Guide to Filming Your High School Athlete Part 2

When recording on the field, we often get the question “What camera do I need?”  For a sports video camera, we discussed criteria in an earlier blog:  high definition, larger sensor, external memory (SD card), etc.  So given the general criteria for a video camera in the earlier blog (apologies for the long delay), I want to give you a few specific cameras to consider. 

We haven’t used the first three cameras in the table, so take this discussion with the “proverbial” grain of salt.  However, the table does represent a range of cameras to consider.  We use the Canon Vixia HF G40 in much of our own work, but we also use an older Sony HDR-CX 580V (discontinued) which was our starter camera and works well.

You cannot make a purchase decision based solely on the table below.  It’s difficult to convey the subtle differences in a $300 and the $1050 camera in a table.  As the price increases, several features also improve:  quality of optics (e.g., lenses, firmware, software), manual controls and flexibility, and quality of audio.

For example, we use the manual controls on the G40 primarily for manual focus.  We’ve found that the auto focus has trouble keeping up when filming soccer and lacrosse games if we aren’t up high.  And we’d rather have exposure adjust automatically as the sun goes down in the winter.

The audio quality in a consumer video camera is consistently poor, but as you pay more you get more in the audio electronics.  In a conversation with Canon, they commented that the major difference in a $1000 camera and a $2000 camera can be largely in the audio components.  Audio when recording a game isn’t critical, so I suggest you don’t pay for it.  When we do need quality audio, I’ll use separate microphones, mixers, and amplifiers – or just bring in an audio engineer.

To wrap up, if I was buying a video camera today for filming a sports game for one of my children, I’d start with the table below and then do more research.  But based on the research that went into the table, I’d go with one of the two mid-range cameras in the table.  The sensor on the Canon R700 is just too small; sensor size reflects the amount of light that the camera can capture.  The G40 has features that are important to us, but probably not so much to a parent.  To choose between the V770 and the AX53, determine how much you need the additional features of the Sony such as 4K. 

Next time:  framing the video.  Until then, have fun!

Bill PratherComment