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Old November 16th, 2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Cam-xiety

I love puns, hence the hilarious, sure-to-have-you-both-rolling-on-the-floor-and-wetting-yourselves-simultaneously-which-sounds-both-disgusting-and-uncomfortable subject title.

I'm referring to the relatively recent thought that I might be wise to invest in a camera soon (possibly not 'cause after a "busy" month of shooting, I have no more shoots on the horizon at all!). I was firmly set for a long time that if I ever got an HD camera, I would go the regular camcorder route (I'd settled on an EX1r as the best choice, all things considered, right now) vs a large sensor/"cinema" cam.

However, everyone constantly singing the praises of the large sensor world, combined with seeing a few demos on here, has me rethinking.

Main reason is I don't do, most of the time, what one consider particularly artistic work, for pay. I do runnin'-around-gettin-broll type stuff, I do lecture/seminar/presentation type stuff, talking head type stuff, and maybe very occasionally something that doesn't fit into those (did a concert last month where I was free roaming the venue, not locked on a tripod, did a thing last year that was promotional video for a company specializing in high end horse trailers).

Now, some of that stuff would probably look cooler with shallow DOF, and the low light capabilities are always a help, but what worries me with the large sensor cams is, will I have that deep DOF when I need it? What is the feasibility of stopping down (f8, however far you can go without diffraction issues), and cranking the ISO to compensate, when needed?

I would also miss the zoom rocker capabilities on regular camcorders, as well as the zoom range (there are those 11x zooms made by a few folks but they come with all sorts of distortion and aperture issues).

I really do need an all-in-one cam, since it's dubious that I can justify buying A camera let alone two. The safe bet is a regular camcorder like the EX1r, but the image from that cam has never really wowed me. The C100 from what I"ve seen looks really nice, but again, all the above-mentioned issues.

I guess what I'm really getting at is: what are the realities of trying to use a large sensor cam for more ENG/EFP applications, and has anyone been doing this successfully, and if so what issues have you had, etc.?
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Old November 16th, 2013, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: Cam-xiety

I guess the Sony NEX-EA50 is the most ENG like one of the big sensor video cameras. Also comes with a 11x power zoom lens (not the fastest, but will do, especially in daylight and when you don't need the shallow field of depth...). It's not the most expensive either, think B&& had som rebate running which got you the camera for $2700-something.
It won't give you the low light capabilities of the Sony FS100/700 or Canon C100 though...
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Old November 16th, 2013, 11:02 PM   #3
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Re: Cam-xiety

Josh I have a Canon XF300 and XF100 and the XF300 is similar to an EX1r. For run and gun stuff I would seriously miss the XF300. Like you mentioned I would miss the zoom rocker for smooth zooming, I would also miss the ability to stick it on constant AF mode if/when the need arises.

Another point you should probably think of is that large sensor cameras like the C100 require you to change lenses a fair bit. For run and gun this can range from being ok, to being a right pain in the backside, to meaning you miss the shot altogether.

I would probably suggest you rent some cameras or go to a shop and try them.

Best of luck in you search for new gear.
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Old November 16th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #4
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Re: Cam-xiety

Bah. I probably know the answer, though it's not real encouraging. The safe smart choice is still a small sensor cam. There were a couple turn offs for me with the XF cams vs the EX series, when I researched them.


Unless it becomes urgent, I may just wait til NAB and see what happens then.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 06:10 AM   #5
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Re: Cam-xiety

When you first get a C300 after owning an EX1r for a while you think there will be projects you'll use the C300 on - but you'll still need the EX1r for many things the C300 won't be suitable for.

Then you start to enjoy the image quality of the C300.

Then when you choose which camera to take out, you think of those limitations of the C300, but start to think of the ways around them - as you love the image quality.

A year later you realise the EX1r's Pelican case is covered in dust.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 06:27 AM   #6
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Re: Cam-xiety

Josh, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you - conferences 'are my thing, baby'. I get hired to film Conference and Corporate Event summaries, which is precisely that - interviews (often by available light), B-roll (lots of it), diving into situations where there are absolutely no take-twos, often jumping in the back of a car, driven to a number of dimly lit venues with 20 mins to 'capture the atmosphere'.

And yes, the EX1-R is the absolute master at it. The 1/2" chips beat anything else in its class, you really don't want to be running around with a shoulder mounted camera, you certainly don't want to be caught changing lenses when 'that money shot' starts happening.

I tried the Canon DSLR stuff - big problem: everyone thinks you're taking stills - they strike poses and wait for a flash or a click. Nothing happens, they look concerned, you say you're shooting video, and they lynch you. :) Then there's the problem with shutter speed and projected/monitor displays, the difficulty of white balancing and getting it right in camera (rather than trying to fix it in post), the audio issue - and don't get me started on shot length and overheating.

