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Old March 2nd, 2009, 09:34 AM   #1
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Best Cam for wedding/event videography?

I am looking for a camcorder for wedding/event videography. I've been looking at the Canon XH-A1 and have even rented one to try out on a previous wedding. What are the downfalls of that camera? What do you guys think is the best camera for wedding/event videography? What is the Sony equivalent to the XH-A1? Honestly, the XH-A1 is in my price range, but I could get a more expensive camera if it alot better and for a good price.

Thanks in Advance.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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There are already tons of threads on this topic, both on this forum and those devoted to the individual cameras. And as you will discover, there is no best, only what's best for you. If you are comfortable with the Canon, that's the one you should use. Canons seem to engender an almost fanatical devotion from their users, and I don't think you'll find anyone who will tell you the A1 isn't a great cam.

Price-wise and features-wise, the Canon A1 sits sort of between the Sony FX1 and Z1. The FX1 has slightly fewer features and is cheaper, the Z1 a few more and is more expensive. The two Sonys are nearly identical but the Z1 has more pro features, like XLR inputs and different firmware allowing for more manual control.

The Canon, like both of these Sonys, is a couple of generations old. All use CCD chips. The FX1 is no longer available new but there are a ton of used ones floating around.

The next generation of Sony Tape cams was the FX7/V1, which are slightly smaller than their predecessors and use CMOS chips. Much discussion about whether this is a good thing or not. Both are cheaper than the Canon at this point. There is no other camera with the features of the FX7 at its price point, about $2K.

The latest generation is the FX1000/Z5, which are sort of CMOS versions of the FX1/Z1 with more features and better low light. They have the form factor of the larger cams but the features of the newer ones.

If price is no object, there is the EX series, which are much beloved, especially the EX3. Below the EXes but above the Z5 is the Z7. The Z7 uses both tape and flash; the EXes are flash-only. All three feature interchangeable lenses.

You can check out the features and prices of all these on the product pages at B&H.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Leslie -
There's also a forum section dedicated to wedding/event video...

Canon is popular, the mentioned Sony cams are nice (FX1000 held up well in a review against Canon's $6K offering). The Panasonic HMC150 is also popping up as a good wedding/event cam, if you are ready, or want to go tapeless.

Do a bit of searching around the forums, you'll find more information collected here than anywhere else in the known universe, and if you spend a few hours you'll have the collected intelligence of the best of the best users out there, most of whom will give you detailed balanced advice, then tell you most of the current crop of cameras are good choices <wink>!
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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Leslie, read this: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/panasonic...ew-hmc150.html

The reviewer Mark says the Panasonic is the best camera he's ever used, and he comes from Sony background. Since Mark trains wedding videographers and is considered by some to be among the best in the wedding business, his opinion is certainly valuable.

I personally don't believe there is a best in the 1/3" crowd, they're all different. For "best" you move up to largest chip you can afford. If you can move up to a 1/2" do that. I have a friend who refuses to touch any camera under 1/2". He shoots with several EX1s and is very happy. I use the FX1000 and it works, but I cannot see the camera winning any awards. It has awkward button placement, and a short list of other irritants (the menu scoll wheel, inability to open/close LCD with a light on top, etc) but it produces decent images. They are soft and of low contrast, which leads to a sometimes slow auto-focus, but overall they look anywhere from fine to outstanding.

For ease of use Panasonic, from what I hear is good, and the Sony FX1000/Z5 would come in second. Canon users tend to really love their cameras, they are almost fanatical. Canon's produce some very nice images.

When you choose a camera today, you are committing to a format also.

So if possible choose format first, or at least rule out what you do not want, and then start looking at images shot with the cameras you are looking at.

I would then choose the camera that produces the video that I liked the best.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; March 2nd, 2009 at 04:23 PM.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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I shoot with two XHA1's, was the best value for buck until the Panasonic HMC150 popped up. The XHA1 will serve you well in the event business, it delivers outstanding quality with it's only drawback being tape however for me tape is still the best storage solution. You can't go wrong with the XHA1.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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for $3200, nothing is going to touch the Panasonic, not even some used Canons or Sony's.
the extra money you spend over used nets you tapeless, good low light and a 3 year warranty.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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Jeff Harpers post above is dead on.

I have had many HD cameras including the XH-A1 and the HMC-150. They are all different.

Currently there is a big price jump to get the 1/2" sensor in the Sony EX-1. So that may not be an option for you.

I tend to think that for a first camera, I would avoid tape and never become dependent on them for storage. But that's a matter of opinion.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:26 PM   #8
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Here's another vote for the Panasonic HMC150--great choice!
The SDHC cards are great, it's so light and easy to use hand held, great low light, etc. The 720/60p is great for motion analysis, slo mo.
Hard to go wrong here. Top it off with that unbeatable price! Hard to resist.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 02:52 AM   #9
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You should consider checking the Camcorder ratings for various brands. The expert reviews can help in informing you about the good and bad sides of each item. There's no better way than getting the best value for the budget. Good luck.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #10
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The problem with weddings is always lack of light or low light, whether it be for the reception or ceremony.
If your budget can extend, you have to have minimum, in my opinion a chip camera and even then the camera wants more light into the lens/chip.
Get the EX1 and this camera will be great for what you need.

Cheers
Simon
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Old March 10th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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HMC-150 or EX-1 would be the front runners.

The main consideration would be CCD vs CMOS imho.

Half exposed flash frames are a big consideration for wedding work.

I have seen these camera side by side and the depth of field and light gathering are more similar than different.

I will be comparing more extensivelt in a few days so I will post back with more impressions.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #12
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i have both

it's easy to see the picture quality difference between the two side by side, make no mistake. the EX1 is superior in sharpness and noise in 1080 modes. in 720 modes,
not so much. Where the 150 kills is in ease of use, cost and weight. Yes, it feels
like a Fisher Price toy, but a very comfortable one. I really want to see how both perform during a live shoot, so much so, i would be willing to do one for free during this off
season.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Hayes View Post
it's easy to see the picture quality difference between the two side by side, make no mistake. the EX1 is superior in sharpness and noise in 1080 modes. in 720 modes,
not so much. Where the 150 kills is in ease of use, cost and weight. Yes, it feels
like a Fisher Price toy, but a very comfortable one. I really want to see how both perform during a live shoot, so much so, i would be willing to do one for free during this off
season.
Scott:

When you do a two camera shoot, HMC-150 & EX-1, and produce a NTSC widescreen DVD, is the difference in the cameras really obvious on, say a 42" HDTV (excluding the color mis-matches)?

Between the XH-A1 & HMC-150, I couldn't tell much difference on NTSC widescreen except for color. On a HD production (Blu-Ray, etc.) I could see the XH-A1 was a little sharper.

Im just wondering how much of that excellent EX-1 picture makes it down to NTSC DVD with a consumer editing system.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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i wish i could say. I havent produced a job yet with the two of them. I have shot the same scenes and put themon my 1080p Sony, and the eX1 is clearly sharper, and this was done via hdmi on the 150 and component on the EX
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Old April 1st, 2009, 04:43 PM   #15
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The EX1 sounds like a great piece of equipment, but unfortunately, it's out of my price range. I'm looking at the Panasonic HMC 150. Let me know if anyone sees a good price on one.
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