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Old February 27th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #1801
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

The EX1 would be a great upgrade from the XL1s. I did however failed to talk about my HD needs. Preferably 1080p or a very decent 780p. I'm very open to ideas, as I don't really know much about the camera market.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 08:39 PM   #1802
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

It's 720p not 780p and pretty much all the cameras do 1080 in some form or another. Some are interlaced and others progressive. The camera's list of formats is yet another feature to evaluate against your needs to find the camera that's best FOR YOU.

I recommend you put some work into the decision and not outsource it to others. Go to B&H or another DVInfo sponsor and drill down on the Professional Video -> Prosumer -> Camcorders section. Sort the list by Lowest Price. Then look at each camera in your price range to see the features that are available. Make a short list of the top 5 and do some searches on DVinfo for each. There'll be plenty of threads weighing the plusses and minuses and sometimes an all out war! :-)

Once you have it narrowed down to a couple, then ask some educated questions AFTER searching for that specific issue.

Or, just go buy an EX1R. HAHAHAHA
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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:33 AM   #1803
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hah, 780p, mistype.

Thank you for the advice, I've been doing just that. Tough choice.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #1804
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hello,

I am looking to direct a feature film and am looking to buy two cameras: the main camera to shoot the project on and a second, consumer camcorder just to scout locations do casting and things like that.

My budget for the main camcorder is kind of open ended. I have the money to spend $5000 grand or even more but with my skill level I think it would be a bit of a waste to spend that much because I wouldn't come close to maximizing the capabilities of the camera. So I'm looking for something that has the proper manual controls and XLR audio output but not too over my head.

Any recommendations are appreciated.

I also have a few questions related to the camera:

1. How complicated are the prosumer camcorders to properly use with all the manual controls? Is this a skill I can just pick up by using the camera or is it recommended that I take a course?

2. I really want my project to be professional in appearance. Would you guys advise that instead of spending a few grand on the camera and equipment I just hire a proper professional who has the equipment?

3. Am I correct in thinking that to properly take advantage of the DSLR cameras I need to a very skilled photographer/cinematographer?

4. Are there any consumer camcorders that offer XLR audio output? With the style I am going for and the image quality offered by consumer cameras I almost feel like I could get away with just a consumer camcorder but the audio seems to be severely lacking on them.

5. I've read that for video archiving purposes it is a good idea to capture on tape. I would strongly prefer to capture on flash drive because of the convenience. Do professionals still capture on tape or is pure flash drive now acceptable as well?

Responses to any of the questions is much appreciated. Thank you for your time and information.

Regards
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Old March 6th, 2011, 08:29 PM   #1805
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

"I have the money to spend $5000 grand or even more but with my skill level I think it would be a bit of a waste to spend that much because I wouldn't come close to maximizing the capabilities of the camera."

It is for the first time (at least I never read this before)... someone asking for a good camera in this thread realizes that skills are more important that the camera itself.

For that, I commend you!

On the other hand, though, from your questions it really sounds like there is a steep lerning curve ahead of you. I suggest you sit down and understand first how videography works, before spending money on cameras and supporting equipment - not the other way around.

And one more thing: there is no such thing as "open ended budget" - if you have the resources, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just on a camera, a few good lenses, pro monitors, tripods, etc, etc, etc...

Good luck with your adventure!

P. S. No offense intended... The good news is, you've come to the right place. You may want to spend some time on the indie forum Techniques for Independent Production Forum at DVinfo.net
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Old March 7th, 2011, 02:52 AM   #1806
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Osman View Post
I have the money to spend $5000 grand or even more
$5000 grand! I'm pretty sure you didn't mean that much.

As Ervin says, you're honest enough to admit your lack of experience and I'd have to side with that - if you've never been a stills photographer grappling with the variables of film speed, shutter speed, apertures, dof, hyperfocal distances and focal lengths, then going straight into buying and using an EX1R (say) with its added ND filters, overcranking, audio settings, progressive, interlaced and bottomless menus will be deep-end-stuff, I can tell you.

But to your questions.

1) You won't find the controls complicated if you're familiar with all of the above, but they will take some getting used to. You'll have to know why you're selecting 1/50th sec shutter speed, not only how to. A good basic whole day 1:1 camcorder control course will shave weeks off your learning time.

2) Is a really good idea if you haven't much time to learn. Video is a great teacher (instant feedback, accurate, tireless, repeatable, cheap) but it's time you need, and lots of it. People hire me to shoot for this very reason.

