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Old July 28th, 2007, 04:40 PM   #1
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Purchasing A Camera, Advice Appreciated...

i'm interested in buying a new camera for a variety of uses (weddings, short films, etc) in the $4000-$6000 price range (my current camera is a Sony PDX10).

my first choice was the Sony DSR-250, but i'm tempted by the JVC GY-HD110U. for the time being, my machine cannot handle working with HD footage (PowerMac G4 w/ FCP 4.5), so i'd probably be using the JVC is SD mode (or downconverting, i guess?). is the JVC in SD mode on par with the DSR-250? how does the downconverting process work? a friend of mine once used a Sony HVR-Z1U, and i thought he said he was able to shoot in HDV mode and import into FCP as SD footage...which supposedly yielded a high quality picture. is that possible with the JVC?

sorry about all the questions, and please excuse my ignorance about this stuff. i greatly appreciate any help.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #2
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I own a PDX-10 and a JVC Hd101 (the earlier version of the 110/111), so I can comment on both cams! The JVC has a similar low light capability to the PDX (i.e not as good as most other SD cameras) but if you are already getting away with it on the PDX this should not be a problem. There's no auto focus on the JVC - I do like the touch screen focus on the PDX, and (correct me if I'm wrong) you cannot downconvert from HDV to SD in camera, so you'd have to digitise in HDV and convert inside your edit system. Having said that, the JVC is a great camera in manual mode, much easier to adjust manual focus, exposure, gain etc. than the PDX, the shoulder mount makes it much more stable (it also has no anti-shake system like the PDX). Watch out for poor battery life on the stock battery, so budget for a pro battery kit like the IDX or Anton Bauer. Operationally, its a different way of working from the PDX, but you get a camera which is more professional (and looks it) and shoots a great image, even in SD (i've used it on a shoot with a DSR500 and the footage cuts together easily).
Hope this helps
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Old July 28th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #3
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Hi Jon and welcome to DVinfo! I have a PDX-10, a VX-2000 and an HVR-Z1. The DSR-250 is really the same as a PD-150 repackaged in a shoulder camera form so the quality would be the same as my VX-2000. In some ways this might be considered a downgrade from the PDX-10 which is a newer design. The DSR-250 and its siblings don't do a very nice job of 16:9 so if you want to work in widescreen it's probably not a good choice.

Have you thought about the Z1 as an option? In many ways its like your PDX-10 on steriods :-) The controls and menus will be familiar, but much nicer. Low light response will be about an f-stop better than the PDX-10. The LCD screen is really nice and will allow you to focus accurately if you're only shooting standard definition. The manual controls are much nicer, with a smooth iris wheel. You'll also get footage that will intercut well with the PDX-10.

Like your friend, I shoot HDV with my Z1 but usually downconvert to regular DV in-camera while capturing. This gives results which look a little better than shooting in SD mode.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #4
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I too started with a PDX-10, then added a HD-110 to my equipment list. I think alot just depends on what you want in a camera. The DSR-250 is going to have controls that are more similar to your PDX-10 where the JVC operates more like a pro-broadcast camera. Since your not looking at a camera for its HD capabilities, have you considered a JVC 5100U camera? Its a little bit over your $6000 price, but not by much, and it gives you 1/2 CCD's which will give you way better low light capability.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:14 PM   #5
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wow, thanks for all the responses. DVi users are so friendly!

yeah, i don't really think the DSR-250 is what i'm looking for. i am starting to consider the Z1 (maybe even the V1?). originally i was drawn to the JVC because it was shoulder mounted, but i guess i shouldn't be to concerned with that. maybe the Z1 with a decent shoulder bracket is a good idea because it can downsample HDV footage on the fly (while i'm using a G4, this should be pretty important for me). so ignoring the shoulder mounted issue and speaking strictly in terms of picture quality, here is what i'm wondering now:

for now on my G4:
z1 hdv downconverted to sd upon import VS hd110 in SD mode

and for the future with a more powerful computer:
z1 hdv VS hd110 hdpro

i'm pretty sure these cameras are in the same ballpark, and it's probably a matter of personal taste. wouldn't it be nice if there were definite answers to these sort of questions?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #6
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A correction here, the HDxxx cameras *can* record standard def DV.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 06:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Downs View Post
wow, thanks for all the responses. DVi users are so friendly!

