The Best Cameras For Filming Snowboarding



Words: Nick Apicella

Canon Rebels | Sony a5100 | Panasonic HVX200a/HPX | Panasonic GH4 |
Panasonic HC-X1000 | Panasonic AJ-PX270 | Panasonic AG-DVX200 | Sony A7s/A7sii/A7rii | Sony FS7000 RED Cameras

Filming. Without it, snowboarding wouldn’t be what it is today, as watching yourself and others do tricks is how much progression and inspiration occurs. And filming wouldn’t be possible without the proper equipment, so this article is to provide you some insight on how to get started or where to look when buying a video camera. Just like anything else on the Internet, take this with a grain of salt. I cannot stress that enough. If you really want to start filming, or step up from your typical GoPro-mounted-to-your-head videos, do more research than reading one Yobeat article. Watch more videos. Ask other users. Or, go out and get your hands on some of these suggestions yourself. See if you can rent one at your local camera store, or if you don’t have a local store, you can also look up demo and comparison videos. Remember though, videos uploaded to the Internet get compressed and you have no idea if the person uploading them has any idea what they’re doing. I’ve personally been filming for three years and once I get into something I tend to spend way to much time looking into details and specs of different products, and how/why they work. Some of these cameras I have owned or used. Others, I have trustworthy peers that own them and gathered some of their thoughts.

Before we get into the cameras themselves, we need to consider a few things. First thing, do you want a DSLR or a camcorder? There are a few reasons for wanting either. For DSLR’s you can also use them for photography, which is nice. You can also USUALLY get a shallower depth of field which opens up some possibilities. This is due to a larger sensor, and the wide variety of lenses available for DSLRs. They’re also much easier to carry around since they’re small and light weight. ENG style camcorders on the other hand are, in my opinion, better for filming snowboarding. A better form factor (built in handle and good center of gravity) is nice for filming fisheye, and is great for handheld long lens shots. They also have some useful features that DSLR’s dont. Powered zoom, and continuous auto focus. Both of these arent necessary, but are nice to have. Each camera will have it’s own individual pros and cons depending on what you want and your style. Everything below is just my personal opinions on them. Nothing more.

Another thing to consider is resolution. I got bit by the 4k craze bug when purchasing my last camera. Truth is.. it’s almost useless at this time. I’m willing to bet 99.9% of you reading this don’t even have a 4k playback capable monitor. Even if you do, theres not much of a difference between a good 1080p codec, and 4k. I sometimes use it when filming long lens and I want to do the zooming/cropping while editing. Other than that, I just use 1080p. The next spec to look out for is frame rate capabilities. If you want to do any sort of slow motion, you’re going to want something that does at least 60fps. Most of the time videos are exported in 30 or 24 frames per second anyway. Vimeo actually JUST started supporting 60fps a few days ago. So if you don’t want to do any sort of slow mo, I guess you can settle with something that does 30fps, but with how technology is now, I see no excuse. Here’s an example.

Here’s a clip that I filmed in 60fps. I took that clip into premiere pro, and exported it out to 30fps. Then took both equal clips aside from the different frame rates, put them in the same sequence, set their speed to 50%, and exported that video. Here’s what you would get.

For DSLR’s you also have to worry about buying different lenses and switching said lenses on hill. Some of the more expensive lenses have image stabilization which is nice, but the DSLR bodies dont have that built in. DSLR’s also don’t have as good of battery life as most camcorders. With my t3i, I could go through 3 or 4 batteries in a day. With my new HC-X1000, I don’t think I’ve ever had to use a second battery in one day. Low light performance might also be a factor in choosing your camera, especially if your resort is open or ride in the streets at night.

When you get up to higher end cameras, the price to performance ratio isn’t always apparent. Good cameras stock, untouched footage can actually look pretty strange. This is due to their higher dynamic range and how our eyes vs cameras work. The magic for them is in post production color correcting/grading. This brings us to file formats, codecs, and compression methods. These all have an effect on how the overall image can look, and how manipulable it is in post production. These are just some of the things you will need to consider when choosing what camera is right for you.

Click the links below to read about each camera. 

