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Looking for Pro suggestions for a new camera

Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 5:05pm

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Bflat5

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I currently have a Sony HDR-HC5. I think this thing was outdated 2 minutes after I bought it. It's not a bad little camera for general stuff.

I've been looking around for a new camera. Something made for a little more than recording vacation and holiday type stuff.

Here's 2 I'm eyeballing right now.

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&productId=11038608&storeId=10151

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&langId=-1&productId=11039901&storeId=10151

I'm not stuck on Sony but that's about the budget and style I'm looking at.

I'm looking for a full featured and excellent video quality HD camera. Any of you guys have any experience with the more expensive Sony's or perhaps other brands like Canon?

What would you Pros suggest and why, please?
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 5:16pm

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pdrg

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If you really are looking for a pro camera, I'd suggest spend a few more quid and look at getting a Sony Z1 - as good an HDV camera as you'll get, a real workhorse, everyone knows and loves them.

If you have even more, have a look at the EX1 or EX3 - these are solid-state XDCAM HD cameras, 35Mbps, 1080p, and for general use they compare well with far more expensive cameras, the footage can sit alongside a Sony 900 without being shown up.

Seriously three absolutely super cameras, if you can stretch to one, you'll never regret it.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 5:57pm

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FXhomer46784

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First of all the VX2100 isn't really a pro camera, nor is it HD. But if you are seriously considering that one, I like the DVX100 (Panasonic) just as much. It's about $500 less and has pretty much all the same features, I believe.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 6:38pm

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ben3308

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Don't even consider the VX2100. I own a GL2, and having used both I find the latter much better.

Even so, there are also much better cameras out there, namely:

(in the SD range)
-Canon GL2
-Panasonic DVX-100b (HIGHLY recommended)
-Panasonic DVX-100a
-Canon XL1s (old, though)

(in the older/cheaper HD range)
-Sony FX1

(in the newer/more expensive HD range)
-Sony Z1
-Sony V1u
-Canon XH-A1 (HIGHLY recommended)

(in the even newer/even more expensive HD range)
-Sony Z7
-Canon XL-H1
-Canon XH-G1
-Panasonic HVX200

(Honorable SD mention for the expensive, new range)
-Canon XL2


Honestly, though, depending upon budget (if it's in the lower-end, less expensive ranger) then I would buy either one of the DVX's or the GL2. Simple as that, if that's what your budget is.

If you can price things a bit higher up, I would purchase the Canon XH-A1. Just....hands down. So much better than the FX1 could ever be. Of course, if you have thousands of dollars to kill, the HVX would be nice, but as a total package, the XH-A1 is more quality for cheaper.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 7:30pm

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Bflat5

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Thanks for the suggestions.

Why is the Canon XH-A1 highly recommended? Looking at the specs it has 1.67mega pixels... My little Sony has 4. Am I missing something or perhaps not understanding that part of it?

The Sony Z1 reviews I've read says it's not that great in low light.

I'd like high resolution for both video and still images as well as low light situations.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 8:35pm

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FXhomer46784

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Bflat5 wrote:

Why is the Canon XH-A1 highly recommended? Looking at the specs it has 1.67mega pixels... My little Sony has 4. Am I missing something or perhaps not understanding that part of it?

The Sony Z1 reviews I've read says it's not that great in low light.

I'd like high resolution for both video and still images as well as low light situations.
Keep in mind that no video camera is very good with still images. If you are really serious about still and video resolution, you should purchase two separate, dedicated cameras.

As for the low light thing, also consider that the higher-end the camera, the more serious the reviews are going to be. I'm sure the Z1 is much better in low light than the GL2, for example, but that doesn't mean that the reviewer didn't expect it to be even better, given the price. Really the only way to know for sure though is to test a couple of the camera models you're considering and see for yourself.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 9:08pm

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pdrg

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Low light performance is tightly related to sensor size and lens aperture, the bigger the sensor (all things being equal) the better the performance, same with the size and quality of glass in the lenses. You won't see a huge amount of difference in small form-factor cameras, why not rent a Z1 for the day for £50-ish, and see how it suits? Do you really need to shoot lots of stuff in low-light? Or will you buy a couple of redheads and light your scenes better?! wink
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 9:15pm

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ben3308

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Bflat5 wrote:

Why is the Canon XH-A1 highly recommended? Looking at the specs it has 1.67mega pixels... My little Sony has 4. Am I missing something or perhaps not understanding that part of it?
Yes, you are clearly missing the point of the specifications on each camera. No worries, though! biggrin

You see, in creating a camera such as the one you have now, Sony takes consumer wants, like a good still resolution, and jams them in as gimmicks to make the camera more marketable. I'm sure it's a great camera, but in a professional camera, the still image resolution is irrelevant- it simply takes up too much space at the expense of other, more quintessential features.

