Camera for Recording/Pictures


Looking for a do it all camera and I have no idea what is out there or where to start. I would love to just get a camera that is good enough to record with without having to buy mics (or be able to add an external mic later) and takes good pictures too.

I’d like to keep it under $500, but I’m willing to spend more for an awesome camera.



Hey Shawn,
It’s been a while since I bought a camera, but the little powershot (SD450 is the latest one we have) line from Canon have always treated me well. They are durable, take great pictures and decent video. There are frankly a ton of great little all in one cameras. I inherited my Dad’s Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS5. It has really nice optics in it. Perhaps because I have had them longer, I am partial to the Canons. I just looked at amazon, and you can get a 16 MP Canon that shoots 720P video for $200. That’s incredible power for $200. I would check a bunch of reviews and make sure you are getting a model that people like. I haven’t shopped for years and am not current with what is good and not.

We also have a dedicated video camera that never gets used, and a digital Canon SLR (T2i if I remember correctly) that does pretty nice video. To be honest, it all depends on what you want to do with it. The very high resolution video is nice, but the files take a ton of room and are hard to move around. I end up doing more video on the little goPro and the SD450. If you want to make presentation worthy video, dedicated units and mics are probably the way to go. For my uses, the little all in one units are great.

Best of luck!


Thanks for the info Mike, and an idea of where to start looking. I followed your link and a few other links and the more I saw, the more confused I got :laughing: . There are just so many options out there. I would like to do the camera buying thing just one time and be done with it, so I would like to buy something durable and will not be outdated tech in a year.

I found one of the Canon SLR cameras on ebay. What do ya think about buying a used camera, risky? Do you think this camera is overkill for an amateur? Good price?

Might help if I include the link. Sorry, got sidetracked. … 4ac1b5bc7f


I have an older Powershot (SD500), too, and it’s my primary camera because it’s so darn convenient. You have to make trade offs for that small size, though. I also have a digital SLR (Pentax *ist D) with a slew of lenses, because there is no substitute for good optics. The microphone would likely be another trade off. No way to put a big diaphragm in a small camera body.

I think you should invest $400 in the camera and reserve $100 for a microphone. Of course, that’s just me selfishly thinking about future recording projects. :smiley:


I’m not going to get around that mic thing am I Larry? :laughing:

Don’t know why I’m avoiding that actually. Seems like there was some editing involved with synching everything up. I like the editing process once I get into it, but looking at all of it from the outside is a little intimidating. I think I would drive myself mad getting the perfect tone. Spend more time with that stuff than actually playing.


Shawn, I’m not sure what’s most important for you in a camera, but you may want to check out the Zoom Q3HD by Samson. These have two built in microphones turned opposite directions & have incredible playback sound. I’m not sure how good the video quality is, but the audio is about as good as you can get without adding mics & making things complicated.

A friend recorded me playing & I was impressed (not by playing, but rather the sound quality). He also played back some jam sessions & it seemed to pick up everything very clearly. I’ve been thinking about purchasing one myself. I’d like to put some samples on you-tube of instruments to sell instead of just pictures & then put a link in the post.

They’re about 300.00 on Amazon.

What Mike & Larry were talking about may be a better way to go. I’m no camera expert, just giving you another option to ponder.

          God Bless ...................... Jeff


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I have an older Powershot (SD500), too, and it’s my primary camera because it’s so darn convenient.

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Larry is on to something there about convenience. To be honest, if I could have only one camera, between the little compact one or the SLR, I’d probably keep the small one. I have taken that little guy everywhere. Now if you want to really get into photography, that’s kind of where the SLR comes into play. With that said, I have friends that have very nice SLRs, and they don’t generally get great pictures. You do have to apply skill to make use of an SLR. Back to my original point… unless you really want to pursue photography as an art, for your price range, I would prefer to have a compact unit. The one Jeff is talking about sounds promising.
And you’d still have enough left over for a mic :smiley:


Hey Jeff, I have heard some good things about the Zoom recorders, for some reason I thought they were audio recorders only. I will definately check those out. I agree that it would be useful for selling instruments too. The camera I use now has good video, so-so audio and takes crap pictures. Don’t know whether to keep mine, buy a mic, and a cheap camera for pictures, or just buy one do it all camera and sell my other.

Have you heard that song by the Boxcars, “Born and Raised in Covington”? :smiley:

Mike, that’s kind of what I’m afraid of with the SLR, not knowing how to use one it wouldn’t benefit me. Watching someone scroll through the menu on those things makes me dizzy, just more stuff than I need. I don’t need a GPS on my camera… most of the time. :smiley:

The video is good enough (except for the fisheye lens, everything looks like it’s in a fishbowl) on my camera but I would like to have better sound and pics.