3) There's no difference between a cinematographer using a DSLR and a camcorder, it's just experience you're paying for. If a stills man has never made a movie with his DSLR he starts at the bottom like everyone else.

4) No, but lots at the $2500 price point have audio input.

5) Tape is dead, but only from the acquisition standpoint. Capture to flash memory from now on.

tom.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:36 AM   #1807
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Thanks Ervin and Tom. Much appreciated.

Just a couple of follow up questions:

While I read up on videography I'd like to buy a consumer camcorder to play around with just to get familiar with the basics. Is there a consumer camcorder that would be a kind of good intro to the prosumer stuff?
If not, do you guys have a recommendation on just any consumer camcorder that is worthwhile?

Also, Tom you mentioned that tape is only dead from an acquisition standpoint. What is tape still used for?

Thanks again for your time and information.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #1808
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

A really good camera to get you familiar with all the manual controls is a used Sony PD150 or 170. You might fancy a Panasonic DVX100A or a Canon XL1. All these are 4:3 cameras that will shoot 16:9 with resolution losses, but they'll sure teach you a lot about manual controls, ND filters, XLR inputs, gain levels and so on. These can be had really cheaply now as the world moves from 4:3 to widescreen and from tape to card.

Alternatively you might want to save the money and put it into something that will shoot hi-def onto card, like a Sony NX5. But this is an expensive step, so the second-hand route will let you decide and give you time to see if you want to go into the big chip territory (Panasonic AF101 or DSLR) or medium chip (EX1R) or small chip (NX5).

A very good consumer camcorder is the three-chip Panasonic TM700 or 900. Lots of manual controls but they require touch-screen menu digging rather than having knobs and buttons as on the cameras I've mentioned here. These consumer camcorders give strikingly good footage but they won't let you use 'proper' mics without Beechtek boxes and the like. And I'll tell you this - pictures is easy; sound is hard.

Tape is a wonderful back-up medium because it's reliable compact and cheap.

tom.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 12:30 PM   #1809
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Thanks again Tom.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 07:24 PM   #1810
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

This is my first time purchasing a digital video camera. My main use is going to be videotaping soccer games. Looking to stay under $500.

My main requirements
- Long Battery Life (at least 1 hour 30 minutes)
- Good Outdoors, bright sunlight and when clouds are out
- Good Zoom

I don't know much about cameras so not sure how much zoom I would actually need. Or if I can't get lengthy batteries, how much is it generally to purchase a spare battery?

Two I've found..

Canon VIXIA HF R10 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder (Black) 4387B001
SENSOR | 2.39 Megapixel 1/5.5" CMOS
ZOOM | Optical: 20x Digital: 400x


Canon VIXIA HF21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder 4060B001 B&H Photo
SENSOR | 3.89 Megapixel 1/4" CMOS
ZOOM | Optical: 15x Digital: 300x




What do you guys think, would either of these cameras be okay for filming, or should I keep looking?
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Old March 11th, 2011, 01:58 AM   #1811
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Yes, either camera would be ok. Me? I'd pick the 15x zoom HF21 because it uses a chip nearly twice the size of the chip in the R10. 15x zoom will be all you can hand-hold, even with Canon's Super OIS on your side. You have money over for a computer trhat can handle the AVCHD files? An external (and directional) microphone? Tripod? Kit bag?

Bigger batteries are available, no problem.

tom.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #1812
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hmm, did a search and Pinnacle Studio 11 Ultimate seems to be the solution. Wouldn't be a problem I suppose.

Hmm, I'll look up the price on the batteries, but the ones that comes with the Camera, how long do you think it can record up to? Cause I don't see a length on the specifications.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 11:40 AM   #1813
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

What about this one? How much difference is in this one vs. the HF21. Specifications seem to be the same.

Canon VIXIA HF M300 Flash Memory Camcorder 4357B001 B&H Photo

Except the Recording media is SD/SDHC Up To 32GB Video/Image. How much difference does that make, is that the DUAL FLASH MEMORY? Will this affect the recording length a lot?
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Old March 11th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #1814
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

You won't go wrong with any of the cameras from Canon, Sony or Panasonic, but the more you pay generally the better the results will look (especially in the dark) and the more manual control you'll be able to exert.

You can't stretch to the Panasonic TM700? This is the camera that's getting all the thumbs up, and from me too. I was bowled over by it's capabilities and performance. Go have a look Oni.

tom.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #1815
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
You can't stretch to the Panasonic TM700? This is the camera that's getting all the thumbs up, and from me too. I was bowled over by it's capabilities and performance.
I'd second that, amazing camcorder, I'm sure you can find it now some places under $700
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