As such, you have cameras like the XH-A1, which have considerably larger, sharper, and more fine-tuned lenses, customizable color, fluorite in the optics, and complete image control- be it white balance, focus, zoom, whatever- which completely and utterly outperform pretty much anything in any category lower than it.

I'm sorry, but your little camera is nothing compared to the XH-A1: it's more expensive for a reason. The size of a sensor on your handheld may be larger (albeit only for still images) than that of the XH-A1, but it is also of considerably poorer quality, resulting in images that, while larger, are grainer and less in focus.

Bottom line: you're not buying the XH-A1 for resolution because, as it stands, that's mostly a gimmick. HD is HD is HD: what it comes down to is how controllable the camera is and how high quality the optics are; and on both accounts the XH-A1 excels.

So if still image capability is a selling point for you, then I'd say you may want to reconsider your criteria. But, comparatively, the XH-A1's high quality picture controls and even higher quality optics/onboard processing data make it much, much, much, much, much, MUCH more capable of producing higher-quality, industry-standard results that have enough depth (color and focus-wise) to look like they can straight from an actual cinema film.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:01pm

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pdrg

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Just to clarify the above
The size of a sensor on your handheld may be larger (albeit only for still images)
from Ben, for low-light you want a *physically* larger sensor, the 4MP sense of larger Ben refers to in this case is a denser, small sensor - lots more pixels but still physically tiny.

Worth noting again as Ben says, that figure only refers to stills photography, the DV and HDV standards dictate the number of pixels in a video image, regardless of the resolution/density of them on the sensor. And taking stills with a video camera is a poor substitute for even a cheap digital stills camera.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:06pm

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Gibs

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I'm using a VX2100 to shoot a project right now. It's miles ahead of my personal Digital8 cam, but I agree with Ben. If I was purchasing my own camera in the $2,500 price range, I would pick the DVX100 over the VX2100.

I almost had the opportunity to use an XH-A1, but it turned out the VX2100 was more accessible. The XH-A1 sure would have been awesome, though. biggrin
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:20pm

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Arktic

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Right now, I'd say Sony Z1. Still the best camera I've used for it's size, great image quality, HDV capability etc etc. There's a reason that they've become the industry standard (at least here in the UK) for smaller ENG crews and obdoc filming.

That said, the Z7 and EX1 look interesting, but I'd probably wait a while until I've read a few more reviews of both cameras, or had a bit more experience with them myself.

And I'll also second the excellent advice from pdrg (as usual!) - why not rent a couple of the cameras, and try them out for yourself? Or see if an electronics shop near you will let you come in and use the different cameras you're considering for a while, to help you decide which one to buy?

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:26pm

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Bflat5

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Interesting. Thanks for the explanations. smile

Still images are just a plus really. I was thinking about maybe doing some stop motion, but I seem to remember someone saying that's not good to do with a digital camera anyway. Not sure why though.

The low lighting thing. With my current camera the picture becomes very grainy indoors. I recorded a band playing live and thought it would turn out pretty good, but the low lighting, even though there was the typical stage lighting, made the video grainy. So, that's pretty much what I mean with low light recording. That's the kind of stuff I'll mostly be doing and this little Sony simply will not cut it.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:45pm

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FXhomer46784

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pdrg wrote:

And taking stills with a video camera is a poor substitute for even a cheap digital stills camera.
Yeah, you can get a still camera with much more than the 4 MP you have now for next to nothing compared to a DVX100 or XH-A1.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:49pm

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FXhomer46784

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Bflat5 wrote:

Still images are just a plus really. I was thinking about maybe doing some stop motion, but I seem to remember someone saying that's not good to do with a digital camera anyway. Not sure why though.
Well, if you export your stopmotion project as a video anyway, it probably won't be more than 1920x1080 anyway, meaning the extra megapixels would mostly just be wasted. Don't know if that's what they may have meant or not.
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 10:53pm

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pdrg

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Do bear in mind that the human eye is supremely tolerant of lighting conditions, no camera out there even comes close to the incredible dynamic range and colour correction the eye/brain do all the time. And it takes many many kilowatts of light to even come close to sunlight for brightness, even on overcast days.

