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Old September 29th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Calgary Canada
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My Brain hurts! Leaving for India, looking for a solution, and still on the fence

Good Day All;

I am a hobbyist, use a Sony HDR-SR12 for video and a Nikon D70s for photo. I'm not brand loyal and only have one lens on the Nikon. a couple on the Sony and a wireless mic setup.

Also, I agree with Mike McKays thread ' it is a terrible time to be shopping' as ther edoes not seem to be any clear cut answers

I also realize it is the oldest question around right now, but extensively researching everything still is not helping me decide - even though I usually decide too fast!

I'm off to India and was trying to find a one-camera solution for generic travel shooting.
- In the Galapagos the Humidity made the Sony stop working several times, otherwise liked it.
-The Nikon gets a bit heavy after dragging it all day
- Two cameras always feels like one too many, always fumbling to grab one or the other.
- I always travel carry-on, and mostly overland, so weight and space are an issue
- I like having good audio, so an input is important (I think?)

Where am I?
- The main reason I purchased the sony sr12 was for low light performance, this has been a great advantage so far.
-I am happy with manual focusing or settings, and comfortable with that.
-Nikon d3100 seems like a good solution but no audio input
-Nikon d7000 seems a little big, good spec otherwise, may not get here before I leave in mid-November
-GH1 good video, not so good stills, and the one I borrowed didn't sell me on the EVF
-Rebel T2i (550d) seems like a good choice, just felt a little 'cheap' but I'm sure I could get over it
-7D and 5DII are more money than I want to commit
-Pentax I don't know enough about, but seems like a candidate
-Looks like the GH2 may be a solution as well
-Maybe the D90 is still a contender ?

I don't publish anything, just make DVD's of our trips for friends, usually in Vegas. Typically a slide show with some video clips

Who am I missing? Any other suggestions? or should I just keep what I have?

I would like to budget somewhere up to 2000 USD -

Thanks in advance,

Last edited by Miles McEwing; September 29th, 2010 at 10:16 AM. Reason: I keep finding points to clarify!
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #2
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I know what you mean about lugging around to much equipment. I took only a Sony V1 (x20 optical zoom) on a trip to the Meghna River (Bangladesh) and travelled on local boats. I protected it as much as possible and it never stopped working on me though I had to be careful about letting it settle down when taking it from air-conditioned to humid outside. I had the one rode ntg2 mic, but also for interviews a standalone digital recorder, the tascam dr07, which worked well, plus an indispensable dead cat plus a proper windshield because on the river its windy! Luckily i came back with a working camera and i loved the footage from the V1. I avoided the tripod, but had to use image stabilisation plug in to rescue some didgy hand-held shots.

The only downside with V1s or equivalent form-factor cameras from Canon/Panasonic is that they attract a crowd, but i didnt find that a problem. But these form factors i find are sturdy, sealed, reliable when compared to consumer hdv or avchd cameras for extensive travel.

And can I see the difference? Yes, I also own the much smaller consumer Canon HV30, and even after output to DVD I get much better picture from the V1 footage. I also have a Canon 7D but the 12 minute limit on card is a pain, and it just doesnt balance as well for me with a mic on top. But it is weather sealed and of course shoots 18mp pics. Hmm...maybe you should consider the new canon (60)D?? the footage is good - see the canon forum here.

Hope this helps, but I guess I'm saying get a reliable pro video camera, rather than consumer, though I am sure there are many tales of consumer cameras doing well on travels.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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Location: Apple Valley CA
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Miles -

Not sure why your SR12 had humidity issues, but perhaps the successor flash memory cams from Sony are worth a look - the CX550V is a keeper, will beat the SR12 hands down in low light, or maybe a CX500 or 520 (last years models, but smaller and lighter, same sensor block, and you could use your FH batteries, the new model year came with a new FV battery...). I upgraded my SR11 when the XR500 (HDD version of the CX500 basically) hit - the improvement in bad light was pretty close to night and day.

In the still vein, Sony has announced some new SLT (T for Translucent mirror, optimized for video) and SLR's with video, the SLT a33 and SLT a55 are pretty compact and take a variety of Alpha mount lenses.

Might even be worth looking at the NEX5 depending on how particular you are about stills capabilities, although it's a "new concept" and seems awfully small to me. I'm leaning towards an a55 or a580, not sure the 580 will be available in time for you though (IIRC mid Nov ship dates), a55 should be shipping in a couple weeks, but looks to be a very hot seller, so may be tough to get one from the early shipments.

