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Old April 9th, 2012, 02:51 PM   #1861
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hey guys,

Thought i'd post this here instead of starting a new thread. I know this question gets asked over and over again, but after sifting through a lot of threads and reviews, i'm still a bit lost.

I'm looking for a video camera for event videography and the occasional short film, budget of no more than $4000 or so. I have a XA10 currently, but i'm in need of a second camera.

I've been set on the Canon XF100 for its MXF file format and broadcast friendly 50mbit recording, but after doing a lot of reading it seems that there may be better options out there.

Any advice/tips appreciated! Cheers.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 04:04 PM   #1862
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Have you considered a DSLR?

I used an XA10 as the master camera at a speaking event recently while shooting the tight stuff with a 5D2. With the 5D2 in the Natural picture style and the XA10 in Movie (or is it Cinema) and both with minimum contrast and sharpness, they cut together really well. Dialing both to the same color temperature really nailed it. The XA10 did a fixed wide shot and ran continuously, capturing audio. The 5D2 only runs for 12 minutes at a time, so it was great for the tight shots as I had to tilt and pan and could stop/restart the recording during transitions.

Clearly, the 5D2 doesn't work well at events on it's own, but the XA10 makes it quite viable - especially with its XLR inputs and phantom power. I just set the 5D2 audio to Auto and use it for sync.

Of course, a DSLR really shines for short films. The 12 minute limit isn't an issue. The artistic control over DOF is empowering. Light sensitivity simplifies setups. The range of available lenses is huge.

A 5D3 would eat most of your budget before lenses. A 5D2 with a Mosaic Engineering VAF anti-aliasing filter would leave more change on the table. A new T4i or 7D2 could be introduced soon. (Disclaimer: I have no inside info. Just reading tea leaves.) Just be aware that the camera and lenses make a package and that a full frame 5D2 would lead to a completely different set of lenses than a crop cam T4i.

Whether this is viable or not probably depends most on what types of events you shoot and how you shoot them. The more that the camera and subjects move, the more challenging it is for a DSLR. Shooting video of speakers at a podium is a piece of cake. A toddler who jumps up and down to stick her face in the camera will be tough to track. Style matters too. At weddings, out of focus moments can look romantic. At a court proceeding, an out of focus moment looks like a mistake.

The irony for events is that I find the 5D2 easier to operate than the XA10 for video. The 5D2 has a number of buttons and informative displays that make the settings easy to set and double check. I found the XA10 touchscreen menus to be much slower for accessing key items.

Anyway, a DSLR is worth a consideration, but it really depends on the type of events you shoot. For narrative short films, a DSLR is an easy choice.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 04:21 PM   #1863
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Thanks for the reply Jon.

I should have mentioned that I have a 600D too. It's obviously not a 5D but in terms of picture quality I think it comes close enough.

I do tend to use my XA10 more often due to its simplicity compared to a DSLR. I love the control over the DoF with the 600D but I just find the post production workflow to be quite tedious.

Plus I shoot more events (sports, weddings, etc) than short films, so I think a video camera is the better choice. And I think the XA10 would be a great B camera if I had something with more buttons/manual controls and a better shooting format (AVCHD is good but i'd prefer MXF).


Thanks for the comments, much appreciated :D
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Old April 9th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #1864
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Yeah, the 600D definitely qualifies as a DSLR. :)

Regarding post, have you tried NeoScene and Plural Eyes? If you transcode directly from the card to the hard drive, it's not much slower than copying AVCHD files - if you have a fast computer. I generally sync by hand, but PluralEyes can help simplify the audio part.

I generally think of the production part (keeping focus, rolling shutter if handheld, aliasing, changing lenses) as the bigger limits to event production, rather than workflow. For a 90-minute event, I can transcode and sync pretty quickly, compared to the time it takes to make creative decisions, add titles, transitions, color correct, and (especially) render. Then again, every minute saved can help!

The XF100 looks like a nice choice. It should match the XA10 well, and it has many of the buttons that I wish we had on our XA10. I haven't used it, but it's likely a really nice choice - unless some surprises appear next week at NAB...
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Old April 9th, 2012, 06:25 PM   #1865
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Obvious ones in that price range you probably already looked at are the current crop of 3-ring, 3-chip solid state cameras from Sony (NX5u, AX2000) and Panasonic (AC130 and AC160). The 3-ring cameras tend to have the manual controls and non-menu buttons you probably refer to. There's also the idea of picking up a used EX1 in that price range. You have to go up to the $6K range to get 3-ring, 3-chip, solid state in the Canon line as they've abandoned the sub $5000 market with that kind of camera. You'll want to have decent control of the image so as to match it with your other cameras.

A newcomer in that price range is the just announced PMW-100 but it hasn't shipped so you won't find much other than Sony's press release stuff.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #1866
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Interesting comments, thanks.

Yes i've looked at the cameras mentioned above. There's a lot of choice and the decision gets a bit daunting.

