced / Progressive: You want progressive § always now. If you’re recording 720 it’s only possible to get progressive cameras really (ie 720p). If you’re recording 1080, interlaced (1080i) is more common, but it’s effectively the same quality as 720p designed in a way to get a crappier picture from a home camera – so stick with 720p or 1080p.
  2. Lens. Nothing special to say here, it’s the same idea as every video/still camera forever: Lenses are important. Don’t ignore this just because it’s hard to measure. Do ignore this if you aren’t spending a lot, because consumer level stuff all uses pretty much identical kit.

A third option are the new Flips from Mino. They have a ‘HD’ version, but i’m not sure it is true HD. The quality is not camcorder, but good enough and you can take it anywhere. I have one and it’s small and durable.

Cool, thanks for the tips. It is a bit as I expected, the more specialized tool will work better at that task (motion blur, rez, etc).