Five Tips for Getting Big results from Little Cameras

shot of a man holding a consumer camcorder


Five Tips for Getting Big results from Little Cameras

digisidd's picture

Chuck I could not agree with you more. I use a Flip Ultra HD 3rd gen and think it produces some of the best video within the constraints of what it can do. One thing you could also add is that these small little cameras are ripe to have additional optical lenses placed on them. I routinely use Macro and 2x Optical lenses on my Flip and could not be happier. A quick google search will turn up links to do mods to the Flip.


Yes the audio is always suspect but I think that can be said for most camcorders. Here are some examples of the Flip in action:





Excellent article - you hit the weaknesses that need to be worked around.  I keep a small camera bag with half-a-dozen small cameras I set-up in different positions where movement and audio don't come into play - just as it says. One of the cameras is the size of my thumb and I can sneak it into crazy locations. Another does time-lapse -- another has excellent shooting duration of 2 hours  - one has a flash for great stills  - one will webcast live - one will accept an audio feed. Each has a unique function - and they all provide different flavor shots. So when you get a chance to buy a close-out of a $ 150 cam for $  50 --- go for it  --  buy a few  - just don't depend on any for low-light -  sound - or smooth motion - and they will do fine. Top rating for the article.

Small cameras

cobra193's picture

I think I knew this subconsciously and have adjusted some.  For example I've always tried to steady my 'base' by leaning on something if possible. Proping my elbow up against my body for stability etc...  But the biggest thing I do with my small camera is a suggestion I sent in a few years back (and used in the hardcopy magazine) was to use a tripod  as counterweight.  For quite some time now, I've used my tripod as a 'steady cam' of sorts and this same technique can make a small camera act as a large camera. I mount my camera (or tie it on to the head if there's no mount).  Keep the legs folded in but extended as long as possible (depending on the amount of horizontal room you have available), then holding the tripod horizontally and balance in your hand (I use 2 fingers to reduce friction) and let it balance itself out. As you move about with it, you get the feel of a larger camera AND a steady cam!!

Mini Cam

I felt good reading your article:) I'm glad that professionals don't disregard small cheap camcorders.   About 3 years ago I got SANYO Xacti VPC-CG102 bk as a present from my wife, it was really for taking  videos of my work, it's compact inexpensive HD camcorder, Picture quality is really bad in low light (was little disappointed) but it take really nice shots in the Sunlight.

Full HD 1080p 30 frames AVC/H.264 and can shoot 60 frames in 720p. 

            I was shooting macro with my Canon DSLR  but the video only 640x480 SVGA and I wanted HD so I can actually watch it on my 60” LED screen, I tried my Sanyo camcorder, in macro mode:)) I was blown away!, with the right lightning setup you can do amazing things even on a budget, here you can see video of a snail that I took with Sanyo camcorder. So far I haven’t seen anything like this, (video quality) that shot with DSLR or any other cheap camcorder.            My lens was about ½ “ away from snail, but I don’t have portable bright light so it’s kind of dark (not included in this video).

Thanks for tips, I’ll defiantly use them in my future projects.   


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