3 New Cameras - What to Get? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
Topics about HD production.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 19th, 2010, 09:34 AM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
3 New Cameras - What to Get?

My business is expanding, and I think it's time to buy more kit. In July, I'll be covering a week long disc golf tournament requiring multiple shooters and daily highlights. Among other things, this event requires a set of cameras to make it happen. Right now I run one XH-A1 and a 7D. To be honest, I'm getting really sick of recording to tape after using the 7D for several months, and the XH is losing value like nobody's business. Since edits will be happening throughout the day, I would really like to stay with a file-based workflow. Logging 10 hours of tape every day would be such a pain with the XH-A1.

I figure my options are:

1) Rent 2 or 3 cams (≈$3000-4000)
2) Purchase 2 more XH-A1 cams (sell one after tournament)
3) Sell XH and buy 3 new tapeless cams (sell one after tournament)

My business really only has the need for 2 cams normally, so if I purchased new cams I would sell one afterwards. I believe I can make 90% of my investment back selling used with minimal hours on a new cam *cheaper than renting for sure.

So now it comes down to it. What cams should I be looking at? I really like the new Canon offerings, but they're just too expensive at this time. My budget for each cam is $3,000-4,000.

What I've looked at so far:
- Panasonic HMC150 (top choice right now)
- Sony NX5u/AX2000

Musts are decent low-light sensitivity, HD, file-based workflow, and manual settings. Thoughts?
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 09:48 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,267
Nate,
1 week of work may not be worth the trouble of buying three cameras and then selling one. I would look at buying what you want to keep and then renting the rest. If you only want 2 new cameras then don't buy three. (unless they are giving you buy two get one free deal)
Daniel Epstein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 09:54 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
Right, but renting will cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 for 8 days. Half the cam? Is that worth it? I don't mind taking the time to sell if I can save some money, but we'll see where the budget takes me.
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,267
Sounds like your rental company is charging you way too much for a camera rental if the basic cost is in the $4000 range for purchase. You should be able to get a 4 or 5 day week from them.
Daniel Epstein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
Ok, cool. Thanks for the tip. I've never needed to rent before so I was just going by the internet rates.

Apart from the logistics of the whole thing, what models should I be looking for camera wise? Best choices currently? I really like the HMC150 but it is a little older of a cam.
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,554
Go to lensrentals.com - they have the best rental prices anywhere, and you don't need to put down a deposit. I have rented still photog gear from them several times and just rented an EX1 and other items a week ago. They have been amazing every time I have rented from them. My EX1 rental was for 4 days and I received a day early and was allowed to send back a day late with no extra fees. Its not always like this but getting extra day(s) has been more common for me. (although, I never rent the hot in-demand gear like Canon or Nikon)

Its good your event is in July because I will be renting from them again towards the end of June (EX3 this time so I can keep it in sync with my EX1).

For the price, I think you will like the EX1 the most. Probably so much that you might buy one afterwords.
Their EX1 comes with 2 batteries (4hr & 2hr), cables and a nice Petrol bag that can fit a lot of gear.

Each 16GB SxS cards gives you 57min of 35Mb HQ recording and 16bit LPCM audio.

FYI, I don't work for them but they have been the best company I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with (AbelCineTech is right behind them).
Steve Kalle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 06:14 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Posts: 1,142
I'd recommend the Sony NX5 and a pair of AX2000's. That way all three cameras will match perfectly, and you can get a bunch of batteries/filters etc that will work on all your cameras. You'll have the extra features of the NX5 if you ever need them, and you'll save a bit of money on the AX2000's.

The NX5/AX2000 are sharper than the HMC150 and better in lowlight. They've also got extra telephoto reach which could be helpful for a golf tournament.

In your situation, I'd be inclined to buy three cams and sell one afterwards, because in Australia there is not alot of options for renting (Z1's only at most places). Things may be different for you so I would check out the cost of renting and also look on ebay and craisgslist to find out how much used XH-A1's are going for.
John Wiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 07:55 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
Good choices all around. lensrentals.com really does have great prices, I'll certainly be considering a full set of EX1s or HVX200s. Prices seem to be around $2500 for everything which is great, but the thing is, I'm in the market for at least a pair of new cameras. Since I'll be buying at least 2 cameras anyway, spending $2500 on rentals seems silly. I agree it is a great deal for renting, but that's about $2000 extra in expenses that I'll have nothing to show for in the end. I have a relatively large sum of money available for an initial purchase, and I doubt I'll have any trouble selling a $3300 camera for $3000 a week after I get it with 20 hours on the meter.

