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Old November 3rd, 2008, 01:16 AM   #1
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Travel Camera

Hi All

I currently own a FX1 and Z7 which I use for my own small business. However, I am looking at getting a smaller HD camera to take out with mates and travelling etc.

I have been looking at the HC9, TG1 or CX12.

Does anyone have any thoughts on something small yet still with pretty decent quality features and at least some form of manual control...I realise it will be a big difference from the full manual operation required for the Z7...

Thanks in advance
Andrew
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Old November 17th, 2008, 05:57 AM   #2
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I'd like to hear the forum's suggestions on this too. My main camera is a JVC HD111 but my current pocket camera is a Sony PC6. It's a superb little unit (long out of production now, of course) but after seven years of abuse in the world's hottest, dustiest, most camera-unfriendly places, it is due for retirement.

Off the top of my head, the critical criteria would be:

1: mini-jack mic input (for me, being able to mount a radio mic receiver means I can use it as a discreet camera with the journalist mic'd up on a radio mic.)
2: mini-jack headphone socket
3: ability to fit a screw-on, focus-through, wide angle adaptor
4: Pocket size
5: HDV/SD switchable
6: genuinely pocket-sized

If it recorded to SD card that would be a huge bonus.

Any thoughts?
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #3
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I've taken a Sony HC7 (almost identical to the HC9) on two holidays abroad when my FX1 was just too bulky, and brought back images that are almost indistinguishable from the FX1 in all cases except for low light, when it gets noisy.

Its not as small as the AVCHD cameras but it will slot straight into the HDV workflow. With a big wide angle adaptor and a high-capacity battery it flies very well on a Steadicam Merlin - I got some great 'Gladiator' style shots in a Roman Amphitheatre in Turkey this year - looks stunning.

Back home, I use the HC7 as a second camera covering wide shots next to the FX1 when shooting stage shows. Although its rendition of colours doesn't quite match the FX1, its close enough, and I can freely cut between the FX1 and HC7 footage with no obvious problems.

The HC7 has an audio jack to take an external mike or mixer feed, and a headphone socket. Access to the manual controls are via touch-screen menus and a bit clumsy, but you can configure the front control wheel as a focus wheel or an auto-exposure override to give you manual control of the exposure.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #4
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I'm currently looking for a backup cam as well (for my FX7). I'm keeping my eye on ebay for a cheap second hand HC3 to use as a tape deck. I'll get the sports pack for it, as well as being able to take it almost everywhere I go.

I think some of the Sony AVCHD cams can shoot SD as well but only in mpeg format at a really low bitrate. So if you want HD/SD switching and down-converion then your only real option is tape - either the Sony HC9 or Canon HV30.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Adams View Post
Off the top of my head, the critical criteria would be:

3: ability to fit a screw-on, focus-through, wide angle adaptor

4: Pocket size
6: genuinely pocket-sized
I think you are going to find requirements #3 & #4+#6 mutually exclusive.
Or you have really big pockets.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #6
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Sorry Bill, - that was sloppy of me - that's what comes of trying to take part in a debate on the dvinfo site from a satphone in a refugee camp in Eastern Congo. My apologies.

I wear a camera vest when I'm working, so do have big pockets; and my old PC6 has a Sony 0.7 wide angle adaptor fitted to it most of the time. i've just been filming dangerous Congolese rebels through the windscreen of our vehicle with it today.

Tony, the HC7/HC9 looks good, and I'll check one out next time I'm in a grown-up country.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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Nikon D90, after you get to know/understand its limitations, you will love it.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #8
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HC7 or HC9 (most comparable), maybe the HV20 or HV30 (no LANC, different "look" from Sony). Long shot would be the SR11/12 if you went tapeless.

Big pockets required, but all have audio I/O, will take a decent .7 WA lens (HG Sony series comes to mind). All would be tape based, except the SR, which could be either HDD or MS Duo. Personally I like the SR, although for the "small pocket" option I have the CX12 (no discreet audio I/O though... you're stuck with the AiShoe... but a great little camera).
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 12:35 PM   #9
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Good thoughts, guys - thanks. The SR12 looks excellent. I'll check it out next time I'm in London or Joburg.

R
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