Top 5 Video Camera & Video Gear “Top Lists”

No – that isn’t a typo in my title. This post is about compiling my Top 5 list of the best video camera and video gear “Top Lists” in 2011. Now I guess I probably should have used “most noteworthy” because I’m going to point out a few selection processes that were a bit soft in their approach – more on that later. 
(Update:  I added a sixth selection, a late entry from the ProVideo Coalition)
(Update2:  I added a seventh selection, a new entry from HD Warrior)

Compiling a year’s worth of data and selecting a list of Top 5 of anything is not an easy task. I should know – I just completed compiling my selections for the Video Production Industry’s Top 5 Trends in 2011. I enjoyed the challenge and wrote five articles to accompany my selections.

Here are my selections for 2011’s Top 5 Video Production Industry Trends:

After I unveiled my final selection I took to Twitter and Google to see which other video publications and blogs compiled similar selections to see how their picks and reasoning compared to mine. Now this is much different from the type of awards that are given out at NAB in April, as those are based on product specs and in-booth demos. In this round up of video cameras and video gear “Top Lists”, I was looking for selections that were based on actual user experiences, although some still included video cameras that are still in pre-production, like the Canon C300 video camera.

Here is my Top 5 list of Top Video Camera and Video Gear lists:

HDVideoPro: The Top Ten Products of 2011

I enjoyed this read, written by HDVideoPro’s Neil Matsumoto, because he took the time to develop a story around each selection and his selections were more than just listing-off specs. Sure, he included the Sony F65, Canon C300, and Red Scarlet-X, three very high-end video cameras that were only available in pre-production form at the time of his writing, but he wrote some great copy around his selections.


Videomaker Magazine: Videomaker’s Best Video Products of the Year 2011

Due to magazine lead time, Videomaker uses October 1 as their year-end and they will only list products they have tested. Unfortunately I feel that when it comes to making critical decisions between two very similar offerings, instead of picking a top selection, they just create a new category. So the Most Ground Breaking Camcorder is the Sony NEX-FS100 and the Best Interchangeable Lens Camcorder is the Panasonic AF100. So in a way they are admitting that they like the FS100 better than the AF100 but then the FS100 should have won both categories or the AF100 been awarded only an mention in the Interchangeable Lens Category. Want another example? The Best Production Suite was awarded to Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 and the Best Advanced Editing Software was awarded to Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum. Aren’t they both Video Production Suites?


WebVideo University: The Best Video Cameras of 2011

Technically the Sony NEX line of video cameras that also shoots video should not be allowed to win in the Micro Four Thirds video camera category because it has an APS-C sensor. One commenter suggested the category should be “mirrorless camera”, which I agree with. But the big problem is that the Panasonic GH2 camera didn’t get mentioned. And the Pro or Prosumer category lists the three year old Panasonic HMC150 as one of the three top picks.  Maybe he should have swapped one Panny for the other.


EOSHD: A bit of Christmas fun – mini shootout and name the camera!

This isn’t as much a “Top Pick” article as it is a camera comparison but the three pages of comments make this article a good one to review if you are in the market for a new video camera that takes video.


Philip Bloom: The Christmas mini shootout with the C300 (pre-production), F3, FS100, hacked GH2 and more!!

I don’t think Philip Bloom ever sleeps – or he has successfully cloned himself. He is active on his blog and all over Twitter at all hours of the day, which is night for him in England. His shoot out was the most talked about video camera comparison since the SCCE Great Camera Shootout of 2011, which would have made my list but it is 8 months old and is missing all the new models, similar to Jan Ozer’s Buy the Best Video Gear: A $2,000 and $4,000 Buying Guide.

At the time of this writing, he has only posted Part 1, which is strictly a resolution test.  Comparing the GH2 to the FS100 to the C300 is really interesting. It is also admittedly satisfying for me, a Sony FS100 owner, to see the Canon DSLR be outperformed as it reinforces my #5 selection in my own Top 5 list. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of his video footage, especially the skin tone detail and colour corrected footage.


Update:  PVC just enveiled their look back at 2011:

ProVideo Coalition:  A Year in Review

Createsasphere President, Kristin Petrovich Kenney discusses the challenges and wins that the video production industry went through in 2011.  (Createsphere acquired ProVideo Coalition acquired in 2011).  She discusses many of the same news stories that I cover covered in my Top 5 selections, including the impact of the Japanese tsunami on tape stocks, the movement to tapeless workflows, and Apple’s “exit from the professional market”.


Update 2:  HD Warrior just relesased his picks for best video camera in 2011.
HD Warrior:  The Winner in Reverse Order

Philip Johnston, the UK based HD Warrior unveils the top three video camera that he reviewed in 2011, along with stories of his experiences.  His winner – The Sony NEX-FS100


As always, comments, Tweets, and FB shares are welcome.

About the Author

Shawn Lam, MPVis a professionally accredited videographer and owner of Shawn Lam Video Inc., a Vancouver video production company. Shawn has been recognized with four major video production awards and is a recognized video industry writer and product reviewer who has published over 50 video production articles and is a contributing author of two Adobe Premiere Pro CC training books.View all posts by Shawn Lam, MPV →

  1. Greg Lam01-11-2012

    I really enjoyed the Philip Bloom shoot out. The big shock for me was seeing the low light differences between the DSLR’s and the new large sensor video cameras. I couldn’t believe how well the large sensor cameras performed, even though I own both a DSLR and a large sensor video camera.

  2. Video Production01-25-2012

    Apple lost big time when released Final Cut X …

    • Shawn Lam01-25-2012

      I agree but the loss of a relatively small pool of professional video editing software sales is nothing compared to their gains from iPhones and iPads. I think the writing has been on the wall for a while – I’m just happy for my FCP editing friends that they are not dead in the water and don’t have to maintain a legacy system in order to access old projects as they can import FCP projects into Premiere.

  3. television production companies05-17-2012

    Its really great. Thanks for sharing the great post regarding list of the cameras and the video gear top lists. It will be useful for all.

  4. Rashed Ortes06-24-2012

    my personal preference is canon

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