Canon Rebels | Sony a5100 | Panasonic HVX200a/HPX | Panasonic GH4 |
Panasonic HC-X1000 | Panasonic AJ-PX270 | Panasonic AG-DVX200 | Sony A7s/A7sii/A7rii | Sony FS7000 RED Cameras

65 replies
  1. Filmer
    Filmer says:

    Yo fuck this are you kidding me? No vx1000, DVX100, or GL2??? You like dont even mention those cameras? You’re worthless.

    • 3CCD
      3CCD says:

      Oh yeah because you wouldn’t be a true snowboard filmer unless you are using some archaic hipster DV tape camera coupled with some interlaced Dad cam crash zooms!

    • HaterMcBaiter
      HaterMcBaiter says:

      I disagree, VX 1000 and DVX100 are very good cameras, but donkey kong for SNES is the best video game ever

      • Thunder Cunt
        Thunder Cunt says:

        @hatermcbaiter.. good for their time, yes absolutely. Good in terms of their price/performance in 2015, absolutely not

    • Thunder Cunt
      Thunder Cunt says:

      i knew there would be one of these people. lets face it.. the vx1000 is an overpriced POS from a technical standpoint. Other than that, its just a novelty item for dipshits to go around going “yoooo vx1k is hella crispy”.. fuck outa here with that and welcome to the 21st century

    • lol
      lol says:

      Youve clearly filmed with none of those cameras in the snow. Gl2 colours are wack as fuck, vx1’s glitch in the cold like crazy and dvx’s are good. So youre 1/3 there kid.

      • filmer
        filmer says:

        yeah well I use a DVX100, does fine in the cold and is cheap as fuck. I can buy one for $400 in pristene condition, and the fisheye is like $600-$900 vs a cenutry extreme that is $2500. I think HD videos are sick as well, but its shitty for yobeat to passive aggressively dismiss an entire option of filming by not mentioning it. The Impaler video is one of the best videos of all time, filmer on DVXs and VXs.

    • steve the cat
      steve the cat says:

      vx was dope in like 03-04 , gl2 has always sucked, both look like they were filmed with a crayon

  2. yo
    yo says:

    Yo Nick I’m surprised you actually are capable of writing an article this long! Didn’t know you had it in you.

  3. James
    James says:

    This is not very in depth… it doesn’t discuss prices, or lens suggestions.. I believe the idea for this article is great.. There could be references to who uses what.. for example, the GH4 kit lens has image stabilization and costs like 200$ (not expensive) the A7s is great in low light, so awesome for night shots in anywhere USA..

  4. Pretty Boys
    Pretty Boys says:

    No mention of iPhone 6? What’s the purpose of filming snowboarding if you’re not going to post it on instagram?

  5. FilmerD
    FilmerD says:

    Better than most of the camera “articles” I’ve read on here.

    Canon hasn’t changed their image sensor in years = buy the cheapest model you can get.

    A7s/A5100 are sick but the batteries last less than 20 minutes.

    FS100/700 is out of date. The FS5/FS7 is the new guy, good luck finding someone shooting with that thing yet. Or get a used one and have fun with the terrible form factor (something they fixed with the FS5)

    GH4 is really compatible with all sorts of glass and shit with the Metabones adapter and has a nice image.

    HVX/HPX/Any P2 camera ain’t worth it unless you like prohibitive start up costs, shitty/horrid file structures (unless you still have FCP 7), $2000 lens hits, and the worst low light performance of any camera in recent memory (that includes VX).

    This should have mentioned at least something about lenses. That’s the most important element of making shit look good; is having good lenses. The fisheye standard (that isn’t technically outdated) is the Canon 8-15mm f/4L; that’s what 90% of the pro shit is shot with outside of the Xtreme fish.

    Lenses are the best investment you can make initially because they can adapt to other cameras as technology gets better. Sony also makes power zoom lenses that are actually built to zoom like a camcorder, they’re E mount but if you need a zoom, that’s an option.

    If you’re using this article to make your judgement on what camera to get…. just go out and get the cheapest canon rebel body and a Peleng fisheye. Just don’t get the Rokinon cine fish because it is NOT WIDE AS FUCK.

