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Old January 26th, 2012, 04:12 AM   #1
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Another "Which Cam" thread.

Hi
OK I have been convinced HD is the way to go.
My main shoots are equestrian, [dressage] and my clients seem to be wanting HD.
So my question, which is the best cam for me, with a budget of $6 K.
S/H could be a option but I would prefer new.
Al Birch
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Old January 26th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Allan,
So, how fast is the action in dressage? If quite fast, then a high recording bitrate would capture the action with clearer images. Many camcorders these days have bitrates from 21 mbs to 25 mbs, which might be a bit slow for fast action. The AVC-Intra codec uses a very high bitrate (100 mbs), which might be overkill. The Pansonic HPX250 uses that codec, and sells for slightly under your stated budget. Canon has a fast codec, the XF codec (50 mbs), but their XF300 is just a tiny bit over your budget, but their XF100 sells for about $3K. Sony has a 35mbs codec, but I think the least expensive Sony camcorder using that codec is the EX1R, which is slightly over your budget. JVC has some affordable units (HM100U and HM150U) that can do 35 mbs. Now, if the action is not all that fast, then there are lots of AVCHD camcorders that would work well.

Is the camcorder going to be on a tripod, or are you going to be carrying it around? If carrying it around for long periods of time, you might want a shoulder-mount unit. I've seen several affordable shoulder-mount units by Panasonic and Sony.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

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Originally Posted by Ken Hull View Post
So, how fast is the action in dressage? If quite fast, then a high recording bitrate would capture the action with clearer images.
No, not true. The ability to smoothly capture action is determined by the FRAMERATE, *NOT* BITRATE. Two completely different things.

As Allan is in the UK, the only relevant framerates he needs to consider are 25 and 50 frames every second (in the US it would be 24, 30 and 60) - and for sporting type action he is likely to be best suited to 50 fps. In the HD world this gives two choices of recording format - 1080i/25 and 720p/50 - and both will give "smooth motion". All the cameras Ken mentions will record to either of those formats, totally regardless of bitrate. (For what he wants to do, I'd go for 1080i/25, which may also be referred to as 1080/50i)

Typically, each of those formats produce approximately at least 800Mbs of data uncompressed - roughly 800 million bits of data every second. It is not feasible to record that, hence compression gets used to lower the figure to something everyday electronics can deal with. The principle relies on a lot of the data within a TV signal being repeated or redundant - and hence able to be discarded without being much noted.
Quote:
Many camcorders these days have bitrates from 21 mbs to 25 mbs, which might be a bit slow for fast action. The AVC-Intra codec uses a very high bitrate (100 mbs), which might be overkill. The Pansonic HPX250 uses that codec, and sells for slightly under your stated budget. Canon has a fast codec, the XF codec (50 mbs), but their XF300 is just a tiny bit over your budget, .....
And from those figures (21-100Mbs) it may be thought that the higher the bitrate, the better the quality, period. Unfortunately, it's impossible to generalise, as some codecs take better advantage of the signal redundancies than others, the XF300 codec taking advantage of the similarities between frames, whilst AVC-Intra does not. Hence AVC-Intra 100 and XDCAM 422 50Mbs are both considered comparable, and both fully broadcast compliant, in spite of one having twice the bitrate of the other.

As far as the XF300 and HPX250 go, then it's important to remember that you have to buy memory for each of them, and this is where comparisons get difficult. For every minute of recording the 250 needs twice as many GB as the 300 because of the higher bitrate, AND the P2 memory the 250 takes is more expensive per GB than the Compact Flash for the 300. Take that into account, and they come much closer in price.

(In the case of 3 hours worth of memory, the difference is of the order of 1,000, which I believe makes an XF300 plus memory package the cheaper of the two! It obviously depends how much memory you think you need, but for event work I'd estimate 3 hours is a reasonable estimate.)

The other big difference is regarding the lens. The XF300 has a "true" manual lens in respect of iris and focus, the 250 relies on servo control. The implication is that iris and focus control on the 250 don't have end stops like a pro lens does, and there is a lag between operating the control and the response. Maybe not the end of the world, but IMO a big plus to the XF300.

Once you've taken memory costs into account, they may both be over your budget, and in that case I'd look at an EX, maybe secondhand if neccessary. Big advantage over both the XF300 and HPX250 is 1/2" chips versus 1/3", negative is that the codec isn't as good. Unless you're doing broadcast work (when they are likely to insist on XDCAM422 or AVC-Intra) that's not likely to be a real problem - 35Mbs XDCAM EX is still very good.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Here in the US, the EX1R is available with a rebate making it $5899US. Some of the nice things I love about the EX1R over the XF300 is that the EX1R has an SDI port, a rotating handgrip and a zoom that you can use either the rocker or the ring without flipping a switch. That's in addition to the manual mode with stops. All three rings have stops.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 04:15 AM   #5
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

I've just looked up some UK prices from a major dealer, and (without VAT) they are:

EX1R - 4,390
XF300 - 4,440
HPX250 - 3,649

To equip them each with about 3 hours of memory, it's an extra:

EX1R - 450 (1x64GB SxS card)
XF300 - 315 (3x 32GB, Sandisk Extreme)
HPX250 - 1,380 (3x64GB E-series P2 cards)

so the package prices respectively become 4,840, 4,755, and 5,029. The HPX250 is the cheapest at first sight, but the dearest when you include the memory.