yeah, i don't really think the DSR-250 is what i'm looking for. i am starting to consider the Z1 (maybe even the V1?). originally i was drawn to the JVC because it was shoulder mounted, but i guess i shouldn't be to concerned with that. maybe the Z1 with a decent shoulder bracket is a good idea because it can downsample HDV footage on the fly (while i'm using a G4, this should be pretty important for me). so ignoring the shoulder mounted issue and speaking strictly in terms of picture quality, here is what i'm wondering now:

for now on my G4:
z1 hdv downconverted to sd upon import VS hd110 in SD mode

and for the future with a more powerful computer:
z1 hdv VS hd110 hdpro

i'm pretty sure these cameras are in the same ballpark, and it's probably a matter of personal taste. wouldn't it be nice if there were definite answers to these sort of questions?
The z1 looks like a toy handycam but that wouldnt matter if you are not doing this work for a living.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:33 AM   #8
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yeah, i know the Z1 does not "look" as professional as the JVC. but that's ok, i'm upgrading from a PDX10, so anything will "look" more professional than that.

i'm just wondering about the picture quality. right now, a Z1 fits into my current set up conveniently...but the JVC is in the same price range. so i have to know their image quality is on the same level. right now, my concern is the JVC in SD mode VS the Z1 in HDV mode downconverted to SD upon import (for the immediate future, that is how i'll be using those cameras).

i've read that the JVC has communication problems with FCP, as well...and i know the sony works well with FCP. i'm using FCP 4.5, and i've heard that the JVC requires FCP5...so i'm starting to wonder if the JVC is just a headache right now.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #9
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You should also consider that with the JVC gear (including the deck), you cannot shoot HDV and then capture and edit DV with a straight down-convert via firewire on ingest as you can with Sony's HDV2 gear. For a simple firewire DV workflow you will need to shoot DV on the HDxxx camera. If your machine can handle HDV native for capture at least, then you can always down-convert in software before you begin your edit, of course. Just worth a mention, I think, because this lack of down-conversion via firewire is a thing many new users are horrified to discover - especially if they are used to that convenience with the Sony HDV gear.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #10
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Hi Jon
Jon i used a Fx1 for a couple of years
loved the pictures in HD The SD pictures were ok
i bought a new JVC HD 110 in March Hooked it up with a IDX Batt> sys and a DR hd100

I LOVE THIS CAMERA when shooting in SD the pictures are GREAT
when shooting in HD great once again

all i can say rating this Camera on a scale 1-10
i give it a 15

Just my opinon

Joe
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Old July 29th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #11
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hey Antony Michael Wilson,

you've made a good point: maybe i should not be so concerned that the sony can downsample because i could always just import the JVC footage as HD, and then downsample withing FCP before i start editing. is that easily done? i'm having trouble finding information about downcoverting from HDV to SD within FCP.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 09:40 AM   #12
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FCP 4.5 can't capture HDV so that isn't going to be an option. There may be some other software that can do this on the Mac but I've never tried. Just be aware that you'd be into some really long renders if downconverting in software on a G4. I've only tried this once on my dual G5 2.5ghz and it took something like 5 hours to convert one hour of HDV to DV. And of course you will end up using twice the disk space since you'll have two versions.

I've played around with the JVC and agree that it's a very cool camera. But look at Paul's earlier post regarding the cost. AFAIK, you will need to spend some additional money on batteries to get reasonable recording times if you go the JVC route. My Z1 runs 4 to 5 hours on the 970 battery however.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #13
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yeah, i know i'll have to upgrade to FCP5. and the rendering time is a bummer, but i get paid by the hour!

but the battery issue is something i didn't even think of. now i'm thinking the Z1 is the right camera for me. the camera itself is such an expense, i wouldn't be thrilled about immediately having to spend more money.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jon Downs View Post
yeah, i know i'll have to upgrade to FCP5.
You would need to do this with a used copy somewhere since Apple is now at version 6 and it's only sold as part of the entire production studio bundle. If you're really thinking of downconverting on your G4 you might want to do a test by downloading some HDV footage somewhere and using the newest version of Quicktime Pro. This will give you some idea of the time involved.

I still use my Powerbook G4/1ghz for office stuff like spreadsheets, CAD, etc. but wouldn't want to do anything with HDV on that machine, regardless of the hourly fee :-)
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Old July 29th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #15
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yeah, it's true. i really think the Sony is the right camera for me...the JVC is tempting, but i think it's just a hole can of worms for me right now. i just wish the sony was shoulder mounted. i suppose there are always brackets.
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