    I shot VX for the second half of this year after filming HD for a while. Those cams were good back in the day, but anything other than broad daylight or shooting night lines looks terrible.

    Also tapes can kiss my ass, fuck you.

    My 2 cents.

    • 3CCD
      3CCD says:

      *Emoji fist*

      There are some work arounds for the A7S battery life which isn’t that expensive and pretty simple that let you use the bigger batteries from the FS700, you’ll just need somewhere to mount it.

      The Sony power zooms are pretty good but they don’t zoom as fast as they would on a traditional ENG HVX type camera so keep that in mind, but you do get continuos auto focus with any Sony sense unlike some of the Canon lenses…

    • Thunder Cunt
      Thunder Cunt says:

      Good call on the FS7. i actually was going to include that at the end of the fs700’s piece. Im almost positive Greg Weaver films with it. He did (or still does?) work for bear mountain but now i see a lot of stuff by him from mammoth. And again, good call on the HVX file structures. they are a ROYAL CUNT on my computer with premiere pro. why the fuck does a video file need 4 layers of audio?

      • FilmerD
        FilmerD says:

        Yeah man, I kept Final Cut X just to transcode the clips to Prores. The 2 audio channels are from the 2 internal mics as well as the xlr inputs. I can’t see a reason for 4 audio channels being active all the time other than that’s how they designed the P2 format. That’s also how things work with the C300s as well though, so constant audio channels must be a standard thing with higher end cams.

        I’m too lazy to do it usually, but mapping your audio channels lets you get rid of the extra/unused audio channels in Premiere or FCP.

        A7s setup with a battery adapter/grip would be a dream machine.

  6. Random Camera nerd
    Random Camera nerd says:

    The century xtreme does come in a 72 mm bayo mount that fits the HPX as well as some other 72 mm panasonic bayo mount threads, so it might be able to fit on the PX-270 unless Panasonic changed the bayo mount on that camera from the HPX bayo mounts. That was the problem w/ the DVX-200. People with an HPX xtreme (72mm) thought they could just use that same lens but panasonic decided to change up the bayo mount on that specific camera

  7. bitchy kid who you hate
    bitchy kid who you hate says:

    Okay you are all fucking absurd, talking shit on SD filming.
    -4:3 aspect ratio lets you get close as shit without head chopping, and I’m not saying you can’t get up in there with an extreme, but who the fuck wants to put a $2500 lens 5 inches from someone’s snowboard? And yes I know you can film in 4:3 with HD cameras but it just isn’t the same haha.
    -tapes are fucking awesome. Clips get lost, accept it, its fucking great to have a physical copy of every clips you’ve filmed. They cost $2 a piece, I really have no issue spending that for 60 minutes of filming.
    -Yes, shitty SD clips are fucking abundant because a lot of people don’t know how to film or set up a camera, that doesn’t reflect on SD filming though. You have to learn how to work with tapes, and set up your god damn camera. it is it’s own thing, I really enjoy it, I don’t care what you think.
    -Its cheap. I can buy a DVX100 for between three and five hundred dollars on ebay in really good condition.
    -Space is an issue. An SD clip has a third of the pixels that an HD clip has. That means that you can fit three times as many SD clips on a hard drive. Sorry, not everyone can afford a 1000gb hard drive to dump clips off of their p2 cards that cost as much as my camera.
    -The Impaler was filmed in SD, why don’t you tell them all to “get with the times”? Those dudes sure do produce lame ass, low quality content when they film SD huh…?
    -Its an artistic choice. Why don’t you all “get with the times”, be open minded, and realize its not about the equipment, but how you use it. If someone can film a sick fucking video, you shouldn’t question what camera they use. Thats their choice, HD and SD videos have their place, and people who think one is better probably just suck at filming and need some bullshit reason to make other’s work lesser than them. I’m bummed yobeat ain’t down with keeping SD alive because there will always be people who would rather learn to film SD because they just love the overall aesthetic of it.

    • Thunder Cunt
      Thunder Cunt says:

      1) you dont need a 2500 dollar fisheye lens to film HD.