This also takes no account of the fact you can use SDHC cards in an EX with an adaptor. Even if you don't wish to record directly to them, it opens up all sorts of possibilities about cloning the SxS card in camera as a backup or to hand directly to a producer, say.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 05:58 AM   #6
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

@Allen - Surely you aren't going to outsource this to just the few that bother to respond on this thread. I am curious, what cameras have you selected on your shortlist from the features that are important to you?
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Old January 29th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Thank you Ken, David and Les for your imput.
I have found the more you read the more confused one gets.
To that end my thanks go to you.
Has I have said my main interest lie in equestrian dressage, which takes place in a area
of approx. 40 x 20 mt. so a trot is about as fast as it gets.
Cam will be tripod mounted.
Cameras on the list so far :-
Panasonic AC 130/ AC 160
Canon XF 100 / XF 160
JVC i am led to believe bringing or brought out cams to simular spec.
Sony EX 1 used version but I would prefer new.
Any more information will be much appreciated.
Regards
Allan.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Of the cameras on that list the EX1 is head and shoulders above the rest for reasons too many to go into. My personal feeeling is that even if it meant secondhand, I'd still go for it. If you must get new, you may also like to think about the Sony NX5. If you do go for a secondhand EX1, try to get the newer model - the EX1R.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Birch View Post
Thank you Ken, David and Les for your imput.
I have found the more you read the more confused one gets.
To that end my thanks go to you.
Has I have said my main interest lie in equestrian dressage, which takes place in a area
of approx. 40 x 20 mt. so a trot is about as fast as it gets.
Cam will be tripod mounted.
Cameras on the list so far :-
Panasonic AC 130/ AC 160
Canon XF 100 / XF 160
JVC i am led to believe bringing or brought out cams to simular spec.
Sony EX 1 used version but I would prefer new.
Any more information will be much appreciated.
Regards
Allan.

Allan, I've had my eye on the both the Panasonic 160 and 250. I don't know how much you use auto focus but I know I probably would be if I was shooting what you are. Both these cams as well as the 130 apparently have autofocus issues which people are waiting to hear back from Panasonic re a fix. Much discussion about this at a certain forum. Otherwise people have good things to say about these cameras.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 05:58 AM   #10
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Thank you David and Jase for replies. All replies really helpful.
David I agree the EX1 should be the superia cam.
Jase I read about the AF problem with the 130/160/250 and yes I would be be needing the AF.
Will be useing the film cam for next 2 months and then it will be make the mind up time.
Allan
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Old February 13th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #11
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Of the cameras on that list the EX1 is head and shoulders above the rest for reasons too many to go into. My personal feeeling is that even if it meant secondhand, I'd still go for it. If you must get new, you may also like to think about the Sony NX5. If you do go for a secondhand EX1, try to get the newer model - the EX1R.
I too am looking at cameras in that price range. Thing is, I absolutely CANNOT STAND rolling shutter, and therefore will not consider a CMOS camera. Any thoughts on which 3CCD cameras might be coming down the pike. I'm primarily involved in long-form narrative, so the larger the sensor the better (excepting CMOS, of course). Thanks a million for your thoughts.

Are there any CMOS cameras without rolling shutters? Even the Alexa drives me crazy, as I cut footage all day from this camera and we're constantly having issues with flashbulbs, muzzle blasts, etc., being partially exposed. Rolling shutter is just unwatchable to me.

Chris
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Old February 14th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

JVC and Panasonic have 3-ccd solid state cameras in that price range. Seems that the largest chip you can get for that money is 1/3". Sony has some 1/2" 3-ccd but they are more money. Perhaps a used one. Here's the listing on B&H of 3-ccd cameras in price order.
Camcorders

I've not read of any 3-CCD cameras coming down the pike and I wouldn't expect any in that price range. That segment seems to be all CMOS.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 09:05 AM   #13
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Re: Another "Which Cam" thread.

There are quite a few cameras for your price range, but if you are shooting equestrian, I would recommend getting a good tripod so you can provide full, uninterrupted, non-shakey footage when the horses are out trotting about.

I would look at something in the range of an XF100 and spend the money on a good sachtler setup. What exactly are you clients looking to get from it? A behind the scenes style documentary, very procedural event coverage, creative marketing style shooting/edits?
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