All About Cameras
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. Towards that end, you can pick up a Kodak Playsport Zx3 or Zx5 here on this website (along with an SD card and wide angle lens).
OR, you can pick up any other camera that suits your particular needs. 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 Kodak Playsport Zx5 and Zx3 models, the Creative Labs VADO, Delkin Wingman, Canon HF R20 and lastly a Samsung W300 Pocket Camcorder.
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 problem with some lower end camcorders 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 is ideal. Contact the manufacturer for this spec, as the sales people will typically not have any idea.
Kodak Products: 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. For the price, we think either of these cameras are golden!
Look on the online store tab to order both the camera and p0le at one low price!
Creative Labs VADO Products: 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: This is probably the ultimate package. A little pricey, but the feedback is very positive. (NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS PRE-HERO3, WHICH HAS NOT BEEN TESTED) 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 GoPro HD (any GoPro with wireless capability), a smartphone, a QM-1 with ProView Extender, and a Polaroid pan/tilt mechanism (available at Amazon for $45.00). Now you can mount your camcorder at least 2′ above the fence and use your smartphone to see what the GoPro sees. Make adjustments with the Pan/Tilt mechanism. Great angle, great picture!
The Wingman HD: Definitely a step up in some respects. As is the GoPro, it’s perfect for the traveling coach or parent who needs to record multiple matches in one day. A 32 GB card will take up to 16 hours of video, and each battery is good for 2.5 hrs of recording time. Can also be used on any of your outdoor activities, as in biking, motorcycling, boating, diving and skiing. Comparable to the much-vaunted GoPro but with the addition of an lcd viewing screen to see exactly what you are shooting. Records continuously in 30 minute file increments so you can easily look at just the part of the match you want without downloading the whole match. Built-in zoom capabilities and doesn’t require an external wide angle lens.