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Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 01:10 PM

First big camera purchase
 
Hi

I am looking into buying my first serious camera. I was looking into buying the Canon GL2 until I came across the Sony HDR-FX1. So now I'm not sure if I should go with the Sony HD camera or the Canon SD camera. A friend of mine owned a GL2 and I heard nothing but good things about it from her.

Any opinions on this small matter would be great!

Thanks,
Amanda

Stephan Ahonen May 14th, 2006 02:06 PM

What are you using it for? That'll make a huge difference.

To be honest, when I think about a "serious" camera I don't think of the GL2 or FX1, or any of those cameras with the hand-held form factor. They just look too much like overly expensive toys for me to take them seriously at all. Rather, I think about cameras with a shoulder-supported form factor like Canon's XL series or JVC's HD100.

Boyd Ostroff May 14th, 2006 02:28 PM

Welcome to DVinfo Amanda (from someone else in the Philadelphia area :-)

I wouldn't worry too much about what other people perceive as "serious cameras," just pick something which feels comfortable to use and fits your needs and budget.

The FX1 is a much newer design than the GL2 and has many upgrades, although the GL2 is certainly still a solid performer for 4:3 standard definition video. But here are a few advantages off the top of my head for the FX1:

1. 1/3" high resolution native 16:9 CCD's vs. 1/4" low resolution 4:3 CCD's on the GL2. Aside from its HD capability, the FX1 will produce far better 16:9 standard definition video than the GL2.

2. Higher resolultion native 16:9 LCD screen and viewfinder. Again, much better suited to working in 16:9 widescreen. The FX1 LCD panel is also transreflective, meaning that you can clearly see it in direct bright sunlight.

3. Excellent manual controls - especially the iris knob - and lots of image adjustment with the ability to save multiple picture profiles.

4. Switchable between standard and high definition.

Now the GL2 does have the advantage of a more powerful zoom lens if you need to film things from a great distance (like events). If you are really only interested in 4:3 video the GL2 would be a good choice. But in that case you might also want to consider the Sony PD-170 and VX-2100 since they are better in low light than the GL2 and also shoot great 4:3 video.

Ken Hodson May 14th, 2006 04:04 PM

If you want a camera to grow with you as you develop, go with the FX1. It will last you many more years.

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 14th, 2006 05:58 PM

Having a couple of Z1's and several GL2's, you'll love either, but with HD coming...you'll be very happy with the FX1, IMO.

Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 08:53 PM

I am using my new camera for my film projects around campus, mostly documentary type stuff since that is what I am interested in. I need something that is fairly rugged that I can move around with and what not.

How are the sound capabilities on the FX1? I think that that is the only thing that is really worrying me about the camera. Otherwise, from what I'v heard that might be the way to go.

Thanks for all the help!


p.s. yeah I guess I just meant "serious" to me. I am going from a $400 to a camera in the thousands of dollars so that's a bit of a jump for me =)

Stephan Ahonen May 14th, 2006 09:51 PM

If you're doing documentary type stuff, I assume you will be doing a lot of handheld work, correct? The major weakness of GL2/FX1 type cameras is they are terrible for handholding.

Amanda Warner May 14th, 2006 10:04 PM

Oh cool. (sarcasm.)


any other cameras you'd recommend?

Keep audio quality in mind too, please.

Thanks!

Tomas Chinchilla May 14th, 2006 10:10 PM

HD all the way and don't look back!!!!

Jack D. Hubbard May 15th, 2006 12:06 AM

Fx1
 
The FX1 and the Z1 are extremely durable cameras, with great lensing. I have used the Z1 in a lot of different shooting situations and have never had a problem. The same with the FX1. Both are great for handheld. Even at this point using the FX1 has the advantage of shooting both HDV and SD video which is a big advantage indeed.

Amanda Warner May 15th, 2006 05:56 PM

Ok so I have narrowed it down to the FX1 or the Z1. I like the Z1 because it has XLR inputs, but it's a little on the pricey side of things. But the FX1 doesn't have XLR inputs. I know I can buy the Beachtek adapter. Has anyone done this with the FX1? How was the sound?


thanks again =)

Frederic Segard May 15th, 2006 06:35 PM

Amanda, the Z1 may be a tad more expensive then the FX1, but it's worth having the on board XLRs. Having too may adapters and trinkets will bog you down, and if you have a problem, itís really annoying to debug the problem on location.

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 15th, 2006 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amanda Warner
Ok so I have narrowed it down to the FX1 or the Z1. I like the Z1 because it has XLR inputs, but it's a little on the pricey side of things. But the FX1 doesn't have XLR inputs. I know I can buy the Beachtek adapter. Has anyone done this with the FX1? How was the sound?


thanks again =)

The beachtek will provide good sound, NP, but it's more than just having the XLR's on the Z1. The Black Stretch, dual 50i/60i, and other features are well worth the cost, IMO.

Boyd Ostroff May 15th, 2006 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
The major weakness of GL2/FX1 type cameras is they are terrible for handholding.

An inexpensive shoulder rest can help a lot: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=57910

Bob Grant May 15th, 2006 08:10 PM

Amanda,
if you're stretched for funds then I'd buy a cheaper camera and a good tripod, HDV and hand (or shoulder) held is not a good look. The Sony A1 still gives you XLR inputs via an audio bridge that can be removed. Add say a Miller Solo tripod (which is light and easy to rig) and you're set to roll.

Sure the A1 isn't a Z1, but it's nowhere near as threatening looking and does produce remarkable images for a camera of its size. Certainly if the budget can be stretched to the Z1 you will not be sorry. Just don't dismiss the A1 based on its size.


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