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Old April 9th, 2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Hi Everybody,

I need to find the best camera for the non-profit I work for. The budget is $5,000 and under. Originally I was looking at the Canon XA10 (this was about a year to a year and a half ago), but our budget has increased so we'd like something more on the professional side now.

The camera will usually be used for "set it and forget it" studio use, but we will also want the ability to shoot at a church with backlighting that changes throughout the event, so that means more manual controls.

For studio use will will be using an encoder with a Blackmagic capture card to stream to the web. I am not certain which card we'll be getting, but I think it's the DeckLink Studio: Blackmagic Design: Models

Please let me know what you'd suggest, thanks!

David
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Old April 9th, 2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Well, if you liked the XA10, move up to the XF100. Heck of a little camera and you'd have money left over for accessories. Or find a used XF300. (not selling mine!) Yes I'm partial to Canon. No they haven't offered me an endorsement deal yet!
Plenty of options from Sony and Panny too just not familiar enough with them to give a strong recommendation.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #3
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

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Originally Posted by David Horwitz View Post
The camera will usually be used for "set it and forget it" studio use, but we will also want the ability to shoot at a church with backlighting that changes throughout the event, so that means more manual controls.
I second the XF100 for this. You'll have money left over for additional gear.

But..if you like to have interchangeable lenses, then you could look at a 5DIII with a couple of lenses and audio gear.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 11:07 AM   #4
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

David...my recommendation would be the Sony HXR-NX5U, primarily because I have one. When I purchased the 'NX5' I did so for a few reasons. First, it has a pretty decent 'audio block' along with a 'good' camera mounted shotgun. I know the camera isn't the optimal location for a mic, but sometimes that's where it's got to be. The microphone is good, you'd have to spend considerably more $$ to improve the sound. The other major factor for me was 20X lens. I can do a lot with that lens. The 'NX5' also has an HD/SDI spigot which is an advantage. I use an Atomos Samurai to capture 4:2:2 directly from the camera's sensor. Do a few searches and take a look at the features of the 'NX5', for the $$, it's hard to beat.

Here's my only caveat, the 'NX5' is getting a little 'long-in-the-tooth'.

I hope this helped,

J.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

I wouldn't consider a DSLR for a "set it and forget it" studio environment. I especially wouldn't consider a Canon DSLR for a constantly changing lighting environment as Canon lenses don't have an iris ring. On a Canon DSLR, iris is controlled by a click wheel on the top of the body. You can however, let the camera vary the ISO. Those are just a couple reasons I wouldn't consider it... there's more.

Make sure you establish which Decklink card you are getting and then make sure the camera outputs something that the card takes as input. Some of those cards are SDI only and you don't want for the card buy decision to change to a card that doesn't support the camera you select.

You'll need the XF105 if you want to hook up to a Decklink SDI card. There are a number of 3-ring, 3-chip cameras with autofocus and auto iris. I can't stress the iris ring enough. Riding the iris for a whole church service using a little wheel on the body like the XF100 and other one ring cameras is a tiresome thing. I've done it. For that price, you might snag a used EX1 or EX1R. The recent announcement of the Sony FS700 may loose a few of those who want to move to that camera. Panny and Sony have other 3-ring, 3-chip solid state cameras.

My approach would be to look at the B&H Listing for ENG camcorders, sort by price and find those in your price range. Then research the interesting ones here on DVInfo in the fora for those cameras. Bottom line is there is no "best camera", only best for you. YMMV
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #6
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

I couldn't agree more.

"Bottom line is there is no "best camera", only best for you."

J.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Thanks for the replies everybody. The XF100 and XF105 look good, but I spoke to our media manager and he'd like SD over Compact Flash.

It looks like the HXR-NX5U and AG-AC130 compete with each other. I found this thread with some back and forth on which one was better. http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nxc...sony-nx5u.html

Any thoughts on the Sony vs the Panasonic, or another competitor that I might want to consider?

Thanks!
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Old May 30th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Horwitz View Post
Thanks for the replies everybody. The XF100 and XF105 look good, but I spoke to our media manager and he'd like SD over Compact Flash.
I'd be interested to know why......?

My own preference would be exactly the opposite - Compact Flash has a more rugged form factor, and is the norm for higher end gear - think top end DSLRs for photojournalism. The only (slight) thing I can find in favour of SD is that it has a "protect" tab which CF doesn't - but even that is nowhere near as important as it may have been in the days of tape. (Put a card in a camera and hit record and it won't record over anything - just form a new file if room)

Additionally, CF tends to be available in higher spec than SD, and be better value for money in terms of speed and GB/.

But in this context, CF v SDHC means XDCAM 50Mbs 422 v AVC-HD - going SDHC ties you in to an inferior codec, whether you go for the NX5 or the AC130. Not just for quality, but for ease of editing etc as well.