I looked at the AX2000 but I really dislike the 24p over 60i recording format. I use 24p most of the time, so having to do some voodoo to get true 24p seems like a real pain and a deal-breaker in addition to the crippled features and adjustments. Also, the $4000 for the NX5u is a little much right now when the HMC150 is almost $1000 less. I like the cam, but looking at comparisons online, the Panny looks plenty sharp to my eyes, not to mention I use a Canon 7D for most of my non "event" work. I'm not completely against the AX2000, but I'll need some pretty good recommendations to convince me the frame rate issue can be worked around easily. Perhaps I'll head over to the other forum. Also, the AX2000 comes with an additional battery from B&H right now, so it nearly makes up the price difference from the HMC150. Close enough.

Also at this point I'm pretty set on getting rid of the XH-A1 and going with some file-based solution. Going along with the renting/buying idea, I'd like to have a matching set of cams, so renting a more expensive cam like the EX1 doesn't really make sense because I simply can't afford one to own at this time. I don't mean to be stubborn, but I think it's really come down to the Sony AX2000 and the HMC150. Earlier someone said the Sony was sharper and better in low-light, but I've seen examples that seem just the opposite. Like I said before, ultimate sharpness isn't incredibly important to me since I deliver on DVD and primarily in 720p H.264. Is there a noticeable difference? Are the "pro" features of the HMC150 more important than the resolution and supposed low-light of the Sony?

What do you think?
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,554
With a multi-cam shoot, do you have additional cameramen?

I ask because I have begun using a Sony xr500v alongside my EX1, and another option is to get an EX1r and a small Sony camcorder. The xr500v is absolutely amazing in low light - no other consumer cam can match its low noise, and it even rivals the EX1, albeit not as sharp due to in-camera noise reduction. I either set the xr500v to wide or zoomed in on a person. So far, it has been working fairly well.

Another benefit of the EX1 (and any XDCAM EX camera) is the Flash Band removal (using ClipBrowser). Flash Band removal has been working nearly flawlessly. I thought a flash while zooming in would really challenge it but it had no problem fixing the image.

In case you didn't know, Sony released a SD adapter and a Memory Stick adapter to work in their XDCAM EX cameras so there isn't the additional large cost of SxS cards anymore.

There are some good rebates available on Sony cameras when purchased with a Sony accessory.
Steve Kalle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 12:07 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
Again, absolutely love the idea of an EX1, but I simply don't have the budget for one right now. I see where you're coming from for the xr500v, but I would much prefer a set of matched, professionally-configured cams as I do a variety of work at this time and will need them quite frequently.

I'm drifting towards considering the Sonys again, can anyone tell me more about the limitations of the AX2000 vs the NX5u? Specifically how the AX2000 handles the 24p footage?

What if (and this is really contrived) I purchased a NX5u for $4000 and did the rebate for the HXR-FMU128 flash module ($500 off a $750 item). Then sell the HXR-FMU128 for ≈$600, effectively making the "cost" of the NX5u $3650? This is foolish I know. What's the market like for Sony flash memory modules?
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,554
The NX5u can record LPCM uncompressed audio whereas the AX2000 can only record compressed.

Only the NX5u works with the HXR-FMU128 Flash Memory Unit.

Only the NX5u has HD-SDI.
Steve Kalle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 07:58 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,943
The NX5U also has smooth gain and white balance switching, comes with a mic and larger battery, does 24p native( though personally I really dislike 24p) also records in 720P60. There are so many improvements over the AX2000 that the cost difference especially if one gets the FMU is very low to nothing. In Canada the straight price difference is I am sure less than the cost of the mic and the larger battery making the extra features free.!!!!

