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Old December 16th, 2009, 12:56 AM   #1
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Sub $1000 cam for Journalism student

A relative is studying journalism and wants a video camera for interviews. Are there any at that price with XLR inputs? At the very least, mini jacks, what other features? Format? Has to be new...
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Old December 16th, 2009, 05:09 AM   #2
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you should look at a Canon HV20 or 30, you have mike input, and can also add a juice link or beachtek for XLR when needed. Well under 1000$ if you look at new or used one.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #3
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There are many cameras that have both microphone mini jacks and head phone jacks and some level of manual controls.

Does his school require the camera to shoot High Def? Does he have to edit the footage on his own computer?

Since it has to be a new one, the HV30 or 40 is a good choice for HDV, but Canon also has a couple pretty reasonable AVCHD cams also (as well as others).

If he could have purchased used, there are prosumer SD level cameras occassionally found on Craigslist or E-Bay etc. with XLR inputs.

(I just checked and there is a Panasonic DVX100 in my area with accessories for $1000)

Last edited by Tom Dickerson; December 16th, 2009 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Added last line
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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #4
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Yes, she'll have to edit on her wimpy macbook with FCE.

Need HD capability.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #5
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I would recommend the HG20 with a Juicedlink, having been a journalism student myself.

I would not recommend any solution with tapes, for two reasons: First, they take AGES to log and transfer compared to AVCHD files. Even if you have to convert them to Cineform or ProRes to edit on older hardware, that's STILL faster than logging from tape.

Second, a single dropped frame in the wrong place can ruin an interview. I've lost some great footage due to tapes being, well, crappy recording mediums. (Storage mediums, sure, they're great - but they're crappy recording mediums.)

I'd also recommend that she install a Windows partition on her macbook to run Vegas; not that FCE isn't great, but Vegas can import AVCHD files without conversion AND it supports 30p, AND it's multi-core supported, so render-outs are faster.

Trust me, it makes a big difference when you're fighting a deadline.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #6
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Avoid AVCHD then, obviously. Used Sony HC1 would be another good option (HDV), perhaps with a Beachtek or similar if XLRs are important. The HC1 is bigger and handles better than the later HC's...
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Old December 18th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #7
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Brian, those are very good points - however given the "wimpy laptop" that will definitely require using an intermediate codec (Cineform or ProRes) as you say. So there some extra cost there (still within $1000 overall though) and might warrent swopping in a larger harddrive on the laptop (for <$100 these days).

I have to say in several years of use, including dusty Mongolia, I've had a tape dropout only once. But the way-faster-than-realtime speed of file transfer with hard/flash-drive cameras is indeed fantastic and I would not now go back to tape myself.
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