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-   -   Help picking a HD cam.... (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/general-hd-720-1080-acquisition/489660-help-picking-hd-cam.html)

Jeff Toogood January 3rd, 2011 02:03 PM

Help picking a HD cam....
 
I don't do a whole lot of video work these days, but I do still have Sony PD-170 that I use occasionally for any video work that pops up. I also have a Canon 5D Mark II that I have used for video, but would like to have something more like the PD-170 for event coverage.

Anyways... I was thinking I would like to sell the PD-170 while I can still get some half decent money for it and invest in a HD camcorder, but I also don't want to spend a fortune on something that I don't use that often.
I'd like to get away from tapes if possible, but if HDV is the best choice considering the budget, then so be it. I'd also like XLR inputs as well.

I think my budget is $2500 - 3000 tops.

What would you guys suggest?

Thanks

Jay West January 3rd, 2011 02:57 PM

Some quick suggestions for things to start looking at within your budget and that meets your specifications of being like your PD170, can shoot tapeless, and has XLR inputs.

1. Have you looked at Panasonic's HMC150? B&H has them for about $2800. This is about the only new camera I can think of that would be like your PD170 and meet your other requirements within your budget. Not so great on the low-light side of things, though better than the XH-A1 suggested below.

2. Would you consider a used camera? I'd suggest looking for a used Sony AX2000 (AVCHD , can use your PD170 batteries, and has XLR inputs) or a used Sony Z5 (tapeless when you add an MRC unit). If you can find one of these, it will be at the top end of your budget range. It will be familiar enough to remind your of the PD170. The lowlight abilities are not as good as the PD170 but they are pretty good nonetheless -- akin to those of the PD150.

3. A more readily available alternative would be a Canon XH-A1 or A1s, assuming their lesser low-light performance abilities would not be a problem for you, They have XLR inputs and flexibility and a great forum here at DVInfo. Judging by some recent postings in the DVinfo classifieds, low-time XH cams seem to be going in the range of about $2000 to $2300 (US$). You might be able to pick up one with compact flash recording unit and still be within your budget. I've used my AH-A1 with Sony's MRC1k unit (about $750 retail in $US) and found them to be a great combination. (The MRC1k works better with my Canon XHA1 than my Sony FX1000). I've also seen postings favorably discussing the use of the less expensive Datavideo DN60 recorders ($480).

Other folks may have better ideas, but these suggestions will hopefully get the conversation going.

Jay West January 3rd, 2011 03:10 PM

Some quick suggestions for things to start looking at within your budget and meets your specifications of being like your PD170, can shoot tapeless, and has XLR inputs.

1. Have you looked at Panasonic's HMC150? B&H has them for about $2800. This is about the new camera I can think of that would be like your PD170 and meet your other requirements within your budget.

2. Would you consider a used camera? I'd suggest looking for a used Sony AX2000 (AVCHD , can use your PD170 batteries, and has XLR inputs) or a used Sony Z5 with an MRC unit). If you can find one of these, it will be at the top end of your budget range. It will be familiar enough to remind your of the PD170. The lowlight abilities are not as good as the PD170 but they are pretty good nonetheless -- akin to those of the PD150.

3. A more readily available alternative would be a Canon XH-A1 or A1s, assuming their lesser low-light performance abilities would not be a problem for you, They have XLR inputs and flexibility and a great forum here at DVInfo. Judging by some recent postings in the DVinfo classifieds, low-time XH cams seem to be going in the dance of about $2000 to $2300 (US$). You might be able to pick up one with compact flash recording unit and still be within your budget. I've used my AH-A1 with Sony's MRC1k unit (about $750 retail in $US) and found them to be a great combination. (The MRC1k works better with my Canon XHA1 than my Sony FX1000). I've also seen postings favorably discussing the use of the less expensive Datavideo DN60 recorders ($480).

Other folks may have better ideas, but these suggestions will hopefully get the conversation going.

Jeff Toogood January 4th, 2011 06:58 AM

What about the Panasonic AGHMC80P? I just came across that and it looks pretty impressive for the price. The low-light is on the only issue I can see on it.

I'm not sure low-light performance is that big of a concern for me though...

One question as I've never owned a shoulder mounted camera before, do I need to upgrade my tripod head? I'm currently using a manfrotto 501.

Thanks

Don Bloom January 4th, 2011 08:56 AM

the HMC80 only weighs a bit over 7 pounds so the 501 would carry it no problem. I've run 20 pound rigs on one. Considering my PD170 with the light and receiver on it are over 8 pounds and I'm on a 501 and it works fine says something. Now the thing is as you know I'm sure the 501 isn't the greatest head in the world BUT if you know the limitatations and how to work around them it will work fine for you. Personally I would rather use something like the new 504 or 516 but the 516 would be too much head I think. Actually I had one of those and when I got rid of all my full sized cameras I got rid of the 516 and have been using 501s strictly. If I were to buy anything else it would probably be the 504.
Some here will tell you how bad MAnfrotto is but again if budget is a concern and you know the lmits of the any gear you are using and know how to work within or around those limits you'll be OK.
YMMV


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