I do quite a lot with live music events - we always bring in extra lighting for TV shoots, we have many megawatts of generator power used to light a big show. Indeed this week we're shooting an unexciting seminar on the cheap, but I've still had to import upto 6kW of lights just to get the levels looking decent to the cameras. I'm afraid there's no alternative to decent lighting, you really need to relight for camera - watch any gig on TV and see just how much light they're pouring onto the stage to get it looking natural on camera (when it's not an outdoor/sunlit gig that is)

Nothing in the sub-£70,000 range will be much good in low light (except possibly the Red which has a full-sized sensor)
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 11:51pm

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Snook360

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Even so, there are also much better cameras out there, namely:

(in the SD range)
-Canon GL2
(Honorable SD mention for the expensive, new range)
-Canon XL2
I am currently shopping for a new camera. I have the budget to get a XL2 (which is more than the GL2). Which do you think is better? I noticed you had the XL2 labeled as "Honorable SD mention for the expensive, new range". Do you think the XL2 is worth the extra cash?

Also, you said the GL2 and Xl2 are SD cameras, but I read that they shot in HDV. Is that the same thing?
Posted: Sun, 27th Jul 2008, 11:55pm

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BlueSmudge

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This is how it breaks down in my opinion.
If you are going to be making movies, get one of the following cameras (listed by price as not surprisingly, also by quality):
Canon GL2 (SD)
Panasonic DVX100B (SD)
Canon XH-A1 (HD)
Panasonic HVX (HD)
You can go with a sony like the Z1, but honesty I wouldn't recommend it unless you plan on shooting documentaries or news stuff. I see news crews with these but when it comes down to it, the A1 has much more image control (customizable presets cover ever possible image characteristic).

I've only used the GL2, DVX, and A1 out of these but I know the HVX is amazing based on example footage. DVX doesn't have the most amazing low light capabilities, but for a SD cam, the image is amazing. The A1 low light is really good. Keep the gain at -3 and you will never see any grain, even in the darkest areas.
Shoot at 24f with a shutter speed of 24 and as wide an aperture as possible (1.6 when the lens is all the way wide) and you will be amazed what the camera will do with very little light.

If low light performance is your most important factor get the VX2100 (or PD170 for a true pro camera with XLR inputs). These SD cameras don't have the most filmic image but they have the best low light performance of any 1/3" CCD which is why they have been a favorite of wedding videographers for a long time.
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 12:15am

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Snook360

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I've done some resaerch and found the XH-A1 to actually be cheaper than the XL2. The XH-A1 is cheaper, but is it better than the XL2? I ask this because the XH-A1 is a HD camera (but is cheaper), while the XL2 is a SD camera (but is more expensive). Why is the HD camera cheaper than the SD camera?
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 12:17am

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ben3308

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First things first...

Snook360 wrote:

Also, you said the GL2 and Xl2 are SD cameras, but I read that they shot in HDV. Is that the same thing?
No. GL2 and XL2 shoot in standard definition (SD) on miniDV tape. They do NOT shoot in high definition (HDV) on miniDV tape. Cameras like the Sony Z1 or Canon XH-A1 do, however, shoot in HDV, which leads me to my next point...

Snook360 wrote:

Do you think the XL2 is worth the extra cash?
The XL2 is certainly a better camera, but no, I don't think the price disparity between the GL2 and XL2 is a fair estimation of difference in capability. That being said, if you have the money for the XL2, consider the equally-priced Canon XH-A1, which is like the HD version of the GL2, and one of the most superior HDV camera on the market today.
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 1:43am

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Snook360

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Thanks! I want to make shure to get the best camera for my money, as it's not every day I get the chance to get a new camcorder! This clears up many things!

One last thing I'm wonderimg about - During the course of my research today, I was looking at an old issue of Videomaker Magazine when I came across this ads for the XL2 from B&H (a photo and video equipment dealer).

http://m525.photobucket.com/albumview/albums/JAM_Studios/Ad02.jpg

Notice the part that says "HDV" under the picture of each camera. Are they talking about a different kind of HDV?
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 3:01am

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ben3308

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That's false advertising, then. While HDV is recorded onto miniDV tape- the same format that SD cameras record onto- it can only be recorded and compressed onto such tape by cameras that are capable of it, of which the XL2 isn't.

