Best Video Cameras for Travelers in 2011

Photography & Video — By on January 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

video camerasBy Brooke Schoenman
LG Tech & Gear Editor

We posted recently about simple ways to take better travel pictures, but video would be my ultimate suggestion for anyone wishing to have a clear and precise record of their travels. Beyond the color and appearance portrayed in photo, video captures the actions and sounds—everything from background noise to people’s voices. If you’d like to fully relive the running of the bulls in Spain, or riding a camel across the desert in Morocco, long after it has happened, video can help transport you back in time.

With this in mind, here are the best video cameras for travelers in 2011:

Micro cameras

muvi microMicro video cameras are for the traveler that wants an inconspicuous camera option. These can be clipped onto clothing to capture events as they happen or to catch daily life experiences. The quality may not be up to some standards, but the story these can tell with their tiny size can open up another world.

Veho’s Muvi Micro camcorder

The Muvi Micro is just 55 mm tall and features a 2 megapixel camera. It can be clipped on to your bike, your shirt, or your helmet; it can capture sound as well. The Muvi Micro has the option to be sound-activated if you wish to use it for sneaky endeavors, but do be careful about using this feature in hostels. The camera can tape for up to 90 minutes.

Compact & simple video cameras

Backpack space and weight is a huge issue for backpackers, and travelers in general. You have to think about your own travel needs before you can choose the proper camera type. For those that just want the memories while saving space and money, then the compact and simple camcorders are the best option. These typically come in a form that fits in a pocket and connects to a computer via USB.

Flip Mino HD
The Flip camcorder made its mark on the travel world a couple years ago, but it is still going strong with its latest Flip Mino HD. This little device comes with the ability to capture 720p HD video quality for up to 2 hours in the 8GB model, and then connect with its flip-out USB stick to a computer for easy transfer to video sharing programs. Coming in at just 4.1 ounces, the Flip Mino HD will never weigh you down.

kodak playsportKodak Playsport
The Kodak Playsport is very similar to the Flip in appearance and size, but it definitely takes the features to the next level. I would recommend this video camera to travelers for not only the ability to toss it in your pocket, but also because it can be taken to the extreme. Fancy a little underwater camcorder action? The Kodak Playsport can be submerged up to 10 feet in water without any damage, taping at 1080p HD in the process.

More advanced cameras

Video cameras come in all shapes and sizes with new travel-friendly options popping up every day. By travel-friendly, I am talking about the streamlined versions—compact and can still fit in a small purse. These cameras will have more features than the simple Flip or Playsport so you can make higher quality records and

Panasonic HDC-SD60
There are several Panasonic models that can suit travelers as they come in a compact size yet have more features than the models above. The SD60 is great for the price range meaning you won’t lose an arm and a leg if it gets lost, stolen, or broken on the road. However, if it is a microphone input you seek, you might have to look at the Panasonic HDC-TM700 instead.

sonySony HDR-CX150
The Sony HDR-CX150 is a budget-friendly video camera capable of recording in full HD. It features a 16GB flash memory and uses a CMOS sensor in its setup. This camera is quite comparable to the Panasonic above and would make for a decent and basic option for any backpacker or traveler.

Thousands of video cameras flood the market these days, so choosing a proper option really depends on your specific needs. There’s always the option of using the HD video on your iPhone or iPod Touch to record a holiday. Speaking from a traveler’s point of view (one without an iPhone or iPod Touch), the video cameras above are some of the best to take on your adventures in regards to size and price.

Do you recommend a video camera that’s not on this list? If so, take a minute to tell us about it in the comments below.

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  • Cailin says:

    Great post Brooke!
    I swear by the Kodak Playsport so much so that I actually have two of them!! 🙂
    Most of the videos on my site were made with the Playsport and I just love the quality 🙂

  • Brooke S says:

    Thanks, Cailin — good to have the positive feedback of a video guru such as yourself 🙂

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  • Brandon says:

    Hi, I’ve done extensive shooting while traveling, and I’ve got some tips on the latest camera gear at Right now, I’m shooting mostly with the Sony RX100 and the NEX-5n; both still cameras that also shoot excellent video. Lots more details at the blog.

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