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Old July 10th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #16
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Hi Jackie,

Two years ago I started with a Canon HV20, then upgraded to a HG21 last year, and just this week I bought a Panasonic HMC150. I would strongly recommend that you check out the HMC150, it's a huge upgrade in image quality compared to any of the consumer cams. ( very film-like colour and contrast, and it's great in low light )

I shot a lens test comparing a Canon HV30 / Canon HG21 / Panasonic HMC150 yesterday, and will post some images in the next few days. The HMC150 was the clear standout for rich saturated colour, and no chromatic abberation over the full zoom range.

One thing that was quite interesting, was that the wide setting of the standard HMC150 zoom lens is equal to the Canon HG21 with the WD-H37C II 0.7x wide angle conversion lens attached. I was very surprised when I figured this out. I knew that the HMC150 had a wide zoom, but I never thought that it would equal the Canon + 0.7x conversion lens.

I bought my HMC150 from B&H in New York for $3400.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #17
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Welcome to the endless journey of finding the right gear. I can't speak to the countless options you have in front of you, but I can tell you that the XHA1 is capable of very good results, has very flexible set-ups, and extremely good optics. For filmaking practice, it can be very good. PM me and I'll send you some of my own footage. Here is a few resources you might find helpful:

Steven Dempsey does great work with the XHA1. Here is a starting point, just look around: Postcards from the Road on Vimeo

Here is a shootout of many of the cameras you may be considering. The XHA1 held up very good in my opinion to the much more expensive cameras in the group (although the panel didn't dwell on it very much; it's not very new or exciting having been out for 3 years): Zacuto's Great Camera Shootout '08 on Vimeo

If you shoot in 24F or 30F (Canon's process of getting progressive out of an interlaced chip) you will find the results quite stunning.

Pro's: Great optics, tried and true, tape (depending on your perspective), inexpensive, extremely customizable

Con's: small LCD makes focus harder than it could be. Servo controlled rings not as desirable as mechanical rings IMO (but much more flexible....). Can't Zoom and focus at same time (unless you get newer XHA1S). tape (depending on your perspective).

Having used the XHA1 quite a bit now, i think its an excellent camera especially if you are entering into serious work for the first time and your ability to find a good deal on one. Certainly the XHA1 isn't the most spectacular camera on the planet but it is still very capable and can be had for a bargain. Now that I've had it, I'm tempted by the EX3 and the EOS5D Mkii. The EX3 because it has a little less noise, has mechanical rings, and shoots full HD. EOS5D Mkii (actually I want its next generation with video camera controls if Canon will ever make it) because with careful handling it makes exceptional footage and is quite small and it can take DSLR lenses to create extremely shallow DOF. Lots of downsides and limitations, however in the current Mkii package.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 02:34 PM   #18
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I'm not sure why the HVX is considered an ENG camera, it is absolutely terrible in low light and the feature set is much more aimed at narrative work. Keep in mind that you can get a hard drive recorder for either camera, so the tape vs p2 is not really an issue anymore.

Look at the Sony EX1, but consider the Canon XH-A1. A lot of us are still doing quite well with that platform despite its drawbacks.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jad Meouchy View Post
I'm not sure why the HVX is considered an ENG camera, it is absolutely terrible in low light
Yes the old Panasonic HVX200 camera was pretty bad in low light. The new HVX200A that replaced it, is much better.

Also, the HVX200/200A is considered an ENG camera because of Panasonic's support for the broadcast industry ( news crews
were the first early adopters for this camera ), and because the P2 card storage allows for a rapid shooting/editing cycle.
( i.e. Shoot the 5 minute news clip, whip the P2 card into a laptop, do a quick edit and upload )
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Old July 21st, 2009, 01:06 AM   #20
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To clarify: I won't be shooting anything other than test footage on this camera. My one and only reason for buying it is to learn the controls and get used to using a "real" camera. My friends have far more expensive cameras I can borrow for short films, etc, but I want something at home that I can use whenever and get tons of experience with. So I want something that's, in this specific order:

1. Extremely customizable and feature-rich.
2. Costs relatively little.
3. Produces a "good" image, because I know "very good" and "great" would conflict with #2.
4. Little things, like a larger LCD, would be a plus.

