Are you a skateboarder? Maybe some of your friends are, or a relative. If so, you’ve probably seen some good stuff that had you wishing you had a video camera.
The best cameras for filming skateboarding are easy to use and are affordable for a wide range of budgets.
Additionally, many cities and neighborhoods are including skating parks in their outdoor recreational areas.
There are also full-featured skating parks that can be used by amateurs and pros, as well as being able to host competitions and exhibitions.
This creates an opportunity that photographers and videographers can tap into, whether for fun or profit.
5 Best Cameras For Filming Skateboarding In 2023
1. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder (Black) Review
A small camera with very big features, the Vixia R800 has a very powerful zoom lens and excellent video quality.
Firstly, is the lens. It’s a 57 power zoom lens with close focus ability. To give an idea of just how versatile this lens is, 57X would be equivalent in full-frame 35mm format to 32.5mm all the way to 1853mm.
With a lens that long, camera shake would normally be an issue. The built-in optical image stabilization reduces shake well enough to allow you to handhold the camera at maximum zoom.
Next, the sensor and image processor are very high quality. It records in full HD 1080/60p and uses MP4 as the recording file medium so you don’t have to convert in order to share.
A flip-out viewscreen doubles as a touch screen for camera controls. It is bright enough to be usable in broad daylight and makes it very easy to access video modes while in the shooting position.
A variety of special effects lets you create effects in-camera such as:
- Fast and slow motion
- Highlight priority
- Plus, zoom framing is very usable for filming skateboarding.
Furthermore, this is one of the best cameras for filming skateboarding because of an external microphone jack for better audio to match the already superb video recording capability.
Size, weight, and price are all very low, too, making this a great camera for anyone wanting to break into action videography.
2. Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V770 Review
Panasonic has been a provider of consumer and professional video equipment for decades and their current lineup of fine video cameras offers value ad features to a variety of user levels.
Importantly, the HC-V770 is extremely compact, has a 20X zoom lens, and has manual control capabilities.
The flip-out viewscreen is bright and sharp and reverses to show the subject what is being recorded. This is useful for vloggers that may need to film themselves or when doing interviews.
One very interesting feature is the ability to use your smartphone as an extra camera for Picture-In-Picture (PIP) recording.
We’re familiar with viewing PIP on TVs and monitors, this lets you insert the PIP directly on the recording. That way, the PIP will show up regardless of the playback device.
Additionally, it has that feature available through a Wi-Fi network which can also be used to remotely monitor playback or the live recording.
It even doubles as a baby monitor if you need that. Not just monitoring the recording, the Wi-Fi feature lets you control some camera functions, too, such as wireless remote control.
Image stabilization helps smooth out camera shake and the built-in microphone records in stereo. An external mic jack is available, but the built-in mic is very high quality on its own.
A nice set of special modes are available, Miniature Effect, 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, Slow-Motion, and Time Lapse Recording is simple to access and use.
In fact, it even has a manual control option for several settings, an unusual thing to see in lower-priced video camcorders.
Manual control is available for Focus, White Balance Mode, Shutter Speed, Iris, Sharpness, Color Saturation, White Balance, and Brightness.
3. Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder Review
A step up in quality (and price) brings us to the Sony 4K recording FDRAX53. What those letters and numbers stand for is a mystery to me, but that’s my own issue with camera names that I’ve ranted about before, so we’ll move on.
Additionally, 4K is the big deal here, an outstanding recording quality that is perfect for action videography.
Furthermore, the detail, color, and sharpness in the recordings with this compact camera are amazing. Full HD 1080 is also an option.
Recording slow motion in 4K is an awesome experience. There is virtually no distortion, noise, or loss of resolution in slo-mo, making playback of the effect appear very natural.
In addition, this is a great feature, making this one of the best cameras for filming skateboarding or other sports.
An easy-to-access manual control ring lets you:
- Adjust zoom
- Shutter speed
- AE shift
- White balance shift
In addition to these controls and slow motion, a 4K time-lapse is also available.
The extremely sharp 20X Zeiss zoom lens starts out wider than most video camcorders. A 35mm equivalent 26.8mm is substantially wider than the more common 32 or 34mm of other cameras.
A nice feature for filming any expansive vista or for filming in cramped areas.
Some advanced features to make editing more capable are Time Code and User Bit notations in the recording. Helpful for editing together footage from multiple recordings or even multiple cameras.
Furthermore, the audio is superb, with an external mic jack included. Image stabilization is also built-in.
4. Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V180K Review
This small camcorder is very budget friendly while still providing a whopper of a zoom lens, 50X optical, 90X with digital zoom. It starts out wide, too, about 28mm equivalent, which is wonderful in a camera at this low price.