This is the best vid quality I’ve got. Fully charged battery, decent light and about the right distance from the camera. A hack job on Grandfathers Clock.




I love the Boxcars, & I have heard that song, but that’s the wrong Covington. I think they’re talking about Covington, KY just outside of Cincy. I’m about 35 miles north of Dayton in the small farm town of Covington.

I don’t think that was a hack job at all. I’m working on that song myself & it’s a tricky one in spots. I think you did a great job.

I couldn’t see the headstock, but that looks like a slope shouldered Beorgouis (probably spelled that wrong). That’s a nice sounding guitar.

I’d like to post something on the site here, but I have no way of doing so. If I purchase a Zoom, I’ll let you know how it records. If you happen to get one or something else similar, let us know how you like it.



Thanks Jeff! That’s a tough song to get ironed out perfect but it sure is fun to play. Yup, that’s a Slope D, pretty happy with it so far, not sure it’s great for Bluegrass rhythm though.

I’ll post up what I decide to go with and maybe put up a vid to see what it sounds like.

Of course I could always just do this:


I’ve got no insights on your video quality, but the guitar sure sounds good. Nice pickin’.


Nice playing Shawn! Your technique looks great and it sounds great as well.


Thanks guys! That was a fun one to learn.

Any thoughts on the Blue Snowball mic on CL? Might buy something like that and then buy a camera in the $200 range. Pretty nice mics in my area on CL, but I have no idea what I need if I don’t buy one with a USB connection.


I didn’t know anything about the Blue Snowball, but I googled it and it looks like it’s primarily being marketed as a podcasting mic. I didn’t find any reviews of people using it for music. It’s $63 new on Amazon. I’m not sure how much the other stuff in the Craigslist bundle is worth.

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I have no idea what I need if I don’t buy one with a USB connection

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If you get a mic without a USB connection, you have to supply power for the mic some other way. Phantom power units start pretty cheap ($30 to $40) and go up, depending on your needs. I have a cheap little phantom power unit with a single XLR connector, but you can use other things. My guitar effects processor has an XLR connector, so I can use it as a preamp, too.


I don’t own one, but I have played with blue mics (a Bluebird), and I like them. The Bluebird has a good sound. Sorry, I do not know what “on CL” means. If you don’t buy a USB mic and you want to record to your PC, I think the easiest method is with a computer audio interface. I have Focusrite Saffire 6 USB. I got the Focusrite as their preamps got good reviews, and I have been pleased with it. To be honest, it’s amazing what you can buy for a few hundred dollars. The mics I am using were something I bought just to “hold me over” until I picked some “nicer items.” I haven’t replaced them and I don’t feel a strong need. I got a pair of cheapie MXL mics (990 and 991) for about $100, and they sound good to me. They are a bit harsh for vocals, but I get more into the instrument sound and they seem accurate to me. At some point, I’ll probably get something a bit warmer for vocals, but I don’t know if I’ll need to replace these for micing instruments.


Sorry about that Mike. I posted a Craigslist (CL) link in one of my posts. I got the idea of Blue mics from Oldhat but I think he got a Blue Yeti. I don’t think the snowball is as good as the Yeti based on reviews.

Larry, the price difference on a USB mic and one with out is about the price of a phantom power unit. I reckon I’ll just spend the extra for a USB mic. I looked the snowball up on Amazon too. The guy has some headphones and pop filter but I still think he’s asking more than what he paid for it new.

I think I’ve made a decision. I am going to buy the Canon powershot 130 that Mike linked and an Audio technica at2020 USB mic.

The Canon is about $230 with a memory card and case.

The Mic is $130 plus $17 for a pop filter.

About $380 total. What do you guys think? Do I need the pop filter?


Sounds like a good plan. I’m using a discontinued Audio-Technica (AT3035) that is very similar to the AT2020, and I think fiddlewood is using the AT2020, too, so I believe it will serve you well.


Sorry… I am a little slow. I didn’t make the connection between CL and CraigsList. I was trying to figure out what kind of technology was involved in CL :slight_smile:

I like AT mics. I haven’t used a 2020, but I have been happy with similar design and price range models. I look forward to hearing more playing!


You asked about a pop filter… they are great if you record vocals. We used to make them out of wire clothes hangers and panty hose, but it’s kind of nice to get one pre-made.


Ah, so if it’s not needed to record instruments I won’t get the filter. You will NOT be hearing me sing. :smiley:

Thanks for the help!