When i say harder, I am refering to the decision of what type of device to use. If you want to document your urban exploration, you have numerous options, and some damn fine pieces of equipment are all vying for your dollars.
If you just want to photograph your explorations, most cell phones have camera built in, and some even take video. Some of them are actually good. I’ve always said in the past that i didn’t give a shit about having a camera in my phone, I just wanted a good quality phone. Now that I have one, I understand the appeal. It’s not something I’d use for everyday picture taking, but it’s quite handy to hae it when I am out and need to snap a quick photo of something that i otherwise couldn’t because I don’t have my regular camera.
For documenting my exploration I had a canon digital rebel but it was getting funky on me. I decided to get a new camera because I wanted a greater zoom and for the money I would spend on a new lens I could buy a whole new camera. I eventually went with a Canon Powershot SX10IS and I am quite glad I did.
I chose this particular camera for the following reasons:
First and foremost, it has a 20x zoom, (35mm equivilent to 28-560) This is HUGE, and it has image stabilization which is important when you’re zoomed in that much and don’t have it on a tripod. Among the other reasons I bought it, in no particular order are such things as 2.5 inch color display that can swivel to almost any direction, more settings then you can shake a stick at, simple, intuitive menus, and the best bonus: it films movies too. This means I have a camera and a decent camcorder all in one. That means one less thing to stash in my pack, one less thing to break or lose. The video quality is decent, though not spectacular. perfect for youtube.
A lot of the places I go there is little light, which renders most camcorders useless. For those situations I bring my Sony DCR-HC28which has nightvision and a 20x zoom. I used this when going on the Hpwe Caverns tour, and to say that there’s low light in on the tour is an understatement. Sure it makes everyone look like they do on Survivor when the film after a tribal council vote, but who cares. It beats the pure black that you get from most camcorders.
The camera retails for $400 and the camcorder, if you can find it (it’s discontinued) for around $200. There are several new cameras and camcorders coming out that are worthy of a look-see. Do I *need* these devices? It depends on how you define need. I’m sure want certainly fits here. I’ve got some quite good pieces of equipment here, but each of these devices provides certain benefits.
When you go out tromping around in the woods, sewers and old factories, there are numerous considerations. Price is worthy of attention because it’s quite possible to damage or destroy your equipment in a fall. You don’t want to lose a $1500 piece of equipment because you slipped in a sewer tunnel. On the hand you need to consider quality because you want to have something decent to look at when you get home. Also of importance is size, weight, bulkiness and general convenience to carry. Depending on the circumstances you may want to have as little on you as possible, or you may be wearing a fanny pack or a backpack. Each one affords you the ability to hold more gear, so this can often determine what kind (and how much) gear you carry.
Here’s a few new items for you to ponder.
The Contour HD is supposedly the worlds first wearable HD camcorder. It connects to a ski mask or helmet and let’s you film in handsfree HD glory. It shoots in HD video (1280×720) at 30fps, or SD at 60fps. It stores on a MicroSD cards (up to 16GB), for 8-16 hours of footage. All for $300.
Another extremely inexpensive camcorder that also shoots in HD is the DXG-125V which will retail for under $100 when it hits the streets in a few months. It shoots in 720p and is waterproof, but it has no image stabilization and only a 2x zoom, but for christ’s sake it’s under $100!
Gizmondo reviews 6 cheap camcorders here. I honestly can’t believe that any of them are worth even considering if either of the 2 camcorders above record decently. But you never know.
So there you have it. My thoughts on cameras and camcorders. As always, feedback is appreciated and in this case, expected. What do you use? What would you use if you were buying a new camera or camcorder?