The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread! - Page 12 at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 20th, 2003, 07:07 PM   #166
Major Player
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 211
I went through a very similar agonizing process, however, after reading just about every post on every forum on every camcorder it finally sunk-in. There is no prefect camcorder. The perfect camcorder is the one that fits you current needs (and is at the right price for you).

If you wait for the "next" release, then you are going to wait forever because some manufacturer is always coming out with the "newest and best".... at least twice a year.

It's like taking your first dive off the end of the pier.... either you make a career out of making the approach, or you decide to jump in and then enjoy diving as you develop your technique. But there is never, ever going to be perfect conditions (calm water, no wind, warm temp, some people to cheer but not too many to be embarassed in front of in case you do a belly-flop first time out).

Make a list of what is important to YOU, such as picture quality, manual settings, price (maybe price first), etc. Then just read this forum and look at the camcorders that fit the bill and don't have a lot of negative comments. Dollars-to-donuts you will come up with 2 or 3 camcorder models. Then it's a matter of finding the right price with the right vendor you want to be your friend for the next three or four camcorders as you upgrade over the next several years.

Don't miss out on the FUN of using a camcorder because you are beating yourself up trying to decide on one. There will always be a newer, more interesting one around the corner..... but at least you'll have one in your hands to learn with. Then you will know what you want in the next one, and the one after that.

Don't miss out on the fun. Dive in and good luck. Nick
Nick Kerpchar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2003, 07:25 PM   #167
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,310
If in doubt, buy whichever feels best in your hands! Nothing worse than spending hundreds of hours holding a camera that feels goofy in your hands, or you can't operate efficiantly.
Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2003, 08:01 PM   #168
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 27,051
Images: 513
Nick has given excellent advice here, which I'll follow up by saying that the right camcorder for you is the one which feels best in your hands, and whose image you like on a pro video monitor. Tech specs, the numbers, etc. are almost meaningless compared to the feel of the camera and the look of the video. Nothing else matters. Hope this helps,

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #169
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 436
good call guys, I'll calm down and just buy the damned dv852 and start the process. You can point other newbs to my ramblings contained in this post in the future, thanks for everyone's input, feedback and help!

Bryan Roberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 24th, 2003, 12:41 PM   #170
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Posts: 67
Camera Selection

I would like to preface this by stating that I don't want to start a "camera wars" thread, but would like to some further opinions.

First, I have searched all the threads and believe I have read just about most of the stuff on the the various cameras. I'm looking for a camera to do "no budget" documentaries with. Since any marketability of my projects would be TV/Video, 60i would be fine and I'm not really overly concerned about the "film" look aspect.
I would be interested in knowing the best format for transfer to DVD though. I'm am leaning towards the PD-150.

Here is my thinking so far..

The XL1S is a little beyond what I want to spend based on the fact that I would have to buy the additional XLR audio. Also, it seems a little less suitable for handheld and run-and-gun work.

The GL2 while boasting a 20x zoom and comparable picture quality to that of the XL1S appears to need much better lighting (6 lux) than other units. Also, one message commented on the "cheap plastic" feel to the unit. From my reading, it doesn't seem like it is the same league as XL1S, PD-150, and DVX-100.

While I have read tons of things about the DVX-100's 24p mode, I have found virtually no information on shooting in 60i and not trying to achieve a film look. Also, according to, the lens is less than favorable. Also, curiously at 1/2000 (which is plenty fast), it does have nearly a fast a shutter speed as the others. However, I am still open to hearing more about this camera.

This leaves the PD-150 which appears to be somewhat dated and does not have a frame/movie mode that is comparable to the others. However, based on the messages here, it appears to produced the sharpest and truest colors, has the neccessary XLR audio inputs included, is the best in low light (at 2 lux), and has been widely used in documentary and independent film. Also, it
doesn't look like Sony is replacing this anytime soon.

Based on these things (as well some additional research), if I've ruled out the XL1S because of cost and size, the PD-150 seems to my best bet.

I realize that a lot of these things are personal and subjective, but can someone give me their opinions either way on why I should or should not buy the PD-150. Please include your reasons as well. (aka no "buy this one because it's just better")


