Now days it seems as if everyone wants to take a video camera into the field to capture their hunt and for a good reason, it’s fairly easy to do! The problem is that a lot of beginners to video cameras simply run out and purchase a camera that has the largest zoom advertised. That is a big no-no!
I have over 20 years of broadcasting experience and I can tell you the biggest blunder a person can make is to purchase a camera that boasts a very large “Digital” zoom feature, stay away from these! What you want to look for is the “Optical” zoom rating on the video camera. Digital zoom takes your video and digitizes it electronically within the camera to make the object look closer than it is, this will cause your video to look pixellated or “blocked”. The quality of the video is degraded and it will not look as sharp as it should.
The best way to avoid this is to purchase a camera based on its optical zoom rating. Do not pay any attention to what a techno geek kid in the store tells you about how awesome this 400x digital zoom feature is on the camera he is trying to sell you. Any good camera that has a 10x or 20x zoom feature should capture any big game animal in front of you within 100 yards.
I would also look for a camera that has an easy to use manual focus feature as well. Trust me, the last thing you want is for that branch three feet in front of you to be in focus when that big ‘ol buck comes into shooting range, then you look at the video and your buck of a lifetime is out of focus. Being able to easily set the focus on a camera to a desired range will pay off in the long run.
These are two simple features that will save you a ton of grief when it comes to shooting video out on your hunting adventures! Take the time to do your research and find the best possible video camera for the budget you have to work with, it will pay off in the long run!