You are viewing an archive of the old fxhome.com forums. The community has since moved to hitfilm.com.

Looking for a new camera (yes... ANOTHER camera thread)

Posted: Tue, 11th May 2010, 5:49am

Post 1 of 32

Jabooza

Force: 2743 | Joined: 21st Jul 2006 | Posts: 1446

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Rating: -1

So my friend was thinking of buying a new camera, but neither him or I really know enough about cameras to interpret all the fancy technicalities or pick one out... so we decided we might as well ask for the opinion of the FXhome gurus. biggrin The three that we're looking at are the Canon GL2, Sony HDR-FX7, and the Panasonic AG-HMC70U.

We were wondering your guys' opinion on which of these is the best/how good they are. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for cameras under $2000, they would be much appreciated. smile
Posted: Tue, 11th May 2010, 5:56am

Post 2 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Rating: +1

There really ought to be a sticky thread in here that says "Looking for a new camera? We're going to recommend the $800 Canon Rebel T2i."

Seriously.
Posted: Tue, 11th May 2010, 8:25am

Post 3 of 32

Simon K Jones

Force: 27955 | Joined: 1st Jan 2002 | Posts: 11683

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker Windows User

FXhome Team Member

T2i.
Posted: Tue, 11th May 2010, 10:43am

Post 4 of 32

swintonmaximilian

Force: 1970 | Joined: 23rd Jun 2007 | Posts: 527

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker

Gold Member

I third the T2i.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 4:02am

Post 5 of 32

Thrawn

Force: 1995 | Joined: 11th Aug 2006 | Posts: 1962

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Lite User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Flip HD camcorder. Duh.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 4:16am

Post 6 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

GL2 is outdated by now, the FX7 is hackneyed, and I haven't used the other, which means it's probably crap compared to other options.

Get the T2i. I'm trying to order my own right now...
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 4:21am

Post 7 of 32

Pumpkinpino

Force: 1000 | Joined: 8th Mar 2006 | Posts: 13

VisionLab User

Gold Member

I would have to agree with the above posts. DSLR's have really gained popularity these past few years. The canon T2i is only $899 (with kit lens) which would allow you to purchase more lenses + equipment.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 12:19pm

Post 8 of 32

Tim L

Force: 580 | Joined: 4th Aug 2006 | Posts: 297

Windows User

Member

Rating: +2

There is another long thread from not that long ago that discusses this very issue. It's worth tracking down and reading through.

However, one critical factor must be answered:

What are you planning on filming?

By all accounts the T2i DSLR is a fantastic product for people making movies. But if you are also planning to film football games, weddings, and your little sister's dance recital, you might run into problems: the T2i can only record about 12 minutes per file, then you must start recording again in another file. So you can't record a long event all in one piece. (This is not an issue for making movies, where any one take would generally last no more than a minute or two.)

I'm not saying to NOT get the T2i -- it has probably generated more enthusiasm than any camera since the HV20 -- but I just want to point out that knowing what you plan to film with the new camera is a critical part of the selection process.

Tim L

(Also, there are issues with auto-gain on the audio input making it tough to get good audio, but I think maybe there is an upcoming firmware fix for that? Others here would know more about that.)
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 12:50pm

Post 9 of 32

Toruk Macto

Force: 55 | Joined: 21st Jan 2010 | Posts: 201

Member

A Canon 7D dude.
It is the best.
I got one and luv it.
Pairs great with Zoom H4n.
Posted: Wed, 12th May 2010, 12:53pm

Post 10 of 32

Rockfilmers

Force: 2182 | Joined: 10th May 2007 | Posts: 1376

VisionLab User PhotoKey 4 User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

You really don't want the AG-HMC70. It's basically a $300 consumer HD camcorder in a shoulder mounted body to "look" pro. For under $2000, you can get the 7D which is weather sealed and a lot more durable than the t2i. Both other basically the same quality of video, but the 7d can take quit a beating.
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 3:16am

Post 11 of 32

Jabooza

Force: 2743 | Joined: 21st Jul 2006 | Posts: 1446

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Hmm ok. It's so strange that the best video camera seem to actually be picture cameras, it goes against everything I'm used to, looks like things are changing though. biggrin Does anyone have any suggestions as far as cameras in this price range that aren't primarily picture cameras? Or would they just not even be close?

