Canon Cameras Forum
Cheap Backup Camera ?
Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 13, 2011 at 6:21:14 pm

I'm setting up to do a relatively complex shoot. My budget is a limited. I'm shooting mechanic videos this one will be showing how to over haul AC system on a Corvette.

I figure I'll need at least 3 cameras. One on the engine compartment, another on a flycam w/ operator, and at least one more focused on me explaining and doing the repairs.

So I've got one camera already it's a Sony Handy Cam. Camera isn't the best but it does get a great picture if I setup the lighting just right.

I wasn't sure where to post so I figured I'd post in here... I'm looking for another cheapo HD camera like the handycam. I went to Best Buy the other day, and saw they had a whole slew of them for $200 from Panasonic, Sony, Canon, etc.

Has anybody had experience with these cheapo's and one to recommend. Or a set of features I should be looking for ?


Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Al Bergstein on Nov 14, 2011 at 3:35:11 pm

If you are just looking for a cheap match to your handycam (you didn't specify what model you are currently using or whether it's HDV, HD or what), any of the low end models like your old one are likely to match up 'good enough'. If it's for Youtube, and you don't have a lot of experience in getting highest quality, or don't care to, then you will likely be fine if you light everything the same and simply have three of the same manufacturers cameras from the same price range. Your wildcard is if your old camera is HDV or even SD. Then any new cameras, even cheap ones, are likely to be noticeably better picture. But you can do some things in post to soften them up (G).


Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 14, 2011 at 6:03:22 pm

Thanks... My current camera is HD. It's a HDR-SR5 from Sony. It's a nice enough camera but has a few nuances so I'd never get it again.

The film will be a full out production DVD for sale on my website. I'm sure the video won't be of cinematic quality. The last program I shot my cameras were loaners including my HDR-SR5, a Go Pro Hero HD, and Sony VX2100 SD pro-sumer camera.

The picture from each was dramatically different so I dropped the saturation on them all to 0.65 and added a soft contrast. What is it you do to clean the cameras up in post? Do you do similar things?

Eventually I want a set of t2i cameras for stationary cameras and then a nice HD prosumer canon or the Sony NEX-VG10... Do you know is Cannon going to do a setup similar to the NEX-VG10? Ultimately I'm a cannon guy and I like the opportunity to reuse my lenses.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Craig Alan on Nov 16, 2011 at 2:50:05 pm

I would hire film students with their own equipment to shoot for you.

Correct me if I'm wrong but that cam has no mike input.

On the cheap I'd try 3 of these: CANON HFM40.

I'd get three

Then I'd figure out how much money you have and get a decent mike/miker/audio recorder.
This will cost more than your cams. Can't go wrong with sound devices mixers. Get the mix pre d.
which will help you with good sound live and in post for added voice overs.

But seriously get a student film crew who can handle this pre through post and you'll up the bar. Ask them for a reel of their work to make sure they know what they are doing. Ask for a sample of an instructional video. SFX is not the point here.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 16, 2011 at 3:58:51 pm

I've got a Olympus LS10 recorder. I figure I'll eventually need a couple more.

Nice camera but I'm not sure I want to budget that much for backups if I don't have to. I see there's lots of HD cameras on the market now that retail for around $200 - $300 each.

Here's my feature list...

- USB plug on camera (not on a crappy dock station like my current camera)
- shoots in full 1080p @ 30fps and 720p @ 60fps
- wide angle lens (so I don't have to backup 20 feet to get a picture like with my handycam).
- Mic plugin on camera
- Tripod screw on bottom (I'm sure most have this).
- And preferably it would have a hot shoe mount but not absolutely necessary.

I think if I end up spending around $500 / ea. I'll just get SLR cameras for stationary video backups.