I tried with the FS100 - even got a fairly cool rig together. It didn't work. It really didn't.

Sold the FS100, and went for the C100 - excellent ergonomics, zipping around getting awesome shots and really enjoying the DoF and low light capability - and I'd say really happy with the whole ensemble EXCEPT for... the lack of timelapse, a few silly but annoying niggles (like no audio on last shot playback, no dual level audio recording), and of course the sneaking fear that a vital shot will happen whilst you change lenses. The solution would be two C100 bodies, 'yeah right'.

So, pretty much every conference I shoot is on EX1, pretty much exclusively on MxM cards.

If you need some sort of resolution to your camxiety, you may wish to supplement your EX1 with whatever the current equivalent of a Canon T2i is, so you're not spending too much on the big sensor thing, but doing your interview closeups on the DSLR, with a wide 'safety' with all the audio on the EX1.

But don't get me wrong - if I didn't have my EX1Rs, I'd be very happy with my C100 as an 'only' camera, but I'd have to work harder on most jobs.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 01:38 PM   #7
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Re: Cam-xiety

Yeah, the lens change thing definitely is not happening for me. I don't have the patience for it (having putzzed around with a few times). My strategy would be to basically pick a lens for a gig and go for it, only changing if I realized I'd made a drastic mistake ("whoops, can't shoot this lecture from 100 feet away with the 24-105. Doh!"). My experience from a few 5D/b-roll gigs is that the 24-105 is more versatile than something like the 75-300 (I don't have your fancy L 70-200) as you can get cool wides and sort of longs with the 24-105, but can really only do long and nothing but with the other. So that's what I end up sticking with on those types of things. But my hopeful workaround to changing lenses in more unpredictable environments was, as I may have mentioned those 11x zooms Ive about by Sigma and Canon (18-200), even though they apparently come with their own issues (distortion, very slow).

The AF100 seemed promising 'cause it's an even smaller sensor size than super35, but still not "small sensor"-sized, except that, well, nobody seems to have anything real good to say about it ("Oh yeah, it's a great camera, I mean, I don't like the noise, or the resolution, or the codec, or the highlights, or the colors, but other than that it's great!").

So, yeah. Either a small sensor cam or wait 'til NAB, looks like. Like I said, I'm in a dead zone right now with no shoots scheduled at all. The time to buy would have been 1.5 months ago, but my psychic powers are on the fritz. Too much cirus, I think.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #8
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Re: Cam-xiety

I had the same problem for a year and a half. 90% of my stuff is ENG but I do like getting artsy every now and then and I also love buying new toys....which is a big problem in this business. You just have to be very real about what your needs are and meet them. Keep in mind that for as many cameras as there are out there, there is probably not one that will meet every one of your expectations or can do "everything". That being said, if you just keep waiting for NAB to come and see what new things are coming out, you will wait forever because technology changes in an instant. For me, the answer was the XF305. It does damn near everything I want it to and I picked up a cheap t3i for that 10% of the time when I want "that look". Good luck in your search.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 02:18 AM   #9
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Re: Cam-xiety

Thanks. I think I have been realistic about my needs which is why I still don't have a cam at this point.

I understand the instant obsolescence issue in our industry with cameras and other things, but I think waiting 'til at least next year's announcements might be prudent considering how long I'd be holding onto the cam once purchased, and if I got something newer/better/more to my liking/etc. it'd be that much better of a situation.

I feel you on the DSLR for those occasional times, but don't really agree. Having worked with the 5Dm2 on several projects, I can say that while it's a good for a few things, I generally dislike working with anything that isn't a proper camcorder (that is, XLRs/useable on board audio, all the image monitoring tools we're used to, etc.). I have access to a 5D but will only take it along if specifically requested. At this point if someone simply asked for that shallow DOF look or similar wording, and camera is left up to me, I'd rent my colleague's C100. That's all about me needing something easier to set up and work with and that won't make my heart explode from the stress of having to set up even more crap (zoom recorder, etc.) in too little time.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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Re: Cam-xiety

Another option might be to get used Pansonic GH2 for those times when you want a bit more shallow DoF. My brother has one and it produces pretty amazing images considering it cost about 400 I think. His current GH3 is even better but costs about 1000.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 12:41 AM   #11
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Re: Cam-xiety

I was in the same boat as you. After way too much research and so on, I ended up
going with the Sony FS700. That may be out of your budget, you never said what your budget was.

