A useful tool for videographers over the past decade or so has been the tiny “point-of-view” or “lipstick” camera that modern image sensors have made possible. POV cameras are great for getting tricky shots, so they are often used on sports shows or documentaries. They’re easy to Velcro onto a car’s dashboard, boom over a cliff edge, or snake down a groundhog burrow.
The Sony HXR-MC1 is a solid recent version, with a splash-proof 1.5” wide camera head tethered to a larger camera body, which records 1080i into 16mbps AVCHD. It’s made by a professional video camera company so it has a lot of professional features, like a proper zoom lens and a 1/5” sensor, but its downsides include the short nine-foot tether and the large $2,500 price tag.
If that’s a bit too much to spend on a camera that you will use rarely or you’re looking for something more rugged, there is an alternative available from the extreme sports crowd. It may not have manual controls, moving lens elements, or even a viewfinder, but it’s waterproof to 180 feet, fits in the palm of your hand, and shoots full HD video
for around $250.