I had budgeted around $200 for each backup. And I'll probably get 2 making a total of three backups and an SLR for primary.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Craig Alan on Nov 17, 2011 at 4:46:13 am

Not sure what you mean by back ups. If it's a 3-cam shoot you should have three matching cams. I would not shoot a for sale video with $200 cams. Good to know you're recording sound separately. You might want to invest in a jib arm. Expensive but the perfect piece of gear for helping you get the right angles for auto work.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:12:38 am

I guess let me rephrase my question here...

I'm totally with you and would love more than anything to use all this really nice equipment. My budget is VERY though. I have sales around $50 - $100 / month with my first mechanic tutorial. I want to create more at this point but don't have much capital to do so.

Say I get the CANON HFM40... I'm wondering if the cheaper versions Cannon sells have very similar technology but not all the bells and whistles. All I need is to get a few more angles of the mechanic repairs I complete so the clients can tell how to do them as well. The camera need only provide a clear HD picture in ideal lighting (I setup my own lighting).

I'm just curious which lower end cameras are decent enough to fit my bill. Consumer reviews of some of these cheaper Cannon cameras are really good but they aren't camera savvy so I asked on here.

Also, when I go to the store they have more $200 - $300 HD cameras from manufacturers like Sony, Cannon, Panasonic, etc than I can count. However, nobody seems to be able to answer a single questions about any of them beyond what's on the tag.

I suppose another thing I should ask is there a store you know of that let's a person test the equipment out... Kind of like a try before you buy?

Thanks for the advice. I've added some of the equipment you recommended to my dream list :)

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Craig Alan on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:00:48 pm

If you record sound separately and clearly and light well then you are more than half home. You could use one camera and reshoot at different angles. If you truly want a 3 camera shoot and want to spend $200 a camera and the only purpose of these cams is a clear image, then I would do searches on consumer sites and see what folks say. I don’t think any of the pros and prosumers here have much experience at $200 price point. I would seriously consider getting a partner in this production and let them bring their gear to the party. Since your mechanically inclined I would do a search and look to build a homemade jib, which is what is used for the angles you need.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:30:28 pm

Great advice.

I have one friend who loaned me a pro SD camera. Which has best light performance by far. I also bought a color card to see how well I can touch up the cameras I have in post (should have done this a long time ago).

When I look at the consumer reviews the lower end cameras have similar color performance to high end ones. I think higher end cameras have much better optics though and collect better light.

I totally agree with you. I may just skip the $200 stuff, squeeze the performance I can out of my current camera and see what money I can make out of them yet. I'm working with a Sony VX2100, Sony HDR-SR5, and Go Pro HD Hero (really bad performance). None of the cameras are quite up to snuff, but with ample lighting they seem to perform OK.

Unfortunately, I'm a laid off engineer though just tinkering at home to make a few $$ right now. I REALLY REALLY enjoy this stuff though. My previous job sent me to school for editing. I should get a hold of my old professor and see if she cannot help out someway. She has GOBS of high end equipment.

And maybe I'll have to make a program on how to make your own dollies, jibs, etc for cinematography next :) I really like your ideas!

Curious what do you shoot with?

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Craig Alan on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:11:32 am

Back in the SD days I used sony pd150/170s and vx2100. and canon xl2. the xl2 had a more powerful lens and I liked the image better if i provided the cam with enough good lighting. It was a little soft however and canon was a pain at times to get into your NLE. the sony's were the best run and gun cams around. so forgiving in low light and rugged and easy to use.

Now i am using canon hv30s/40s sony z7u-s Panasonic AG HPX170s. there a folks that would consider all of these toys. On higher end shoots I connect these to AJA KiPro to record in Apple ProRes.

The key to production however is good content good light and good sound.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:50:28 am

Wow those are some nice cameras in my book.

The Canons look relatively affordable, I see used HV30's on amazon for under $400. I'm curious what you think of the SLR setups. And have you played with the NEX-V20?