Oh, and thanks to whoever give me the -1; not sure what I did to deserve it but it'll sure show me to come to my friendly neighborhood FXhome for help again. wink
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 3:39am

Post 12 of 32

Axeman

Force: 17995 | Joined: 20th Jan 2002 | Posts: 6124

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 5 Pro User MuzzlePlug User PowerPlug User PhotoKey 3 Plug-in User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

SuperUser

They would not even be close. No dedicated video camera under $10,000.00 can come close to the Canon HD DSLR's in terms of quality, low-light capabilities, and lens options.
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 3:57am

Post 13 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

I think it's funny that you refer to them as "picture cameras", as if every camera ever made isn't a "picture camera". wink
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 4:08am

Post 14 of 32

Jabooza

Force: 2743 | Joined: 21st Jul 2006 | Posts: 1446

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Axeman wrote:

They would not even be close. No dedicated video camera under $10,000.00 can come close to the Canon HD DSLR's in terms of quality, low-light capabilities, and lens options.
Wow. That is impressive.

Aculag wrote:

I think it's funny that you refer to them as "picture cameras", as if every camera ever made isn't a "picture camera". wink
You know what? Shut up. wink If I knew all your fancy camera terminology, maybe I'd use it too. biggrin I guess I could've said "cameras that are made mainly to take still pictures" but I think you would've got annoyed reading all that so many times. biggrin
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 4:28am

Post 15 of 32

Serpent

Force: 5426 | Joined: 26th Dec 2003 | Posts: 6515

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Pro User FXhome Movie Maker FXpreset Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

"Still camera," perhaps?

Fancy, eh? wink
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 8:43am

Post 16 of 32

Atom

Force: 4300 | Joined: 9th May 2004 | Posts: 7014

EffectsLab Lite User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Just opened up, shot, and edited our 24 hour videorace movie on the T2i. Ben's first time to touch it and/or use a DSLR to shoot a movie was the stroke of midnight of the competition's beginning- my first time to see it was in transcoding the first clips and editing it.

Let's just say- we didn't have any problems, despite our new-ness to the camera and DSLR workflow. We got the movie in on time, had very few hiccups, the whole nine yards. It's really that simple.

Now, granted I've got the computer to end all computers, but the T2i is/was a charm to work with. Easy, good quality, easily-transcoded. The only thing I was disappointed by was the kit lens. But, as we just barely made it into town and to opening the camera from another city right at midnight- we didn't have much complaining or altering or purchasing we could do.

Image looks pretty decent. Simple, fast, and sharp. Great camera. Amazing, even.
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 9:53am

Post 17 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

So when do we get to see some clips/stills? smile
Posted: Sun, 16th May 2010, 10:39pm

Post 18 of 32

Atom

Force: 4300 | Joined: 9th May 2004 | Posts: 7014

EffectsLab Lite User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Yeah, soon enough. wink

Funnily-enough, some of our raw just random behind the scenes shots on the cam look better than staged shots, just due to the remarkability of the lens.
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 4:19am

Post 19 of 32

Jabooza

Force: 2743 | Joined: 21st Jul 2006 | Posts: 1446

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Serpent wrote:

"Still camera," perhaps?

Fancy, eh? wink
Haha well I spose that could've worked, although a lot of video cameras can take stills too. wink
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 6:41am

Post 20 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Having shot on the T2i this weekend, I can say it was really easy and quick to shoot with, although the slow kit lens made depth-of-field not that shallow, and the instability of non-IS lenses worked horribly for video.

So, basically, get a T2i with the kit lens, because it's versatile and you have it from day one; but definitely get either a nice, bright prime (f1.6 will have awesome shallow DOF) or a longer, higher mm zoom lens. I found issues with sharpness and zoom length - I never could zoom as far as I wanted with the kit lens, which made 'finding my angles' a lot harder (I had to reconfigure my angle during a lot of takes, just because it was a timed contest I started shooting on) and it made the images not as sharp as I wanted.

Then, after transcoding to a loss of quality using Cineform's 7-day trial of NeoScene, bringing the footage into Vegas and grading yielded results that looked similar to stuff we've shot on the XHA1, and no better, really. Certain, more fixed shots look really good and crisp, but others, with more motion - likely degraded from the movement during the transcoding - didn't look like anything special. This is also by virtue of the grading presets my brother has made don't work well on the more detailed DSLR footage, and some of the higher ISOs that I shot at.

