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Suggestions for which camera to purchase

Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 12:58pm

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FXhomer8277

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Hello everyone. I have been researching different camera's lately and it seems like it becomes a personal preference which one is the best to use or purchase. I live in a area that unfortunetly does not have any locations I can rent different cameras to test them but these are the 4 I am looking at.

Canon GL2
Canon XL2
Panasonic DVX100 or DVX100A (100B if I can find a good deal).
Canon HV20

I'm not a rich person so I want to make the best purchase possible. I have never made a film or anything before, so this is all new to me. I know that I would like the look of a movie, not so much film or TV so I was thinking the 24P cameras are my best bet. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be awesome. Thanks
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 1:45pm

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SilverDragon7

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Well, the cameras there are in completely different price ranges, the Canon HV20 is just under $800, the Canon GL2 varying up to $2000... IT depends on your budget.

You say you're not the richest, so I will say the Canon HV20/HV30-as this will also leave room for a good camera mic, 35mm adapter or whatever you want.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 2:04pm

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FXhomer8277

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Thanks for the input. I have been saving my $ to purchase a camera so I know there is a difference in price but I can afford to purchase one of the camera listed, just not sure which one is the best to purchase. I'm leaning towards a DVX right now.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 4:04pm

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FreshMentos

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The HV20 is an incredible camera for the price it is. My friend has one and the raw footage looks really good on it.

The DVX100A is more expensive but a truly amazing camera. I wish I had bought one of them instead of a Canon GL2.

There's an FXhomer here that goes by the name of CX3 who uses one. I'd take a look at his work.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 7:18pm

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FXhomer8277

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Thanks for the info. Are either of these a good camera. The reviews are pretty good from what I have found so far on all 3 of them but none of them are 24P.

Panasonic AG-DVC7 (only 1-CCD)
Sony HVR-HD1000U
Panasonic AG-DVC20
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 7:57pm

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FXhomer8277

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I might be purchasing a used Canon GL2 w/a 0.7 wide angle lens for $1000 (maybe a little less). No warrenty and low hours. Would this be a good first camera purchase?
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 8:04pm

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SilverDragon7

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I think you'd do better with a new HV20/HV30 than a used GL2.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 8:35pm

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Thrawn

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The quality in the camera's you are thinking of buying are probably in this order from lowest to highest..

HV20 -- $1000
GL2 -- $2000
XL2 -- $3300
DVX100B/A -- $2500 -- Cheaper for A

Regarding the XL2 and DVX100B, it hard to determine which one of the two is better. I would prefer the DVX, but I put it on top simply because your going to get more bang for your buck with it. I don't have much experience with these camera's, because I've only used the HV20 and GL2, and have seen the XL2 and DVX in action, so I'm mostly judging from what I've heard and seen on FXhome.

These are just prices I found on B&H Photo, so you could get a better deal off of amazon, or some other reputable site, these are just the average. If your not rich, then go for the HV20 (as suggested) because for the price it can produce some amazing footage, in my opinion. I can also say that the GL2 is an excellent camera (talk to ben about that) and has produced some amazing footage for it's price. Remember that none of these video camera's will look as good as they could be without the proper lighting. So be sure to have enough for a lighting set, a reflector, and a few gels. A shotgun mic is also a must have.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 8:51pm

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FXhomer46784

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The HV20 is what I'd call the 'best deal' on your list (I've briefly looked at a HV30 in stores and was quite impressed), however, if you can afford one of the higher end models go for it for sure. Here's my recommendation:

I use DVX100A/B's at school and a GL2 at work. Both are great cameras. I prefer the DVX100B (definitely get a DVX100B, not A, if you want a film as opposed to TV look) for several reasons. You can zoom manually if you want, you have a one-touch manual white balance (as opposed to, I think three clicks on the GL2, although it does have indoor/outdoor WB presets that are easier to use), and you get two XLR mike inputs on the DVX100 as opposed to just one stereo mini input on the GL2. So the DVX100 is probably my favorite camera right now. It's easy to use and it won't disappoint you.