I'd like the ability to reuse my camera lenses for video. Currently when I get some $$ I'm going to spring for a t2i, but wish canon had a professional format video camera like the NEX-V20 that could accept my lenses from my SLR camera.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Craig Alan on Nov 18, 2011 at 6:39:10 am

Tape based cams give you an advantage in terms of reliable archiving. But a big disadvantage in terms of work flow. Flash drive storage is a likely future but are still quite expensive. Used is risky for a tape based cam. The HV30s were used quite a bit for B roll cams on some professional productions where a small cam was needed. SLRs take beautiful images due to their bigger chips but the form factor is not the best for video. The two are beginning to merge. Ideally you have the ergonomics of a camcorder and the larger chips of SLR.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:25:30 pm

Yeah, I'm a computer engineer for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, I have had trouble finding work recently. So this is what I'm doing in the mean time. I create engineering-ish tutorials to help people save money by completing their own repairs.

I think flash technology is too slow as well as hard drives. To get the bandwidth necessary for 1080p or higher requires incredible speed which is very costly in those technologies. My biggest issue with my little handy-cam is it uses a compression algorithm that dumbs down the quality substantially so it can write to it's hard drive.

Tape offers a very high and constant bandwidth pretty well determined by how fast you can digitize the image and roll the tape. I think once faster flash alternatives become available a lot of this camera technology will dramatically drop in price and image quality will skyrocket.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Al Bergstein on Nov 19, 2011 at 3:55:03 am

I think you ought to work on your script before worrying about your cameras. Your knowledge of cameras and the current technology needs serious research. You seem to be getting the cart before the horse. Good luck to you.


Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Danny Grizzle on Nov 19, 2011 at 5:58:26 pm

I recently purchased a Sony DSC-HX9V for $300, and I am smitten. So much so I have been using it all week as my only camera for the birth of a grandson, even though I have 5D Mk II, 60D, and T3i at my fingertips.

You will need a 32GB Class 10 SD card ($40) and spare batteries (amazon has a 3rd party bundle with 2 batteries and a charger for $12). I also got a Jobi Gorillapod Video Tripod for under $18, and it is very cool.

Here's the best trick with this camera: get a Giottos mini ball head, the smallest one they make, only $12. You also need a Rode Micro Boom Pole, maybe $79. Now you have a camera mounted on the end of an audio boom pole, much like how a microphone would normally be positioned.

For about $400, you have an HD camera system that will do 1080p at up to 60fps(!), and it will get shots that are impossible with normal cameras. I have found this little rig will do extraordinary things documenting men working, because you can get angles and into positions that would interfere with a larger rig, or be dangerous. Not only that, but the camera audio can be very good also, thanks to getting the camera's on board mics in close to the action.

Mounting the camera on a mic boom pole allows shots that look identical to conventional crane or jib work. You can fly the camera like a Steadicam also, either on the boom pole or handheld.

The video is so good, this may become your main camera for the mechanic productions.

The HX9V lens is great, 24-300mm equivalent. Full time auto focus, even while recording. A fantastic optical image stabilizer makes all this handheld work possible. Finally, the HDMI output is live during recording, making monitoring possible.

I like it so much, I have ordered a SmallHD DP4 EVF/monitor, plus some RAM brand mounting hardware to affix the monitor to the Rode boom. Actually, I am probably going to upgrade my boom to the Rode full 10' model, to get higher crane type shots.

You should research this further by searching for the HX9V on YouTube and Vimeo. I own tons of equipment, but this little camera is the best bang for the buck I have ever purchased.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 19, 2011 at 7:02:43 pm

Hey thanks so much for the tips.

I was certain some of this low end stuff would be pretty decent. I know these big companies stamp out the same hardware for a LOT of their products even the lower end ones. Then just have different firmware and buttons on the cheaper products.

I just wanted confirmation from somebody who actually tried one of the cheaper cameras :)


Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Danny Grizzle on Nov 20, 2011 at 6:45:07 pm

I'm even more jazzed about the Sony HX9V today than I was yesterday.

