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Old July 14th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #1
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Hdv Camera For A Long Journey

Hi there.
I'm doing some research on compact cameras for a 1 year trip around ASIA.
I'm a Landscape and Reportage photographer and would like to find a video camera to use in my journey.
I'm looking to produce descent quality footage of my trip.
Not necessarily top of the line Broadcast quality.
Audio quality is important but could sacrifice.

1) MiniDv or SD
I've been looking into the Sony HVR-A1E, and I really like it
Is small,strong and (I believe) good enough for what I want to achieve
My only concern is the fact that need to carry a fear amount of tapes all along my long trip, or spend some money on Fed EX and send the shot tapes back home.
The other thing, it looks a bit bigger that the HDV SD cameras...
( And size/weight does matter on my trip.)

On HDV- Sd cameras I got a bit lost. so many options...

I don't know how easy will be to download the SD cards along the way.
I'm not traveling with a laptop. So will have to rely on the "Internet cafes" and some how burn DVD and FED-Ex them? or bring portable storage space ( lots for a one year trip!!)
or......????? any ideas?


Witch SD camera can I choose that offers same or similar Image & Audio specs as the
Sony HVR-A1E.?


Is very important to me to travel light, with compact and strong equipment.
I won't be carrying tripods, lights or camera bags.
The equipment will get dirty and will not fell very comfortable on this trip.

Hope it makes sens and someone out there can give some tips.

Many thanks.

M
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #2
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You should be able to buy DV tapes almost anywhere in Asia.
The HV30 is an affordable (at least in the US) and quite amazing.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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The HV30 might not be rugged enough for the type of shooting the OP wants, however hard it is for me to admit.

However, if you're not taking a laptop with you than there's no other option than tapes. They can be found almost anywhere and you don't have to dump off precious footage in the case of a full card.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 05:05 AM   #4
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thanks for the advice.
A couple more questions.

a) would the footage shot on the Canon VIXIA HF10 be accepted to be broadcast on TV?

if not witch camera with similar specs would be the option.?

Or , witch other camera ( that records on SD) for this type of long journey would you suggest on the consumer range.

b)
If doing this one year journey with a SD camera. witch are the options for storage ?

many thanks again
m
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Old July 17th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #5
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Martin

Don't worry about storage. Just use a MiniDV based tape camera and you'll be fine. I travelled for a long time with a MiniDV camera and just kept the tapes. Theyre like 60grams each or something and very small. When i'd shot 10tapes, i just duct-taped the 10tapes together (in their little plastic boxes obviously). They take up almost no room like this, and you tapes don't go astray. absolutely DO label the bleedin' things. Once you've got 50 tapes, you'll regret it if you don't. Something to do at the end of every day. Also wherever you stay in the evening, ALWAYS remember to recharge all your batteries. Its easy to forget and you don't want to run out of power in the middle of a jungle or some other amazing scene etc.

Hard-drives are impact-prone, need power (you may run out of power), theft-target, possible hard-drive failure etc etc. DVDs can scratch, or even crack in a tightly packed backpack or case (it WILL be tightly packed and you WILL be jamming stuff into your case in a hurry in the mornings ...). Tapes are robust, cheap, light, available almost everywhere (apart from Havana Cuba!) , no impact-damage problems, not a theft target, don't need any power etc and aren´t scratch-prone unlike DVD. If all your footage is on one hard-drive, not only do you have to worry about "will i run out of space?", but ALL your eggs are in one basket. Hard-drive failure or theft or loss, and you lose ALL your footage.

I had about 80 1hour MiniDV tapes in the end - no problem to carry in a backpack.
I would stick to ONE tape brand. I used Sony Premium almost exclusively, and bought them in multi-packs as theyre much cheaper that way. I think i averaged about 30minutes taping per day, so about 3 or 4 tapes per week average. Obviously that figure varies a lot and is entirely down to an individual, but 10 tapes lasted me maybe 3 weeks or so, on average.


ps. Pedants of the World unite, but a "witch" is a mythical figure who casts spells, witch may not be exactly the word you intended to use. ;-)
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Old July 17th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #6
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witch.