I've never used a XL2, but I know someone who has used both it and a DVX100 before, so I could get his opinion for you if you want. But assuming Thrawn's prices are accurate and the XL2 is $800 more than a DVX100, I'm guessing it's not worth it.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 8:51pm

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ben3308

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The DVX100b sounds like the best bet.

For cheaper, GL2. For slightly more expensive, XL2. XL2 might not be the best-priced at its prosumer level, but it is probably the best, most expandable image (in terms of other lenses, too) image you can get from a standard definition camcorder.
Posted: Mon, 14th Jul 2008, 9:18pm

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pdrg

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You may also be able to get a low-hours PD150 shooting kit for like $1500, it was a bit of a classic, a real workhorse. It'll allow you to shoot DVCAM too (same file format as Mini-DV uses, but the tape runs slower, the results more rugged). Just another option.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 12:36am

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FXhomer46784

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FXhomer46784 wrote:

I prefer the DVX100B ... you have a one-touch manual white balance
And for the record, with the DVX100, I believe you can set two manual WB settings (an A and B) and switch between them by simply flipping a switch (if you go indoors to outdoors in the same continuous shot for example). You can't with the GL2.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 2:40am

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EvilDonut

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HV20 cuz I'd like to shoot HD (HD is better than SD) and it's just a far better camera.

d
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 3:06am

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Serpent

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EvilDonut wrote:

HV20 cuz I'd like to shoot HD (HD is better than SD) and it's just a far better camera.

d
A "far better camera"? It's really inferior to all the other cameras other than price and image resolution. You could easily argue that it's better for him (save money, use saved money on many other necessities). But the camera itself is far from "far better" than any of the above.

If you had the money, I'd personally recommend the DVX or the XL2. Both are perfect tools for great cinematography out of the box. They all can be, but these two, specifically, are superior. And I'm sure you've heard the "it's not the camera but the person behind it" deal. Consider lighting, framing, story telling, movement, audio, white balance, color correction, color grading, etc. etc. etc. Check out http://dvxuser.com < one of the best indie filmmaking forums on the net, catered to this (and a few other highly rated) camera.


EDIT: ED, unless you are referring to these:

"Panasonic AG-DVC7 (only 1-CCD)
Sony HVR-HD1000U
Panasonic AG-DVC20"

in which case the HV20 probably is superior, I don't know anything about these cameras.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 3:55am

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FXhomer46784

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EvilDonut wrote:

HV20 cuz I'd like to shoot HD (HD is better than SD) and it's just a far better camera.

d
Of course HD is better than SD all other things equal, but they're not even close. We're comparing the cheapest HD model to some of the most expensive SD models here after all. Not to mention that the HV20 is actually an HDV camcorder, which means it isn't very good quality as far as HD cameras are concerned at all.

The HV20 isn't a "far better camera" either. You need to go digging through menus to find the most basic image settings. On all these other cameras there are individual buttons conveniently located on the sides of the camera for all of these settings.

And for the record, how many people can tell the difference between HD and SD anyway? Almost none. That's why they're dumb enough to think that when a program claims to be 'broadcast in HD', they think they are watching something in HD even if they own an SD set! They just don't have a clue what the difference is.


Serpent wrote:

unless you are referring to these:

"Panasonic AG-DVC7 (only 1-CCD)
Sony HVR-HD1000U
Panasonic AG-DVC20"

in which case the HV20 probably is superior, I don't know anything about these cameras.
ditto, but the points above still stand ... and I'd be especially cautious of anything with just 1 CCD
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 5:14am

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EvilDonut

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FXhomer46784 wrote:


And for the record, how many people can tell the difference between HD and SD anyway? Almost none.
Alrighty then!. lol @ no one can tell the diff between HD and SD! I guess people spend thousands on new hdtv's and blu-rays cuz they're stupid morons. You just ruined your argument with that one statement.

d

Last edited Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 10:18am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 5:16am

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Serpent

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You're right. Slap "HD" in the title or description of a camera and it's better than a Panasonic DVX100b.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 10:44am

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Simon K Jones

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Surely the cameras being compared here are all so different as to make the whole exercise a bit pointless?

