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Old May 9th, 2012, 05:46 AM   #1
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Need an easy to use HD camcorder

Hi, everyone. See my other threads for more info about what my project is.

I need a camera that can be operated by people who have cerebral palsy. These people have limited intellectual capacity and may have significant physical disability.

We have a Sony EX1, which weighs 6 kilos, is simply too complex for a novice, and is too expensive to lend to someone who might break it. We also have a Sony Handycam 705E, which produces 720x576 images that are very poor quality.

I want a camera that will:

1. Be cheap enough that if someone breaks it, it doesn't matter too much
2. Operate completely automatically
3. Produce high-definition footage of broadcastable quality that will splice well with the EX1 (or I could possibly be talked into an excellent-quality SD camera)
4. Be operable by someone who is physically disabled (ie light, well-balanced, etc)
5. Cost less than $5k (or maybe less than $2500 and we can buy two of them)
6. Produce acceptable quality images under fluorescent office lighting, and in poor lighting conditions (the EX1 does a great job)

Audio, recording time, battery life, accessories are all irrelevant.

Ideas?

Richard
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:02 AM   #2
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Re: Need an easy to use HD camcorder

The CX560/CX700 series do a very good job in full auto when cut with an EX1. Audio
is probably weaker compared to EX1 but really you need a sound person to do decent
audio.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 01:15 AM   #3
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Re: Need an easy to use HD camcorder

Richard -

Pretty much ANY Sony Handycam from the last 3-4years would do the trick reasonably well. I'd lean towards the "CX" series solid state cams, although the "XR" series with hard drives could work. Look for any CX5xx (i.e. 500, 520, 550, etc) or CX7xx series.

"Broadcastable" is the only thing that concens me a bit, as these produce great quality video, but probably not "broadcast quality" by network standards.

If you are OK with going used, you'll stay well under your budget, even with lots of "accessorizing" - I've got a couple lightly used cams I'm retiring, if you're interested, but they are NTSC, I think you need PAL? I'm pretty familiar with these cams, so if you've got any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

You posted some questions elsewhere about accessories for the 760? You may want to consolodiate your threads and questions to make it easier to answer... but to answer those Q's..., there's a mount to allow you to convert the proprietary Sony shoe into a "normal" cold shoe - there are lots of small, cheap LED lights that you could then add on. One of the advantages of the Sonys is that if put into "low lux" mode, you probably won't need much additional lighting. As for mounts to a wheelchair, there are several options that should work OK to mount these small, relatively light cams. Just a matter of how you want to set the "rig" up. If limited mobility is an issue, you could use the RM-AV1 - even someone with very limitied hand movement should be able to operate the camera using one of those.

You'll find lots of guys here mixing these "little" cameras with their bigger Sony kin with good results, and they are cheap to add "extra" cameras into the mix.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 01:45 AM   #4
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Re: Need an easy to use HD camcorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin Moore View Post
The CX560/CX700 series do a very good job in full auto when cut with an EX1. Audio
is probably weaker compared to EX1 but really you need a sound person to do decent
audio.
The Canon HFM500 is cheaper and also has an excellent picture quality.

On the other hand, the Canon HFG10 has a LANC input and I think LANC adapters are available for the Sony cameras as well as other remote controls. A LANC controller with large buttons and an over sized zoom lever could be important to help a physically disabled person run the camera.

Last edited by Eric Olson; May 12th, 2012 at 03:17 AM.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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Re: Need an easy to use HD camcorder

FWIW, sticking with the "brand" usually makes color matching easier, may not be as much a factor now, but each of the three "majors" has a certian "look" to their footage. At least within the brand, you'll (usually) get similar colors.
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