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Old January 3rd, 2011, 08:23 AM   #1
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What Camera Would You Buy..

Hi all, I had great advice here in the past and I'd really appreciate some of your thoughts on the following:

One of my first tasks of 2011 is to create an equipment list for my new job, the centrepiece being a versatile camera that is likely to be used in most, if not all, of the projects I work on over the next 12 months.

I've never been given a budget of this scale before and, while it is exciting, it does raise the difficult question of which camera I should request.

There are many to consider so I will start with all the features that I require or are at least a high priority:

- Records to memory card, solid state etc.
- Has interchangeable lenses, specifically for: a) macro shooting and b) shallow depth of field
- Shoots in HD (we will probably shoot in HD most of the time, in a 1080p25 format)
- Has XLR audio inputs and on-board audio controls

- Has variable frame rate, at least offers some slower
- I have a 5D MKii and would be impractical for one-man-crew stuff, but similar images are desired
- It shouldn't matter too much but to be edited in FCP


So lens-wise, a zoom lens for generic stuff would be the main one, a macro lens for dentistry and other small tasks would be next and finally a portraiture-like lens for shooting mid-shots, as I can foresee a lot of this happening too. Obviously, if you have an option that negates interchangeable lenses etc. then I am happy to listen!

I was looking at the Panasonic AG-AF100 (AG-AF101 - what's the difference?) and this seemed quite appropriate. I've seen that stock is quite low at the moment, is this a problem?

Price should be around 5000 (UK) all in, but will allow for some movement.


Any help would be gratefully received!

Thanks

MC

Last edited by Mike Chalmers; January 3rd, 2011 at 09:01 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:05 PM   #2
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Interchangeable lenses, 1920x1080 for 5k, your choices are pretty limited.

Just about the only thing you can buy new for that money is the AF101 (Pal Version, AF100 is NTSC). But I'm not sure whether this will be ideal. As you already have a 5D you are probably aware of the implications of a very shallow DoF. The 101 won't have have a nice servo zoom with a 10:1 or greater range and getting longer, fast lenses is expensive. Most DSLR zooms are f2.8 or slower, often f3.5 and only have a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. Remember as well that the APS-C sensor is quite small compared to 35mm film so your going to need some very wide fast lenses (12mm or 16mm) for typical video work.

I think you really need to very carefully consider whether you really need interchangeable lenses. I expect that the majority of EX3's for example never ever get their lenses changed. Most higher end video cameras have very capable lenses that work from moderately wide to as long as you ever want on a small camera. need to go wider then you can add a wide angle adapter. Most of these camcorders can do Macro without adding diopters. Need to get closer then add a close up diopter.

You haven't indicated whether you also need to get a tripod, lights and audio kit within your budget. A good fluid head tripod is essential for most jobs and shouldn't be an after though.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Hi Allister, thanks for the reply.

That's interesting, perhaps I wouldn't need interchangeable lenses, but I am very interested in very clear macro shooting and (hopefully) some gorgeous images.

I will be needing tripod, audio kit and lighting - but that is not part of this budget. Most of what I'll be shooting will be on sticks, audio will likely not be with a separate sound recordist (so on-board stuff will be vital). These things will have their own money allocated, fortunately.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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Personally, I'd go for the EX3. I doubt you'd need any lenses other than the one supplied - but it may be useful to be able to take the lens off to add spacing tubes for the macro work.

The key USP of the AF101 (the European version of the AF100) is the possibility of very shallow depth of field due to the large sensor, but that may be more of a hindrance than a help for the macro work.

That said, I think you'll find the on-board codec of the EX3 better than that of the AF101, certainly as far as "edit-friendliness" with FCP. (If you're hoping for broadcast, then either will need a separate recorder.) Main difference (as Alister says) is the EX3 gives you a fast, servo zoom with a decent range and good manual control - the AF101 comes into it's own when used with prime lenses, but is severely disadvantaged when you want a single more versatile lens. (And bear in mind the AF101 cost doesn't include any lens.)
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Old January 4th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #5
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That's interesting, the EX3 hadn't been a consideration before.

The footage looks good, from what I can see on vimeo and similar. I would be interested in getting macro tubes and maybe a better lens as I think this may prove quite important in some of the work I need to do.

Excuse my ignorance, but what would you get to record for broadcast, and why is this not possible with the units themselves? A different codec from requirements?

Thanks again.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 08:05 AM   #6
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The Sony EX1 or EX3 is approved for broadcast by Discovery and Nat Geo out of the box, but for the BBC and many other broadcasters you would need to use an external recorder to improve on the internal codec. BBC etc require 50Mb/s or higher with a 1/2" sensor or bigger. The only exception to that rule is the Canon XF305 which would be an alternative to the EX3, but with a fixed lens. External recording options include devices like the NanoFlash or a computer with an external or internal HDSDi adapter. Prices range from 1k to 5k.

Extension tubes probably won't work with the standard EX3 lens as this is electronically controlled. You can get adapters for regular 2/3" broadcast lenses (1.3x focal length multiplier) as well as stills lenses (5x multiplier) for the EX3.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for the information. For these projects, achieving BBC broadcasting standards isn't necessary thankfully, but it is good to know for other things I am working on (which will be).

I have a few Canon EOS lenses, Hasselblad lenses and older Canon FD lenses. None of these are built for film, but it might be an option to use one of these with an adapter. Or would you recommend going another way?

This has been really useful, thanks again.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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I had a look and have found this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...enses-ex3.html

So that's interesting, if there have been developments since then I would still like to hear, but some questions have been answered!
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