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Legal Observer camera guide

The Legal Observer Program will be loaning as many cameras as possible to observers. However, we’ll have limited supplies. Volunteers are encouraged to bring and use their own camera, or to donate any spare cameras they have lying around.

Photo: Naixn

Some people have told us they’re planning to buy a new camera just for the program. This is not at all a requirement, but if you’re thinking about it we’d like to offer some suggestions to help sort through the confusing features and technical specifications of the many cameras on the market today.

The Legal Observer program isn’t in the business of selling cameras, so we don’t want to tell you what you have to buy. If you bring us digital video or photos in any format or on any camera, we’ll be glad to take them! The important part is the content of the video or photo, not what camera you used to get it. That said, if you have a camera you want to use, or if you’re looking to buy one to use for the program, we’re more than willing to help you make a choice.

CNet has excellent guides to the complicated specs and features available on today’s digital cameras and camcorders. This will help you sort through the tech jargon and pick a camera that works for you. For the purposes of legal observing, the “budget” specs will do quite nicely, but these guides have something for everyone, from snapshots to professional photographers or filmmakers.

CNet digital camcorder buying guide

CNet digital camera buying guide

Budget camcorder recommendation: Flip.

The Flip Mino HD

If you’re still not sure, we’ll make one specific recommendation. If you’re looking for a cheap, easy to use camera for use in the Legal Observer program, the Flip would be a great choice. If you’re looking to shoot a documentary this isn’t your choice, but  they are reliable, capture up to 2 hours of video, and will fit easily in your pocket.

Categories: Observing
  1. November 23, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    The budget camcorder looks great, probably better than a larger model for the purpose as it’s more easily concealable. Image quality suffers slightly. If you carry a portable external hard drive you can probably download the full flip memory into that and start fresh. Not sure how much battery power the transfer would consume though.

    Naixn … A company named Optico makes an excellent anti-static lens cleaning wipe that come in individual packets you can store in your camera bag. 😉

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