      2) Extra hard drives and cloud storage are more awesome than saving tapes

      3) i agree

      4) You call that cheap? you can get a t3i setup for that price

      5) Really showing your ignorance here. Ever heard of a thing called compression? I touched on this a bit in the article. maybe you didnt read it and are posting blindly? there are some formats/codecs of 1080p 60fps that can be about 20mb per second max, and then there are some formats where they can be hundreds of mb per second. hell, my camera has about 4 options of compression/formats for each resolution. i can do 1080p60p as low as 50mbps or as high as 200mbps. Those are all different compression rates and methods. What your thinking about is RAW formats like on the RED cameras. No compression, straight from the sensor to storage. These formats take up lots of space but are only seen on very high end cameras

      6) impaler made an SD film? shit, guess that means its better than HD from a technical and preference stand point

      7) i touched on this to in the very beginning of the article. a camera will not make your filming any better. its just why would i recommend overpriced products as a novelty item?

      • bitchy kid who you hate
        bitchy kid who you hate says:

        haha okay mr. 20 mbps per second isn’t very much haha. And I never said HD is worse than SD, I never claimed SD was superior in either way, it just deserves to be mentioned. I really don’t get the “novelty item” thing, I mean you can call vinyl a novelty item too. if you think vinyl is whack well that sucks 4 u. And t3is suck fucking dick like who the fuck wants to film with one of those things. For a camera with a handle, a decent mic, and a good evf and LCD, thats pretty cheap. obviously most of the best snowboard filmers film HD, and its really sick, I’m not saying SD is better, its just different, and rad.

        • Thunder Cunt
          Thunder Cunt says:

          speaking of vinyl being a novelty, im more well versed in audio reproduction than filming. i can promise you, yes, it is also a novelty.

          and no, 20mbps variable bit rate is not much at all.

          can you tell me why a t3i sucks dick? all this article was for, was to provide people with what they should be looking for if they want to get into filming snowboarding, or taking it more seriously. why would i suggest a 15 year old camera to someone whos new to this, or wants to step their game up? your missing the point of the article.

    • FilmerD
      FilmerD says:

      Yo, so I’m glad I started out on tapes, but if I was looking at getting into filming today, I would most likely just be looking at getting a dslr setup with a fisheye, simply because it allows you to experiment more with filming and try different shit out with editing. It’s much more satistfying to be able to just go and edit your clips immediately after filming instead of having to go through the whole capturing process. I think that really slows shit down in terms of just trying to make an edit and work with the footage. To just be able to just sit down and edit with your clips lets you focus on getting them together instead of finding all the tricks on the tape.

      Honestly it’s very similar to shooting on actual film, which is a weird analogy. It really is its own discipline within filming with all the crazy vx repairs people do and shit to keep the cameras going.

      I think the whole different formats thing is sick and people should do what they want because it’s all the same shit in the end. Just keep it consistent.

  8. Silver65G
    Silver65G says:

    HPXHVX. You can get a RED but the trick will already happen by the time you get the tripod setup.

    • CMOS
      CMOS says:

      So what your saying is some one can dig a spot or catch a chair lift in the time it takes for someone to open a bag, separate 3 legs and slide the camera on?

      • thoonder coont
        thoonder coont says:

        apparently. i guess people see a price tag and it automatically registers in their brain as overly complicated for no reason

    • skateperception
      skateperception says:

      filming skateboarding and filming snowboarding arent exactly the same. all the people on there know is vx1k and hvx’s are king. thats about it. If you actually go to the section on there where members post videos its actually pathetic

  9. Hater
    Hater says:

    The way you talk about 4K is fucking stupid.
    Go read an artical about how Apple shouldn’t have got rid of the floppy drive.
    Or more recent the DVD drive.
    Get fucked.
    Push limits.

  10. TROOF
    TROOF says:


    • Thunder Cunt
      Thunder Cunt says:

      Some of them are somewhat affordable. Their new model thats on preorder is only about 6 grand for the body.

  11. ok
    ok says:

    filming with a DSLR is worse than filming SD. a filmer should never have the same equipment as a photographer. DSLRs are good if you’re a pansy and can’t commit.

  12. j
    j says:

    I like the HMC 150, sd cards, good quality, great zooming and if you can afford the century lens for it, great fisheye, otherwise the rest of those lenses suck.

Comments are closed.