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Old March 28th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #1846
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Nate & Les, thank you for your responses.

-I saw a used Panasonic AF100 at B7H & will investigate that option.
-B&H recommended the Rode NTG2 used within 6 feet of the subject, so it's good to get confirmation of that suggestion. I previously used lavaliers though they weren't recommended on another website due to potential noise...
--B&H also recommended for a tripod the Manfrotto 701 with 190 legs and the Sunpak LED 96 for lighting. Any thoughts on those? In my basic lighting workshop, they discussed 3 point lighting, so I am hoping to use the LED with window/home lighting.

Thanks for helping a total beginner!
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Old March 28th, 2012, 12:04 PM   #1847
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

That's a photo tripod. It will basically work but a video tripod has a bowl at the top and a head that fits in it. You level the head by loosening the head, swivel it until level and tighten. No leg length adjustments.

While this is probably over your budget, the Sachtler ACE, FSB4, Vinten Blue and similar are examples. There may be a cheap bowl system the same price as what they recommended. If you stay with video production very long, you will get a good one eventually.

A window, an LED and a reflector will let you experiment with 3-point lighting. I always recommend starting out small and actually doing lighting....then you know what else you need.

The Rode NTG-2 has a battery compartment. As long as your camera has phantom power (the af-100 DOES), the battery is unneeded and making the thing bigger than you need.When you go to mount it on your camera someday, it'll start to get in the way. The NTG-1 is smaller (I have one) and the AT975 is even smaller (I wish I had one).

Also, if you have time to wait, you can monitor the Classified Listings section of DVInfo. It's a great way to get good stuff as sellers and buyers reputations are at stake here... FWIW.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 12:43 PM   #1848
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

If I may play devil's advocate here... Is an AF100 really the best first camera for someone totally new to video?

It may be a fun thing to learn for experienced photo/video people, but some starters may find it terrifying (not least trying to work out what lens is needed for what occasion).

Carla, I'm not saying that it's not a good camera for you, just to give it lots of thought. The two cameras you named (the JVC HM 150 and the Canon XF100) are compact, reasonably easy to use, do a good job on auto, and are more than ample for web videos etc. They both offer phantom power and enough features to make good interviews. Picture quality would be crystal clear, and I dare say not many clients would complain about the background not being too blurred.

Sure you won't get that good shallow DOF you get with a lens on an AF100. But is it really what you need?
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Old March 28th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #1849
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
That's a photo tripod. It will basically work but a video tripod has a bowl at the top and a head that fits in it. You level the head by loosening the head, swivel it until level and tighten. No leg length adjustments.

While this is probably over your budget, the Sachtler ACE, FSB4, Vinten Blue and similar are examples. There may be a cheap bowl system the same price as what they recommended. If you stay with video production very long, you will get a good one eventually.

A window, an LED and a reflector will let you experiment with 3-point lighting. I always recommend starting out small and actually doing lighting....then you know what else you need.

The Rode NTG-2 has a battery compartment. As long as your camera has phantom power (the af-100 DOES), the battery is unneeded and making the thing bigger than you need.When you go to mount it on your camera someday, it'll start to get in the way. The NTG-1 is smaller (I have one) and the AT975 is even smaller (I wish I had one).

Also, if you have time to wait, you can monitor the Classified Listings section of DVInfo. It's a great way to get good stuff as sellers and buyers reputations are at stake here... FWIW.
OK, great information. I will try to find a cheaper tripod system to start and will keep those other ones on my list. I am just starting a business and don't want to sink too much $ into it yet. Thanks much for the other suggestions and for explaining things at my novice level.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #1850
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

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Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
If I may play devil's advocate here... Is an AF100 really the best first camera for someone totally new to video?

It may be a fun thing to learn for experienced photo/video people, but some starters may find it terrifying (not least trying to work out what lens is needed for what occasion).