You are right.
It wasn't the word I had in mind,
Thanks a lot for advice.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 10:07 PM   #7
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I have used a Pana NV-GS 75 as travel camera in the past. It is really small. But i switched to the HV30 a few months ago, because i really wanted HD footage of my travels. It is an awesome camera and the right size for me. It has been with me on three backpack travels so far. I put the cam+raynox wide angle+lens hood in a very small bag, which then goes into my backpack. I store a rode videomic in one of the backpack sleeves for the situations i need better sound quality....
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Old August 9th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #8
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Okay this is just going to make your decision more difficult ...

1. My vote for durability on a long journey is for the Sony A1U/A1E, it's built by the professional broadcast division of Sony.
2. BUT! you could buy two HV30s for less than the price of a single Sony A1U/A1E, so you could have a backup camcorder and money left over for audio equipment.

Catch-22.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #9
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And I'm with the other guys on the tape issue, it is is still much more accessible and durable in the farther reaches of the world.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
And I'm with the other guys on the tape issue, it is is still much more accessible and durable in the farther reaches of the world.
Michael , Chris thanks for your feedback
I appreciate the tape side of the moon.
But recently have put my eyes on the canon HF10,and the Panasonic AG-HSC1U.
I'm now trying to find a portable storage device ( compatible with this camera ) that will allow me to save my SD cards as I go along. And eventually when coming across a computer uploading the files.
Any ideas?
thanks again.
Martin
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #11
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Rather than waiting until you find a computer to upload your files with, why not take along a cheap mini-laptop that has a solid-state hard drive like the EeePC? Mini-laptops of that type are tough enough to leave in your backpack and cheap enough to almost be throw-away, while being good enough for most jobs.

Last edited by James McBoyle; August 11th, 2008 at 03:45 AM.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:37 PM   #12
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I think many of the posters have already said it but I'd vote for the HV30. It's a great value and despite being made of plastic, it's rugged. I've broken a few but only under extreme conditions. I've seen them survive bike crashes and drops onto rocks from several feet up. I took some to Egypt and Turkey last year and they did great with sand, dust, heat, etc., I've only seen them break from getting wet and dropping them with the cassette door open.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Coceres View Post
I've been looking into the Sony HVR-A1E, and I really like it
Is small,strong and (I believe) good enough for what I want to achieve
My only concern is the fact that need to carry a fear amount of tapes all along my long trip, or spend some money on Fed EX and send the shot tapes back home.
The other thing, it looks a bit bigger that the HDV SD cameras...
I would stay away from the Sony A1. Any camera where you have to use a touch screen to control any standard function is not worth it. We have one in our office and no one likes using it. I think it has sat on the shelf for about 1 year now with out any use.

The images are fine as long as there is no movement and lots of light. I find it very frustrating to use. The controls don't make sense to me. (But I am used to a traditional broadcast camera and now use an EX1).

I have heard good things about the new Panasonic camera which records on SD cards. You need to carry a laptop then. There is always a trade off.

Daniel Weber
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Old August 11th, 2008, 12:50 AM   #14
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I took an HV20 with me to New Zealand along with a Rode Videomic and a Velbon Videomate 607 Tripod, which comes with it's own little sack, is light as hell... could also go with a SpiderBrace if you're not interested in lugging a tripod, but the tripod's damn light and was easy to setup anywhere we shot.

Reliability? I had problems, but I'm not sure that was caused by dirt, so much as it was with me mixing tapes - and other than that, it seemed to survive the journey.

Two HV20s are lighter and cheaper than anything that begins to approach rough and tumble reliability.

There is one thing though, that you may want to consider.

That is, tapes can be bought all over Asia -- BUT, any tape-based camera has moving parts. Going with a flash-drive based camera, such as the Canon HF100, might be better if A) when you talk "rough and tumble" you are talking about taking the damn thing through white water rafting or immersing yourself in mud.. B) you have a way to get the footage to some storage device (like a cheap laptop)
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Old August 11th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #15
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I would trust the HV30 with a Rode Videomic and a Manfrotto MaxiModo tripod.
People have been travelling with tape camera for years. Just make sure you have good bag and clean the equipment regularly.
Another big advantage , the camera take very good pictures even if its only 3 megapixels.
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