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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old April 11th, 2010, 05:25 PM   #1
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Back to the past or into the future?

So, I've saved every dime I've come across and I'm finally ready to buy a new camera. For the last year I've shot on a Panasonic SD5 so I'm relatively familiar with AVCHD. I have a budget of about $2000 and being in high school I need to make every penny count.

The options as I see them are A, buy a brand new Panasonic HMC-40 and stick with what I know or B, buy an older used HDV camcorder with around 100-200 hours of use off Ebay. I've had my eyes set on JVC's GY HD-100/110 series for a while or a Cannon XHA1. Only problem is I've only ever dabbled in the realm of mini DV camcorders when shooting school functions for video apps class. I don't even have a fire-wire port on my PC so I guess my only option is to use a USB to Firewire cable. Will this be problematic when capturing? I'm currently using Vegas Pro 9 to capture and edit by the way. Also with 200 hours on the drums is an HDV camcorder just a time bomb waiting to happen? It seems like there is so much that can go wrong with tape camcorders and I'm a little timid to purchase one. But at the same time the quality and overall look looks far more cinematic then AVCCAM.

I will be mainly using this camera to create short films to upload to the web. I would like it to look as film like and cinematic as possible. I've heard mixed reactions about the HMC 40 and AVCCAM camcorders. I've read that they put old HDV camcorders to shame in terms of picture quality, But then I've also heard they are very consumer oriented and lack many professional features. Just wanna get your $.02 before I drop my money on something I'll later regret.

Sorry if my post is all over the place and in the wrong place I'm new here :)
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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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I'd go with the A1. More editing systems support Canon's 24F than Panasonic's AVCHD native 24p. FCP supports Canon 24F really well. It's the most cinematic, helped by the fact it has bigger sensors. (1/3'' compared to 1/4'') Plus, you can matchmove very accurately compared to the HMC-40 because the A1 is a CCD camera.

If you're worried about dropouts, for an additional $1000 or more you can get a Sony or Firestone CF recorder. Skips the need for tape.
I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 08:07 PM   #3
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while the HD100/110 is a great camera and would work very well for what you do keep in mind that even if you got a decent with the low number of 200 hours of operation which would leave you a lot of time to work with the camera before you had to do anything major to it, you must keep in mind aslo that the stock little batterys that come with that camera suck. Period. They are, IMO and the opinion of everyone that I know that has or has used these cameras, that the stock JVC batterys are a waste of time and money and to purchase even a couple of IDX 7 batterys and a charger would put you way out of your budget range so here's what I suggest. Spend your money on something that you are at least somewhat familiar with and if that's AVCHD then so be it. If it's another format (codec) find something pre owned that is in your budget.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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Something low cost like the Canon T2i might be what you need.
David W. Jones
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Old April 13th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses guys really appreciate it! It looks the HMC 40's shaping up to be the most sensible of what I have to choose from. But, after shooting on a GL2 this week I think I'm gonna give mini DV a shot and branch out a bit and go for the JVC. Luckily for me it seems like every Ebay sale comes bundled with about 3-4 batteries so I hope that should suffice.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 12:23 AM   #6
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Hi Dan.............

Go for a used Canon XL2, plenty of them about and for the web, perfect.

Get an add on Firewire card for your PC (if it IS a PC).

It may only be SD, but it has manual controls to die for and simply a superb camera, 16:9 to boot.

Check 'em out.

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Old April 17th, 2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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Well, I took the plunge and just bought an HD100 with only 72 hours on the heads and 3 batteries. Hope it's for the best!
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