The HV20/30 is indeed a fantastic camera. We've got an HV30 here in the office and it's superb. But, as mentioned, it's HDV so comes with the inherent flaws in that format, and it doesn't really have decent manual controls. But, then, it's not meant to.

The other cameras provide much better manual control, but inherently can't create as high resolution footage. I'd say an HV30 being used by someone that knows what they're doing should be able to get much better results than most of those other cameras - but getting those results could be harder due to the lack of manual controls.

Essentially, though, this is a rather pointless debate unless the original poster is clearer about what he needs. Different cameras are best for different situations.

At the very least we need these two questions asked first:

1. Do you need high definition video?
1.a. If yes, is HDV sufficient?
2. How important are manual controls? (ie, focus ring, zoom ring, proper dedicated buttons on the outside of the case to adjust settings).
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 11:42am

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FXhomer8277

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Wow, Thank you for all the input everyone, some really good info in here to help make a better decision. After I purchase a camera, I plan on looking into a MIC and a lighting kit. Also, i do not intend on shooting any HD stuff but manual controls are important.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 2:14pm

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ben3308

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Tarn wrote:

I'd say an HV30 being used by someone that knows what they're doing should be able to get much better results than most of those other cameras - but getting those results could be harder due to the lack of manual controls.
Whoa whoa whoa whoa....what?

Usually it might come down to ergonomics, or how easy manual controls are, but on cameras like the XL2 and DVX100b- both of which have cleaner, shallow DOF lenses which are fully controllable and XLR ports with full audio controls- there are features that aren't just more convenient than the likes of the HV20/HV30, but nonexistent on the smaller cameras.

I understand the HV20 is great, I've recommended it many times on this board. But to say that you think an HV20, as it is, could look better or more movielike than the XL2, I've almost got to ask you.............what in the world are you smoking?

Short of the interchangeable lens system, which a pedestrian consumer can disregard, the XL2 is the most expensive SD miniDV camera on the market for a reason. The image control is simply superior, especially to something consumer, like the HV20. Look, I don't mind people championing cameras- especially when they're great cameras like the HV20- but your statements are just patently untrue. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 2:40pm

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Simon K Jones

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ben3308 wrote:

Tarn wrote:

I'd say an HV30 being used by someone that knows what they're doing should be able to get much better results than most of those other cameras - but getting those results could be harder due to the lack of manual controls.
I understand the HV20 is great, I've recommended it many times on this board. But to say that you think an HV20, as it is, could look better or more movielike than the XL2, I've almost got to ask you.............what in the world are you smoking?
Hehe. All I'm smoking, really, is HD. All my viewing is done in HD, or on HD displays, so an HD res signal is going to look a lot nicer than a miniDV camera blown up on them.

Hence my question about whether HD is important to the person in question or not. For me, it is, so the HV30 is the only camera of those that I'd really consider.

No matter how great those other cameras, at the end of the day they're producing a low res signal. If you're watching on SD displays then that's cool, but I'm pretty much surrounded by HD stuff these days.

but your statements are just patently untrue. biggrin
I think this just highlights how important it is to set out exactly what you need a camera for in the first place. ie, what you're going to be making, and where you intend to ultimately screen it.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 4:27pm

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Thrawn

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And yet, Tarn, you said that

"I'd say an HV30 being used by someone that knows what they're doing should be able to get much better results than most of those other cameras - but getting those results could be harder due to the lack of manual controls. "

Not that HD was better to view on an HDTV. Now, I'm inclined to also argue the point, that maybe with an HV20 you get better quality of video (after all, it's HD) but it won't produce better results filmmaking wise. Simply because it lacks manual controls, XLR outputs, among other stuff.
Posted: Tue, 15th Jul 2008, 8:33pm

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FXhomer46784

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EvilDonut wrote:

FXhomer46784 wrote:


And for the record, how many people can tell the difference between HD and SD anyway? Almost none.
Alrighty then!. lol @ no one can tell the diff between HD and SD! I guess people spend thousands on new hdtv's and blu-rays cuz they're stupid morons.
Absolutely true, except I didn't state it that harshly. And I never said it was bad to buy HD equipment. But people shouldn't buy it just because it says HD on the box. They're uninformed (or if you prefer, a "moron") if they do.

