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Q:

Which HD camera do you recommend for shooting at 23,000 feet?

I will be going up to 23,000 feet and need to do a documentary film there. Which camera and battery set do you recommend for HD shooting. Huma Beg Islamabad

The VIXIA HF10 Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder     Photo: courtesy, Canon

The VIXIA HF10 Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder

A:I can’t pass this one up. And I'm not sure, but I think I found your profile on LinkedIn.

Are you sure you need my advice? You seem to have a lot of production experience, based on your website (okay, I figure—how many Huma Begs in Islamabad can there be? Although for all I know the name is like Bob Smith here in the U.S.).

Anyway, if it were me, I'd start with something such as Canon VIXIA HF10 Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder ($999 U.S.). It's a semi-pro camera with fabulous high-def performance, but a little lighter than a pro-style machine (I’m willing to bet weight will be an issue). It has a 12x optical zoom, image stabilizing, and plenty of control options for shooting in tough light conditions. It also uses a flash drive, which is handy because you can swap it out.

For something more pro-level but still compact, try Sony's HDR-FX7 3-CMOS Sensor HDV High-Definition Handycam Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom (whew). It’s a beauty, boasting a 20X Zeiss lens, memory stick recording media, and big LCD display. Really nice. And it only costs $1,999 U.S., which is not unreasonable for all the good stuff you get.

The stock batteries with these cameras are fine. You need to buy at least two extras for whatever camera you get. Then you can cycle through into a warm pocket or something like that, as it's the cold that will "kill" them. But not really kill them, just slow down the electrons so that none can flow out and do their electron thing (like make the camera work).

So that's my take. Good luck, and thanks for writing!

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