Does that narrow it done a bit, or not really? What would you guys suggest based on these criteria?
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Old July 21st, 2009, 02:37 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=Guy McLoughlin;1169952]Hi Jackie,

Two years ago I started with a Canon HV20, then upgraded to a HG21 last year, and just this week I bought a Panasonic HMC150. I would strongly recommend that you check out the HMC150, it's a huge upgrade in image quality compared to any of the consumer cams. ( very film-like colour and contrast, and it's great in low light )

I shot a lens test comparing a Canon HV30 / Canon HG21 / Panasonic HMC150 yesterday, and will post some images in the next few days. The HMC150 was the clear standout for rich saturated colour, and no chromatic abberation over the full zoom range.

One thing that was quite interesting, was that the wide setting of the standard HMC150 zoom lens is equal to the Canon HG21 with the WD-H37C II 0.7x wide angle conversion lens attached. I was very surprised when I figured this out. I knew that the HMC150 had a wide zoom, but I never thought that it would equal the Canon + 0.7x conversion lens.

The one thing i find with my hv 30 is the colour is a touch rich and saturated for me and i would certainly not want a cam with more colour, do same model cams vary possibly.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 03:21 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackie Morton View Post
To clarify: I won't be shooting anything other than test footage on this camera. My one and only reason for buying it is to learn the controls and get used to using a "real" camera. My friends have far more expensive cameras I can borrow for short films, etc, but I want something at home that I can use whenever and get tons of experience with. So I want something that's, in this specific order:

1. Extremely customizable and feature-rich.
2. Costs relatively little.
3. Produces a "good" image, because I know "very good" and "great" would conflict with #2.
4. Little things, like a larger LCD, would be a plus.

Does that narrow it done a bit, or not really? What would you guys suggest based on these criteria?
Jackie, from the above I'd say the XHA1s which covers 1-3 easily though not 4. The older XHA1 which I've got should be quite cheap now (I got it new for 2000 18 months ago). It does produce a lovely image but you have to know how to use it to achieve this - the learning curve is steeper than a consumer cam by some distance (when I first used it I panicked as the image was horrible but with a few adjustments things began to look really good). And this makes you learn what all the manual controls are for which is what you want. It is highly customizable. It is tape though which I like. You can by-pass this and record directly to disk if you get the right gear but what people rarely mention about this is it makes running and gunning so much more hassle (often impossible in fact if you want to capture life on the move) with extra bits of kit attached etc. I would not recommend it personally other than in pretty controlled environments, though others might contradict me!

Btw the reason it's not so simple to get loads of P2 cards is they are hugely expensive!
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Old July 25th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #23
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Having done a bit more research, it sounds like the HVX200 is far superior to the XHA1? Should I get that instead?
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Old July 25th, 2009, 05:10 PM   #24
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.......it sounds like the HVX200 is far superior to the XHA1? Should I get that instead?
Jackie, you may find a post I made on another thread helpful in this context - http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/1176610-post7.html

Briefly, in your shoes I wouldn't get an HVX200, the HMC151 offers 80-90% of what the HVX200 does much more cheaply - the front ends are fundamentally the same. That's really true when you look at the cost of the cameras with media - the HMC151 takes cheap SDHC cards, the HVX takes P2, and to get a workable amount of recording time can virtually double the initial cost.

