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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #1
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Camera for videographer. Help.

I'm in the market for a camcorder that will be used primarily for videography. Specifically recurring/annual events being shot documentary style.

Features I'm looking for:
Manual features are absolutely necessary. (Focus, Iris, etc.)
Preferably smaller and less intrusive/intimidating and easy to move around.
Dual XLR inputs.
Native 1920x1080 or 1440x1080.
3 CCD's, preferably 1/3" or larger.

From what I've found, most manufactures offer something that covers these categories. My main concern is how it's recorded. The JVC can record to SDHC, Panasonic to P2, Canon to HDV miniDV tape, etc., etc.,

When it comes time to store what I've shot, I like the idea of being able to save the tape. Spending the time to log and capture my footage isn't a huge hassle for me. I kind of like it. But, is the quality less than something being capture to a P2 card or an SDHC.

I was leaning toward the JVC that uses the SDHC, but the focus and zoom controls are on the same ring. Not that you typically do both at the same time, but it strikes me as weird.

Last but not least, me being an event videographer is more importantly a means for me to fund and put together a documentary. So ideally this equipment would be able to go head to head with other documentary's at film festivals.

Is there somewhere where you can see uncompressed stills taken from all the major cameras?

Thanks in advance,
Dan
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Quintero View Post
I'm in the market for a camcorder that will be used primarily for videography. Specifically recurring/annual events being shot documentary style.

Features I'm looking for:
Manual features are absolutely necessary. (Focus, Iris, etc.)
Preferably smaller and less intrusive/intimidating and easy to move around.
Dual XLR inputs.
Native 1920x1080 or 1440x1080.
3 CCD's, preferably 1/3" or larger.

From what I've found, most manufactures offer something that covers these categories. My main concern is how it's recorded. The JVC can record to SDHC, Panasonic to P2, Canon to HDV miniDV tape, etc., etc.,

When it comes time to store what I've shot, I like the idea of being able to save the tape. Spending the time to log and capture my footage isn't a huge hassle for me. I kind of like it. But, is the quality less than something being capture to a P2 card or an SDHC.

I was leaning toward the JVC that uses the SDHC, but the focus and zoom controls are on the same ring. Not that you typically do both at the same time, but it strikes me as weird.

Last but not least, me being an event videographer is more importantly a means for me to fund and put together a documentary. So ideally this equipment would be able to go head to head with other documentary's at film festivals.

Is there somewhere where you can see uncompressed stills taken from all the major cameras?

Thanks in advance,
Dan
Canon XH-A1s, I think, is your best bet. 1440x1080anamorphic is pretty indistinguishable from 1920x1080; and it meets all your other criteria. I'd invest in a firestore device. You can get dropouts from tape; even with good stock, it happens, and even one can ruin your day.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Quintero View Post
I was leaning toward the JVC that uses the SDHC, but the focus and zoom controls are on the same ring. Not that you typically do both at the same time, but it strikes me as weird.
If you go with Canon, make sure that you get the XH A1s. The original A1 does not let you zoom and focus at the same time. This was one of the long list of improvements on the A1s. And, by the way, I want to zoom and focus more often than one might imagine. Makes me want to trade my A1 for the A1s, but not enough to buy one.

If you're somewhere where you can rent your short list of choices, I'd advise it. You'll have your cam for a long time. It's one way to assure that you'll like your choice in the long run.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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I would suggest either the Canon XHA1 or XHA1S....for even more fun, the Panasonic HMC150.
Which is best for you depends on your personal priorities. I have and enjoy them both immensely. They are great Event DV cams.
But do not forget, set aside a decent budget for audio gear and some lighting as well, and perhaps some good books on how best to use it all. That might save you some bucks, as video gear can get very expensive very fast.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #5
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After reading your replies and looking into it some more, I've settled on the XHA1s. Hopefully I can budget for the Letus 35mm lens adapter. Audio will preferably be external, but if it's a run and gun one man show, I'll have a Sen' ME66 mounted on it. The only thing I wish it had was a variable frame rate to shoot over cranked.

I've used Canon's XLH1 numerous times along with Panasonic's HVX200. The Canon's body was too upright making it feel wobbly on my shoulder and I'm not entirely sold on Panasonic's overpriced P2 cards. I've had an external drive holding our Panasonic's media get reformatted. It was an accident but it still cost us a half day of work.

Thanks for your replies.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #6
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The new JVC HM-700 is a shoulder-mount camera that has a "real" detachable bayonet mount lens. It might use some type of pixel-shift chips, not sure. It records to inexpensive SDHC cards at 35 mbps.
Or check out the new Panasonic HPX300, although you'll need P2 cards. It has native 1920x1080 CMOS chips, but has a true broadcast form.
You didn't mention your price range. The two above start around $7,000-ish. And don't forget the Sony EX line.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #7
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As far as a budget goes, $7,000'ish is pushing it, especially if I have to spend a few thousand more for media. The XHA1/s meets all my standards. Still trying to figure out why I should spend an extra $1,000 on the s-model though...
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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #8
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Why you should spend the extra $1000...

the XH-A1s has a lot of improvements over the previous model. I cringe every time I delicately connect the tiny 4-pin firewire plug from on my XH-A1. I'd love to have the full-size 6-pin connector found on the "s" model.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #9
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the XH-A1s has a lot of improvements over the previous model. I cringe every time I delicately connect the tiny 4-pin firewire plug from on my XH-A1. I'd love to have the full-size 6-pin connector found on the "s" model.
Sold. The XLH1 has the 4-pin - it's horrible.
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