Ron Evans
Ron Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
I believe that the Von Lanken footage was supposedly affected by a backfocus problem (he had posted/discussed it another thread here, don't recall exactly how it worked out, but the general concensus was that the demo cam he tested had some issues).

While I hesitate to recommend any other sites, you might take a look at this one - HD camcorder reviews/tests and comparison of Sony HDR-AX2000,Sony HXR-NX5 ( HXR-NX5E/ HXR-NX5U),Panasonic AG-HMC151 (AG-HMC151E/ AG-HMC150) a - I set up the link for the three cams you are interested in (EU version of the 150), plus a little "wild card" for you to look over. Keep in mind that ANY test/review site may have flaws in their testing and/or conclusions, thus it pays to dig around on the web for actual user generated footage (hopefully properly done, YMMV). Of all the test sites currently out there, this one is pretty decent, although they don't seem to do actual footage...

If you are not having all the cameras manned, you could do a lot worse than what has been suggested - one "big" manned camera of your ultimate choice, and a couple of the smaller ones (I'd suggest the CX550V or XR550V if you went Sony, or the TM700 if you go Panny, just likely to be closer when matching, especially the Sonys). This also is true if your assistants are less skilled, as the auto functions cover many sins.

I know the smaller cams don't quite tick the "impressive" box size wise, but particularly if you need multi-angle footage (or a zoom and wide of the same shot from a tripod/bracket rig), they give a lot of bang for the buck and you won't probably notice a lot of fifference in the image quality. SO by buying one big cam and 2-3 smaller ones, you get more angles to chooe from for your edit, you keep your budget low, and you don't even NEED to sell the extra ones, they are there for other uses, or the next time you do a similar shoot. You'd be surprised at how effective this approach is.

FWIW, I don't even have a big cam right now, a flock of the small ones has been doing quite well for me (Sonys). I somply can't justify the price difference of the big ones based upon the image quality, which from all the research i've done is very small when placed in comparison to price (but I still WANT an NX5!).

When you do the math and realize that in a live shoot having more angles on the target may be more important than a lot of other factors, and you do the math (1 big cam $ = 2 to 4 small cams $), this approach starts to tick all your other boxes, so worth considering.

Oh yeah, if you decide to go with the small Sonys, be sure to budget for some good lens hoods... the new WA lens supposedly has some flare issues in bright outdoors conditions - I'll be checking this shortly when mine arrives.
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,242
Thank you for all the info.

I'm liking the small camera idea more and more. I actually found the Panny TM700 today; it seems very comparable to the Sony XR550, and shoots 24p to boot. Both are about $1000.

I think I've decided on the HMC150 mostly based on price. It does everything I need it to for $700 less than the NX5u. When I look at footage on youtube/vimeo etc, it looks pretty darn good. The resolution might be a little less, but I can live with 720p, and if someone asks, it can always shoot 1080p.

Since I use FCP, the AVCHD workflow is a bit of a hassle right now with all the ProRes transcoding. I can see major revisions in codecs/software in the next couple of years, and when I can afford it, I would love to move up to something a little more robust and editable, like the new Canon XF300s.

While it would be perfect for the disc golf tourney, don't want a AX2000 for other projects, so I'm not going to waste my time with it. If the NX5u had a better (faster) AVCHD workflow than the Panny, I'd be all over it, but it doesn't, and I see both these cams (panny and sony) as temporary solutions.

I think what I'm going to end up doing is buying a full set of 3 HMC150s for the tourny, used if possible, (I really do need 3 solid cams for roving shooters), then sell off 2 of them afterwards. After that I'll pick up a small cam to cover the wide angle of mulit-cam events, which aren't frequent enough at this time to warrant another large camera purchase.
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,943
My one man multicam shoots are NX5U, SR11 and XR500. The NX5U does the closer up shooting in full manual and the other two are often fixed shot one full stage the other where I know the main action will take place. So I have the close up that I do, medium from the SR11 and full stage from the XR500. The SR11 and XR500 are set manual focus ( set with spot focus function on the Sony's) and with exposure at AE shift -3 or -4 depending on the lighting. I have to admit that some of the time the XR500 has a cleaner and sharper image than my full manual attempt with the NX5U!!!!

Ron Evans
Ron Evans is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:22 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network