There are people who never miss a moment. They’ve always got that digital camera in their hand because, hey, you never know when you might be on the scene to create the next viral Youtube video. You want to get in on the action, but the idea of lugging around a camera makes you cringe because that thing might get heavy after a while. The good news for you is that consumer-grade digital cameras really aren’t all that heavy and you don’t have to be a professional to get started, so if you can hold your hand relatively steady while holding up a small camera, you might have a chance of documenting something interesting going down in the neighborhood. (Just a tip: Pratfalls are out. Cute, talented or just plain lucky animals are in.) You just need a good digital camera and that camera doesn’t necessarily need to be a professional grade camera that costs thousands of dollars. It just needs to be good enough to take in the action in HD, lightweight enough to be easy on your arm (or at least have the capacity to be mounted on a good tripod), and easy enough to whip out and start recording with in only a few seconds.
I’ll allow that it takes more than just a good camera to create a viral video just by walking around the neighborhood. It takes the ability to think on your feet, edit a video, strategize with a bit of game theory, and become a shameless self-promoter. However, you’re not going to do it without the camera. So let’s start with a rundown of some of the top handheld digital cameras.
It’s Sony, so you know this is going to be a good camera. This option shoots clearly and records video data in 50Mbps XAVC S(TM)1 1920×1080 at 60P, AVCHD and MP4 codecs. I know for certain that MP4 is suitable for Youtube uploads, so no worries about messing around with converting your video to a suitable format before uploading. If you want to get closer to the action without being obvious about it, this camera can zoom up to a 60X magnification. Sound quality is questionable, but it’s okay if all you want is the action or intend to add your own sound effects later. It does come with a memory card, but if you care about not running out of memory when you’re doing a lot of shooting, be sure to add on a Samsung or Sandisk card with a good amount of capacity. Some people didn’t like the included tripod very much, but loved the camera itself for delivering on the DSLR quality. The instructions are decent, but a lot of people found themselves hitting Youtube for tutorials anyway. Fortunately, there’s plenty of them and they were off and shooting with this camera in no time.
It’s pretty rare to see a consumer electronics product that gets an average 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon with 45 reviews, but this camera deserves it. The zoom is slightly less powerful with a maximum magnification of 16X, but with 16 megapixels and 720p definition, you might not care if you can get close enough to the action. It can accept SD and SDHC cards up to 32GB. Make sure you save it as an AVI if you’re going to upload it anywhere. The major con seems to be that it doesn’t do all that well in low light or rapidly changing lighting conditions because it can’t automatically compensate. The included LED light helps a little bit, though, especially if you know a little something about manually adjusting digital camera settings to suit. It does have a microphone, though sound can become a bit muffled if it’s coming from behind the camera. It doesn’t cost a ton, but then, neither are you getting a ton of useless accessories when you’re probably going to buy your own tripod and SD cards anyway. For less than $70, it’s an impressive little camera to have around when you think that you might be the one who shoots the next viral video.
You can buy this as just the camcorder or as part of a starter bundle, but I really do recommend buying just the camcorder and then adding on the tripod and the SD cards as needed. This digital camcorder has a crazy-good 3.28-MP CMOS sensor coupled with a 1080/60p resolution and zooms up to 57X magnification, so it’ll have no excuses for not picking up the fine details of whatever you’re filming. It automatically adjusts between four modes to enhance stability. The funny part is that the marketing department for Canon chose to push this as a way to track the development of your new baby, but hey, who am I to judge. With this camera in hand, you can record future favorite moments as they’re happening. It’ll work with a 128-GB memory card, so no worries about running out of memory even if you’re shooting video as a more memory-intensive MP4.
So did you chose the perfect camera? If not, there’s no shame in continuing to look around. When you’re out to shoot the next viral video, you do not want to skimp on the camera. You might have better luck with the eBay selections below. Good luck, and happy filming.