Digital camera: choosing a multimedia device for a nonprofit content creator

After my first asset analysis joining Back on My Feet in January, it was beyond the pale of question that we needed a camera that could get our organization content — photos and video — up and moving quickly.

I was looking for a camera that was the following:

  • More durable than the personal camera I had, enjoyed but kept having it fail on me
  • Better lens for clearer video zoom and photo quality
  • No more than $500 and preferably nearer to $200

Upon some research and inquiries, I recommended we spend more than $300 on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20. Complimentary CNet review here.

It was more expensive, has a somewhat awkward lens cap (which is conveniently not displayed  in the above photo) because of its extension zoom and is altogether quite a bit bulkier than most we looked at (if not all), but it had everything I was looking for and that 10X zoom available during video mode was a big sell and something I continue to rave about today.

Since that, two of our chapters have had the popular Flip cameras donated, costing around $100. As Tech Crunch has consistently exclaimed after each of the Flip models, while it is a powerful, inexpensive tool, it really isn’t the best choice for anyone determined to put together regular content.

I found the most important difference between the far higher quality (and more expensive) Sony Cyber-shot and the newest Flip during our last two Back on My Feet chapter launch breakfasts.

I attended our Boston launch in May and used the Sony to shoot video of alumnus Kevin Brown speak, as you can seen below.

In September, another staff member was in Chicago for that launch using the Flip and shot video in similar light, from a nearer distance and with similar background noise. As you can see below, it is simply less audible.

So take that as the clearest lesson.

If you want only video content, plenty of it and will be doing close-range shoots in quiet surroundings, the Flip is really very valuable. Otherwise you want to look elsewhere, and if photos and video are important and will be something you’ll do often, I’d strongly recommend the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20, which I remain very happy with.

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