I've started doing a lot of YouTube video blogging and I've been working on finding the best video camera for the job.Since I post mostly to YouTube, I don't need a super high resolution camera. I've been using a Canon SD900 for several years now and it's an excellent camera. But when I take videos longer than 10 minutes or so, I've found it freezes my MacBook Pro up when i connect my camera to the laptop via USB cable, and I have to force-quit iPhoto. So, I went in search for another camera. I tried the Flip (Mino series) and the DXG 567V HD cameras. They're both in the $100 - $150 range.
I would rate the DXG above the Flip Mino any day of the week. It has a macro lens setting and is higher quality. It uses rechargable AA batteries. While both the DXG and Flip feel cheap compared to the Canon, they are good camcorders. But after testing their video qualities, I decided they weren't any better than the Canon. So, how to keep it from freezing up?
I ended up bying a $2 SD Micro USB flash card reader off eBay. It just allows me to plug my flash card directly into my laptop via a USB port. For whatever reason, I'm able to sync long movies using the flash card reader just fine when the cable fails & locks iPhoto up.
But I also wanted to test different camera resolutions to see if I could get away with using a lower resolution video setting on the Canon camera, since the movies are really large files on the 640x480 30 FPS (FPS = "Frames Per Second") setting. For example, a 5 minute video is 325MB!
So I ran some tests, and you can judge the results for yourself. What I found was that there was very little difference between the highest and lowest settings except for the "video via email" setting on the camera, which was too low. So if you're just planning on doing YouTube videos, you might as well do the 320x240 at 15 FPS. However I think I'll use the 640x480 at 15 FPS (the 2nd highest setting) just so I have the larger video size for repurposing the video later. Doing 15 FPS instead of 30 FPS cuts the video size in half.
The file size decreases by 50% for each setting. They are ordered below from largest (highest quality on the camera) to smallest:
Canon SD900 Testing Video Quality 640x480 + 30fps
Canon SD900 Testing Video Quality 640x480 + 15fps
Canon SD900 Testing Video Quality 320x240 + 30fps
Canon SD900 Testing Video Quality 320x240 + 15fps
Canon SD900 Testing Video Quality - Email setting
Daniel Odio gives tips and tricks for entrepreneurs!
Click to listen to "Episode 65: Interview Part 1" and click to listen to "Episode 66: Interview Part 2"
Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts
I spent $1800 on my first high quality camera. I was on the brink of Life Nomadic, and I justified the purchase with two ideas. The first was that I would be seeing a lot of things for the first, and possibly the only, time. Second, the particular camera I bought, an Epson R-D1s, seemed to hold its value well.
It came as a shock to a lot of people how primitive my camera was in many ways. It had no autofocus, no flash, no video recording capabilities, no self timer, and the only thing it could do automatically was light metering. It did that poorly. After each shot it was necessary to thumb a switch, which mechanically reset the spring for the shutter.
I bought a single lens for it, a Nokton 40mm/1.4. It had no zoom, and the aperture was set mechanically by rotating a ring on the lens. The lens was gorgeous. For those who don't know, a 1.4 F-Stop means that the lens is very fast: it lets in a lot of light. The average camera lens is probably around an f/3.5, which lets in only an eighth as much light as mine did. That's how I got amazing low-light pictures like this one.