How to Find the Best Camcorder for Filming Sporting Events

by Contributor

Look, up in the stands, a guy filming a soccer game with a camcorder. Sporting events need a camcorder that can keep pace with the players on the field while still being easy to use for the guy in the stands. The best camcorders for filming sporting events are light and fast with intuitive controls and rock-solid dependability.

Look for a compact and lightweight design, with good handling and a natural placement of controls. When you hold the camera, your hands should be able to find all the necessary buttons without significant effort or without disturbing the shot.

Pick a model that does not load tape or other recording media from the bottom. You're going to have this puppy mounted on a tripod, and bottom loading camcorders have to be taken off the tripod, and their mounting brackets have to be removed before you can change tapes.

Check the camcorder's battery life. A longer battery life means less hassle for you.

Select a camcorder with an image stabilizer. Most of the time, you'll be shooting from a tripod, but the stabilizer makes those on the sideline close-ups of the action worth watching.

Find a model with fast shutter speeds. High performance sporting events require a camcorder that can keep up with the action.

Get decent still performance. A lot of camcorders have less than perfect still picture performance, but you should be able to find a model that will allow you to email grandma a still shot of her favorite granddaughter socking in the winning goal.

Go for a good viewfinder. You're going to be peering through this quite a lot, so make sure that you are comfortable with it.

Tips

  • check 340,000 effective pixels should be your dead minimum resolution. Always look at the effective pixel count versus the actual pixel count. The effective pixel count is how many pixels make up the image, rather than the pixels present on the CCD (charge-coupled device).
  • check If you really want to spend some money, get a camcorder with 3 CCDs. The CCD converts images into electronic signals, which are transferred to the tape. Multiple CCDs break the image into the component colors and process each one separately, which improves picture quality.
  • check Media: miniDV is the industry standard. The cassettes are small, which keeps the chassis size and weight down, and the video quality is reasonably high.

Warning

  • close Do not expect quality footage of a football game with an entry-level budget-model camcorder. Not gonna happen.