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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:00 PM   #601
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Camera Advice Needed

Here is the question:

In descending order (from about $10,000) which DV cameras are the best for shooting near film quality? I already have an awesome video editing workstation and am now shopping for a camera. I'm leaning toward the Canon XL2 but I'm wondering if I may be able to do better for $10,000 or less.

Please be aware that I by no means think that an expensive camera is going to automatically make me a star, I realize that the camera is only a tool and skill is the more important factor. I just don't want to be dreaming of upgrading six months after the purchase.

Thank you for any advice you guys can offer in selecting a good camera.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:59 PM   #602
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I saw the DVX100 with cinegamma on versus off and the colors with cinegamma on definitely makes video look better. However, I'm guessing you could achieve very similar results in post production through color correction (curves + boosting saturation).

Other than that, I don't think your camera will do that much to make it look more like film. Some allow you to shoot 24p, but I find the difference to be incredibly subtle and some people argue 30p looks better.

Some cameras have real 16:9 CCDs. If your target format is 4:3 then just add black bars for the letterboxing, and gaffer tape on your camera's LCD.

Some cameras let you pull focus... the XL1/XL2 accepts manual lenses with focus marks. Other cameras have servo zooms which don't have focus marks, although the DVX100 has focus markings in the LCD.

Shallow depth of field: Cameras with large CCDs (i.e. 2/3" CCDs on the Panasonic DVC200) and fast lenses (larger aperture) with long focal lengths can give you shallower depth of field. It may not be enough for you however and you might want to look into the mini35 adapter.

2- Other factors are much more important than the camera for achieving a film look.
A- Lighting. You need a talented DOP and lights. This is likely the most important factor.
B- Post processing / color correction. Nowadays you can make your footage look a lot better through color correction (and the tools don't cost much). Vegas for example is excellent at color correction if you figure out how to use the tools in it.
C- Art direction, costume design, make-up. On low budgets this may be a bit difficult.

Those three things IMO greatly overshadow which camera you have. You could get like a DVC30 (cinegamma, optional XLR adapter, 1/4" CCDs) and spend the rest of the money on lights and on production budgets.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #603
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Thank you Glenn, I appreciate your time and help.

When I speak of the film look, I realize that it is achieved by a combination of many factors and not the camera alone.

I know when it comes to art, a talented person can make a masterpiece out of recycled trash, while a person lacking talent can spend thousands of dollars on fancy art supplies and with them produce work that befits a four year old.

I'm just looking to get the best equipment for my money. I certainly don't want to waste my money on bells & whistles I don't need, but on the other hand, I want as many pro features as I need to be able to produce professional work. When it comes to the tool we are using, I don't want it to be a big limiting factor to what I want to accomplish.

Do you know if there is a current thread or perhaps an article on the web that compares side by side the features of the best cameras in the $3,000 to $10,000 price range? It took me a month of research to learn what features I needed and where to get the best bang for my buck, before purchasing my video editing computer. I was hoping some of you had already done a lot of the homework and could make some informed recommendations so I can dedicate my energies to the study and practice of all those other factors that go into the making of good movies.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old December 18th, 2004, 05:29 AM   #604
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There's lots of posts here if you do a search.

Also check out the following, a comparison between the Sony PD150 and the Panasonic DVX100:
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...dvx_pd150.html

You can see that you can achieve really good results with the DVX100- provided you have a talented cinematographer, time, and a talented crew.

Quote:
In order to reap the benefits of the DVX100, you need an excellent cinematographer who understands how to light and compose. You also need the time and talented crew to achieve high production value down the line. I look forward to more cameras as the major manufacturers begin to implement 24p on more cameras. The bounds between the dreams we have and the films we can achieve are no longer monetary but based purely on raw talent.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #605
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Which Camcorder, please?

WHAT’S IT FOR? - Wildlife videography within the range of 50 to 100 metres
LIGHTING ? - Bright daylight usually sun-lit
BACKGROUNDs?- (1)Cliff ledges & rockfaces - browns & yellows (2) Sky blue & grey

Brand/........... Optical Zoom/ Autofocus*/ VideoImageQuality*

Sony PDX10 ........ x 12 ........ _____ * .......... ______*
Pan. AG-DVC30 ... x 16 ......... _____ * .......... ______*
Canon GL2 .......... x 20 ......... _____ * ......... ______*

Question 1
*Would anyone with experience of any of these camcorders outdoors at long distances please rate autofocus (full optical zoom) & video image quality … 1 < 10;
1 = slow/poor;
5 = quick/good
10 = instant/film quality
? = no experience under specified conditions

Question 2
Which other camcorder for this purpose for about $2500 would you recommend?

BM
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Old December 25th, 2004, 11:53 AM   #606
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See feedback in this thread -- thanks,
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Old December 25th, 2004, 04:01 PM   #607
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Thank you Chris.

It was that thread that led me to the DVC30. I am still hoping for opinions based on well-lit outdoor experience at long distances?

BM
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Old December 28th, 2004, 05:24 PM   #608
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Better news!

OK I'm a slow learner but eventually I typed "wildlife" into the DVInfo search box and up came a string of useful threads.

Thanks in particular to all who commented under thread - "Still Photos: Anyone really use this feature?" Most helpful re Canon GL2. And I've several more threads there to learn from.

Onwards!