Go to and search for "pico dolly". Perfect inexpensive tabletop dolly for the HX9V - in fact, the HX9V is featured in many of the promo videos.

I just bought the $99 Pico Dolly kit, which includes a flex arm and a carry bag. Cool.

BTW - I also purchased a Cinemover this morning from These are two different animals. The Pico Dolly is tiny and cool, but looks limited to smooth counter tops. A major plus is the Pico Dolly can be set to track on a radius, an added dimension similar to curved dolly track.

The Cinemover looks like a poor man's Kessler Shuttlepod, able to use improvised track that can be virtually anything that is smooth and straight with parallel sides, like a rail or a piece of lumber. Cinemover has the ability to use elevated track in rough terrain with dolly travel limited only by the length of improv rail you can find. I'm thinking a 12' board would easy to get -- a major increase over typical 3' slider limits, all at very low cost. You could run the thing beneath a car in your automotive production. I've seen neat shots with guys running a dolly move over things like a flowing stream, an impossible shot with a conventional dolly but easy considering propping up a board to create a bridge.

Both Pico Dolly and CineMover can carry cameras up to DSLR size.

The CineMover costs about $80.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:53:48 am

That's way too cool!

I'm on the cusp of buying a hx9v! My buddy has a Go Pro for compact shots and easy stowing but honestly it's picture is less than desirable especially in low light.

I can pickup the hx9v for less than a go pro even! And I LOVE the rigs...

I just bout a steady cam which is in the mail. Then I also have plans to make this Crane / Jib.

He also has a great website with how to make a bunch of your own equipment. Including a really cheap dolly. But I LOVE that cine cam! wow...

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Danny Grizzle on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:32:32 am

I also have a Stedicam Merlin with Arm and Vest, but frankly I don't know that I would buy it again given what I am doing with the HX9V. I did purchase a pistol grip by Barska at Amazon for $12 - highly recommended. Afterwards, I found a video review of this exact rig on, and it is accurate about the tripod screw being a bit too long. However, you don't have to grind the metal screw shorter as they suggest. You can fix the issue by adding a shim using a few layers of gaff tape or a single layer of any other adhesive pad that can be cut to fit the camera stage and basically make it a tiny bit taller.

OTOH, the Jobi Gorrilapod Video Tripod achieve the same end result by simply gripping all three legs as a handle, though the Barska is a much nicer pistol grip and the rubberized finish is very nice to the touch. Considering the low cost, I recommend purchasing them both.

One further thing I did was to purchase a Zacuto Z-finder glue on frame so that I could mount my existing Z-finder to the HX9V. I had an older Z-finder; I don't know if the latst version still offers a glue on option. But the size and fit is perfect. The finder costs more than the camera, and I wouldn't have done this except I already had the finder, so cost to me was only $11 for an extra glue on mount. But if you are working outside in bright sunlight a lot, this is an option. Frankly, shooting indoors, I don't use the Z-finder. You can get great Steadicam like shots using only the Barska grip, and with a camera this featherweight, all the things you read online about the value of multiple points of contact with your body are really overrated.

Don't get me wrong, the HX9V is not perfect. Lack of manual control can be an issue, but not a terrible problem.

FYI - my next camera is going to be a Sony NEX-7, but *not* as a replacement for the HX9V. It might be easy to think the NEX-5n or NEX-7 are an upgrade, but for me the HX9V has earned a place in my package, and knowing what I know about it, I would make the purchase again instantly even if I already had an NEX camera.

My motivation on the NEX-7 is large sensor, full manual control, intercutting with my 5D Mk II. But the big attraction is I have 10 Canon FD lenses that have been in mothballs for a decade, and the NEX will put these back into service.

I actually view the small sensor of the HX9V as an asset, because large sensor shallow DOF and lack of auto focus is a real dangerous combination on a handheld camera being used for Steadicam type work.DSLRs are a challenge to begin with, and it is easy to push them beyond the limits of the most skilled operator. I'd rathe have sharp footage and interesting shots than to ruin my reputation with constant failure on overreaching, always soft and even horribly out of focus camera work. Shallow depth of field is great, but not if you can't control it.

