The age-old question about regular cameras has been answered time and time again: should you buy a compact camera to take better photos than your smartphone is able to? The answer is usually no. But what about video cameras/camcorders? Video has not evolved on smartphone at the same rate as photography has.
If you’re someone who takes a lot of video, you might be pondering the idea of buying a dedicated video camera to use alongside your phone. Maybe you don’t take too much video, but still won’t mind having a top-notch just-in-case gadget handy. Whatever your circumstance is, we’re going to help you figure out whether to shell out some money on a video camera or stick to the device you know and love.
Here’s how this works. Below are seven questions. Answer based on your own context, but pay attention to which letter you’re picking for each. By the end you should notice a pattern and that will help you determine your results below.
1. How often are you the person behind the camera filming different events and occasions?
A. I am always filming something. I like documenting moments that are meaningful to me and others.
B. I frequently shoot some video on my phone, but not that often.
C. I rarely film but would be open to the idea… I guess.
2. Do you consider your smartphone battery reliable?
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A. No, it barely lasts long enough to get me through a typical day. It’s not ideal for handling every task I throw at it especially when I’m traveling.
B. It’s fine. I definitely wish it lasted a bit longer than it does now and maybe I have a battery case or power bank, but I don’t necessarily hate the battery life.
C. Yes. I rarely have to search for a charger during an inconvenient time.
3. Does UHD or 4K mean anything to you?
A. Yes. I’d prefer to shoot in the highest resolution possible. I plan on saving my videos for the long run and UHD/4K is the future.
B. That sounds cool, but it’s not a top priority. Maybe in a few years when there are more 4K TVs out and support elsewhere it’d be higher up on my wish list, but not right now.
C. I just bought a 1080p HD TV to watch high-definition content. What is this 4K nonsense? Anyway, if you need me I’ll be out back churning butter.
4. Do you frequently travel or even just socialize with bags, purses or luggage on hand?
A. I’m usually carrying something, so yes. I have plenty of essentials and can always make room for more.
B. I suppose I bring a bag or purse here and there, especially when traveling, but for casual events I’m generally light on storage accessories.
C. No way, the lighter the better. Either that or I stuff as much as humanly possible into my pockets.
5. Do you professionally edit your videos, casually edit and spruce them up or don’t tend to edit them at all?
A. I generally edit my videos pretty often using decent software like Final Cut Pro.
B. Sometimes I’ll edit to add fun effects, filters, some transitions or titles but that’s about it. I might edit on my computer but I might even just use apps on my smartphone to get the job done.
C. I rarely edit videos. What you see is what you get.
6. Do you shoot a lot of video in low-light environments?
A. Yes I do. I’m big on the nightlife scene or the area where I usually shoot is poorly lit.
B. I shoot a healthy mix of day and night video. Plus my phone’s LED flash sort of brightens a dark area… right?
C. No, I’m not much of a night owl. And if I ever need to shoot video in a poorly lit environment, I’m comfortable enough with the flash on my phone.
7. Can you justify spending a decent wad of cash right now?
A. Yes. Give me all the gadgets and take all my money for them.
B. Probably. I prefer spending on necessity over luxury, but a little splurge here and there never hurt anyone.
C. Only if I need to.
If you answered mostly A, yes it is absolutely still worth it for you to go out and buy yourself a decent video camera. Thankfully you don’t have to spend too much on one these days. Still, video cameras offer much better low light video, better video and sound quality overall and compact ones shouldn’t take up too much space. Start shopping.
If you answered mostly B, you’re somewhere in the middle. Weigh the pros and cons again to pick what is best for you. Video cameras have better video and audio quality and can free up space on your smartphone plus save you valuable battery life. On the other hand, you have to spend additional money to buy a video camera and SD card plus it’s another gadget you’d have to carry around.
If you answered mostly C, stick with your trusty smartphone. The pros of getting a video camera don’t justify the extra cost and bulk for you. Plus, you can always put that money toward future smartphone upgrades to ensure you have the best camera that’s available within a phone.