Carl Slawinski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 24th, 2003, 01:19 PM   #171
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
I've been using PD150's for a while now and all I can add to your dilema is to decide what you plan on doing with the camera. As I knew I would be shooting weddings and some corporate stuff and had been using a VX1000 before it was a natural switch for me. I like no I love the sharpness & saturation of the 150, I like the fact it's small enough to almost be a stealth camera at a wedding, it's built pretty solidly, I like having the LCD especially with "older eyes" I like the fast auto focus, I do a lot of auto focus at weddings and I feel it gets to focus fairly quick, quicker than I could do it manually.
Now what don't I like? Well, after putting all my gear on it it is somewhat unbalanced, even though I do use a shoulder brace with it it still is a little uncomfortable sometimes. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out the best way to get good on camera audio, gotta watch the levels pretty close, some of the controls are placed in somewhat inconvienient places and I don't ever have a need in my work for "the film look" I like the video look, I can adjust saturation and sharpness in the presets, I've done it and gone back to the factory setting, I like having 2 XLR's the tape mechanisim seems strong, although I hate using the camera as a deck and only RARELY do I, but still... I never used the memory stick, sorry, I have a decent digital still camera.
So now do I like it or not? YES!!! I do. More than like. The quality of the images produced are astounding for a camera of it type and price range. I was going to get a 250 to go with it but now, well I'm looking at the 370 or Pany200. I already have 2 150's I guess I don't need another (250) The only reason I would go to something else is for the 1/2 chip and longer tape times, although I have been using Panasonic PQ 83's with no problem for ceremonies.
So you be the judge. I love mine 150's glad I made the investment. Is it a perfect camera? Not a snowball's chance in a firestorm! It is however IMHO a great buy for the money and yeah I know there are newer, faster, models that have the smell of new leather and bright shiny chrome engines, but sometimes newer doesn't mean better and if you're not going to be looking to do "film" than I think the 150 is a great cam.
That's my slightly biased opinion.
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 24th, 2003, 09:58 PM   #172
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
The only thing abut the DVX100 that might interest you over the 150 would be that it has higher resolution. Resolution isn't everything, and it's going to be difficult to beat the look of the 150, but still it might be something to consider. However, if I were going to buy a camera in that class today, I don't think I'd go for a first generation. As close as we're getting to NAB, you may want to wait a few weeks--it's possible (though I haven't heard anything) that Sony might come out with something new in the 1/3" chip arena and the 150 just might drop in price. On the other hand, they could come out with something new that has smaller chips and the 150 could go up in price, as the TRV900 did when they came out with the 950.
What I think I would do is, if I needed the camera immediately, I'd go for the 150. If I had the luxury of waiting, I would see if a second generation DVX100 is close.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 24th, 2003, 10:39 PM   #173
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,310
I don't like the look of the picture the PD150 puts out compared to the look from the XL1, for a film type look.
Since the XL1 is in the same price range as the other two, it is fair to eliminate it only because of size, especially for run 'n gun. I guess if you bought XLR inputs and an LCD screen it would be more.

I'd buy the DVX100 if it came down to it an a PD150. From what I hear, it has a very film-look picture.
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at
Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 25th, 2003, 12:06 AM   #174
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
I'm not hands-on familiar with the new Panasonic camera, but I tend to agree with Bill; beware of the first generation of a new genre.

The PD-150 has certainly withstood the test of time and has a very loyal following. It's a fine camera. But, again agreeing with Bill, March is the worst month of the year to buy a video camera. This year's NAB in early April promises to herald several new models of cameras which might influence your decision and/or the price you pay for a current decision.
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time:
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 26th, 2003, 09:59 AM   #175
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Posts: 67
Stopped by the WEVA Town meeting after work yesterday since it was only a couple of miles from me. Reps from from Sony, JVC, and Panasonic were there along with Roscor reps in each of the manufacturers booths.

Unfortunately, Sony didn't have a PDF150, but I played around with the PDX-10. The Sony rep told me that there is no direct replacement for the 150 coming this year. He also said that there is a new camera that will be shown at NAB, but it will be in the $5000-$6000 range and would not be similar to the cameras discussed on these boards. However, he also says that he doesn't get all of the official training/presentations on the NAB show for another couple of weeks. The PDX-10 didn't seem to go very wide and it blurred out very easy at about 2/3 of the max zoom. I was not overly impressed with it although the build quality looked excellent.

The Panasonic guy was really animated. He started up with the 24p pitch and was ready to roll until one of the wedding guys told him that they were more interested in 60i. He then went over pretty much all of the functions of the camera. When I asked him about the max shutter speed being 1/2000 vs. 1/10000 and 1/15000 with competitors products, he skirted the question. I handled the camera for a short time and would have to say that it felt pretty solid and had decent balance for a cradle type handheld shot. The panasonic rep conceded that it wasn't the best in low light, but at 6 lux, that's already known. Overall, I got a good impression of the Panasonic. They had a show special price of $3099 on the DVX-100 which was the best I have seen. As stated here, the 60i only model is coming out in June and will list for $500 cheaper.

Finally, I checked out the JVC guys. I had never done any real research on the Streamcorder GY-DV300U and was never really considering it. After playing with it, I found that I wasn't missing anything. The flip out screen was tiny, it felt front heavy and poorly balanced, and looked/felt cheaper overall than the other units. Ergonomics didn't excite me either. The JVC rep was a great guy though.

All the manufacturers also had their next level of gear there as well. Sony had the 370 and 570 and Panasonic had the DVC200 at a price that seemed pretty good if you were in the market for that level of camera.

Overall, was a good experience that gave me some touchy time with some of the units although I wish I would have got to see a 150 as well as the Canon products.

