Teaching Examples

Buying a point-and-shoot for video
May 15, 2007, 12:33 pm
Filed under: journalism, online, tools, video

I was in a Price Club store in Virginia over the weekend, and they had a large display of very good digital cameras, including some of the models that are excellent for shooting on-the-spot video.

What I look for in a digital point-and-shoot camera:

  1. Street price about $300 or lower (look at the Canon PowerShot A570 IS)
  2. Still-image quality of 5 megapixels or more
  3. Optical zoom of 4x or more
  4. Image stabilization (why this matters)
  5. VGA-quality video (640 x 480) at 30 fps (frames per second); see an example, including clear audio
  6. Optical viewfinder (although the excellent Lumix DMC-TZ1 lacks this feature, which makes your job easier in bright sunlight; the Lumix counters with a 10x optical zoom)
  7. Batteries you can buy off the shelf, such as AAA’s (my own beloved Canon PowerShot SD700 IS lacks this feature, having a rechargeable lithium-ion battery)
  8. USB 2.0 connection (no need to remove the memory card from the camera — just connect the camera directly to your computer and transfer all the photos)

If you’ve got one of these in your pocket (and they do fit nicely into a pocket), you can try shooting video informally when you’re out reporting a story and then experiment with the video when you’re not on deadline.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It’s a good checklist, but why not go the other way and buy a camcorder that can also shoot stills?

Comment by Angela Grant

I’ll tell you that I’ve found it much easier to find a camera that shoots video well than a camcorder that shoots stills well.

And on the whole, cheaper too.

Comment by Zippy

Thanks, Zippy. I also find that the decent video cameras are so significantly larger (even the consumer models) — I rarely want to carry them with me. My point-and-shoot LIVES in my purse. I am never without it!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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