Carla, I'm not saying that it's not a good camera for you, just to give it lots of thought. The two cameras you named (the JVC HM 150 and the Canon XF100) are compact, reasonably easy to use, do a good job on auto, and are more than ample for web videos etc. They both offer phantom power and enough features to make good interviews. Picture quality would be crystal clear, and I dare say not many clients would complain about the background not being too blurred.

Sure you won't get that good shallow DOF you get with a lens on an AF100. But is it really what you need?
Thank you, Mike, I think you are right. I am not a very technical person so I do need something that is more user friendly, especially as a novice. I took a workshop and borrowed a Sony Z5 from my community media center and it was a bit intimidating for me. I will be interviewing people in order to preserve personal and family histories so good image and sound quality are important, but perhaps I should work up to a more sophisticated camera like the AF100.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #1851
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hi Carla,

I may not be right in the end, but "look before you leap" is always a wise choice I think. Can you get hands-on with any of these cameras? I'm not going to recommend an exact model of camera as a first response, as that would be unfair on your decision-making process.

One big question is - what is your budget? AF100 + lens + tripod might be more than you are willing to pay.

A benefit of the smaller cameras is they can look a lot less intimidating to the people who you are interviewing. You can break down the JVC (take the handle off) and be left with a very small, compact camera that you can take anywhere, and not look like a TV crew.

For interviews, you could stick one of theses cameras on a simple Manfrotto 701HDV-type tripod and it will get you started, and may even be everything you'd ever need. You also have less to carry with a compact camera and simpler tripod. It's all part of the equation.

As always, if you can try a camera in a store, or borrow one, or find someone who'll let you fondle their camera(!) - it's the best way to see what suits you best.

Think of the editing too; the 50Mb/s highest output of the Canon is probably overkill for you, and may lead to headaches when editing - a lower bitrate would suffice on this camera. You also have to buy reasonably expensive Compact Flash cards, instead of the relatively affordable SDHC cards in the JVC - and the JVC records native Quicktime files if you have an Apple Mac, which can be useful.

Will the compact cameras give the same results as an AF100 or similar spec of camera? No, I don't think so. But do you _need_ that higher spec of camera? Only you can tell!

There is a lot to think about here! This is only scratching the surface... But ask away, one thing you're not going to be short of here are opinions.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #1852
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Mike - Thanks for this additional info. It all helps me think this through. The editing is one reason I was leaning to the JVC, since I just got Final Cut Pro X. I am concerned about the intimidation factor, since I have interviewed elderly people who are even nervous about an audio recorder. But I guess the main concern I had with these Canon and JVC models is the frequently repeated remark in B&H reviews about being them bad in low light, since most of my interviews will be indoors. So I guess I will just have to be sure that I do the lighting setup properly!
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Old March 28th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #1853
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

I don't have one but from the people here on DVInfo I trust, the AF-100 a fine camera and does well in low light. It's a manual lens camera so you'll be zooming, focussing and exposing manually using the focus and exposure assist features of the camera. There's a learning curve to all cameras and each one has negatives.

I suggest you take the B&H reviews with a bit of a grain of salt. There's an AF-100 forum here with lots of information and users willing to help you figure out if it's good for you. They'll also be there to help you out if you decide to get one.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #1854
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Thanks for letting me know about the AF-100 forum. I will check that out!
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Old March 29th, 2012, 03:01 AM   #1855
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

One thing about that though.... (and I am generalising, and not trying to offend)

If you go to the AF100 forum, the advice leans towards "buy an AF100"!

If you go to the NX5 forum, the advice leans towards "buy an NX5"!

etc.

The only exception is the NX70 forum, where the advice tends to be "don't buy an NX70"! <grin>
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Old March 29th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #1856
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Yes, I have noticed that tendency in reviews :-). I would love to see a "top ten" type of rating somewhere. I know that would be of limited use, but does such a thing exist?
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Old March 29th, 2012, 10:28 AM   #1857
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

@Carla, don't outsource this decision. This isn't a toaster or a car. There are plusses and negatives to each camera and there are situations for which some cameras are not suitable and other situations they may ONLY suitable for.

