Question Camcorder Advice/Suggestions Please


Standard Member

I'm looking for suggestions for a budget camcorder for filming talks indoors. We have a budget of £300 and due to the place where the camera needs to go we would need a wide angle lens, for better sound it would need an external microphone input. It would need to be able to record HD videos for about 35 minutes. This may require the camera to be plugged into the mains for this.

I've looked around, but it seems to be a bit of a pain to find it mentioned in the specs for camcorders that they have the external microphone input socket.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Well-known Member
Most of the higher end consumer cams have an external mic socket including all the ones on my signature. Wide angle add on lenses are often the easiest ways to get decent wide angle, Neewer have a range.

Incidentally all the cameras shown have a 5V USB charging supply which can also run the camera. This means that the cameras can be run from any 5V USB source, Mains charger, car supply or, as in my case, a power bank. (20,000 mAh power bank will run the camera for 12 hours)

PM me if you want to discuss further.
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Distinguished Member
Hi, I fear £300 is a low Budget for a camcorder with ext-mic input.

You've not said, but is this
1), a lecture you want to capture for study? OR
2), a talk someone wants to put out on video?
IMHO for 1, you should be able to use the internal mic, if it's reasonably close to the person talking. If it's a lecture theatre, they may have a microphone and speakers - so placing the camcorder near a loudspeaker should subdue any audience chatter . . . (but you'll lose any Questions, unless repeated by the presenter.) If you are using a tripod (often frowned upon ), you need to guard against "trip-hazards" and pref. isolate the camcorder-mic from any floor vibrations. This can be difficult.
Absolute audio quality shouldn't be an issue since you can replay any difficult bits. The video quality, likewise is an aid, unless it's a demonstration, in which case you are nearer to Version2).

For 2), without an audience, (or a tame one, which can be filmed separately)
the video quality is important, so manual focus (avoiding any sudden drift common with Auto modes). Use cutaways to show specific details in sharp focus. The audio needs to be good ( including the presenter-style!) and whilst a tie-clip mic is good, unless the presenter is familiar...can result in un-editable noises.
How close is the camcorder to be placed? I don't understand the need for "a wide angle lens"
Most camcorder batteries will (from full) last nearly 1hour. But it is advisable to change both Memory and Battery around 20minutes - allowing a while for the camcorder sensor to cool - - - it often helps the Presenter and Audience, who will benefit from short breaks.

Good luck, . . . . but try to include full details...


Standard Member
Hi thanks for your input, it's for recirdinr sermons at church, which is currently done inside a hall. The wide angle lens was a bit of a requirement as comparing cameras with wide angle lenses and without wide angle lens highlighted a problem with the positioning of the camera. The wide angle lens allowal for the camera to be positioned closer to the person at the front. The non-wide angle lens meant the camera had to be further away and as highlighted this impacted upon the congregation and we didn't want any trip hazards. There's no need for filming on any of the congregation, certainly not at the moment so the camera is just sat on a tripod in a fixed position. Due to the hall (which is hired) having one side open and connecting to a corridor (which no-one uses on a Sunday) it does mean we lose out on some sound quality. We have a lectern microphone which outputs to speakers in the room and to the microphone input on the camera to ensure we have clean audio. The maximum recording should be 45 minutes at an extreme. Usually no more than 35. Thanks for your help! We'll probably just have to look at upping our budget.


Distinguished Member
I fear this is likely to be a tall order, but the important recording is the sound. This will mean an external microphone - but there are cheapo tie-clip mics from a couple of £'s - which means if it gets broken a replacement is cheap enough. Their cables will be thin and can be a nuisance if not handled with care.
Few tie-clip mics have long cables... this would be an advantage.
Your comments re: wide-angle is slightly concerning: as a lens very close distorts a face and without some lessons in Video Technique they are likely to move-about and sometimes out of shot. By positioning the camcorder further away; you may not be able to use on-camera mic but the scene will be easier on the eye.
Have you checked if anyone in the congregation has a modern ( say within 6 years?) camcorder they could let you use for "Set-Up" - ?
( This might help to determine how things should be placed. ).
Be wary of outputs from PA going into a camcorder . . . ideally they need to be "isolated" which is like having a transformer between the circuits, this avoids hum-loops and any hint of mains voltages . Also, the direct levels are likely to be wrong - budget camcorder mic inputs will be very sensitive.
A cheap-trick would be to put the camcorder near one of the Loudspeakers - use the camcorder mic and pick-up the lectern audio from the speaker. Whilst this may limit your camcorder placement, it neatly gets rid of the microphone issue - as I presume that's been OK for quite some time.
Most tripods are too low for anyone on a podium.... so mounting the tripod a little higher may be necessary - this has the benefit it will be above the audience, even when they stand up ( which would otherwise be a disaster visually ) - devices "Magic Arm" are a universal clamp with a camera-thread at one end and a grabber at the other, which can lock onto something no larger than (say) 1 inch, round/square. For safety, you might use two together to improve their combined strength.... They cost ( e.g from Az ), about £12 each, but retail you may have to pay £40 each.
ALT:- If anyone in the congregation is a metalworker, they may be able to make a suitable camera platform for the chosen position.

Hope that's some help.

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