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