Every year, we take a few weeks to step back, take a look at our records and reflect on what products we've looked at over the course of the year. It's a challenge, but it's one that's worth it, as we look at where the industry was and where it is going. Some products were difficult to judge. We saw a lot of new support gear that was created to help users shoot steadier video with the newer smaller camcorders. But each is so different, the "best" depends on the user's needs. You'll also see that we had no mics this year, mostly because we didn't see many new mics come along. We suspect the manufacturers of wireless mics are waiting to see how the changes with the new FCC rules affect their use of commercial radio signals. For more on that read our blog, FCC Proposes Ban on Wireless Microphones in the 700MHz Spectrum.
The state of the technology for all video production gear is at an apex again. There are a lot of changes on the horizon, and the 2010 year looks to be full of promise. With that, here's a look at the Best Products of the Year that passed through the doors of Videomaker headquarters in 2009.
$2,295 - www.panasonic.com
The Panasonic AG-HMC40 is a tremendous value for a can-do camcorder. It's inexpensive for a professional camcorder, to the point where some news directors might even stock up on them to be used as expendable news gathering camcorders. It's also expandable; while the AG-HMC40 ships with only an 1/8" mic input, you can add a Panasonic XLR mic adaptor for $300. We also like that it uses inexpensive, standardized media.
Best DSLR That Takes Video
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
$2,699 - www.usa.canon.com
If you had asked us a few months ago whether we thought digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras would ever take video, we probably would've chortled out loud, then promptly apologized for being uncouth. But right around that time, Canon actually pulled it off - by updating the 5D with live preview, which also allowed Canon to add video capabilities to the 5D Mark II, which has proved to be very popular. Therefore, the Canon EOS Mark II is the first winner of the new category "Best DSLR That Takes Video."