You can use the 11x zoom lens with the zoom rocker, and even though it is a 'slow' lens, (F3.5-6.3)
the clean gain on the camera means it is better in low light than the EX1 (you can go up to 15-18db
without much of a grain penalty). There is a new 18-105 F4 constant zoom from Sony that will also
work with the zoom rocker. If that is not enough range and you don't mind a manual zoom,
Nikon makes a 18-300 that is faster than the Sony 18-200 as it still opens to F5.6 at the 300mm
end.

The reason I went with the FS700 was its amazing versatility. Need a 'pseudo' EX1? Use the
Sony zoom lens. Need extreme low light ability? Use a fast prime or the excellent Sigma 18-35 zoom.
Need a 'full frame' look? Buy or rent a metabones speedbooster. Want to use Nikon glass, Canon
glass, old Canon FD's, old Minolta lenses, or even PL mount cinema glass? Yup, you are covered.
Then there is the ability to shoot timelapse (with slow shutter), super slow mo, 2k and 4k Raw or
compressed as well as a lot of various better formats coming with the Odessey recorder (10 and
12 bit as well as 4.2.2 and even 4.4.4) and even 8 megapixel stills. And it has XLRs, built in NDs and
all the video camera stuff I like. No, it's not perfect, form factor is a little strange (much better with the
shortened viewfinder) not the best balance, crazy strange viewfinder that won't tilt down for high angle
shots and so on. But it checks more boxes than any other 'cheaper' camera out there. For someone
like me that does the 'one man production company' thing and works on lots of differing projects,
the extreme versatility is EXACTLY what I need.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 01:31 AM   #12
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Re: Cam-xiety

The budget is in flux. I have a certain point where I start to say "nope, not going that high, period", and the 700 is above that threshold. If I found something I really thought was a good investment, I'd probably be persuaded to go a little higher than I wanted, but not FS700 high.

My clients don't really demand those higher end recording specs (10 bit, 4:2:2, etc. etc.), at least never once that I can recall, so no worries there.

In all honesty an EX1r or similar would probably do for 90% or 95% of anything I do (currently). With the multiple lenses and the switching etc. etc. the large sensor world is just too much of a pain/expense right now, regardless of how purty them looks.

The smart thing to do would be to buy my safe bet camera, and it if pays itself off in a timely manner, that will a) reinforce that I made good decision getting it, and b) allow me to think about getting something else (not to replace, but to supplement).
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Old November 19th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #13
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Re: Cam-xiety

Josh - someone mentioned the Sony NEX--EA50 a few posts ago - it really is the best of both worlds - a large sensor interchangeable lens camera with XLR inputs, usable on-board audio, no clip length limits, no overheating and a zoom rocker.

They're on sale for $2725 right now (after $600 rebate), but if you don't want to buy one, you can rent one for $197 for 4 days from lensrentals.

Here is what this camera can do:


"Never Again"




"Surfing in Simplicity"




"CCS Road Racing"




Cheers,

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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:47 PM   #14
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Re: Cam-xiety

Hey gang. Reviving this corpse cause it's looking again like I really oughtta be gettin' a cam.

I'd pretty much settled on trying to find a used EX1-R, between price point, media cost vs capacity, features, performance, etc., seemed like the right cam for me (very familiar with EX1 and just don't need shallow DOF that much).

Now I'm a little worried 'cause everyone says Sony's customer service is HORRIBLE. Expensive repairs, long wait times, etc.

Also, an issue with the EX cams is that the slow/creep zooms are crapshoot on these cameras, 'cause apparently something in that assembly is defective; it's a known issue, Sony doesn't care, just as likely to get a cam that can't creep zoom as one that can.

Especially buying used I'm not real keen on dealing with that.

On the other hand, for various reasons, the latest Pana and Canon offerings in the small ENG cam world have not intrigued me.

Thoughts?
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Old February 16th, 2014, 05:52 AM   #15
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Re: Cam-xiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
Also, an issue with the EX cams is that the slow/creep zooms are crapshoot on these cameras, 'cause apparently something in that assembly is defective; it's a known issue, Sony doesn't care, just as likely to get a cam that can't creep zoom as one that can.
The new PMW200 has been repaired, the lens is ok now (there was info from the customers). PMW150 has a good price and 3x 1/3 chips (PMW200 has 3x 1/2), but I don't know news about the lens quality.

I will go with EX1R in your case (it has the best price option) and will look for the second DSLR camera for closeup shots with small DOF.

The new nice small ENG cameras are XF100 (poor lowlight but nice codec), Panasonic AG-AC90 (like XF100 but has no ND filtres but three rings and a little better lowlight), bigger cams are XF300, GY-HM600 (nice ergonomic and good EVF) and Panasonic AG-HPX250 (422, 10bit).
There are differences not only in the mechanical quality, you must try them before purchasing.
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