What is the best point and shoot video camera with low file sizes?

deshg

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Dec 13, 2011
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Hey everyone,

I am looking to purchase a new video camera for one of our employees to use to video interviews with people in their homes (we carry out market research interviews, some of which need to be videoed). In most cases the camera will be setup on a tripod and then left in a fixed position to record the video and audio.

As a result my main requirements are:

1) Easy to use
2) Small file sizes of the recorded videos (ideally shooting to MP4 format, i understand AVCHD creates quite large file sizes?)
3) Good battery life
4) Ideally under £150
5) A camera that can be used when plugged into the mains/while charging in case battery runs out
6) A reasonable quality built in microphone

We don't really need any special functionality (night vision etc) but any image stabilisation would be a bonus (but as it will mostly be on a fixed tripod we don't need anything massively advanced).

I totally appreciate it's very subjective but i'm going round in circles looking at cameras and finding it difficult to establish which are preferable for the above. I've been looking at the following but it's difficult to compare them on these factors:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-HDR-CX405-Full-Camcorder-Optical/dp/B00REMCYLA/

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/4283809.htm

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/4084620.htm

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Panasonic-HC-V160EB-K-Full-HD-Camcorder-Creative-Control-Image-Stabilizer-/322165107823

Can anyone recommend a good camera for the above purposes? I think the ones i've listed above might not be optimal due to the formats they use but i could be wrong?

Also it would be massively useful to know the approximate file size of a 90 min video in the highest quality MP4 format available for said camera if anyone knows that as well?

Thanks so much everyone!

Dave
 

bjornl

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I would suggest you focus on other aspects of the camera (video quality (bit rate), record time, low light capability, weather sealing and so on) the file size and format are easily changed. There is a free program called handbrake with which you can convert avchd files to mp4 (or other format) you can also re-compress mp4 files to reduce their size.
But, looking at file size does not seem relevant. If you have two cameras with the same format the one with the higher bit rate and/or the lower compression setting will have the larger file but they will also have the higher video quality as a result. Also file size will vary depending on subject matter. 90min vids of a blank wall will compress rather nicely while very busy scenes won't compress well at all.
The first one on your list records several formats including mp4 but to do so it has to record two formats at once. Better off just recording 1 avchd and converting it yourself.
The second will record in mp4 but it has 1/2 the max bit rate of the first one. So smaller but crappier files.
The 3rd is the same as the 2nd but more zoom.

I would recommend the 1st even though it is the only one to completely miss your goals.

 

deshg

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Hi bjornl,

Thanks very much for your response, that is greatly appreciated. I totally understand what you're saying about converting the video files. The issue we have is this camera is to be taken by employees across Europe to film respondent interviews and they need to easily be able to transfer the files to us online.

They are very non technical so there is no chance they will be able to convert the files first, they will have to send us the file in the format it records in and we'll have to convert it. Hence my concern about file sizes as I really need it to record into a reasonable sized file for them to send to us (and ideally if we could avoid having to convert the files that would be good as it would save us time but the important thing is the files aren't too huge when they come off the camera so they can send to us without too much problem/time).

I understand it completely varies but very roughly if i recorded a AVCHD in standard HD format then approx how big would the file size be on (say) the first camera above for a 90 min recording? I can't seem to find this info anywhere (i understand it will be inaccurate but even an approximation, are we talking a few hundred MB or 50GB)? According to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-HDR-CX405-Full-Camcorder-Optical/dp/B00REMCYLA/ this camera shoots (i guess at the highest setting) at 50 Mbps using XAVC S. Presumably this is megabits so that would mean 6.25MB/s which equates to 375MB per minute which equates to 33.75GB for 90 mins. Is this actually correct? If so then it would mean it would take them a very long time to transfer these files to us online over an average connection hence my worry. Or are my numbers totally wrong?

With regard to other aspects we don't need low light capability, we don't need weather sealing.

Additionally unfortunately since yesterday the first camera has gone up in price and now says dispatch in 1 - 3 months so that's not really viable any more :(

Thanks so much,

Dave
 
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