Of course people know that HD and Blue-ray are better (or at least they know that the salesperson/their techie friend/etc says they are better). But does the average person have any idea why or what this means? No. Just try asking people (non-filmmaking/TV production/techie types that is) about it sometime. They don't realize what HD is (technically it's anything with over 480 horizontal lines, so a 720x481 display is technically HD although it's no better than an SD set).

They also don't realize things such as that if they own an HD set but connect it to a SD antenna, the picture quality isn't truly that of HD. Or that if they use a BD player and a SD tv (or DVD player w/HD tv) the result still isn't HD quality.

Feel free to go play "Guess if this signal is HD" with someone sometime and see what I mean.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 2:05am

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EvilDonut

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If you bring me a commercial SD product - I won't even look at it. It'll go in the garbage. Now how's that for a camera choice now? In fact, I'm doing a weekend for a friend -- in HD. If I shot in SD they'd find someone else.

If this is for fun, for you - you're limited by your budget, so there's more at play than a simple "HD vs SD".

d
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 5:49am

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FXhomer46784

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FXhomer8277 wrote:

Also, i do not intend on shooting any HD stuff but manual controls are important.
See, for some people HD isn't everything. HD support really isn't all that great at the consumer level yet (although it is certainly getting there).

EvilDonut wrote:

If I shot in SD they'd find someone else.
If you have a need for an HD camera for professional purposes (or what ever this weekend for a friend thing is) that's great get an HD camera. But don't assume that everyone needs an HD camera for their purposes just because you do.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 8:21am

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Simon K Jones

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FXhomer46784 - you seem particularly anti-anything-HD. Have you had bad experiences with it?

As for the argument that the average viewer can't tell the difference, that could go for anything. An untrained eye in any field is unlikely to be able to identify between different formats and qualities, unless the difference is particularly massive.

If you're talking about proper filmophiles, filmmakers or content purchasers, however, they will most definitely be able to tell the difference. Even on my 32" HDTV, the difference between an SD signal (even one that is upscaled nicely and sent via HDMI) and a 'proper' HD signal is pretty huge. If you're planning to blow up any bigger than that then HD is definitely preferable.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 10:56am

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pdrg

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Just to muddy the water even more, remember we're talking HDV here, a format broadcasters treat as SD for whatever reasons, right or wrong. If, as Donut puts it, he'd never even watch SD (seems a bit dramatic, but his choice) then frankly you should be shooting HDCAM or better. If we're talking about the usual response "then the studios pay for it to be re shot properly", it doesn't make any difference if you shoot SD, HDV, HDCAM etc.

Only minor networks will accept HDV footage, just don't accept that HDV is going to sell your programming over shooting SD. It's ideal for home movies etc, it's a consumer format.

Personally, and in the other camp from Donut, I'd rather see well-shot SD over bad HDV any day. And having (and understanding and using) manual features on a camera gives the chance to do that (but manual controls are wasted or even dangerous in clumsy hands)

Interestingly, with the definition of HD being over 480 lines, PAL has been HD for generations at 625 scan lines. You see, it really isn't black and white, HDV is great at the price, but it's a consumer format when push comes to shove, which is fine, but don't imagine any camera under £25000 is going to be accepted as HD by the quality networks at the moment.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 11:01am

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Simon K Jones

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pdrg wrote:

Personally, and in the other camp from Donut, I'd rather see well-shot SD over bad HDV any day.
Agreed. But, then, I'd rather see something good that was shot on 8mm videotape on an old Sony camcorder than something bad on HDV. smile