If you are happy to pay that sort of money, I'd argue that either the Sony EX or JVC HM700 are then a far better buy - comparable in price to the HVX200 with P2 cards, but you're putting the money into far better cameras - not expensive memory.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #25
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The SONY and JVC are nice, but are out of my price range. I don't plan on buying a ton of memory if I go with the HVX200, since I'm only buying the camera to play around and teach myself how to use a "real" camera before making a serious investment into something much more high-end. The HMC151 looks tempting, but for some reason I can't find it for sale anywhere, and can't even find a price!
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Old July 25th, 2009, 09:51 PM   #26
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16GB P2 card = $400+

16GB SDHC card = $30

Panasonic AG-HMC150:
Panasonic | AG-HMC150 AVCCAM Camcorder | AG-HMC150PJU | B&H

(The HMC151 is the European model.)
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Old July 27th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jackie Morton View Post
The SONY and JVC are nice, but are out of my price range. I don't plan on buying a ton of memory if I go with the HVX200, since I'm only buying the camera to play around and teach myself how to use a "real" camera before .......
In that case, what about buying second hand? One suggestion would be the JVC HD100 - it's a little old hat compared to more current models (HD mode is only 720p/25, not 720p/50, and it's tape only) but is shouldermount/true manual lens etc, and may be a good introduction to a "real" camera.

If you want "film-look" motion, it will still probably hold it's weight if you did end up having to use it for real (or as second camera). I suspect you may find a few for sale as owners trade up to newer JVC equivalents - the HD200 series and the HM700.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #28
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In that case, what about buying second hand? One suggestion would be the JVC HD100 - it's a little old hat compared to more current models (HD mode is only 720p/25, not 720p/50, and it's tape only) but is shouldermount/true manual lens etc, and may be a good introduction to a "real" camera.

If you want "film-look" motion, it will still probably hold it's weight if you did end up having to use it for real (or as second camera). I suspect you may find a few for sale as owners trade up to newer JVC equivalents - the HD200 series and the HM700.
Oh yea, definitely buying it used. The JVC looks cool, and it's around $3k on eBay too. How customizable is it compared to HVX200 for example? Also, is there anything similar out there that does 1080p? Would be nice to get a slightly modern camera with a manual lens, perhaps in the $3.5-4k used price range?
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Old July 29th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #29
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I've used both the XH-A1 and the HVX200/HPX170

If I were to purchase a camera I would go with the A1. It produces a clean sharp image. When projected on a large screen it holds up well. I can't say the same for the very soft looking HVX/HPX cameras.

The only advantage I can see the HVX cameras have is slow motion. That being said I'd just go out and buy a small 60p camera (Sanyo Xacti maybe?) and confrom that footage to 24p for the purpose of slow motion.

Heck, I'd sooner buy a Panasonic TM300 with a Juicedlink box instead of an HVX/HPX camera, but that's my personal preference.

Uprezzing works yes, but it is soft. Too soft for my tastes.

People also rave about gamma curves in the pana cams, but I've always been able to match it with other cameras in post. Which is were you should refine your color anyway.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #30
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The JVC looks cool, and it's around $3k on eBay too. How customizable is it compared to HVX200 for example?
It depends what you mean by "customizable", but the styling (esp shouldermount, albeit quite small) helps a great deal. Much easier to add camera light, radio mic, matte box etc without ending up with a package that's difficult, if not impossible, to hand hold.
Quote:
Also, is there anything similar out there that does 1080p? Would be nice to get a slightly modern camera with a manual lens, perhaps in the $3.5-4k used price range?
Here you have to extremely wary. Many cameras accurately claim to make a 1080p recording - but few for under $10,000 are able to come even close to doing it justice. The EX cameras do - they have 1920x1080 sensors - but every 1/3" camera (with the exception of the Panasonic HPX300) is not able to deliver equivalent resolution. If you equate 1080p recording with 35mm film, it's like blowing 8mm or 16mm originals up. The end result is a 35mm print, but it still looks like 8 or 16mm.

You get what you pay for - pay for a 1/3" camera and you're likely to get 1 megapixel resolution or less. That doesn't mean they are "bad", but don't be fooled that a 1080p recording mode will necessarily get you 2 megapixel resolution.

Pay a bit more and you may be able to move a little up the JVC range - the HD200 series offered "true" 720p frame rates - 50/60 fps - but if you want film-look motion anyway, that's irrelevant.
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