Hello! I have been filming concerts for the last seven years as a hobby, but have gotten more and more serious about it and have a pretty huge YouTube following (see http://www.youtube.com/wojo4hitz
). For the past three years I've used a Canon G7, which has been phenomenal. However, my third G7 has just had a microphone malfunction, and you can no longer buy the G7 new anywhere. I know there have to be more improved cameras for this since 2007 when the G7 came out, but I've been unable to find one that's overall "better," especially in the sound department. Can anyone help? Here are some of the issues I've been having:
1. I can't use a video camera.
Most venues allow personal point-n-shoot cameras but not video cameras. The G7 isn't a "video camera," and yet it shoots excellent low-light HD videos with the best sound quality I've been able to find in a P&S camera. But yeah, all of the best video technology I've seen has been reserved for video cameras and camcorders, which you can't take into a concert venue. Additionally, I'd like to take pictures at shows too, in between filming.
2. I can't use a DSLR.
Same as video cameras. Most venues don't allow DSLRs. If it has a removable lens, it's usually not allowed.
3. I can't use a later G-series model.
In the G9, G10, and G11, Canon removed the HD video capabilities. That's just no good. They add it back for the G12, but the sound on the G12 is just not as good as the G7. Why? My friend (who is a sound guy) has a theory that it's because the G7 is the last G-series model with monaural sound. All later models have stereo sound. Though stereo is great for everyday or acoustic settings, once you throw in the drums and heavy bass, the sound distorts. My sound-guy-friend's theory is that stereo sound leads to twice as much data being compressed, which leads to increased sound distortion. I don't know if this is right, but it sounds good. Anyone else know?
4. This rules out most other current P&S models.
Everything now has stereo sound. Which flat out doesn't sound as good as the sound from my G7. I can't find video from any other P&S model that sounds as good as mine. WTF is a person to do?!
5. Using an external mic is possible, but questionable
I've never tried it, because the G7 doesn't have an AV input jack, but the whole thing seems complicated. It's also something venues probably wouldn't like.
6. Problems with the G7
I adore it, but like I said, you can't buy it new anymore, and I'm already on my third one, which is off for repairs. Also, it only shoots HD at 15 frames per second. Which is fine if your subject is not moving much, but if they're bouncing around the stage like a maniac, the picture gets choppy and not very smooth to watch. Most newer cameras shoot HD at 30fps. Second, you can't zoom while filming in HD, which sucks. Once you start recording, you're stuck where you started. Third, it only has 6x zoom... which is okay, but not great if you *can't* get to the front row of a show or end up in the balcony. Most other high end P&S easily top this as well. Fourth, though it shoots great in low light, the picture is a bit noisy. Okay, now I'm just being picky.
7. Problems with other P&S models I've tried
First and foremost, the sound quality usually sucks. However, my friend's Lumix is not *too* bad with the sound (but not awesome), has 18x zoom, and can zoom while filming in HD. All of those things are nice, but it has one other problem: autofocus. Though autofocus is usually a great thing, during a concert with lots of bright light, especially strobe lights, the camera is constantly confused and going out of focus, especially after lighting flashes. So this leads to video that is pretty annoying to watch. Can't they make one with autofocus you can turn off and on?!
Sooooo... given all of these considerations, does anyone have any suggestions??? Does anyone know of any other P&S cameras that can rival the G7 in sound quality, and that can improve on some of the G7's other filming features? I don't know if Canon knew what a good camera they'd built for filming live music when they released the G7 (apparently not, since they removed the HD from the next few models) but I consistently hear from fans that my videos are better than any others they've seen, short of professional footage from people who are actually allowed to have professional video cameras on stage (hhhmmmpphhh).
I would love to hear your thoughts. There are a million forums out there for serious audio recording of live music, but for video recording... it seems like we're kind of few and far between. Thanks!!!