What if you had a good SD product and a good HDV product? Does the increased res of HDV make it preferable, or does the fact that it isn't accepted as broadcastable HD mean it doesn't really matter either way?
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 1:18pm

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pdrg

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Tarn wrote:


What if you had a good SD product and a good HDV product? Does the increased res of HDV make it preferable, or does the fact that it isn't accepted as broadcastable HD mean it doesn't really matter either way?
Personally, and only personally, I'd probably take the SD one (everything else being equal) as it's more portable to show people - you can take an SD DVD to use as a screener more easily than requiring a full HD path to display it on.

If there's a straight choice for production, all other things being equal, HDV is marginally preferable to DV, but I'd rather DigiBeta to be honest, it retains more chroma information (4:2:2 - and that last 2 is crucial!), and shoots at 720x576.

In order of preference on purely technical grounds...and from my point of view

RAID Array 4:4:4 4k
RAID Array 4:4:4 2k
HDCAM-SR 880
HDCAM-SR 440
XDCAM HD 422 (50 MBps)
HDCAM
DigiBeta
DVCPRO50
XDCAM HD (35Mbps)
HDV
MiniDV

Of course it isn't that simple, we're comparing unlike formats here, but as far as getting your stuff onto (say) BBC HD there's no difference between HDV and MiniDV, DVCPRO50, XDCAM HD (35Mbps), DigiBeta - they classify all as SD.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 5:02pm

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FXhomer46784

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Tarn wrote:

FXhomer46784 - you seem particularly anti-anything-HD. Have you had bad experiences with it?
I'm not anti-HD at all (I am somewhat anti HDV however, partly for the reasons pdrg mentioned). The HV20/30 is a great camera (I've tested it myself) and it's possible that I may buy one myself within the next few weeks. All I'm saying is that I'd prefer a higher-end SD camera (say a DVX100) than an HV30 if I could afford it. It's just that there's better SD support than HD support at the consumer level right now (and I admit this will probably change by Christmas time).

pdrg wrote:

Interestingly, with the definition of HD being over 480 lines, PAL has been HD for generations at 625 scan lines.
Yeah, I realized that when I was writing that earlier post. Isn't that interesting.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 6:52pm

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ben3308

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Tarn wrote:

What if you had a good SD product and a good HDV product? Does the increased res of HDV make it preferable, or does the fact that it isn't accepted as broadcastable HD mean it doesn't really matter either way?
The difference here is that such 'good' is not equitable in the choices presented. The HV30 is far, far, far from the top of the line HDV cameras (the Canon XH-A1) comes immediately to mind; but the DVX100b and XL2 are just about as high-end as you can get in terms of SD miniDV. Big difference there. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 9:46pm

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Tim L

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All this arguing about HV-30, GL2, DVX-100, SD, HDV, etc. is moot at this point because this video camera is the one you should get.

Plus, it won't wreck your budget -- you'll have money left for lights and a good mic.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jul 2008, 10:17pm

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Thrawn

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Tim L wrote:

All this arguing about HV-30, GL2, DVX-100, SD, HDV, etc. is moot at this point because this video camera is the one you should get.

Plus, it won't wreck your budget -- you'll have money left for lights and a good mic.
Whoah, has no one suggested this yet! This is an outrage... It's good to know that we have people such as Tim L that knows a few things about camera's.. But, yes, by all means buy the camera Tim L suggested. It will give you the quality of a RED camera, and yet still be as portable as a handycam. NIce find, Tim.







wink
Posted: Thu, 17th Jul 2008, 2:39am

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FXhomer46784

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Tim L wrote:

All this arguing about HV-30, GL2, DVX-100, SD, HDV, etc. is moot at this point because this video camera is the one you should get.

Plus, it won't wreck your budget -- you'll have money left for lights and a good mic.
I'm pretty much convinced.
Posted: Thu, 17th Jul 2008, 8:22am

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Simon K Jones

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Tim has shown us a window into the future.