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Old August 4th, 2004, 06:11 AM   #466
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I had this very same problem myself, a few weeks ago. I wanted frame mode, so was gonna go with the GL2. But it just seemed like a plastic cam.

IMO if you want durability, and frame mode another option is the Panasonic DVC30. I have bought one and am not dissapointed. It has a metal alloy body (not plastic like GL2), Frame mode + cine gamma, fantastically controllable 16x zoom lens, a modular design to accept upgrades, and a shape and menu system similar to the DVX100.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #467
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Well I certainly agree that you need to buy a camera that "feels good" to you, and I don't own either a GL-2 or DVC-30 (I have Sony's). However I've seen other people tout the metal body on the DVC-30 before and that sounds a bit like marketing hype IMO. I am certainly not saying that it isn't a great camera, but I just wonder how much value a metal body has? And I also wonder what the GL-2 is made of?

If you're worried about durability then do a little research and see how often the GL-2 breaks or falls apart. Like I said, I don't own one, but I don't really remember seeing people say they're fragile in the forums here or elsewhere. But maybe I've missed something? Now if you just don't like the way the GL-2 feels that could certainly be reason not to buy it, no argument there.

My point is that you should buy the camera based on whether it has the features you want, owner experiences and preferably first hand experience. All the manufacturers hype certain features of their products and that's just part of the game. Try to see through this and evaluate the important aspects.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 12:13 AM   #468
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camera

i purchased my dvx100ap from b&h, included, 1 9hr battery, wide angle .x6
came to 5600canadian
took it across the border in a bag....
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 12:04 PM   #469
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Getting more serious. What type of camera? Shoulder mount?

Greetings. This is a newbie question and I know I'm gonna get flamed, but I need the advice.

I've been playing around with my Canon Optura Xi, Final Cut, etc. mostly doing family video, trying to learn as much as I can and hoping to turn my hobby into something that could someday get me out of the IT biz. I've been reading as much as I can about and experimenting with lighting, sound and editing.

I am about to accept some paid jobs doing corporate training videos (interviews, Q&A, demonstrations) and also some jobs shooting the action for a stock car racing pit crew.

I think that I need to get a new camera, both for quality reasons (although I'm not sure that *I* could tell the difference) and to appear more "pro" (I just don't think that showing up with my Optura Xi is a good idea.)

I looking at the Canon GL2 ($2050), Panasonic AG-DVC30 ($2100), Panasonic AG-DVX100A ($3500), Sony DCR-VX2100 ($3150). I plan to go on a "fact finding mission" to B&H in New York soon (I live in CA).

When I get there, what should I look for? How should I check out these cameras?

Also, Panasonic has announced a shoulder mounted version of the DVC30, the AG-DVC60 ($2400). Should I be considering a shoulder style camera? It seems like it looks more "pro", and I can see it being handy around the pit crew, and I like the fact that it has XLR inputs, but I can also see that there could be some disadvantages too. Essentially, is the shoulder style a good idea, or would I be better off getting a quality hand-held camera?

Thanks! This is a great forum and hope to start contributing often.

--Cameron
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 12:18 PM   #470
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Re: Getting more serious. What type of camera? Shoulder mount?

<<<-- Originally posted by Cameron ORourke : I looking at the Canon GL2 ($2050), Panasonic AG-DVC30 ($2100), Panasonic AG-DVX100A ($3500), Sony DCR-VX2100 ($3150). -->>>

Perhaps you were looking at list prices? The VX-2100 leapt out at me, it sells for $2,350 at B&H. Or maybe you were thinking of the PD-170 which they sell for $3,200? There is now a $300 rebate on the PD-170 which lowers the price to $2,900 - not a bad deal at all.

As far as the shoulder mount thing, I know that some people will find this more impressive. However keep in mind that the DVC-60 only has 1/4" chips and doesn't have some of the other advantages of "real" shoulder-mount cameras, like interchangeable lenses and a high resolution viewfinder. Of course it is considerably cheaper though. I suppose you need to balance the need to create a good impression versus a desire to get the best image for the buck. If you already have these jobs lined up then maybe you should concentrate on image quality?

Why in the world would anyone flame you on this topic? You must be thinking of some other website... ;-) Happy shopping!
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 12:33 PM   #471
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I'd go with the dvc60 because for one it looks pro, which is very important for the sort of paying jobs your talking about. Also, if your doing ENG type of stuff, shooting from the shoulder is the only way to be really solid. This cameras cine gamma technology should also render more pleasing results under uncontrolled circumstances.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 12:49 PM   #472
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Boyd, thanks. You are right, I forgot to get the selling price at B&H for the VX-2100.

You mentioned the PD-170 which I noticed is a DVCAM. Is DVCAM (vs. DV) something that I should be looking into?

Also is a 1/4" chipset with 410,000 pixels each (The DVC-30) inferior to a 1/3" chipset with 380,000 pixels each (the Sony VX2100) ? This is confusing.

Also, I notice that some of the more "pro" cameras like the PD-170 have a black and white viewfinder whereas the "less pro" DVC-30 has a color viewfinder. Plus the DVC-30 has a 3.5" LCD whereas most of the other cameras have only a 2.5" LCD. I have a BeachTek XLR transformer so on-board XLR would be nice, but is not essential.

