Which Camera to Use for Tennis
Once you purchase your QM-1 Portable Camera Support on this website, you want the best tennis camera or camcorder you can get to record your tennis matches. If you don’t want to read any further, here’s our list of preferred cameras:
- MUVI VCC-5 HD10 (included with our MUVI bundle)
- GoPro Hero+ Silver Edition (about $300 – $375 depending on accessories)
- Koday Playsport 3 or 5 (discontinued but still out there if you can find it)
- Creative Labs Vado (same as the Playsport above )
- Sony CX-380 Camcorder (about $450 with extra batteries, 32 GB sd card and lens hood)
No one camera will fit everyone, and our attempt here is to catalog some of those and help you pick the right one for your requirements.
Following are some recommendations and things to look for in a camera. Note that these recommendations may change as we are constantly reviewing cameras to keep up with the latest available. We’ve purchased and used the MUVI VCC-5 HD10 by Veho, the Kodak Playsport Zx5 and Zx3 models, the GoPro line of Hero Cameras, the Creative Labs VADO, Delkin Wingman, Canon HF R20 and lastly a Samsung W300 Pocket Camcorder. Plus others.
If you are using a certain camera not mentioned here and you are happy with it, by all means use the contact page and let us know! Love to share the knowledge.
What to look for in a camera? We do a lot of videos, including multiple and simultaneous videos at tournaments. For most uses by an individual, a camcorder should have a minimum resolution of 720p, run at at least 30 fps, and be capable of 2+ hours recording time per charge. A built in wide-angle lens is nice, as is an sd card slot, and the ability to put in a fresh battery. The MUVI does all of this and more, as does the GoPro.
The problem with some lower end camcorders (under $400.00) is that they don’t have a wide enough field of view, and they won’t accept add-on wide angle lenses. Watch out for those as you probably won’t be happy with them! A 75 degree FOV is acceptable, and an 85 to 90 degree field of view (or more) is ideal. Contact the manufacturer for this spec, as the sales people will typically not have any idea.
Veho VCC-005 MUVI HD10:
We really like this little camera for a lot of reasons, some of them being:
- It records up to 4 hours of video on one charge
- Similar to, but much less expensive than the GoPro without giving up a lot of quality
- The built-in wide angle – 160 degrees – captures even more beyond the sidelines that most other cameras (and even the Sony CX-380), so you never miss out on the wide shots. It also has a zoom if you ever need it
- As an “action-cam” it’s lightweight and tough. Hit it with a ball? – no problem!
- For detailed camera specs, here’s the manufacturer’s page: MUVI Detailed Specs
All in all, this is our “goto” camera for our own matches.
Kodak Products: [Note: As of 2013 these are no longer manufactured and have become harder and harder to find at a decent price] The Playsport Zx3 and the Zx5 are advanced pocket camcorders that work very well, and recently we’ve become taken with the older model ZX3 along with the newer ZX5. Why? Well, for starters the ZX3 has an exchangeable battery so that by swapping out memory cards, your recording is only limited by the number of batteries you have. The Zx3 has expandable memory, and a 16 GB will give you about 4.5 hrs recording time at 720p and 30 fps. For tennis, a wide angle lens is a must to get the whole court. The Zx3 and Zx5 both record at 60 fps/720p and 60 fps/1080p and take high-quality still photos. Either of these cameras are fine for tennis, but the price fluctuates wildly. We wouldn’t pay more than $100.00 for one.
Creative Labs VADO Products: [Again, discontinued and hard to find] We used this camera for about three years with great luck. It has a naturally wider angle of view than any other, so you can get by without a wide angle lens, though it’s still nice to have one. Replacement batteries are available to get the full four + hours of recording time available on regular HD. The internal 8 GB of memory is not expandable, but four hours of HD video (if you have two batteries) goes a long way. The internal memory is also capable of 8 hrs of VGA. Please note that the prices for the VADO are fluctuation wildly lately – at this point the KodaykPlaysport may be the better choice for a pocket camera, if you are leaning that way.
The GoPro Hero: A little pricey, but the feedback is very positive. We purchased, tested and still occasionaly use the Silver Edition Hero3. The 90 or 120 degree viewing angle gives a great view. With extra batteries you can record about all day long. Click here for an example of the GoPro on an indoor court with a 120 degree viewing angle. What would the ultimate tennis camera system look like? It could very well be a MUVI or GoPro HD (any GoPro with wireless capability), a smartphone, and a QM-1 with the ProView Extender . The Extender allow you to mount your camcorder at least 2′ above the fence and use your smartphone to see what the GoPro sees. Great angle, great picture!
Sony CX-380. This is one of the few camcorders to have a wide enough field of view. If you are going to be doing a lot of video recording at events other than tennis, this might be your choice. You can buy the CX-380 here at Amazon or Best Buy for $398.00. Then add on from Amazon a 3500 mAh battery for $33.00, a 32 GB data card for $23.00 and an LCD sun screen for another $10.00 and you are set to go.