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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #1
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Hello and what camera question

Hello All. Thank you for the opportunity to join. I am here because: I found this site; it seems to have members with actual knowledge; and I have found that obtaining information gets to be more difficult with higher end specialty products. So, thank you for being here.

I have read quite a lot of the giant which camera thread, and have searched and browsed. Technology changes fast,which means newbies aren't necessarily lazy for repeating the same question. I have used my real name, as requested, but that does limit information I feel comfortable providing which might help in getting a question answered. Sorry for the initial verbosity, but I want to be clear that I appreciate the time and effort it takes to anwer questions. I will try to be as precise as I can.

I have two questions: which camera? and, recommendation(s) for good, independent consultant if necessary-and if latter is permitted through PM. Of course, I'd prefer the first.

Background: I have been shooting still photographs since 1960, know my way around digital shooting and printing. As a kid, shot 16mm with both a Wollensack (-sp?) with turret lenses, and a Bell & Howell. I favor Canon, do own a 1D IV if that is a factor. I suppose I fall into the category of amateur, since I don't look to photography for my income-but resent an assumption that this says anything, positive or negative about my talent or commitment. My first video camera was a Sony Hi-8 (early and large). I have moved through g1 and XL1s. I have a certain amount of accessories for sound, a good shotgun for instance. I have been using FCP, for far less than it can do, since it was introduced. I own Premiere and After Effects as well, more because they were a small increment to Creative Suite 5. I have done multi-camera shoots, for school plays, awkwardly. I am very familiar with film history, and the business end of movies, but as a shooter/editor, I ain't no pro. I like using video for documenting, do like getting creative, appreciate a good shot, and want to produce a finished product that looks good on a good 50 inch TV.

If I have a choice, I want options to use a camera I buy with others I might want later. For now, most shooting will be just me, minimal crew most of the time. I expect for now, I don't need interchangeable lenses, because size and weight are a factor. I would spend more to increase the likelihood that a camera would be useful longer (e.g. Output flexibility or timecode if those things still matter). Easy workability with Mac Pro systems does matter to me. Just to screw this up more, I am thinking of spending 6 weeks on the road(USA) on a motorcycle and documenting the trip (good luggage capacity for a bike).

Based on research at B&H, I have looked at Canon xf305/300, Sony EX1R or EX3. I have noted the coming of the F3?. The price on the F3 is high, especially after lenses. I, frankly, am confused by what I have read on sensor size, and -feel?- of the results. Canon might integrate with my existing hardware, but that may matter little. Ingot the impression that Sony is so dominant that the products stand a chance of staying useful longer. I'll spend the money, but I hate to waste it on a sub- optimal decision. I would prefer to avoid either horrid ergonomics, or jumping through hoops to get raw footage onto a computer (some complain about the Canon-but I can't tell if they are credible).

I don't like buying used. I prefer convenience with my quality. I would need a good reason to exceed $10,000 USD. If,however, extra features make one camera more resell able, or flexible, I'd consider it (305 vs. 300).

Sorry about the length, but I hope it narrows my criteria enough to help. Thank you.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 05:20 PM   #2
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Some quick suggestions for narrowing your named choices and a suggestion for another choice to look at. Maybe these responses will inspire somebody more knowledgeable to jump in.

1. With your experience, including the Canon XL1s, and you being in Boston, I think that the most useful thing for you to do is find a rental shop and check out a couple of the cameras. Do a little shooting with a Canon XF300 and find out if it does integrate with your existing hardware (as you commented.) Then rent an EX1r and see how it works for you. Get a little experience that way and some of the threads (such as those comparing the Sony EX to the Canon XF) will be a lot more helpful to you.

2. The EX3 is the EX1 body set-up for interchangeable lenses. If you want to skip interchangeable lenses, skip the EX3.

3. To me, the main difference between the XF305 and XF300 is the former has SDI output capability, genlock and timecode synch, none of which sound like what you want to work with. Skip the XF305.

