Ironically I see digital cameras and camcorders starting to merge into the same device, at least for the low end and middle end market. I made this observation after realizing that my $700 JVC Everio HDD Camcorder does not produce as clean or sharp video as my wife’s much newer Panasonic Lumix Camera with 1080p HD Video.
This is distressing, as I received that dedicated camcorder as a gift and now I just am not satisfied with the blurry/pixilated image quality on a DVD or the fact that it does very poorly in low light in comparison to her much cheaper, smaller little camera that adds HD Video as a side feature (a darn good side feature). Taking HD Video with your camera will likely mean you will have to increase your SD Cards as 4gb and 8gb are fine for high resolution photo’s, but get eaten up fast if you plan on taking 10-30 minute video clips with your camera.
The SanDisk 64GB Ultra 15MB/s SDXC Memory Card is high performing and excellent, though at just over $200 it is extremely expensive and one may consider just getting four or five 8gb SD cards instead for that price. USB devices which have high capacities but still don’t have the write speed for real time video recording are a good option for storage and porting video’s, but unfortunately not a viable solution for cameras to record to.
Out of the various Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fujifilm camera’s I have used over the years, I have been extremely impressed with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 and particularly like the multiple person focus, where it identifies and focuses on several peoples faces at the same time, instead of the single point focus of my Canon Digital Rebel. It isn’t a Digital SLR, but this is the best pocket sized camera I have ever seen and my wife uses it to record photos and video’s for concerts in dark atmospheres and it picks up the movement and minimal lighting very well.
Though if you get this camera you are going to want a larger SD Card if you want to take long video. The camera also has a standard tripod mount support so I can use my same tripod and adapter for my camcorder with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20.