Thanks for reaching out and welcome to the community!
These are great questions.
Given my experiences so far, I'm really uneasy about purchasing another camera or camcorder that has a HDMI mini output. Is my experience with HDMI mini connectors typical or is that a canon thing? Should I get something with a Type A HDMI connector OR try a different brand? Suggestions?
First of all, it's definitely not an issue with just Canon. The HDMI connector, and HDMI in general, is very weak and was designed for consumer use in a controlled (basically permanent or very limited use) environment. It is quite common to see HDMI connector failures when cables are plugged/unplugged consistently.
One "fix" (more like a hack) is to use a short adapter in the camera and just plug/unplug the cable that goes into the adapter, leaving the adapter plugged into the camera the whole time (and ideally reinforced with a cable clamp or some other way to keep it from getting bent or unplugged accidentally). That way the adapter connector is more likely to fail instead of the connector in the camera.
I've also read of issues with HDMI cable length with the ATEM mini. Is 25' just on the edge of what will work with the atem mini pro?
As far as HDMI cable length goes, that is tricky. Very tricky. Like, ridiculously tricky. 😆
Just like the camera and connectors, it is not an issue only related to the ATEM Mini Pros or Blackmagic Design. It is, again, an inherent design flaw with HDMI itself.
The HDMI Licensing Admin (the group in charge of setting the standards for HDMI) don't even claim a maximum cable length because it's nearly impossible to do accurately. There are many factors involved in how far an HDMI signal can go reliably.
However, there is a certification that HDMI cables can get that basically guarantees the cable will work with certain bandwidths (which is determined mainly by the resolution and the frame rate of the video being sent) up to certain lengths.
Now, here's the catches with that:
- A vast majority of HDMI cables are not certified. Like, 98% or more of cables are not certified.
- There are different levels of certification that are based on the different bandwidths:
- Standard Speed - formats up to 1920x1080 at 30p/60i fps or 1280x720 at 60p fps
- High Speed - formats up to 1920x1080 at 60p fps or 4096x2160 at 30p fps
- Premium High Speed - formats up to 4096x2160 at 60p fps
- Ultra High Speed - formats up to 8192x4320 at 60p fps or 4096x2160 at 120p fps
- The longest cables certified for Standard Speed (1080i or 720p only) are around 45 feet, and there are only a few. They're also very thick.
- The longest cables certified for High Speed (up to 1080p60) are around 25 feet. And, again, they are also very thick.
So, the issues you've encountered with the 25' cable are pretty common and expected unless you're using really high quality certified cables.
Do you prefer baluns or converting to SDI for longer runs?
I almost never recommend extending HDMI using baluns, Cat 5/6 extenders, or IP-based extenders. I recommend converting to SDI or using fiber optic HDMI cables only.
You can learn a little more in my articles listed below, or you can also go through my Cable Finder.
My Recommended HDMI Cables
My Recommended SDI Cables
My Recommended HDMI to SDI Converters
My Recommended SDI to HDMI Converters
And if you want my recommendations on cameras, then I suggest starting at the article below. And feel free to ask any other questions!
The Best Cameras for Live Streaming