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Old April 26th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #1
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Good HD camera for under $1000?

Im a film student who's used to shooting on DV cameras like the Cannon GL2, of which i own one. I was wondering what would be a good HD quality camera for shooting narrative shorts for projects? It would need to be under $1000, something I could afford on a student budget, and be able to capture on a mac with Final Cut Express.

thanks,
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Old April 26th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #2
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is the DV route your only choice?
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Old April 26th, 2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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No, DV Cameras are just what I'm used to. I've never operated a camera that uses Flash memory. I'm also not quite sure how I'd transfer the footage since macs have no internal port for Flash memory. However, I've used an external usb port for digital cameras.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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I'm sure you've noticed the hype of the Canon T2i... Are you willing to go to the DSLR route?
If you are doing narrative, hmmm I guess the 12 min time limit might be a road block but that depends on how long you are going to shoot for each clip. If you were to change angles and such, I'm sure it's no more than 12 mins a clip, I'm assuming.

HV40 is a great camcorder. With decent lighting, you can get that horse to work! :)

I dont' have any personal experiences with the new canon lines HS, or the HF.

I guess these are all Canon products. Haha I don't know enough about other camcorders!! Sorry~
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Old April 28th, 2010, 12:41 AM   #5
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Canon 550d (2ti) is the best bet. Plus it can take decent pictures too.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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Canon T2i with Rode VideoMic. I own a Sony EX1 and still love the T2i. They are different animals, but with enough effort I could make a high quality video with the T2i.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 04:39 AM   #7
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The 550d is a good choice for narrative work... as long as you know it's limitations and understand how to work around them. More than with any other camera you'll want to record audio seperately - partly to avaid the cameras auto-gian and partly to get the mic away from the camera and lenses which, unlike dedicated video cameras, are not designed to be as silent as possible.

The DLSR's are a whole different level of complexity in your production compared to a GL2 but they can be excellent educational tools as they teach you to use it on set like a film camera - recording sound seperately, shorter takes, lens selection, DOF and f-stop consideration, etc.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 10:41 AM   #8
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I own 2 Canon GL2's, a Canon 50D, and a Canon T2i. I found the T2i very intuitive due to the familiar language used by Canon in all their photo and video products. Obviously the T2i doesn't give you the audio or focus control the GL2 does, but the picture is awesome in both photo and video.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #9
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Lee, If your not looking at getting a DSLR.. you might consider the Canon HV40... very nice picture quality.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #10
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I've got to put in my vote for the HV40, too. I've used it and it's earlier sibling, the HV20 -- they are basically the same as far as picture quality. As Daniel said, with good light this camera really excels with outstanding quality. It does fall apart quickly with low light, but sometimes that can be helped considerably in post by using NeatVideo. (That's what I use, though there are others.) Though I generally shoot in 60i, I learning to like the native 24p in the right situation.

I traveled a lot with my HV20 including quite a few trips into the rainforest and up into the Andes mountains. It feels a little flimsy, but it has held up extremely well on some challenging trips and rough handling.

One last thing, I'm still a tape guy and the HV40 is minidv.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #11
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Lee, I can only add my support to the Canon HV serie. I own a HV30 and it is a fantastic camera, like Phil I have travel extensively travel (jungles of South Asia and more) with this camera and never experience any problems.
I recently bought a Canon HF-s 200 and love it and it is going to be my travel camera. But, since you are a film student I think that the "look" of the HV serie would please you more.
It has been said before the HV serie is more filmique , the HF-s200 certainly more video like.
This being said and in fairness to the HF-s serie it may be possible to get the film look but it exceed my experience and competence so far and I am still waiting to see convincing exemples from others; meanwhile, have a look at 2 of my favorites videos made with the HV30 by very talented guys (not me):
my favorite travel video:

an other very impressive look (an fun to watch) at what the HV30 can do:
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:59 AM   #12
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Very interesting stuff, Robert. You've really got me thinking now about 24p with my kind of new HV40. (Still haven't used it as much as I'd like.) I used 60i when traveling before with my HV20 because I never wanted to deal with pulldown workflow of 24f.

I'm thinking of my other travel videos and I think 24p would look just as nice or better in many, if not most, situations -- especially if I ever learn how to use the 35mm adapter that I bought awhile back.

I was first impressed in the opening shots of the old man drinking. That didn't look at all like HV20 footage -- there should have been much more grain! (HV users know what I mean.)

But then I watched the second "Quantum of Solace" trailer and was blown away. Gives me hope that I can do some good things with my HV40 yet!

Bottom line, Lee, is that the examples Robert chose make me feel even better about recommending the HV40 to you. Low light issues have always made me long for my A1 on many trips, but both videos show a lot more possibilities than I've experienced with the HV line so far. That means I've still got a lot to learn about my camera because apparently low light issues can be overcome and done well.

Also, Robert, I know it's been about 8 months ago, but how was your trip to India last year? I work with a woman who grew up there and she has made it the #2 choice on my travel wishlist (after my second home, Peru). Wish I could go there this summer, but my wife will be in school and I'd feel bad about traveling without her. I may take a short trip somewhere in Central America, though.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 02:34 PM   #13
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Hi Phil, the trip was great. I love India, we stayed 4 months, 3 months filming for the Yoga Institute and one month backpacking in the south and it was beautiful
BTW, the little Litepanels was used extensively with the HV30 (my second unit kit) and has proven very reliable.
Enjoy your HV40, there is no doubt that these cameras are fantastic and the biggest limitation is only our own expertise, and by practice we can only get better.
Peru is on my list, so I may eventually ask you for some advices.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #14
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Thankyou for all the input,

I have experience with the Panasonic HVX 200 from using it in classes at school. But it is far too pricey for me to afford. the Canon HV40 may be up my alley. Does it have a mic input for a shotgun?
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Old May 12th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tamer View Post
Thankyou for all the input,

I have experience with the Panasonic HVX 200 from using it in classes at school. But it is far too pricey for me to afford. the Canon HV40 may be up my alley. Does it have a mic input for a shotgun?
Another vote for the HV series!

As far as sound - It has a mini-jack input, but ideally you would want to purchase an XLR adapter as it will reduce excess noise and provide higher quality sound..

I would personally go with a Beachtek or JuicedLink. The shoe-mount Canon MA-300 XLR adapter is also available, but I'm not sure if it would fit the HV's. Can anyone clarify?
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