If you are capturing events that are over 30 minutes in length, a camcorder, as opposed to a DSLR, is your best bet.  The cameras listed below are portable, easy to use, and have great battery life.  In addition, these cameras are discreet on the streets of New York City.  For BAC Folk Arts events, I use a Canon HF620, on a tripod, with an external microphone. The portability and battery life allows me to set it up, press record, and walk away for an hour or two while I am presenting the artists.

Canon 16GB VIXIA HF R70 Full HD Camcorder ($299)

This is a decent camera and will get the job done.  However, it does not have a “cold shoe” to mount an external microphone (see photo).  Therefore, you will need a “dual shoe bracket.”  It’s actually really great to use the Vello Grip bracket ($14.95).

Panasonic HC-V770 ($497.99)

This is an inexpensive camcorder with decent sound. It is still important to use an external mount. You can easily mount a camcorder on the cold shoe on the top of this camcorder. Here are some specs:

  • Record Full HD Video and 24MP Stills
  • 1/2.3″ Back-Illuminated MOS Sensor
  • 20x Optical Zoom / 50x Intelligent Zoom
  • HYBRID OIS 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • 1080p Slow Motion Video up to120 fps
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video Recording
  • Twin Cam with Wi-Fi and NFC Connectivity

Canon VIXIA HF G20 ($799)

This is a decent camera and will get the job done.  The problem you will run into is that it does not have XLR inputs. Instead, this camera has a 1/8 inch microphone input.  This means that you will need an XLR to 1/8 inch minijack adapter but you will need to match the impedance (audio signal).  Here is the adaptor you need.

Canon XA30 ($1799)

This is the updated version of the Canon XA 10. Simply put, this camera image quality is much better and it will also be better in low light. In addition,  this series of camera’s feature wireless accessibility for streaming.