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Old October 10th, 2002, 11:29 AM   #1
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need help with choice...

Heya all,

I am a small independent film maker in my spare time, whilst being a student. I saved for a while and am ready to buy a camera, was looking at the xl1s PAL (since i am in australia) but now i am thinking maybe buying a used profession not pro-sumer camera is the way to go.

I know little about the pro range, but i see quite a few go up for sale at the same price as a xl1s, i guess pro houses and owners upgrade quite often for work purposes and a lot of fairly new camera's are floating around.

I was thinking alike in most techincal products the latest and greatest get thrown into a pro style unit well before it trickles to consumer, so while a camera may be 2 years old it could have better features than a brand new consumer camera.

I know a lot of you will say, it all depends on what you want from the camera and that will curve your decision, well i tell you what i want. I want the absolute most professional looking, pleasing to the eye, and most filmic ( i know this has a lot more to do with just the camera) look i can get from a camera before you sweeten it up with good lighting and so on.

Basicly i want to sqeeze the best i can get for the money i have saved up. And of course i want whatever i get to be firewire capable and editable on my pc.

Now i want to pick your brains, as that is what this forum is for (i hope Chris agrees with me here :) ) I understand a lot of people here are professionals and have played with professional equipment and quite intimate with what they put out, and have most likely played with an xl1/s also.

I am looking for a PAL camera, that is the must, can someone steer me on this, if maybe getting a used professional standard camera is a good alternative, what camera's should i look at that will be similar priced to a new xl1s, and which ones will provide me with a frame mode style option as well as maybe something the xl1s dosn't have.

1/2" 2/3" I understand what that means, but for what i need should i look for one over the other? 16x9 would be nice like with alot of 2/3" but i won't kill myself over getting it.

I hope i have elaberated enough, i will respond to further questions if anyone has any... I did do a search on this, i found pratically no talk on non-consumer camera's, so i am hoping i can learn about these, as really it is hard to walk into a store and see these down here, but if i know what to look for i am sure i could dig one up.

Anyways thanx everyone.

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Old October 10th, 2002, 12:42 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to say, but your logic is some what flawed. If I knew specific dollar amounts I could be of more help. So, here goes. Say your going to spend $4000 US for and XL1 PAL camcorder. That same money would by you not a 2 or 3 year old Pro camera. More like a 10 year old Pro camera. No FireWire. Besides, DV lowers the quality of Betacam SP (that's what a Pro camera is from that era). DV (FireWire) compresses your image too much. Your editing system will need to deal with analog footage compressed less than DV. Now your talking additional thousands of dollars for additional support equipment. Beta SP tapes are $15 to $20 for 30 minute blank tapes. A 60 minute DV tape cost around $4 and the equivalent Beta SP tapes are $30 to $40. My last Beta SP camera was purchased in 1994 for $35,000, that's just the head. The Fujinon 18X lens with 2X extender was around $17,000 and the portable Beta SP recorder was around $11,000. A dockable unit was around $8,000. The package weighed over 20 pounds.

If your looking at mini DV format cameras, or DVCam, DVPro etc. They may offer a few additional benefits over an XL1. The larger chips will have slightly higher S/N Ratio and can handle contrast a little better (larger chips). They are much heavier and their batteries are more costly. If the increase in size and weight is not a factor, the better picture they offer might be worth the added expense. But the hidden costs can be deceiving. Larger tripod, bigger batteries, (look at Anton Bauer prices) are a few of the hidden costs.

Coming from a Beta SP background I went through this same process several years ago. The slight picture improvement didn't warrant the additional expense and weight.

Jeff
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Old October 10th, 2002, 08:57 PM   #3
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Thanx Jeff,

Umm the money is $8000 AUD, which is around $4000 USD.

I have seen examples of similar priced used cams...

Panasonic AJ-D700E Package

Complete with:

- Fujinon TV Lense S19 x 6.5 BERM-24
- Lense hood
- Tripod Plate
- 7 x Sanyo Cadnica NP-ISB batteries
- Frezzi M1100 Battery charger
- Microphone Holder
- Panasonic DVCPro Cleaning tape
- Pelican hard case with roller wheels

That was $8000 too.

Thing is i don't know if this camera is as good as an xl1s, i am not sure which ones to look for, that is why i am asking in the forum.

kermie
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Old October 11th, 2002, 01:03 AM   #4
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Kermie,

Consider the XM2 or the MX300A from:

www.cameraaction.com.au

Tell them www.dvfreak.com sent you, and you will get even a better deal from already a good deal.

One step up from this (with frame mode), would be the new DVX100.

Hope this helps.

Frank
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Old October 11th, 2002, 01:42 AM   #5
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Kermie,
One other very important factor to consider, and one which Jeff has recently elucidated very well in another thread somewhere around here, is the increased cost of the accessories for professional cameras. For example, a good set of Anton Bauer batteries and a charger will set you back $2,000+. Full-size DVCAM tapes run US$20+ each. Etc.

Also, buying such a camera that's 6-8 yrs old would be like buying a used military air transport. Unlike prosumer cameras which may not have seen much action over several years, these cameras have probably been on heavy duty every day of their lives. The repair costs for this gear over several years would likely be breathtaking for a student's budget.

I've ready your other posts and see that you're careful and particular about your camera purchase. That's good. But, quite simply, you're likely to get a much better image quality from a new XL1s or GL2 than from an 8 yr. old 15 lb. ENG shoulder brick, not to mention that you'll probably be able to get shots with these cameras that would be awkward or impossible with a big camera.

My motto: Don't let the best get the better of the good. Being a "small independent filmmaker" in your "spare time" it's important to keep your priorities in order. No matter how good your films are, you're not likely to make any money from them for quite some time. So this early stage of your career should probably be focused towards shooting (and learning) as much as you possibly can with the best, most -affordable- gear at hand. The day may come when you'll be able to use much better equipment, perhaps on someone else's budget. But right now I'd get an XL1s, a box of good miniDV tapes and shoot, shoot, shoot!
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Old October 11th, 2002, 08:38 PM   #6
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The weight of the AJ-D700 will require a different level of tripod. You can find them used for around $2,000 USD or $5,000 new. The ultimate in picture quality requires the ultimate in support. What good is the ultimate picture if the pans are jerky and every time you touch the tripod the picture wobbles?

Jeff
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Old October 12th, 2002, 03:14 AM   #7
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I suggested those 2 cams because they have frame mode. A used 24p pro/prosumer cam is going to cost a whole bunch, and because it'll be used, you're going to take your chances. Miller makes good, solid pro tripods/heads and are made right where you live: Australia.
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Old October 12th, 2002, 03:18 AM   #8
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thanx very much guys... it is great to find a local maker of stuff, saves a lot on import duties and so on.


Will have a look at the site which i just found,

www.miller.com.au

thanx everyone
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Old October 12th, 2002, 10:21 PM   #9
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Manfrottos are also good (made in Italy). That's what I have. The Millers are more money here in Vancouver, but are sold cheaper than what they go for in the US.
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