A camera may be FANTASTIC for a certain kind of shoot and that's what people may rave about but in another type of shoot, be less than suitable. A feature that's a positive in one case may be a don't care in another. As you read DVInfo, you will hear cameras commonly referred to as tools in a toolbox and that you pick the right tool for the job.

All that said, from what you describe as your main use, how you describe yourself and the fact that on your own you avoided a very common pitfall and arrived at a reasonable selection (AF-100), I think it will be a good selection provided you are willing to climb the learning curve. From what I see and read, you will get stunning results. There are other cameras that wouldn't be good but if you outsource the decision, you may end up with a great camera according to someone else but for you, be a poor choice. BUT, if you don't want to learn to get the most out of your camera and want it to do everything then the AF-100 isn't a good choice. You won't get as good a result either and that's the rub: point and shoot camera to get bad-mediocre results vs a quality manual camera that with skill is capable of getting stunning results.

When you read the AF-100 forum, keep an eye out for posts by Olof Ekbergh. He's an AF-100 user with a bazillion years of production experience with all kinds of equipment. He and his wife run Westside AV and they are a sponsor of DVInfo.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 12:29 PM   #1858
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
That's a photo tripod. It will basically work but a video tripod has a bowl at the top and a head that fits in it. You level the head by loosening the head, swivel it until level and tighten. No leg length adjustments. ...

The Rode NTG-2 has a battery compartment. As long as your camera has phantom power (the af100 DOES), the battery is unneeded and making the thing bigger than you need.When you go to mount it on your camera someday, it'll start to get in the way. The NTG-1 is smaller (I have one) and the AT975 is even smaller (I wish I had one).
Just to clarify a little, there are plenty of very good video tripods that don't use bowl heads. On some of these you can buy a ball leveller to have the best of both worlds with a flat mount head.

And with the NTG2 mic, whether there is a battery installed or not, it's the same size. Adding the batt affects the weight, not the size, as the compartment would just be empty if you used Phantom. If the point was that a batt-compatible mic is bigger inherently than a different non-batt mic, that's usually true, but many people like having the versatility of two power choices.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #1859
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

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...And with the NTG2 mic, whether there is a battery installed or not, it's the same size. Adding the batt affects the weight, not the size, ...
The NTG-2 is 10.94 inches and the NTG-1 is 8.54 inches long. My point was that the NTG-2 is longer than the NTG-1 and when phantom is available, the extra length unneeded and unwanted if/when camera mounted. I was not implying it was longer when the battery was in it.

Last edited by Les Wilson; March 29th, 2012 at 04:07 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #1860
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
@Carla, don't outsource this decision. This isn't a toaster or a car. There are plusses and negatives to each camera and there are situations for which some cameras are not suitable and other situations they may ONLY suitable for.

A camera may be FANTASTIC for a certain kind of shoot and that's what people may rave about but in another type of shoot, be less than suitable. A feature that's a positive in one case may be a don't care in another. As you read DVInfo, you will hear cameras commonly referred to as tools in a toolbox and that you pick the right tool for the job.

All that said, from what you describe as your main use, how you describe yourself and the fact that on your own you avoided a very common pitfall and arrived at a reasonable selection (AF-100), I think it will be a good selection provided you are willing to climb the learning curve. From what I see and read, you will get stunning results. There are other cameras that wouldn't be good but if you outsource the decision, you may end up with a great camera according to someone else but for you, be a poor choice. BUT, if you don't want to learn to get the most out of your camera and want it to do everything then the AF-100 isn't a good choice. You won't get as good a result either and that's the rub: point and shoot camera to get bad-mediocre results vs a quality manual camera that with skill is capable of getting stunning results.

When you read the AF-100 forum, keep an eye out for posts by Olof Ekbergh. He's an AF-100 user with a bazillion years of production experience with all kinds of equipment. He and his wife run Westside AV and they are a sponsor of DVInfo.
My challenge is trying to evaluate cameras when I know so little (hence the outsourcing impulse :-). Ideally I would have more experience before buying, so I may try renting for awhile. Thanks.
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