What is the general consensus on CMOS vs CCD? In my price range I could go for either one... but both seem to have pros and cons..
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Old April 9th, 2012, 08:28 PM   #1867
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

CCDs are really no longer being used in new cameras. Especially at this price point. There are however, old cameras like the tape based XH-A1s that is still being sold that uses a CCD. JVC has a CCD based solid state camera... the HM100 I think. I looked at it as a B-camera and decided against it because of it's poor low light performance. In it's day, it was well received and there are things about it you may like. But according to what I read it needs light. FYI, Luminous Landscape did a pretty thorough and seemingly independent review of it. I have not used it so caveat emptor.

Cameras with CCDs do not have as good low light performance as their equivalent CMOS endowed cameras (e.g. the Sony Z5 1/3" 3-CMOS was slightly better than the similarly equipped Canon A1s). Research will reveal that CMOS cameras have varying levels of "Rolling Shutter" effects. Some cameras are worse than others. Your 600D, XA10 and the XF100 are all CMOS. It's just the way modern cameras in this price range are made.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 08:54 PM   #1868
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Thanks, that pretty much confirms what I thought. I personally don't have issues with rolling shutter on my XA10 unless there's camera flash or similar.. and even then I don't hate the effect.

I'm tossing up between the XF100, AC-130, and a couple of the Sony models at this stage.. I guess it's just a matter of research and hopefully making the right choice!

Do any cameras in that price range have any significant control over depth of field (in comparison to a DSLR for example)? My one complaint about the XA10 is a very wide DoF. I realise it's the nature of that type of camera with that type of lens/sensor, but it'd be nice to get something with a slightly shallower DoF.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #1869
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

The XF100 should be good enough for your work.

Caveat: Don't assume the 'broadcast-ready codec' of the XF100 as being acceptable. The codec definitely meets the high specifications of major broadcasters, but the sensor fails.

For shallower DOF you might want to stretch the budget and aim for an AF100 or FS100. If it is a paying business it might turn out to be a sound investment. You could sell one of your existing equipment to cover some costs.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 01:36 AM   #1870
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Could you explain a bit more about what impact the sensor has on broadcast specifications?

I was under the impression that 1920x1080, 50mbit, 4:2:2 colour was all that really mattered.

Thanks for the input.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 10:16 AM   #1871
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

The specifications call for a minimum sensor size. In the case of BBC for example, cameras must have a sensor with a diagonal size of greater than 0.5 inches per CCD. The XF100 is 1/3 inch CCD and does not qualify. You'll need 1/2 or 2/3 inch 3 CCD cameras to meet that requirement.

You really didn't expect a $3,000 camera to be eligible for broadcast when the same company has a $16,000 monster that offers roughly the same codec, did you? AFAIK, the C300 is the cheapest production worthy broadcast-ready camera that does not require an external recorder. The Scarlet might be close, but I wouldn't go to the trouble of assembling a complex system with an unconventional workflow if all I wanted was HD broadcast, but that's just me.

Technical specifications for each network is available online. Some of these specs are from the dinosaur era and don't make sense in today's age, but are strictly enforced nonetheless. Networks work in tandem with camera manufacturers, and the latter have to protect their expensive babies, some of whom cost more than the Sony F65 or Arri Alexa.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #1872
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jody Arnott View Post
Could you explain a bit more about what impact the sensor has on broadcast specifications? I was under the impression that 1920x1080, 50mbit, 4:2:2 colour was all that really mattered....
I think the matter was expressed well by Alister Chapman in a similar discussion about the PMW-100 which also has a single 1/3" chip and 4:2:2 CODEC:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-...ml#post1725851
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Old June 18th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #1873
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Hi,

I'm needing some advice, I'm wanting a 'cheap' camcorder for filming my little one. Just to keep a video diary '(of sorts) for her future. I've tried using a basic 100 pound camcorder but when i transfered the footage to disc, to show on a TV. The image quality was poor!!

Some, I'm needing a camcorder that has a reasonable quality when transfered to disc, to show on a TV, I don't mind if it using mini dv tape, i'd prefer one that records to a card.

thanks
andrew
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Old June 18th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #1874
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Carter View Post
Hi,

I'm needing some advice, I'm wanting a 'cheap' camcorder for filming my little one. Just to keep a video diary '(of sorts) for her future. I've tried using a basic 100 pound camcorder but when i transfered the footage to disc, to show on a TV. The image quality was poor!!

Some, I'm needing a camcorder that has a reasonable quality when transfered to disc, to show on a TV, I don't mind if it using mini dv tape, i'd prefer one that records to a card.

thanks
andrew
100 pounds is way too heavy to be convenient!
:-)

Seriously speaking, I occasionally use a Canon Vixia and the results are very nice. Good enough to intercut with my Sony EX1 without it being too obvious.
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Old June 27th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #1875
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Re: The gigantic "which camera should I buy" thread!

Greetings:

I need to recommend a camcorder for a friend who will be recording teacher's training seminars at NYC Education Department for the next three years. The sessions are held in an auditorium where light levels are about 80-100 Lux ( sec F 2.8 ISO 100 on my Sekonic meter)

Their budget is around $6000 for a camera which should have AF and along OIS will full manual controls.

I was thinking about suggesting either Sony EX-1R or Panasonic AF-100 with 14-42mm Panny lens.

Need your advice.

TIA
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