Camera Recommendations

Camera Recommendations

Camera quality continues to increase, while size continually gets smaller

The Solvid CamStrap head camera mount is compatible with any video camera  with a 1/4 inch tripod thread or tripod adapter and is a comfortable size – under 1 lb.

The following cameras have worked well for the Solvid Team and the activities we conduct.  We do not discourage the use of other cameras as they may perform equally as well.  If you own a camera already, give it a try.  If not or your current camera is not performing up to standards, then we highly recommend the following.

Weight vs Quality vs Price:  these are the most important factors when choosing a camera to use on the Solvid CamStrap. The first thing to remember is comfort. If it is not on the head when the moment of truth arrives, then it doesn’t matter the quality – the footage doesn’t exist. That is why we suggest beginners start off with a lighter weight camera, under 10 oz for instances. For some, quality of footage is of up-most importance, and with this a sacrifice has to be met – more weight and a higher price.  Cameras from 12-16oz are very doable on the Solvid CamStrap and result in great footage, but they will be more noticeable than lighter cameras. Correct fit of the Head Strap is very important, and when adjusted correctly, will hold these heavier cameras comfortably, but for how long will be different for different people. The Solvid crew has several years of practice and can comfortably wear a 15 oz camera (Pan. HC-V770) all day if need be. That being said, it feels good to take it off, but is not dreadful to put back on. We started much smaller, so the acclamation has been gradual.  Each videographer must use their own discretion when choosing a camera.

*** Drops and Spills Coverage ***    the following cameras have proven themselves to be durable. Still, accidents and product flaws do occur, thus we recommend buying drops and spills coverage if you can afford it.

Amazon.com   We could sell the following cameras right off this website, but the truth is that we have a hard time beating the price that Amazon.com can provide.  We want to see you get the best price and service possible, so please use the links below to purchase cameras.  Beware of lower prices advertised at other sites, as these typically come at the cost of service and or refurbished products. We are an affiate of Amazon.  If you buy anything there with 24 hours of clicking on our Amazon links, we receive a small commission. Costs you nothing.  Thank you for using our links!

Video Cameras/Camcorders

You may notice we favor Panasonic Camcorders. While we have found them to perform slightly better in most areas than the competition, the main reason is because their functions are so user friendly with the Solvid Head Camera System. These cameras allow the user to open the screen (camera turns on), hit record, close screen; you are now filming. Push record again and the camera shuts down. Many other camcorders will not record with the screen closed, or need to be powered on with a button first. Some cameras will need to have the settings adjusted to shoot with the screen closed, so play with the menu a bit. If your camera will not record with the screen closed, the next best option is to turn the screen around as if you were to film yourself. Now the screen can be closed with the LCD pointing out; a piece of construction paper can be placed over the LCD if you are worried about the light. These issues are not deal breakers, but if you are planning to buy a new one, we suggest the cameras below.

The following list is in order of price, video quality, and weight, starting with the least.

Panasonic HC-V180 Camcorder

Panasonc HC-V180

Panasonic HC-V180 makes a great all round camcorder as well as a great POV head cam.

A lightweight camcorder delivering great video quality and incredible zoom in a very compact design that fits well in hand and only weighs 8 oz, making it a great fit for the Solvid CamStrap head cam mount.  It a very basic camera, but for most of us, that is all we need to get high quality POV footage; in most cases, less is more and simple is best.

Aside from the the features such as weight and the wide angle lens that make the HC-V180 a great camera for POV filming, there are other features that make it an all around great camera. With a 50 power optical zoom, there are few objects that will be too far to get good footage of.  On top of that, Panasonic offers a 90 power intelligent zoom, which is a combination of optical & digital zoom, sharpening and upscaling, making it look near as good as straight optical. We set our camcorders to max out at the 90X Intelligent Zoom. After that it goes all digital zoom resulting in image quality deterioration, getting worse the more its applied, with 3000X possible but mostly unusable.

Battery life is exceptional. With a full charge in the supplied VBT190 lithium ion battery, it recorded for 2 hours and 32 minutes. With the extended sized battery, the VBT380, you can expect record times upwards of 4.5 hours!

The camera is not perfect. There are a few things we would change for an ideal POV head cam if we could.  First, start up time is far longer than needed. It takes about 5 seconds from the time the power is turned on (screen is opened)  until the camera can begin recording.  Most of the time this will not be an issue, but could pose a problem if quick start up is needed. Also, there is no WiFi capabilities, so no using a smart phone as a remote screen.  The third downfall of this camera is the battery status indicator. It is very basic showing only a battery icon with bars in 1/4 increments showing battery level. If these downfalls are unacceptable, the HC-V380 might be a better option.