The HX9V is a really sweet camera. For $300, you can't go wrong.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:08:10 pm

I've got to stop talking to you lol

I'm starting to buy these things... I just bought the hx9v. It will be perfect as I have to get some video while on business travel. We're launching an ATV product line and I need to film how to install the parts while I'm at the manufacturers shop.

Next, I almost bought the pistol grip mount. However, I have some of those Gorrilapod grip mount tripods. I found an off brand for $2 / each on ebay :) So I ordered a couple of them. They are invaluable.

I'll probably still build a jib crane like they have on frugal film maker cause I'll need some really great shots of the engine bay while I'm filming my AC rebuild manual.

I think Sony just decided to come after me... lol

I LOVE that Nex-7 as well. I've been watching the NEX-VG10 but it isn't quite what I'm looking for yet, doesn't do 1080/60p and I'm not sure it'll accept my canon lenses.

I also have a fair amount of money invested in canon lenses I'd love to reuse for film. Does the NEX-7 do autofocus while in video mode? Honestly I'd probably use it very little, however, It's nice to know it's there just in case.

Anyways, thanks much for the help! I saved you as a friend on here... Will let you know how my videos progress :)

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Danny Grizzle on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:31:15 pm

Canon EOS auto focus lenses can't be used on anything except Canon, as a practical matter.

The 10 Canon FD lenses I plan to use on the Sony NEX-7 are my old breach mount manual focus lenses. They were all purchased in the 1970's. Even though they are old, they are in perfect condition. I've spent decades with them, and I'm more sentimentally attached to them than any of my newer gear - although my set of EOS Tilt-Shift lenses come close. Something about auto focus I deeply distrust.

There is a fine line between speed / convenience and laziness / working sloppy. It is too easy, even for pros, to shoot some stuff in Program mode. Some of the stuff I shot in 1973, when I was a teenager with my first good camera (Canon TL-QL with a 50mm f/1.8 and a 135mm f/2.5) are better than what I was shooting 20 years later. I've been scanning my early chromes made at family reunions, for instance, and because I was deliberately working that 135mm wide open, they look great. Later on, I set the camera to Program mode when shooting "snapshots" of family -- and looking back, I regret not working harder on the pictures that matter the most to me.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Danny Grizzle on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:04:59 am

BTW - I have a couple of GoPro cameras, and they are really a specialty item, far removed from anything you could use for principle photography.

Which brings up the limitations of the HX9V again. Don't expect this to be a pro camera because it is not. It is a consumer point and shoot that you can trick into doing professional work. Lack of manual control is annoying, but doubly annoying is that exposure compensation resets to 0 every time the camera powers down, which is frequent due to aggressive automatic battery management. And the camera does tend to overexpose video, so I generally try to keep the EV compensation set to -2/3 stop. You have to keep on top of this while shooting, or you will get messed up footage that will cause problems in post and not intercut well.

The HX9V lens is worlds better than GoPro. But considering handheld is best done at wide angles, I am careful about composition, especially on tight shots, to keep heads away from the edge of the frame when at the widest focal length. Nobody appreciates having their head stretched out double width by a wide angle lens.

The HX9V's amateur focus and menus and all the gratuitous onscreen Japanese interface clutter like scene modes is annoying, but certainly not a deal killer. This little camera will deliver great video footage.

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Nov 21, 2011 at 6:28:38 pm

Yeah I have the same difficulty with my Handy Cam. I'm quickly out growing the equipment. It also overexposes just about everything I shoot.

Eventually I hope to go for some sort of prosumer setup that accepts Canon L-Series lenses.

Do you have a website or anything? I assume from your level of expertise you run a production studio or have a camera shop?