Personally, I'd second the idea of trying to stretch to an EX1 (even if used). Not just from quality etc considerations, more as (as Les says) from usability considerations - proper manual control of focus and iris, and excellent dual zebra facilities. Just beware that most of the 1/3" Sony/Panasonic cameras tend to not be true manual, even if three ring - rather the focus and iris rings operating through servos. (So no end stops, and a lag in operation.)
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Old May 30th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #9
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Hi David,

I think what I'll do is give our media manager these 4 suggestions and have him read this thread:

1. XF100
2. XF105
3. XR-NX5U
4. AG-AC130

If the EX1 is $5900 I'll suggest it, but I'm not sure we'd want to spend that much.

I think the last 2 things I can think of are for anything else that would compete with these, and is the XF105 worth it if we end up going with a Canon, or would the XF100 be the better choice in terms of cost vs value?
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Old May 31st, 2012, 06:32 AM   #10
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Hi David.

I've used mine for similar things. I have the NX5 and I think it's great for the purpose, but the main thing I paid extra for was SDI and a couple of other nice to haves that future proof me a little more than the AG-AC130.

The NX5 is a step above the AG-AC130, and is more of a competitor to the AG-AC160.

If you're going to be doing 'set and forget' and streaming using the DeckLink, either will work. Personally, save your pennies, use HDMI, get a AG-AC130 and the cheaper BlackMagic Intensity Pro: Blackmagic Design: Intensity

If you want SDI, go the DeckLink and the NX5. I could find no reason to spend the extra on the Panny when I was shopping, and the dealer I went through no longer kept the Panny's in stock for that reason.

We have paired the previous Panny, the HMC152, and the Intensity Pro for great results.

Only reason why I'm not mentioning the Canons is because I have no experience with their pro video cameras. I have a consumer DV cam lying around, and a 7D.

Hope that helps!
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Old May 31st, 2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Well, I found this post: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nxc...ml#post1630844

Ron Evans says, "The CX700 1920x1080 60i picture is almost identical to the XR500 for the theatre shoot I did on Monday evening or even the SR11 that my wife used and they all compare to the NX5U on the same shoot."

I have an SR12 and it was the best thing I could get for $1000 at the time, but I would not be happy if the NX5U had similar image quality, especially low light performance. Would the XF100/105 get a superior image?
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Old May 31st, 2012, 02:14 PM   #12
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

David -

The SR11/12 is not a particularly good comparison, as it was the last of the non-EXMOR-R handycams. While I respect and value Ron's evaluation, he's using multiple cams for fairly well lit stage productions, where the SR would probably do "OK". If put against a current generation CX700V (particularly if you use the 60p capability), in a variety of common shooting situations, it would NOT hold up, IMO.

Here's the problem... technology moves at a pretty rapid rate in the "consumer" cameras - new model every year!! BUT, a "pro" camera may be several years in the game (they still sell the FX7, one of my favorite cams ergonomically, but TERRIBLY outdated...). SO, it's entirely possible that "this years top of the line consumer cam" will trump an older "pro" cam when it comes to image quality or other performance criterion... but it's in a tiny, less adjustable package that won't look or feel very "pro".

Sony is known for cross breeding their lines (thus the PJ760/NX30, this years equivalent of the HC1/A1U and last years CX550/MC50U). Whether a "high end consumer cam" will meet the needs is hard to say - certainly will cover "set and forget", and the newer cams tend to handle dynamic changes pretty well without "riding".

I believe Ron has commented more than once that the CX700 (and the XR500, also a EXMOR -R)outperforms the NX5 in low light/low noise... something which I would expect. I'm sure the aging SR12 would intermix, but there would be definite weaknesses that would show. I remember selling my SR11's instantly and upgrading after testing an XR500... there was significant improvement in that model year.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Hi Dave, thanks. I am feeling drawn to the Canons right now, but I found this thread: So I'm thinking the Canon XF100 is the way to go - MacRumors Forums

david50100 says, "The XF-100 is terrible in low light. Oddly enough the XA10 is much better camera. I sell these cameras and got a change to A/B both and the new CMOS Pro sensor smokes the CCD in the XF-100.. $2099. The depth of field is the same."

but in the next post says, "Strangely enough, the XF100/105 and XA10 are essentially the same camera.... They share the lens, CMOS sensor and digital processing. The XA10 records AVCHD to SD cards, while the XF records 50Mbps to CF cards. [NOTE: Of course, david50100 may have been comparing the XA10 with the HM100, which does, of course, use three CCDs....]"

So there was a mistake in the model he was referencing? One thing we do want is good low light performance because we'll also be using it in a church with changing light conditions. I saw low light video of the XA10 and it looked very nice.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 04:11 PM   #14
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Since you are looking at one ring cameras, you may want to wait for the Sony $3980 PMW-100 ship June 10th. You can use it with the SD cards your manager wants. It has a 1/3" CMOS chip and records in a bunch of formats including both XDCAM 4:2:0 (same as the EX1) and XDCAM 4:2:2. Also, I think JVC announced a cam at NAB in this price range.

Sony PMW-100 XDCAM HD422 Handheld Camcorder PMW-100 B&H Photo
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Old May 31st, 2012, 04:34 PM   #15
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Re: Under $5K Camera Suggestions?

Cool, thanks for that Les. Maybe that will be the one to get. Any predictions on how it will perform compared to the XF100?
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