For more info or to buy, CLICK HERE:

Panasonic HC-V180 — $198

Panasonic HC-V180 Test Footage

Panasonic HC-V380 Camcorder

Panasonic hc-v380The HC-V380 is basically the same camcorder as the HC-V180 (above) in all aspects of recording. Both have the same sensor and record in the same file size, making the footage quality identical. Also, image stabilization, zoom, audio, etc… are all the same.  The difference lies in the bells and whistles.  The HC-V380 has many features that make for a better video recording experience, many of which are ideal for Film It Yourself footage with the Solvid CamStrap head cam mount. Much of the info on this camera can be seen in the section above; what we will focus on below what makes the 380 worth $100 more than the 180.

Battery: A full charge recorded for 2 hours and 40 minutes!  That’s 8 minutes more than the 180 on the exact same battery; strange due to the fact that the 380 is a slightly larger camera.

Start Up Time:  The HC-V380 starts up quick and is ready to record almost immediately after the camera is turned on.  When getting Film It Yourself footage, sometimes time can be of the essence, so immediate recording can be worth the extra investment alone.

WiFi Streaming: The HC-V380 is capable of syncing to a smart phone through WiFi (no internet or service connection needed). This allows video streaming straight to the phone so you can view exactly what the camera is recording, plus allows basic functions such as start/stop record, zoom, and a few others.  It is a great asset to those who are just starting as getting the unit lined up perfectly can be tricky for those without experience or someone there to help them get dialed in. Personally, we don’t use this feature much as we have a enough experience to know where the camera is pointing without checking.

Size and Weight: The HC-V380 weighs in at about 9 oz. Slightly heavier than the HC-V180 and visually larger in size, but on the head, the difference is not noticeable except to the most sensitive of bodies. The one benefit of the larger size is a bigger/better view finder screen, which aides in filming and makes reviewing footage more pleasurable. Not worth extra $, but noteworthy.

Are the extras on Panasonic’s HC-V380 worth the extra $100 cost over the HC-V180 considering the same footage quality potential? The Solvid crew thinks so!  The start up time alone is a deal breaker, and the other features could be considered as such on their own as well.

For more info or to buy, CLICK HERE:

Panasonic HC-V380 — $298

Panasonic HC-V380 Test Footage

Panasonic HC-V770

Head camera - Best cameras

The Panasonic HC-V770 shoots great footage but is on the bigger side. It will require the head strap to be fitted perfectly in order to be comfortable for any length of time. This camera is only recommended if the footage needs to be top quality and you are willing to sacrifice extra weight for extra crisp footage.

An incredible processor, level shot, WiFi enabled, and a strong optical image stabilizer make this the camera to wear if you are looking for the best footage possible out of a head cam. Of course, these high grade features also equal more weight. At just over 12 oz, we can guarantee you will know it is up there. The CamStrap can handle this weight comfortably, but the weight will still be there. For us, we need the best quality possible to market our products, so this is what we will be packing around; we are use to it now, so it is not a big deal. In fact, we feel naked without a camera on our head.

The 50X intelligent zoom is amazing and 24 mp still pictures will allow you to leave the point and shoot at home. Also new this year is a wind screen over the microphone, which also gives it that awesome look. There are far too many features to list here, just trust us, this camera is at the top of the camcorders in its price range. You can read about all the features at the links below.

For more info or to buy, click here:

Panasonic HC-V770 Digital Camcorder Head Camera @ Amazon.com –  $550

Digital Cameras

Get incredible footage with a Digital Camera. Available in water/shock/ dust/freeze proof models

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 Digital Camera

This compact digital camera records great 1080p video at 60 frames per second. It is less than 1 oz heavier than the most popular action cam, but that comes at the benefit of many more features such as zoom, screen, image stabilization, and more. It does all this and remains comparable to action cams as far as indestructibility. Its waterproof to 50 feet, and is crush and drop proof (with in limitations). These specs make this camera every bit as good or better than any action cam on the market, with more functions and applications, and at half the price!

The Tough TG-860 is dang near an action cam with an actual setting called “Sportcam Mode” that enables much faster focusing on moving targets and other neat sport type functions such as 60p movies, High-Speed movies, Time-Lapse movies. Also, an off centered tripod port will allow this digital camera to be worn on the side of the head, and another on the side allows for vertical shooting.

Click here for a lot more information or to buy:

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 Digital Camera @ Amazon.com –  $229
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 Digital Camera @ B&H Photo     – $229

Prices change often; Check both sites to get the most up to date price.

Olympus Stylus TOUGH TG-4 Digital Camera

This is a tough digital camera. With high tech lenses and processors, a lot of camera is packed into its shell. There aren’t many activities this camera can’t handle; waterproof up to 50′ deep, can take falls to 7′ high, temperatures as low as 14°F, and pressure up to 220 lb.

The TG-4 is WiFi enabled, meaning you can share content to a linked device, or use a device, such as a cell phone, as a remote and screen, allowing the user to see where the camera is pointing while being worn on the head. Also, the lens positioned on the center of the camera allows it to be used as a digiscope camera.

Click here for a lot more information or to buy:

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 Digital Camera @ Amazon.com –  $378
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 Digital Camera @ B&H Photo     – $349

Prices change often; Check both sites to get the most up to date price.