BM
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Old December 28th, 2004, 06:53 PM   #609
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I don't know what kind of "wildlife" experience you have but bright sunlight and 50-100 yards shots are not really the norm for most larger animals. Most animals are active at dusk and dawn when they go feeding (low light) and unless they are domesticated they won't "want" you within half a mile of them (and they will know you're coming long before you know they're there). So with that in mind I would recommend an XL2 or even an XL1s with an adapter to accommodate the EOS lens system and pick up some really fast telephoto lenses.
I have done some wildlife photography and even with my array of tele lenses ranging from 300mm f2.8 - 600mm f4.0 I still found myself wishing for more at times, especially if I used a tele extender like a 1.5 or 2X on top of that. Keeping your distance (obviously closer than a half mile though, haha) will allow you to get better more natural shots as well as more quantity because animals are not as spooked when you stay a greater distance away. Keep in mind that when you put a 35mm lens on a mini-DV camera like the XL1 there is a multiplier factor so you can take a common lens like the 80-200mm f2.8 and it works out to something like a 500-1400mm (I don't remember the exact conversion but I think it's around 7 for that camera) so that would be REALLY SWEET for wildlife.

If I were doing wildlife, that would be the ONLY option I would consider even if it meant I had to wait a little longer to save money. It's just too sweet a setup.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 04:13 AM   #610
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Thank you Rhett for lifting the curtain on wildlife videography.

In fact I only have eyes for large raptors in slow flight and after 20 years birdwatching I've found 2 sites where I can get a tripod within 75 yards of vultures and eagles gliding into and around favourite roosts and perches right through the day in spring and autumn (feeding or nesting not involved.) The birds have become accustomed to passing traffic and have had nothing to fear from guns for 60 years at least.

Are the XL1 & XL2 that much better than the GL2 given that the target has a wingspan of 3 yards and it's the full image hovering in slow flight/hanging in the wind that I want to video? But you're probably spot on because while I want the full wingspan I do want to move in and out to reveal plumage detail and that's where your lenses may pay off. To nail this point down please confirm that the GL2's x20 will not video quality images of such detail at 75 yards whereas the XL1 or XL2 + which lens(?) will. What about the Sony HDR-FX1 + lenses(?) ?

Don't go away now and leave me in mid-air! The wind might drop.

BM
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Old December 29th, 2004, 01:27 PM   #611
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The quality of the XL over the GL is quite noticeable because of the larger chips. The other advantage is that the XL's have interchangeable lenses and neither the GL nor the FX1 do.
I don't know if you shoot 35mm film (still photography) but Canon EOS lenses will fit the XL's with a special adapter. That's where it really makes sense. (if you already have the still lenses) I remember reading about a sports photographer who slapped a 1200mm f5.6 on an XL1 and he said he could read a hand written note on notebook paper from something like 1-2 miles away! That's just CRAZY!! Of course, few can afford a lens like that but it really gives you an idea of what is possible with that camera setup. (the Canon web site claims 24mm-17,280mm in 35mm film equivalent!)
If all you're going to do is wildlife it would be a worthy investment. Even if you got the XL2 (or XL1s) with the 20x lens and saved for the adapter and some lenses. You can probably even rent the adapter and lens but I'm not sure how it works in your part of the world.

There is an area near Denver, Colorado I used to shoot Bald Eagles and it's a similar setup. It was hard to get many shots inside 75 yards (with most being well over 100). The standard 20X lens is somewhere around a 50mm-1000mm equivalent so it might just do you well for a start.
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Old December 31st, 2004, 05:33 AM   #612
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Thank you Rhett.

It's taken me a while to verify that you're right and CNET Review is wrong ... the FX1 does NOT have interchangeability lens facility. Your suggestions re using my present lens (Sigma 75-300) are also very helpful.

How can I begin to understand the rules of magnification? Example: what is the effect of using 75-300 at full zoom on XL2? Why might that be any better than using it on XL1s? Another example: What do Canon mean when they claim 24mm - 17,280mm in 35mm film equivalent? (I'm at pre-school level on this having enjoyed nothing more complex than 8 x 30 binocs for super distance viewing).

What's the next step up in lens from 75-300 and what brand of lens and brand of adaptor do you recommend?

Brendan
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:52 PM   #613
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Prosumer Camera on a budget

Finally I can post! I've been browsing the forum for over a week now looking for any information I could get on the prosumer range of cameras. I have made the decision to get a camera but I'm unsure of what I should be going for. I'm finding man differing opinions on these and other boards. It's hard to find the right threads that ask the questions I want answered.

My needs are as follows (possibly too demanding for the price range but...)
Can film low light/night shots well
Can film well indoors with or without light
Can film well outdoors
The image quality must be good/cinematic or close to cinematic as possible.

What I intend on doing with the camera is mostly indie films, shorts and possibly some paid work (commercials and the like).
Right now I have a ZR90 and it simply doesn't cut it by an means.

Unfortunately for me, there are not many (if any) specialty camera shops in my area that I can test high-end cameras in. My price range is around 5000$.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:57 PM   #614
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I hada ZR60 and it didnt cut it for me..so i went and bought an older studio camera off ebay...900.00....and can connet the svideo out to record on a mini dv camera. Great quality and a low price.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 05:15 PM   #615
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Canon just released 3 new Elura camcorders that use a new 1.33mp CCD- check them out....they should be a step-up from the old Elura and ZR series camcorders.
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