Simply put: the XL2 is not an HD-capable camera.

It's still a great camera, though. Most of the user FCRabbath shoots his stuff on the XL2 and it looks incredible. To further adds examples (though somewhat for vanity's sake biggrin) I myself have also shot two pieces on the XL2 and loved using and and loved their image quality. They are, respectively, my winning VideoWrap ad entry Messages and another little short I did recently.
Posted: Mon, 28th Jul 2008, 2:25pm

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Bflat5

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The Panasonic HVX200 looks like a killer camera, but the features raising the price probably wouldn't be worth it to me.

The XHA1 though is likely the one I'll go with. Looking at various reviews and comparing different cameras this one does look like a good choice.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 1:46am

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Snook360

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The XHA1 though is likely the one I'll go with. Looking at various reviews and comparing different cameras this one does look like a good choice.
I agree. I'll probobaly do the same.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 1:55am

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EvilDonut

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Snook360 wrote:

The XHA1 though is likely the one I'll go with. Looking at various reviews and comparing different cameras this one does look like a good choice.
I agree. I'll probobaly do the same.
I'm shooting a full blown feature film in LA on xh a1's - so yes, you've got friends here. smile

d
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 8:42am

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Atom

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EvilDonut wrote:

Snook360 wrote:

The XHA1 though is likely the one I'll go with. Looking at various reviews and comparing different cameras this one does look like a good choice.
I agree. I'll probobaly do the same.
I'm shooting a full blown feature film in LA on xh a1's - so yes, you've got friends here. smile
An XH-A1? But everyone knows that only shoots HDV, which isn't full HD, which means good luck distributing/showing it to an exec. From what I hear, they don't even begin to flutter an eyelash at anything less than 4k. smile
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 5:46pm

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Bflat5

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I've read it's not full HD, but the write-ups for this camera says it is. Full HD being something like 1990x* and HDV being 1440x* in resolution (or something like that no time to look it up right now).

I'm being a little picky because I'm fairly new to actually filming things. I've been editing and stuff like that for a while now, but cameras and features on them are kind of new to me. So for over $3k I want the best bang for the buck.

Is there going to be a significant difference in quality in this one and one that is full HD? If I need to hold off for a few more weeks to get a better camera I will. I just don't want to drop that kind of money for something that will be obsolete before I open the box.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 5:55pm

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Coureur de Bois

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Maybe it's not worth getting a new camera at all. In the end you'll probably just do what I did and sell it for booze and drugs.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 6:25pm

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Bflat5

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Gorion wrote:

Maybe it's not worth getting a new camera at all. In the end you'll probably just do what I did and sell it for booze and drugs.
Nah... I don't do drugs and booze really isn't all that expensive. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 8:32pm

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FXhomer46784

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Bflat5 wrote:

I've read it's not full HD, but the write-ups for this camera says it is. Full HD being something like 1990x* and HDV being 1440x* in resolution (or something like that no time to look it up right now).

I'm being a little picky because I'm fairly new to actually filming things. I've been editing and stuff like that for a while now, but cameras and features on them are kind of new to me. So for over $3k I want the best bang for the buck.

Is there going to be a significant difference in quality in this one and one that is full HD? If I need to hold off for a few more weeks to get a better camera I will. I just don't want to drop that kind of money for something that will be obsolete before I open the box.
Technically HD is anything over 480 pixel (horizontal) in resolution. Of course, anytime someone refers to 'HD' they usually mean a resolution of 720 or better yet 1990x1080 pixels. The problem studios and networks have with HDV isn't so much the resolution. It's the fact that HDV is such a highly compressed format (you can still record all those lines of resolution on a miniDV tape, to give you an idea of how compressed it is). They want the highest quality source material possible.

Your average viewer probably won't notice the quality difference between HDV and 'real' HD, but if you're looking at selling something in a television or film market, HDV probably isn't the best choice.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 8:35pm

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Snook360

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EvilDonut wrote:
Snook360 wrote:
Quote:
The XHA1 though is likely the one I'll go with. Looking at various reviews and comparing different cameras this one does look like a good choice.
I agree. I'll probobaly do the same.
I'm shooting a full blown feature film in LA on xh a1's - so yes, you've got friends here.
An XH-A1? But everyone knows that only shoots HDV, which isn't full HD, which means good luck distributing/showing it to an exec. From what I hear, they don't even begin to flutter an eyelash at anything less than 4k.
Really? What camera do you use?
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 9:38pm

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ben3308

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Atom's making a joke, people.

