Once you purchase your QM-1 Portable Camera Mount, you want the best camcorder you can get to record your tennis matches. Here are some cameras we can recommend (or not recommend) through personal experience.
- MUVI K2-S We film hundreds of hours a year and this is our “go to” camera. Yes, even over the GoPro which sits unused in the closet. It’s easy to use, has a long battery life and excellent picture. The K2-S has a convenient carrying case and a silicon sleeve to protect it from rain. For a side by side picture comparison of the earlier K-1 to the GoPro, Click here . The K-2 has an even better picture than the previous K-1.
- GoPro (from $150 – $475). Expensive but it obviously is a high-quality camera. Same great picture as the K2-S but with a somewhat shorter battery life. Requires an adapter (available as an in-expensive accessory when you buy your QM-1 Camera Mount) to use with any standard tripod mount, including the QM-1.
- Muvi HD-10 Camcorder (we no longer recommend this for serious filming of tennis, but it does work and may fit your budget better.
- There is also the Sony HDRAS20/B Action Video Camera and other Sony variations of the same. The one we tried had an excellent picture but three drawbacks: Short battery life, a tendency to overheat (ours shut off repeatedly after about half an hour due to overheating), and you cannot attach an external battery.
- Yi Action Cam. Not thrilled with this camera. It’s fairly representative of the whole class of cheap (less than $100.00) knock-off action cams flooding the market. After looking at the specs of the Yi (and trying it out), see the review here it is our conclusion that the fixed wide angles of 170 degrees or more that these cameras have, combined with the short battery lives and lack of any accessories at all, make them undesirable and for a small amount more you can have a “real” camera like the K2-S.
Recommended Specifications for a Tennis Camera
Following are some specifics and some 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.
What to look for in a camera? We do a lot of videos, including multiple and simultaneous videos at tournaments. Whether you are a player, a parent or a coach, we feel you will probably want:
- a minimum resolution of 720p
- ability to film at a rate of at least 30 fps (we actually prefer 30 fps over 60 or 120 to reduce file size)
- capability of at least 2 hours recording time per charge
- a built-in wide-angle lens
- an sd card slot
- ability to attach an external battery or power source (usually through the USB port)
The MUVI does all of this and more, as does the GoPro (albeit at a much higher price!)
The problem with some lower end camcorders under $400.00, but not the MUVI, 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 not really acceptable, and an 85 to 90 degree field of view (or more) is the minimum. Contact the manufacturer for this spec, as the sales people will typically not have a clue.
Veho MUVI K2S Wi-Fi Camcorder: We like this l camera for a lot of reasons, some of them being:
- Records up to 3.0 hours of video on one charge, and with the Anker external battery, get up to 6.0+ hours!
- Similar to, but much less expensive than the GoPro without giving up quality (in fact some people prefer the MUVI picture)
- The built-in wide angle – 160 degrees – captures even more beyond the sidelines that most other cameras, so you never miss out on the wide shots. It also has a zoom if you want to fine tune the view.
- It’s lightweight and tough.
All in all, this is our “goto” camera for our own matches, or when we video a match for others. K2 Bundle to see our K2 Bundle.
The GoPro Hero: A little pricey, but the feedback is very positive. We purchased, tested and still use the Silver Edition Hero3 for certain applications. The 90 or 120 degree viewing angle gives a great view. With extra batteries you can record about all day long (just as you can with the K-1. 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 K-2, a smartphone, and a QM-1 with the ProView Extender. The Extender allows you to mount your camcorder at least 2′ above the fence and use your smartphone to see what the K-2 sees. Great angle, great picture!
Sony CX-380. This is one of the few non-action 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.