Now, this all being said, I have a good command of the camera now and know what it takes to shoot and get the Philip Bloom-esque results people want out of it. It's not hard, but I would say this is some small learning to the camera. Not just in terms of settings and technicals, which pretty much anyone can pick up easily, but in knowing what it does best and using it as such. I always have people compliment me on my command of my old GL2, and I mention that it's mainly through a talent with that camera, specifically, and experience with it that I cultivate this 'way of working' with it. It's a bit grainy and low in dynamic range, so higher contrast and higher shutter are the best things to shoot with it.

Likewise, austere, steady shots are the best I shot on the T2i this weekend; and the motion stuff just looked standard. I definitely realized that cursory three-point lighting made things more contrasty than I wanted, in terms of exposure, and that the more detailed lens and high definition of the T2i meant that just a low-power key light and proper exposure would look cooler, crisper, and more detailed. This is evident on the very last shot of our 24 hour movie.

Definitely go with the T2i, though. At its worst it's a regular manual-exposure HD camera, like the XHA1. At its best, you'll get those Bloom-like shots, the ones that surpass even the best 35mm adapter footage from just last year.

EDIT:

Also, I shot my whole 24 hour movie handheld, after having trouble (and time) lugging my tripod around. The biggest problems: A. Staying handheld while zoomed in on a longer lense - you'll need a monopod and B. Using lenses with Image Stabilization (IS) or using the lens with IS turned off. I shot a few in-car, zoomed in shots on my mom's Quantaray 90mm zoom to get a more telephoto look on the T2i, but found myself regretting it because my results, though more zoomed, were so unstable, despite my normally (relatively) steady hands.

Yeah, it was a little bit fiddly. But if you know cameras and have the hands for it, you'll get it down. Like I said, it's the day after my first use of the device, and I feel like I now have it down. Lamentably, my brother used some shots in our film where I actually added shake, but that's another story...

Last edited Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:06am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 7:26am

Post 21 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Sounds like it was a good learning experience. Was this your first time using a DLSR? I only ask because you seemed to have a lot of issue with exposure, and you said you were shooting at high ISOs, which you shouldn't really need to do. Almost every shot in that is completely blown out, and the ones that aren't (The dad/boss scenes) look like you needed more light, which shouldn't be a problem with that camera. Maybe that's just the grading, but it looked like you were having some trouble with the manual exposure. I'm sure that'll get better in time.

I'd definitely recommend getting your hands on some ND filters, which will help you expose better in bright daylight shots like the ones in that video. As it is, yeah, it kinda just looks like standard video. I'm sure whatever your next shoot is will look much better, and I understand you only had 24 hours for this, so that probably has a lot to do with it. smile (Oh, and DEFINITELY use a tripod next time. wink Phew! Shaky shaky!)

Thanks for the writeup. I'm glad you guys got your feet wet with this thing, because I'm sure you'll do good stuff with it in the future.
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 7:53am

Post 22 of 32

Sollthar

Force: 13360 | Joined: 30th Oct 2001 | Posts: 6094

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 2 Pro User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Sorry if I might say, but those have to be worst looking shots by the T2i I've seen so far, what's up with that? crazy

The problem with the DSLR's is the amount of manual settings you have to master for each shot in order to not get images that look blown out and lose detail everywhere. It takes a while to get used to it and know what you're doing and know what to look out for - especally with all the iso settings, the visible shutter effects and obviously, all the manual focus bits. And it takes a lot of time on set to get that all right, most of all.

In order to shoot in bright daylight like that and mix with scenes in rather dim room light scenes you will most like have to end up buying a couple of filters and different lenses. But it's worth it!
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 7:54am

Post 23 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

It was all in the grading. I didn't shoot anything blown out. A lot of it is down to grading/transcoding/rendering/compression, which is what I was mentioning. Raw footage looks awesome, and it worked well in Vegas, quickly edited and rendered - but the quality at the end result (the final HD version on the hard drive, which is different from the rough compressed version we uploaded for the teammates that left early to see) had a problem.

I've used SLR's before, just never for video or anything like that. Basically, despite lenses, I think we need to figure out compression/transcoding/rendering/grading settings appropriately for the device.

Basically just wanted to say that the camera worked, worked well, edited smoothly, but the resulting quality, visually was lacking - but even so, for a totally new format we were surprised it literally worked out exactly as we expected. As for exposure, I exposed properly in pretty much every shot, it's the grading that has fluctuations here and there with levels that my brother hadn't fixed at the 7pm edit mark. Which is why I probably shouldn't have linked the video... wink
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:00am

Post 24 of 32

Sollthar

Force: 13360 | Joined: 30th Oct 2001 | Posts: 6094

VisionLab User VideoWrap User PhotoKey 2 Pro User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User MacOS User

SuperUser

Really? What kind of OTT grading does that with a properly exposed shot? What a shame. sad
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:04am

Post 25 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

I assume you're speaking mostly about the outdoors, first conversation (which is at night), and the following outside-of-the-car shots?

