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  1. #1

    Default Camera for filming hunts

    I'm looking to get a new camera to film hunts, mainly deer and maybe some waterfowl. I've done a lot of research and don't know if I want a camcorder or bridge camera. Budget is around $1000.
    Things I think are important:
    good in lowlight conditions, at least 20x optical zoom, decent battery life, good video quality, and mount for external microphone.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Tx_Ag_15

  2. #2

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    I've been dabbling in this for the past 4-5 years and what I've learned is that outside of a few exceptions (Remi Warren/Tim Burnett) it's extremely difficult to film your own hunt to the level of 'television' quality. I've tried the multiple GoPro/action camera route, DSLR, camcorders, and mirrorless 4/3rds and the way to go in my opinion the perfect world solution is a dedicated video camera like a Canon XA20 for the main run and gun filming and budget willing a DSLR backup/B-roll camera and a GoPro/action cam for other shots. Low light is a huge concern as you noted so whatever you pick needs to have a very wide dynamic range and good performance at high ISO ranges paired with excellent glass (detachable lenses in the case of a DSLR or quality integrated lenses in the case of a camcorder/prosumer video camera) and image stabilization otherwise you are going to have a shaky, dark, grainy mess to edit. Under $1000 you are going to be hard pressed to find what you have described that doesn't sacrifice at least one of the requirements to some degree. Another big problem with a lot of the DSLRs and even some of the prosumer video cameras is that the audio preamps are awful and introduce a ton of hiss and noise into the recordings. I have solved this with a Tascam DR-40 field recorder and a shotgun mic but it also quickly adds to the gear needed to be carried around and expense. For a single camera solution I'd be looking pretty closely at the Canon HF G40 which allows you a lot of expansion options with great base video recording.

    You also need to choose one activity or another in my experience. The majority of my hunts are with a partner and if we both have tags something is going to fall to the wayside and 11 times out of 10 it's the attempt at filming. We're going to AZ to hunt elk and my primary job will be glassing and filming/photos while he's actively 'hunting'.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by charliebravo77 View Post
    I've been dabbling in this for the past 4-5 years and what I've learned is that outside of a few exceptions (Remi Warren/Tim Burnett) it's extremely difficult to film your own hunt to the level of 'television' quality. I've tried the multiple GoPro/action camera route, DSLR, camcorders, and mirrorless 4/3rds and the way to go in my opinion the perfect world solution is a dedicated video camera like a Canon XA20 for the main run and gun filming and budget willing a DSLR backup/B-roll camera and a GoPro/action cam for other shots. Low light is a huge concern as you noted so whatever you pick needs to have a very wide dynamic range and good performance at high ISO ranges paired with excellent glass (detachable lenses in the case of a DSLR or quality integrated lenses in the case of a camcorder/prosumer video camera) and image stabilization otherwise you are going to have a shaky, dark, grainy mess to edit. Under $1000 you are going to be hard pressed to find what you have described that doesn't sacrifice at least one of the requirements to some degree. Another big problem with a lot of the DSLRs and even some of the prosumer video cameras is that the audio preamps are awful and introduce a ton of hiss and noise into the recordings. I have solved this with a Tascam DR-40 field recorder and a shotgun mic but it also quickly adds to the gear needed to be carried around and expense. For a single camera solution I'd be looking pretty closely at the Canon HF G40 which allows you a lot of expansion options with great base video recording.

    You also need to choose one activity or another in my experience. The majority of my hunts are with a partner and if we both have tags something is going to fall to the wayside and 11 times out of 10 it's the attempt at filming. We're going to AZ to hunt elk and my primary job will be glassing and filming/photos while he's actively 'hunting'.
    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely be considering the Canon HF G40.

  4. #4

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oqr0Q3QsIk

    This link is to Randy Newberg's youtube video on this topic.

  5. #5

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    Charliebravo77 made some great points. I have been filming since 98. While I don't do it as a supplemental income like I did a few years ago. You need to decide what your goal is with the footage. But the best video footage in the world can be killed by poor audio. The G40 is a great entry level cam, but I would suggest finding a used or refurbished G30, this way you have some extra $$ for better audio. Another thing that can kill your footage is a cheap tripod head. You want a good fluid head for a tri pod and tree arm.

    Check out BH photo used department or adorama.

  6. #6

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    You can also consider the Sony AX53. It features extra-steady shooting on the move and less image shake within a broad zoom range. Able to focus with stunning speed. A great cam in overall at a good price.

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