I'm starting to think that I ought to try and rent some of these cameras to really get the skinny. :-/

--Cameron
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 02:12 PM   #473
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everything you need from b&h can be done online, i wouldn't spend the money for a trip, just to visit 'em... spend those $$$ on a better camera.

those little sony 3-chip cameras take a great picture, but you need to examine all the controls, to see if some of the functions you'll need are easily accessible... sony will sometimes bury things in silly menus, because there simply isn't enuf real estate on a small camera to make all the functionality externally accessible... the xl1s does a pretty good job of that, once you understand the rather arcane button setups.

the ideal solution for shoulder-shooting is to have an optically-stabilized(not electronically-stabilized) lense, especially if you are rather new to the video game... you can get shoulder mounts for the small cameras, but i've never tried one.

no matter what camera you get, the bottom line is always how well you know the camera itself, and how good you are as a shooter.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 03:09 PM   #474
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Dan, thanks. The reason I was thinking of actually visiting B&H was to actually get my hands on the cameras and try them out -- check out the location of the controls, feel the balance, check out the optical stabilization, etc.

When you say "little sony 3-chip cameras), are you referring to the Sony DCR-VX2100?

Something else I'm wondering. I've heard lots of references to being "skilled with the camera" or being "a good shoorter". I've found all kinds of books on NLE, lighting, sound, scriptwriting, directing, etc. but nothing on how to skillfully capture a scene. I know there must be a whole body of knowledge on this...

Thanks,
Cameron
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 04:20 PM   #475
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Being a skilled shooter isn't just frame composition, its as plethora of things usually learned through experience (or a good message board :) ). Like if you do the pit crew video, you need to know when to keep the camera rolling. You certainly won't be shooting for 4-8 hours straight, so you're going to have to be intuitive about when and when not to be recording. The biggest part is prepreoduction. Plan ahead of time what shots you need to get to be able to create a narrative later in your NLE. You should probably sit down with your clients and go over the shooting script to make sure they get what they want, and let them feel like they have a little input. Once you know what shots you need, think about the time of day when you'll need to get certain shots so you can put them in a logical order. For example, which parts of the racetrack will be accessible during the race day? Should you go a day earlier for some comparison shots of the grounds without the crowds, or for some quiet pit interviews on the grounds? etc... Being a good shooter is as much being comfortable with your cam as it is being prepared.

With today's cams, shoulder mount is not a must unless you're doing hours handheld (ENG and the like). People won't be offput by a smaller camera unless you walk in with a little matchbook cam. As long as it's bigger than the one they have at home and has more buttons, you should be all right. Plus once you add on a mic, a big lens hood, lights, etc...a medium sized cam will look plenty pro. If you have the lighting, you could easily get away with 1/4" chips (outdoor, daytime), but for the corporate stuff, 1/3" will give you a little leniency indoors.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 03:18 AM   #476
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Hi Cameron,

A nifty camera that "has been discontinued" from Panasonic is the AG-DVC80. B&H currently has them in stock at $2400. I have one and it gives me superb footage. Has XLR built in and is the DVX100As little brother, almost identical. The 80 has the 1/3" chips - its replacement, the DVC30 has 1/4" chips. Its worth a long look imo.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 10:10 AM   #477
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Jesse, thanks for the advise -- I'm reading it very carefully. And, I've decided that for what I'm doing that a shoulder mount is just plain silly. Image quality should be my first consideration -- not sure what I was thinking...
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 10:43 AM   #478
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Bill, thanks.

I'm starting to "get" that 1/3" CCDs are really a lot better than 1/4" CCDs, although I'm not sure exactly why if the pixel count isn't any different, or is even less (especially if the lens is the same size).

But in any case the DVC80 is a good lead as its $1000 cheaper than the DVX100A. Other than not getting 24p and Cinegamma, the specs look identical -- and I'm not really going to be creating films, at least not for a while. :-P Can you think of anything else that the DVX100A has over the DVC80?

Also, are there any comments on Panasonic's optical image stabilization vs. Canon and Sony? I've read that it is problematic.

Thanks,
Cameron
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 11:32 AM   #479
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Woa.

While you may go for a loaf-of-bread (LOB) form-factor camera, the highest image quality is the domain of the on-the-shoulder pro cameras. The shoulder-mounted DVX-60 isn't in the pro camp but does deserve consideration in your application.

I'll give you an example. Ever notice the shots in the CNN coverage of car races where the camera is very close to the ground and then swoops over tires and up over the hood line of a car? That's very hard with a LOB camera because it doesn't have the mass (and what it has isn't placed to advantage) to stabilize the shot. A heavier, deeper profile pro camera will provide a stability because of it's mass and the mass location. LOBs are quite difficult to hold steady compared to an on-the-shoulder- camera

Comments about inaccessible controls doesn't apply to the DSR-170 or the VX-2100. All required shooting controls are external and separate. Setup items are on menus.

DVCam is exactly the same image quality as DV.

BTW, I use everything from a large shoulder-mount camera to a fit-in-the-pocket camera and a lipstick camera. Fit the camera to the job, as you are trying to do, is always a good idea.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 01:02 PM   #480
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the advantage with an "lob" configuration is that you have optical image stabilization, flip-out lcd monitor, and a top handle... even a trained monkey can get a steady swoop shot with that kind of a rig! j/k

the problem comes in trying to hold a tiny camera steady in front of you... many inexperienced shooters will try a two-handed shot using the flip-out lcd monitor... imho, totally the wrong approach, anchor it on your shoulder with an aftermarket mount, and use the eyepiece to frame the shot, not the flip-out monitor... you should also have easy access to the zoom and exposure controls at the same time.

i would go down to goodguys or maybe fry's, and get some hands-on with the smaller cameras... the last tiny camera i shot with was the old sony 950, and it's functionality was a joke, compared to what i can do with the xl1s.

the classic difficult motorsports shot is when you have to make radical manual exposure adjustments, while doing fast pans at the same time.
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