4. You mentioned difficulty with multi-camming but did not say what the difficulty was. Did you have trouble with synching the video tracks (and do you know the trick of using a still camera flash to provide a synch point?). Or, was it trouble with NLE and computer? What NLE and OS are you going to be feeding your video to?

5. In terms of getting other, later cameras to match up, there are threads about this in both the EX and XF forums here. For instance, there are several discussions about using the little Sony CX550 cams for "b" cams for both the EX and NX cams, if that was the kind of thing you were asking about.

6. The Sony F3 body, alone, is outside the specified budget.

7. With your background and budget, you also might find the new Panasonic AF100 interesting.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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Jay, thanks for the response and for point in out some places I was unclear.

Interchangeable lenses are nice, but there is a trade off in portability. If my multiple canon EOS lenses would have a good chance at being good in some system, with a second camera later, it might make a difference in a Sony vs. canon decision. I suspect they won't.

Genlock and timecode: you are correct. But would I want them in a year? Do they make a difference on resale?

If the F3 were that much better for me, I would consider it. I was thinking closer to $15,000 on that one or more.

I might look at the Panasonic. Sony seems to have a range of cameras, all usable with each other. I don't need multi cam now, but may want it later. The Canon seems to be at the top of it's range, and is new. Some say that getting footage on the computer (in usable form) is an issue. I would really like to know the answer to that question. The Panasonic, if I remember correctly, is very light, but doesn't have quite the same frame rate options? I will look again.

On multi cameras, flash wasn't an option where I was shooting, but I'll remember it. Had to match soundtracks, which works. I was wondering if some output options are useful? SDI?

If I knew exactly what to ask, I'd be better at asking.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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having just re-read your OP I have come to the conclusion that you don't want the EX3. It's a much bigger piece than the EX1r or the XF300/305 and having done my fair share of rides with limited space that to me was a hugh consideration. (Hmmm, do I take my DSR series or one of my PD series.) In my main trunk I packed my 150, batterys, charger, tapes, even a small on cam light, 2x20 foot XLR cables and a Shure SM63 mic just in case. Still had room for other personal stuff and with the hard bags and a rucksack strapped on the backseat I was good to go. Now I didn't go for 6 weeks but still...
The EX3 is a bigger piece and I don't think it would work for you being on the bike.
Just my $.03 worth (adjusted for inflation)

BTW unless you plan on stopping and setting up a tripod and carrying a bunch of extra gear I would also avoid the F3.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.

Last edited by Don Bloom; January 4th, 2011 at 07:27 PM. Reason: wanted to add
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Old January 4th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #5
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Thank you Don. If it won't pass the bike test, then I will forget the larger cameras. If it's the EX1R, XF 300, or Panasonic, then iI'd appreciate thoughts on those. . I might be looking at too much camera, but I want the image quality, and tapeless characteristics very much.

I have no plans to use lenses in the 4/3 standard for stills, so the Panasonic would need new glass. Any additional advice is appreciated. I will do as Jay suggested and look. I am sufficiently outside of downtown Boston that I'd probably be better off going to NY anyway to rent. Rather buy there too.

Last edited by Richard Blau; January 4th, 2011 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old January 4th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #6
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Your shortlist has two 3-chip ENG cameras (EX1R and XF300) and one single large sensor camera (Panasonic AF100).

All that said, you need to read up and understand the AF100 is very different from the traditional camera you are used to with a power zoom.

Here's a good primer on Alister Chapman's blog which is another valuable resource on those cameras.:
XDCAM-USER.com Micro 4/3, Super 35, DSLR and the impact on traditional Pro Camcorders.

But, now that you have a shortlist you can move off the Gigantic thread and drill into the ones for those cameras. There are some threads that compare the EX1R and XF300 by folks that have both.

All three are good cameras and I don't see any synergy with your existing gear to be brand loyal. Ironically, the Panasonic plus an adapter is the one that will let you use your Canon glass. Read up on the adapter issues surrounding Canon glass.
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