Affordable HD Church Video Camera

I'm always being asked to recommend good video cameras or camcorders that can be used to record church services, but this has always been difficult because while people want features like HD and reliability they always end their requests with 'it should also be affordable' as we have a very small budget and these two don't always go hand in hand especially if you are looking for new church video equipment, I never recommend buying second hand cameras as it is hard to know the history and repairs can be expensive once out of warranty.

I'm happy to say that Sony have produced a professional prosumer camera that will suit the needs of many churches looking to start a video ministry with a tight or small budget, it is the Sony HVR-HD1000U which currently retails at under $1600.

cheap sony professional church video camera

One of the unique features of this camcorder is that is has a shoulder mount design something not usually available in this price range of prosumer equipment, the advantages of that is you get more stable and steady shots while working in handheld mode (very useful during worship services to convey the atmosphere to the viewer of the intimacy). Being a Sony product, you can be assured of high quality and reliability something that has never let me down in over 15 years.

This camera records in 1080i HDV mode, but can also down convert to SD for those who only want to produce church dvd recordings for internal use. Other features include a x10 optical zoom (remember digital zooms are useless for professional video production), 1/2.9-inch CMOS sensor system which produces very good pictures and a Nightshot function which might not be used in a church setting, but could be useful for documentary production (think night homeless outreach coverage).

The other function which could come in handy is the ability to become a tapeless camera using an optionally available Sony HVR-DR60 60GB Hard Disk Recorder thus reducing your editing workflow time for church video productions of things like concerts, conferences and plays.

While I have not personally used one of these cameras, from the specs, and knowing Sony, I can be confident it will live up to its expectations and would thoroughly recommend you consider this if looking for a cheap professional prosumer church video camera for a ministry's needs.

Tapeless Cheap HD Sony Video Camera

Many people are now looking for tapeless church camcorders because they want to reduce their post production workflow time. Sony have introduced the HXRMC2000U full sized HD camcorder to cater for those customers. The specs are similar to the camera mentioned above, with the absence of the MiniDV tape requirements, instead boasting a 64GB Hard Drive and this camera has a better optical zoom.

One disadvantage of a tapeless system, is that it is easier to lose important footage if someone formats the media at the beginning of a service withhout checking if it has been backed up!

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Michael Parks said...

For our video ministry, we got a similar HD camera made by panasonic, the AG-HMC70. I reviewed it for Church Production Magazine ( and liked it enough to propose its purchase. It records onto an SD card, which makes it possible for me to take home just the card to edit, leaving the camera at church for others to use.

how to ollie said...

Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.

Unknown said...

I'm thinking of getting a DSLR something like Panasonic GH1. Or may be a HD Camcorder Canon HV40. Do you recommend these products?

Shola said...

John, you have not said what you are going to be using the camera you intend to buy for, and though I'm not familir with these production equipment, I can offer the following advice.

A DSLR camera would be suitable for someone who mainly wants to shot dramatic films, documentaries or adverts/promotional video spots. The better depth of field offered makes for good cinematography, and the wide range of interchangable lenses compliments this.

On the other hand if you are just interested in recording your church services on video, then you might find the consumer grade camcorder will be more suited to your video production needs.

Whatever camera you go for, don't forget to think about how you are going to capture sound recording. You might also need a good way of monitoring video when shooting with the DSLR in video mode as well. All the best with your project.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to figure out what I need to get new HD cameras for our church, we have our service on the web and tv. I'm wondering about audio mixing boards and all that.

Shola said...

Have a read of the various articles I have already written on this website, you need to think about Cameras, HD mixers, if you are already on TV, then you should have a sound desk which should provide your audio needs.

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