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by dave fisher on Dec 2, 2011 at 1:56:09 pm

Hey I know I'm late to the party, but I recommend using ONE camera- your best camera, and edit the video! That way all your shots will match. Of course you'll have to plan out every step of the process...

good luck
dave fisher

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Dec 2, 2011 at 6:52:52 pm

Yeah, sound like a plan. I bought the HV9X and LOVE IT! It's AWESOME... This is the first video I cut with it for my Real Estate Business.

I have a Handycam SR5 which is literally a POS but selling used for more than I paid for the HV9x so I'm thinking of selling the Handycam and getting a second HV9x although ultimately I want a Canon T2i.

The HV9x could do a tad better on landscapes which are turning out grainy (maybe I set it up wrong?). Most of my shots will be indoors though and it's worked AMAZINGLY well there!

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Dec 2, 2011 at 6:56:25 pm

It didn't like my embed...

My first production with the HV9x

I'm trying it again...

Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Al Bergstein on Dec 28, 2011 at 3:04:18 am

I think you did well with the gear you had to use, but the story doesn't do it for me. My dad has/had a house in Tucson, which I am currently selling as the estate executor, so I know something about the Tucson market. I didn't get any sense of why this place is any better or different than any of the other places in Tucson. Your clips do not do it justice, and I could not care less (pardon my bluntness here), about driving into the place.

Remember, you have 5 to 10 seconds to show me why I should care about this place. The opening needs to be something cool to grab me. Some questions for you to ponder: Who is your audience? Are they young buyers or retirees? What is the price range of these homes? What does the facility really look like? I have no sense of what this place is like by seeing your video. Where exactly is it? You just say, south of Tucson. That could mean the dumps out near the airport, or Green Valley, or someplace in between. Be specific. If I wanted to live in Tucson, I would want way more specifics than this.

Marketing is about really knowing your audience, and appealing to them. I don't sense you have any knowledge of who your audience is here. Or how your are really going to get them excited about buying a home there.

Best of luck.


Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
by Matthew Jeschke on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:41:45 pm

I have an update to make. I like the HX9v but have been hitting it's limitations. The biggest of which is how long the battery can hold a charge. When shooting video it's only 20-30 minutes. And lovely Sony was nice enough to make the power plug RIGHT next to the tripod mount so I cannot hookup external power while using a tripod.

Despite this camera is AMAZING, that has completely messed up some of my shots. I've had to constantly film for a while then run back, recharge the battery, and come back to filming.

Another interesting pitfall is the video files are HUGE. It doesn't have a mode to dumb down the quality much. Pretty much always films in 1920x1080p at 60fps. I think I can dumb it down to 60fps interlaced but that's it. Making it really cumbersome to do simple little video blog posts on Youtube.

I'm now in the market for another cheap camera. Ultimately, the quality should be good enough but doesn't have to match the HX9v which is completely JAW DROPPING btw.

All I really need it for is a fairly decent wide angle camera to shoot mechanic videos I make.

MUST have a battery that lasts at least a couple hours.
MUST do 1080p (preferably 60fps but not necessary as long as can do 720p at 60fps for slow motion shots).
MUST use a USB plug to download
MUST have a tripod mount.
MUST have a plug for an external microphone.

I have been quite keen of the pocket cameras (Creative & Kodak). Their motion jitter / shake is appalling though. But I probably would have this on a tripod most all the time so might not be an issue.

Curious of any other cheap cameras anybody's had experience with?

Ultimately, I'm saving some dough for the 5d Mark III. Mainly for still photography but I think it has a pretty awesome video capabilities too. Just don't have the money for it quite yet.

These cheap cameras are starting to earn me my keep though. I'm making a few bucks here and there off of Youtube and other informational products I sell created with them :) Despite you have to tweak / work them a bit harder to get the job done.

I'm learning the ropes of online publishing. Mostly as an excuse to play with more cameras.

Here's several of my latest ventures,