Because EvilDonut is notorious for insulting people's budgets/cameras/technique, usually following his criticism up with the fact that he knows what the industry standard is.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 10:02pm

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nerfgunnerz3

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I would recomend buying one on ebay. you could get it for a lot cheaper. thats where I got mine.
Posted: Tue, 29th Jul 2008, 11:01pm

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FXhomer46784

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ben3308 wrote:

Atom's making a joke, people.

Because EvilDonut is notorious for insulting people's budgets/cameras/technique, usually following his criticism up with the fact that he knows what the industry standard is.
I sensed a hint of that, but it may still still a valid point, depending on what you're filming for.

nerfgunnerz3 wrote:

I would recomend buying one on ebay. you could get it for a lot cheaper. thats where I got mine.
If you do this, make sure they mention hour many hours the recording heads have on them though (That's just the measure of how much the camera has been used). It's standard to include this information when reselling cameras in the price range we're talking about here. If it doesn't say in the product description, it's certainly a fair question to ask the seller directly. If you do that and they don't know what you're talking about, I'd say it's a scam.
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 4:26am

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EvilDonut

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ben3308 wrote:

Atom's making a joke, people.

Because EvilDonut is notorious for insulting people's budgets/cameras/technique, usually following his criticism up with the fact that he knows what the industry standard is.
Pretty much.

d
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 9:45am

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pdrg

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Back on topic with the HD/HDV pixel count issue - all HDV cameras use "non-square" pixels, so they really record a wide screen 16:9 (1920*1080) image as a 4:3 (1440*1080) image and squash the picture horizontally to do so. HDV also doesn't support progressive recording at 1080 lines.

Some other HD formats are better, and use square pixels (1920*1080) - I believe XDCAM HD does, for instance, or HDCAM-sR does to if I remember correctly. HDCAM does not, but it can record progressively at 1080

You can also get 2k cameras like the Thompson Viper that shoot a wider aspect ratio, and some that shoot 4k.

But this is a bit of a moot point, you can't afford anything better than a low-end prosumer camera and will be stuck with DV or HDV. If you get a decent Sony you might be able to shoot DVCAM which is just a more rugged DV. You can't get 1920*1080 shooting progressively for $3000. Get a Z1, spend a little extra, it'll do what you want, keep its value better than a domestic camcorder, and is just a great all rounder.
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 9:54am

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Bryce007

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pdrg wrote:


Nothing in the sub-£70,000 range will be much good in low light (except possibly the Red which has a full-sized sensor)
I assuming by "much good" you mean... Nightvision? There are a few cameras under that price that can produce a solid image under less than perfect conditions, although I might not be on the same page as you as to what "Much good" translates to, so it's probably a null point.
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 10:33am

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pdrg

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Rating: +1

Bryce007 wrote:

I might not be on the same page as you as to what "Much good" translates to
Sorry I should have qualified that "much good" a bit better - it was terribly arbitrary! I rather meant in terms of sensor physical size, interchangeable glass path, low noise circuitry etc, as opposed to using gain to overcome some of the inherent limitations of cheaper options. Quite often the first thing to vanish in lower-light shooting is chroma information, better components can help to counter that, but even then cameras struggle when the eye might not, like the guy taping a band on stage - even a "good at low light" camera will have a hard time with that without extra illumination.
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 12:24pm

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er-no

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Just to jump in on that one. The Sony Z7 is pretty fantastic in low light! I'm not happy with the scrolling shutter but the low light potential for some of the events it goes out on is fantastic!

smile
Posted: Wed, 30th Jul 2008, 2:20pm

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Snook360

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Atom's making a joke, people.

Because EvilDonut is notorious for insulting people's budgets/cameras/technique, usually following his criticism up with the fact that he knows what the industry standard is.
Oops, I'm a noob. wink
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 12:12am

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Bflat5

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Well, from the recommendations of the the XHA1, I ordered one today.

