Which Is Better: Video Cameras or Still Cameras With Video?


I love my little Flip video camera, but I’m beginning to think I should switch to a still camera that has video capabilities. Before I decide, however, I’d love to hear what NewTeeVee-ers think.

According to a recent survey (PDF) by PriceGrabber.com, 44 percent of online users own a camcorder. But 1 in 3 camcorder owners do not use one as their primary video recording device, according to the report; 25 percent use their digital cameras to record video, and 5 percent use a mobile phone. Even camcorder owners don’t want to carry multiple devices around.


Historically, I’ve been a fan of owning devices that did one thing well. The phone is used for calls, the camera takes pictures, the media player does music and the video camera does video. But as technology continues to improve, the quality distinction between mono- and multipurpose devices continues to erode.

Consider that Sony (s SNE), Panasonic (s PC) and Casio all have cameras that can shoot 720p video, and the new Canon (s CAJ) PowerShot SX 1 is a point-and-shoot 10 megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p video.

Coming in at $599, the SX1 ain’t cheap. Plus it lacks the svelte body of the Flip MinoHD, which sells for roughly $200, and I don’t know how good the microphone is. But dang, it would be nice to only carry one device so that, for example, when that interview doesn’t feel like talking on camera, I could just take a picture instead.

Do you have any advice? Are you more of a video camera or a still camera with video kind of person? Any thoughts on which model of still cameras work best for video?


Patrick Dion

In low light, nothing beats a real camcorder though I don’t know about the lower-end models like the Flip. That and the microphone keeps me from getting those little devices. But I think quality will come with time.

Mark Schoneveld

Now that mid-priced DSLRs are starting to shoot HD video (see: Nikon D90) I’m sure the convergence of these devices will happen sooner than later.

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