My current "travelling light" kit is a small soft padded case with a CX550V, and a DSC TX7 tucked in the side pocket, it's no SLR, but the new TX9 has some tricks that supposedly allow for shallow DoF effects... and it's the same size physically. This kit has just room enough for one extra battery each... the chargers and more batteries/memory travel separately.

Really will depend how picky you are about the stills side of the equation, but there are a couple ideas for you! Ideally one camera would do both well enough that you could just get one, but my experience so far is that the features will be optimized to some degree to the "primary" purpose of the camera, and the "secondary" will be slightly less satisfying if you're really picky about image quality.

The new SLT's may be the game changer, but it's a bit early to know for sure - so far what I've seen looks promising, but they have the same sort of heat/short clip issues of the Canons... so not "ideal" if you shoot longer clips, but coupled with a CX550V... I think it will cover most shooting situations.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 09:22 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
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I would suggest you rent equipment from India. It's much cheaper than the west. You can get a 7d with all the trimmings for about USD 100 a day (approx). You get to keep your equipment and get a 2-in-1 camera that can do both. The other advantage of renting is that you'll have a person who can guide you around.

I don't suggest 2Ti, etc because they are not weatherproof. Plus, it's an okay time in India during October-Feb so you shouldn't worry too much about humidity and heat. Good cameras can take these in their stride.

enjoy your trip!
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Old September 30th, 2010, 09:46 AM   #5
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Location: Allen, Texas U.S.A
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Check out what a tiny Sony CX100 can do;

Batanes Islands By Ted Ramasola On ExposureRoom
A day in ILOCOS SUR By Ted Ramasola On ExposureRoom

Its so tiny and light I actually put in on my shirt pocket.
Has built in memory ans you can add another memory stick.

Samples are also travel videos I shot with some aggressive grading on one.
Ted Ramasola
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Old September 30th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
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If this were me I would be taking my canon HF11 like I have done for all my holiday videos.

It shoots 1920x1080i at 24mbs but AVCHD so the pictures are superb, I can also add on my sennheiser radio mics straight into the camera or use my 875 shotgun via the butt plug.

If you need a slightly better lens the HF-S gives this.

I have had a V1 and a Z7 plus S270 but the AVCHD codec is far superior and the HF11 has 32gb on board and I can also use HD/CF cards and wrangle media to my laptop in pro res on location.

The HF11 is quite old now but it still gives good images and the latest cameras have more features.

The stills from it are also very good and it is so small you can shoot anywhere as a tourist and hide any radio mic receivers in your pocket.

Take plenty canon batteries though as it is quite power hungry but you can also set lots of things manually.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 07:16 AM   #7
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I am in a similar situation, going to Mexico for 5 months and leaving mid November.

I will bring my Canon HFS200, Canon small shotgun DM-100, Lavalier ATR35, Senn G2, camera bracket and Litepanel micro and finally a Macbook pro; all in a small backpack Kata DR-467.
But I also want a small light photo-video camera and I am trying to decide between the Lumix G2, the Nikon P7000 or the soon to be release Canon G12.
Anybody has some experience with the P7000? The specs are very tempting: 28-200, OVF, 3" screen at 1million pix, 720p at 24f with mic input.

I did India last year (4months) with the Canon HV30 and the Lumix LX3 was very happy with the gear but decided to move to SD card and lower the load.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 09:40 AM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Calgary Canada
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Thanks for all the great info and opinions.

I have made one step so far, I purchased a Nikon D3100 - even though it had no mic input.
First comments - great looking stills, small form factor, light weight.

First couple of video clips showed high noise levels, probably my fault, we shall see once I read the manual!
Onboard mic is great at picking up any noise like the lens focusing, my chin scraping on the body, the aperture dial being moved - I need to shoot some outdoor bits to see if the ambient noise levels will change how obtrusive the sound is.

Defintiely not too happy about that, but most post-processing I do, ends up with new audio instead as well. (the comment that my wife made, when I stated I would NOT buy a D3100 because of the lack of audio input)

I will bring the Sony sr12 along on the trip as well, just to make sure!

My logic behind the purchase was the "the camera is new and exciting! if I don't want it, I'm sure it will sell easily"

Happy Trails!

I will report back when I have some better info.
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