I haven't seen it in person yet, but I'm assuming it's much heavier than this tiny one I have now. I'm lead to believe a standard tripod, such as one used for these small cameras won't work with it. Is that the case? If so what should I be looking for?
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 12:57am

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FXhomer46784

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Bflat5 wrote:

I haven't seen it in person yet, but I'm assuming it's much heavier than this tiny one I have now. I'm lead to believe a standard tripod, such as one used for these small cameras won't work with it. Is that the case? If so what should I be looking for?
I'm sure it's heavier than what you have now. Probably not by as much as you think though.

As far as tripods, the question isn't so much, "Will it hold it?" (it will), but "How steady will it be while it's holding it?". With this in mind, I'd probably look for a decent medium-weight tripod for a blend of portability and stability. Also, be sure that it has a fluid head for smooth pans/tilts. Other than that, pretty much all tripods are created equal, unless you really need some specific feature.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 1:31am

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Bflat5

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Ahh.. Thanks. Maybe I was just thrown off by a tripod adapter I saw for it for an additional $400. eek
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 2:02am

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Tim L

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Actually, I think you WILL be surprised by how much bigger and how much heavier it is, compared to your Sony HC5.

HC5: 3.25" x 3.25" x 5.3" 1 lb 5 oz (approx)

XH-A1: 6.4" x 7.4" x 13.8" 5 lb 3 oz (approx)

I don't have an XH-A1 (I have a Sony FX7) but if you're used to handholding your HC5, you'll probably find the XH-A1 surprisingly heavy to hand hold (in a normal hand-through-the-strap hold). Imagine holding about four of your HC5's.

When I got my FX7, which is only about 3 lb 10 oz -- don't know if that includes the hood -- I found myself with a tiny bit of arm and neck strain from holding it while trying it out the first few days (but I'm an old guy...).

Still, you won't regret it for a minute -- you'll be grinning from ear to ear. I hear so many good things about the XH-A1. But you'll almost certainly be using the HC5 still for family and vacation stuff.

Last edited Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 3:11am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 3:11am

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EvilDonut

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Now get a pro tripod.

You don't want a flimsy one and have it tumble as soon as someone bumps into it, or wind hits it (nice way to say bye bye to camera). Plus you want easy fluid ability to move around. And ability to get down as low as possible (or high) meaning more creativity. Plus the ability to add remote monitors, lights, attach to a dolly, what have ya.

No sense having a pro camera and a best buy tripod.

d
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 3:38am

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ben3308

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Don't just get any tripod, get a Bogen Manfrotto with a 501HDV head.

This is a pretty simple decision: it's a great tripod, and myself and three of my filmmaking buddies own one to support, respectively, a Canon GL2, a Sony FX1, a Canon XL2 and, of course, the Canon XH-A1.

The tripod is relatively pricey, but for the A1 you'll never have to buy anything tripod-related ever again.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 10:52am

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pdrg

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just yesterday I had a shoot with somebody elses equipment - they had a nice set of redheads and a PD150 so I didn't think to check their tripod - it was a £10 ebay special, and not much use for anything with that weight of camera - it would bend, stick and wobble so much our only option was to bind it with gaffer tape and blocks of wood, and shoot everything as a lock-off on that camera so as not to introduce skew. The operator couldn't follow the action, so the guy with the proper tripod had to work harder. At the end of the day, the weight of the camera had made the tripod even wobblier and I had to hand it back telling them to just bin it straight away and get something to suit the camera! You need sturdy legs and a fluid head, it'll make the absolute world of difference
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 11:39am

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Bflat5

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Just finished looking for tripods and I had no idea these things could be so very expensive. Over $2000 for just a tripod? Wow!

I knew the better were at least a few hundred and $300 to $400 was what I was really expecting, so the 055XDB looks to be the way to go.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2008, 2:39pm

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pdrg

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The really really good news is that tripods don't tend to wear out (ask if the fluid head is in good condition, mind, sometimes they get a bit of slack which you can usually compensate for), and so you can buy yhem second hand without the worries of a second hand video camera. Try ebay and search for "Vinten Tripod", you'll find some real bargains compared with new ones.
Posted: Sat, 2nd Aug 2008, 3:02am

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BlueSmudge

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Yeah, they really don't wear out. I'm using a 30 year old O'Connor tripod that’s only just starting to leak and is still as smooth as I can imagine any tripod could ever be.
I guess a $5000 tripod should last 30 years.