UPDATE 10/3/10: Zoom has just released their Zoom Q3HD. Still with only a Hi-Low microphone gain, but with up to 1080p HD capability. Details here.
This July I got turned on to a new way to record student lessons (by my continual inspiration for my studio, Cynthia Vaughn). She recommended I use video when recording lessons, instead of recording & saving an mp3 sound file as I had previously been doing. The camera she recommended is the Zoom Q3, by Samson (CNET review here).
The best thing about this camera is its ease of use. I have had all my students purchase a 4GB minimum SDHC media card (they’re currently selling for $12-$20). This allows for 1:23:37 of recording at 48 kHz, 24-bit audio. At first use, I make sure the student knows that this card needs to be dedicated to voice lessons (warning: don’t let them give you the card out of their digital camera!), as I format the card, and then run the “New Card” program that comes with the camera. This then places Samson’s “Handy Share” – a super basic video editing/playback program – onto the SD card. After this one-time setup, all future lessons only require putting the card into the camera & then removing the card at the end of the lesson. The time that I’ve been taking to save the lesson file onto a USB Flash Drive is completely gone. My students all feel as if they’ve “gained” time in lessons.
Another completely easy part of the camera is the ease of switching between video and audio. There is a switch on the side of the camera that toggles between video and solely audio. There are times where I just want an audio file (such as when recording the notes of a new song), or very quickly video (for speaking a foreign language text where the student can really see what my mouth is doing for articulation). This ease is AMAZING & well worth the purchase of the camera. [···]