Basically, I gave my brother that footage at like 10:30pm for a video due to be rendered, compressed, and delivered to the finish line at midnight. So he dropped all the new footage on a new layer on the timeline and applied a track effect to crop/grade based on previous grading settings. Obviously, it's these quick fixes that have to happen in timed things, but won't be there for the online version. We're used to 24 hour contests, but when there's no time to watch even the five minute movie through once for errors, this is what you get. biggrin We got the movie in with three minutes to spare, which, although comforting after we ran up to the steps to turn it in, would not have been enough time for us to review the film all the way before rendering.
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:11am

Post 26 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Hmm... I guess I can either say "Don't let your brother grade your footage ever again" or "I can't wait to see the properly graded final shots, because... damn." I mean, it sounds like it would have been a better option just to not grade it at all if the raw footage was properly exposed. I can't honestly imagine what kind of insane grading settings you had used previously that would have done that to properly exposed shots. I'd like to believe that it's all in the grading, but you'd have to not look at the footage at all for it to end up like that...

I'll take your word for it, I guess. But make sure to show us the finished version with proper grading when you have it, because I'd like to see the difference.
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:27am

Post 27 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Yeah, I mean, things happen and I've gotten on Andrew for years about such dumb, eccentric mistakes last minute and how he "doesn't use the right shots" or "graded it wrong", but these complaints are futile when the clock is ticking down.

I'd rather have his creative ability to construct a narrative and make things seem 'cool' in the cutting and overlaying of audio/shots/etc than have him spend 5 minutes correcting any levels mistake he made. In my opinion, at the 24 hour, he's not just a better editor than most people, he's the best. So............yeah, I mean, I do get frustrated when I spend time taking multiple shots, exposing, and then shooting things different ways; and he picks the one angle where I experimented with a shake, or shot wide with a lightstand still in view, even though there were other available, better takes.

Because you make trade-offs, especially in the 24 versus the 48. And we got the movie in on time, in HD, and it came out, in my view, pretty good. Pretty much though, the T2i is going to be great for the types of things I want to do with it. Specifically, a film I shot, "Memorial", last summer in Arkansas I found very cinematic/poetic visually on the XHA1, but wonder what those panoramic shots would've looked like on an EOS lens. Things like that I'm really looking forward to. But still, for sophomoric, quick stuff, like many of the shots I got yesterday, the camera was versatile enough to meet my needs. And that's basically my point, I suppose. biggrin
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 8:50am

Post 28 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Just to update what I just mentioned, about hasty render settings, I was able to take the first shot off I shot yesterday, throw it into Vegas without transcoding, and render it out to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxb77_s4wbI

Granted, it took five minutes for 20 seconds, but I think in our current transcoding method, while smooth, we're losing quality. There must be better options than Cineform's NeoScene, or more quality-centric options.
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 10:35am

Post 29 of 32

Aculag

Force: 8365 | Joined: 21st Jun 2002 | Posts: 8581

EffectsLab Lite User VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Is it just me, or is that kid stoned off his ass?
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2010, 3:57pm

Post 30 of 32

Bryce007

Force: 1910 | Joined: 5th Apr 2003 | Posts: 2609

VideoWrap User Windows User

Gold Member

I transcode everything to Avid's DNXHD codec using Mpeg streamclip. It's basically awesome, and entirely free to download from their site. It's sort of like Apples ProRes, but you can get away with lower bitrates, even when working in Full HD.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jul 2010, 4:26am

Post 31 of 32

Jabooza

Force: 2743 | Joined: 21st Jul 2006 | Posts: 1446

VisionLab User VideoWrap User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker MacOS User

Gold Member

Well, my friend ended up getting the T2i. It definitely seems impressive so far.
He already has the kit lens, but he's thinking about getting another lens. He's looking for one around $200. We know that there's several different types of lenses, but haven't had any experience using any and don't really know much about them. So what we're wondering is; what kind of lens do you guys think would benefit us the most for filmmaking? We don't know specifically what kind of shots we're looking to get, we're just wondering what kind of lens you guys think would be the most useful all-around.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jul 2010, 5:30am

Post 32 of 32

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

VideoWrap User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

If money saved, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 ($400).

If cheaper, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ($100).