The sensor is a little smaller than the other cameras in this list of best cameras for filming skateboarding, but it still records a very high-quality video that looks great when viewed on large screen TVs.
It has image stabilization and special modes such as 8mm Movie, Silent Movie, Miniature Effect, and Time Lapse Recording but the audio is not quite as good as the other cameras reviewed.
Plus, there is no external mic jack either. A minor nitpick, considering how affordable this compact camcorder is.
5. Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Camcorder HC-VX981K Review
Extremely high-quality video is provided from this camera, which helps justify its higher cost and heavier weight.
A 20X Leica zoom lens and 4K recording give near-professional quality results in a compact, easy-to-use camcorder. Audio recording is also excellent, and an external mic jack is provided.
Other advanced features include in-camera editing solutions such as:
- Subject tracking stabilization
All of these features can help you capture and produce content without requiring expensive and complex software.
This camera also has the twin camera PIP recording feature as well as Wi-Fi for various remote control and viewing or playback options.
Full-featured 4K video cameras are more expensive than other similarly sized camcorders, sometimes up to double or triple the price, but they are still within the budget of a decent entry-level still camera kit.
Overall, for the ultimate in recording quality, it’s hard to beat one of these cameras.
If you want to learn how to use your new camera and capture the most stunning skateboarding videos, then these are fantastic guides to help you get started on the right track. This is a step by step guide and some composition techniques.
How to capture great skateboarding videos
As with most sports photography and videography, capturing great skateboarding videos requires good technique, high-quality equipment, and a familiarity with the sport.
- Follow the action – If you’ve ever videoed races, derbies, or athletic competitions, then you already have many of the necessary skills for videoing skateboarding. You have to know where the peak of the action is going to be. The direction and speed of the action in skateboarding can change direction speed instantly, being familiar with the track lets you prepare for capturing the best footage.
- Keep it wide – Using a normal wide-angle lens is often a very good choice for filming skateboarding. While it is interesting to zoom in or get too close to some of the action at times, it creates a more pleasant viewing experience if the viewer can see the surrounding area in relation to the action.
- Keep it low – Viewing as a spectator from the standard spectator point of view is fine, but you can add some interest by shooting from a lower angle. Mix it up some, and get views from around eye level and from lower. One thing shooting low does for action is to create a sense of intimacy, immediacy, and anticipation.
- Keep it in focus – Showing people out-of-focus video footage is like having your wheels come off while boarding. Ain’t no one got time for that! Modern autofocus systems are amazing, but you still need to be able to make sure that the rider coming into the field of view is what’s in focus, not the park features behind them. Again, being familiar with the area, and with the skateboarder, will help eliminate out-of-focus footage.
- Use FX sparingly – We will be tempted to use all the super fun features on our camera or in our editing program, but too much emphasis on special effects can detract from the overall viewing pleasure. Go ahead and use it! Don’t get me wrong. Just let FX in your finished video be like having a hot pepper with your BBQ pork sandwich. It adds a nice bit of flavor, but an entire sandwich of hot peppers will probably appeal only to a limited number of diners. (Talk about extreme sports…)
- Use stabilization – Shaky cam is expected in horror films, but it is annoying in most other videos. As with FX, it can be included, but as a part of the video, not the entire film. A similar issue can be included here, rapid panning. You’ll have to pan back and forth with the action, keeping it smooth and controlled makes the finished video more viewable.
- Stay visible – A collision on the course can be damaging. Broken equipment, broken bones, or disqualifying an athlete in a competition are the dangers of not being visible enough. Of course, staying off of the course being used is important, too. In any sports photography, don’t be on the field of play during the action unless you have specific permission, and everyone involved is aware of where you are.
- Edit it down – For me, half of the fun of shooting a video is editing it into a final product. Keep it in sequence, make the transitions smooth, and remove the boring bits. This is also where you can add in a musical overlay and captions.
How I Found the Best cameras for filming skateboarding
- Sensor and video quality – In order to get high-quality videos to share or maybe even to sell, you need a sensor of decent size and quality. More than sensor size is involved in the quality of the finished video than just the sensor but it’s a biggie.
- Lens – A great lens is also needed. Besides sharpness, having a wide zoom range, fast aperture, and close focusing is also desirable.
- External mic capability – The built-in microphones are pretty good, but for the highest quality audio, an external mic is best.
- Flip screen – A bright screen is needed for shooting in sunlight, a flip screen lets you position it to avoid glare.
- Video modes – Having special video modes can add interest to the finished video. Just be careful to follow the advice above about not overdoing it.