I'm still leaning heavy towards the PD150, but still want to see the GL2 and the PD150 in person.
Carl Slawinski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 26th, 2003, 10:07 AM   #176
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Hey Carl,
I was signed up to go and was all set to, but I got a call and had to meet with a prospective B/G for a wedding this weekend. Oh well, sounds like the town meeting was OK and I guess I DIDN'T miss much from the big 3. Oh well, next time.
Thanks for the report, I look forward to meeting up with you sometime since we live so close.
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 19th, 2003, 11:34 PM   #177
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1
advice requested regarding purchase of camcorder

I am a composer who is venturing into the medium of digitial video/film, in order to create full-length films/videos of my musical theater pieces. I am not thinking of filming in a theater, but instead "on location." I would have a director to work with. I would like to have quality that festivals would accept. I have about $5000-6000 to spend. What would you recommend?

I have a Mac Ibook. I would like for it to look like film, and so would also get a program like Magic Bullet at an academic rate.

An additional question: I have access to several high quality canon lenses used on an EOS 1 V camera. Would these be usable on any of these cameras?

Here are some options that Iíve been researching.

Canon XLS 1. Is the movie frame mode really that great? Could I achieve a better quality picture if I shot it in video format and then processed it with magic bullet?

Canon GL2 (I have heard this might be as good as the XLS 1?)

A used GY-DV500UL14 Professional DV Camcorder 1/2" IT 3-CCD, W/CANON 14X LENS, VF-P115U Viewfinder. Advantage of this seems to be that it has a higher color bit processing and higher line resolution.

Panasonic AG-DVX100 24P Mini DV Camcorder,1/3" IT 3-CCD, 3.5" Color LCD, Color Viewfinder, Firewire (IEEE-1394) I/O, Progressive / Interlace Recording, 10:1 Leica Dicomar Lens, XLR Inputs

I really appreciate any feedback people might have.
Garrett Fisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 20th, 2003, 05:52 AM   #178
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,273
Garrett, are you planning on using your iBook to edit with? Are you including MB in you budget? Your iBook will not be up to the task of editing and heavy rendering that MB requires. You'll need a G4 of at least 667mhz for decent performance. MB will render too slow on a G3.

The EOS 1V lenses can be used but require the XL1 EF adapter and because of the difference in size between 35mm film and 1/3 (or 1/2 inch) chips the focal length is multiplied by 7.2. Most lenses become too long to be practical for anything except wildlife and surveillance work.

Unless size or cost become a factor I would go with the used JVC DV500. However, size and weight can limit you and force you to use heavier and more expensive support equipment. Heavier, tripods, non-consumer batteries, etc. will start to eat away at your budget. The XL1 is lighter, smaller and less expensive to outfit.

The Panasonic my eliminate much of your need for MB, but doesn't offer interchangeable lenses like the DV500 and XL1.

The GL2 is a great camera, but unless your budget becomes very tight (maybe because you purchased a new PowerBook?) I would go with the DVX100.

If I was doing this I would go with the JVC D500 (bigger chips always win), an 800mhz PowerBook (most bang for the buck), MB for a non video look.

What are you doing for audio? The on camera MIC. from any camera will not be suitable for high quality musical theatrical pieces.
Jeff Donald
Carpe Diem

Search for quick answers | Where to Buy? From the best in the business: sponsors
Jeff Donald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2003, 07:09 AM   #179
New Boot
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sunbury, PA
Posts: 6
I Need Advice on Buying a New "Traditional Looking" (like a Betacam) DV Camcorder

Okay, I'm using an XL-1 that is 3 years old and I still love it. Great picture quality, no dropouts, no problems. We've been thinking about adding a second camera and it seems like now is the time. We might have a profitable gig where we'll be subcontracting for a client, and they feel their client is very image-conscious and will object to what looks like an "amateur" camera (like the XL-1, or the Sony PD-150). I've heard from friends that this attitude is out there; thankfully this is my first exposure to it (and will hopefully be my last). Does anyone have any advice on a reasonably-priced DV camcorder that has the traditional look (like the sits-on-your-shoulder Betacam)? Originally I wanted the new 24p Panasonic to be our next camera purchase, but that won't have the right "image" (and I'm not talking about picture quality) for our client. I was hoping to stay in the $4000 to $6000 range, but considering that this should be an ongoing job, I'd consider spending more. Can anybody point me toward their preferences? I truly appreciate your thoughts and insights, so thanks a lot in advance!

~ Steve Patterson
Steve Patterson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2003, 07:23 AM   #180
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 730

There are a few like the sony dsr-250 (i think it is called), which is almost indentical to a pd-150 except it is a full shoulder mount rig, looks very much like a betacam. I believe it also takes full sized dv tapes.

Also with panasonic there is the dvc-200, which is a great cam and another full sized rig.

They are all nice cams, depends how much you want to spend, you could also dress up your xl1 much cheaper to look like 'the shit' if you catch my drift. Big matte box, huge fluffy on it, even the mic is not used, and all that other stuff.

Zac Stein is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

(800) 223-2500
New York, NY

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Texas Media Systems
(512) 440-1400
Austin, TX

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

(800) 323-2325
Mineola, NY

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:16 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2018 The Digital Video Information Network