Looking to upgrade your camera and computer? Great! Here are a few suggestions. Disclaimer: This is not the “end all be all” list but I have used quite a few cameras and gadgets. I have also bought a lot of equipment that I regretted. Learn from my mistakes.

First and most important the camera. A camcorder is like a person and is somewhat of a commitment. If you pick the right one you will have years of enjoyment together. My old Sony-VX2000 just died after 10 years. I loved that camera for a few reasons.
  1. It felt good in my hands
  2. It was well balanced
  3. It had a lot of glass (big lens) So images looked clear and crisp
  4. The manuals controls were easy for my hands to find
  5. It shot well in low light (had a good lux rating)
  6. The tape mechanism was near bulletproof
  7. It would hold an external light , microphone and would take XLR input with the use of a small box

Camcorders to AVOID AT ALL COSTS - Ones that use AVI as a format container. Cams that record to DVD. Cameras that record MPEG-2 (same as DVD I know)

Things TOO look for: Mini DV, Firewire, AVCHD, MPEG-4, iFrame, .MOV then double check on the Apple site for iMovie compatibility. Not being on the list does not mean it will not work but it means Apple has tested it and it does work.

I have tried to keyword this Amazon link to remove all the camcorders that will not work.

Now it took me a while to finally decide on another camcorder and in the digital age I certainly wanted a high definition camera preferably with all the same attributes. Off the table, of course, was tape. While many pro’s still use DV tape and standard def television is still around I think it is time to move on. I also know that I can’t have my BIG camcorder with me all the time so I have a little one that fits in my pocket that I keep in the door of the truck. Here are some suggestions in every price range.

On a Budget

41p-1Z6qJyL._SL160_ Sanyo VPC-FH1A Full HD Video and 8 MP Digital Photos

Its Big Brother - I have the a previous version of this camera that only does 720P

41vwfsrm02L._SL160_ Sanyo Xacti HD1010 MPEG4 10x Optical Zoom

The one I have

41L8ljdpiKL._SL160_ Panasonic Professional AG-HMC40 AVCHD Camcorder 12x Optical Zoom

Its Big Brother (I would love to have this)
41HpqX9pEnL._SL160_ Panasonic AG-HMC80 3MOS AVCCAM HD with HD and SD Recording

Steady your Shots - With the detail and resolution of HD camcorders it is even more important to keep your shots still. iMovie can only stabilize so much. Do NOT by a cheap tripod at Walmart for $20 you will be sorry.

At a MINIMUM get a monopod
21tZOSqPJzL._SL160_3 Section Manfrotto Monopod

But a good fluid head Tripod would be better.
41Tv8DuD87L._SL160_Video Camera Tripod with Fluid Drag Head

BUY GOOD MEMORY - You can get MUCH less expensive SD or SDHC memory cards but when you get a parity error on your kids 16th birthday party footage and have nothing... don’t say I didn’t warn you

41zWl1j-s6L._SL160_ Transcend 16 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card

If you have a camera that shoots at a high data rate, as mine does, you will need to buy the faster 30MB/s cards or you may get artifacts. Sorry.

51Iygv4ZBlL._SL160_ SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC Class 10 High Performance Memory Card
Get a Card Reader with and extension - Otherwise you can lose ports since the reader is so wide it blocks the others.
31xNdhZUjuL._SL500_AA300_IOGear 12-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader

Buy a good Microphone -Yes, the internal mics do an O.K. job but for $150 you get near production level audio. Buy this and you will thank me. Oh and pick up the wind muff for it to if you are going to be shooting outside

4125UAF27jL._SL160_Rode VideoMic Directional Video Condenser Microphone w/Mount

If you are doing interview type videos please use a lav mic. Again, you will thank me later.

21-8XA9-7fL._SL160_ Audio-Technica ATR-35S Lavalier Microphone

If you have video footage that need some audio "cleanup" Sound Soap does the job.

517EAuH0+fL._SL500_AA300_BIAS SoundSoap 2

If you have a friend with good XLR mics you CAN use them with this adapter. Also comes in handy if you are shooting an event and can hook to the soundboard. I still have the same Beachtek I bought 10 years ago and it works perfectly with the new camera.

21Xt836yGHL._SL160_ Beachtek DX-A2T "Tough" Dual XLR Compact Audio Adapter for all Camcorders.

The biggest, fastest drive you can afford and keep your iMovie projects on that drive your OS on another. (if you Mac supports 2 drives) These days you can buy 2 TB’s for next to nothing

51driGcEOyL._SL160_ Western Digital 2 TB Caviar Black SATA 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache

If you do not have a place to put a drive internally. This one will connect to any computer on its fastest interface.

31YUjD9cVDL._SL160_ LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk 1 TB eSATA/FireWire800/FireWire400/USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive (Aluminum)
or something like this if you just want to mount a bare drive.

41P4voF1jxL._SL500_AA300_Thermaltake Sata HDD USB Docking Station

Cheap USB drive for copying things around

210i4qQn2WL._SL160_SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive

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