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Old February 24th, 2010, 04:55 AM   #1
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Camera for Africa shoot

Hi!

I'm a cameraman trying to establish myself in the industry. This summer I've got a four week shoot in Malawi, for which I need to get a suitable camera. The end-result will be broadcast on television and streamed over the internet.
I do have a quite a bit of knowledge of the technical aspects of video cameras, but lack in the ability to see the real difference between cameras. I need some competent advice from you people.

I will spend around $3200 on a camera, but unsure about which one. Currently, I'm looking at these:

JVC GY-HM100
Sony HVR-V1P HDV
Sony HDR-FX1000 HDV

What do you think? What camera will give me the best image quality and sound for my bucks?
I'm leaning towards the HM100 with all the favourable reviews its been getting. Am I off??

Last edited by Christopher Norin; February 24th, 2010 at 08:39 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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Hm. They're all different. Africa, as in Safari and the need to shoot animals at a distance? The V1 has by far the longest tele reach, at about 750mm (35mm equiv). The FX1000 goes wider and is much better in low light, but only reaches to roughly 600mm. The JVC goes to 390mm.

If you're willing to go prosumer and forgo some pro features (as you would with the FX1000 compared to its pro brother, the Z5), you could consider the FX7 rather than the V1 -- it's nearly identical but lacks XLR inputs and some firmware adjustments.

If you want card like the JVC instead of tape, you could consider the AX2000 -- virtually identical to the FX1000 but shoots tapeless at about the same price.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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An Canon XL-H1 would be the best option in my book, although the price would be above your budget. You might be able to find an older H1 or cheaper H1a secondhand if your money can stretch to it.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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Thanks, I appreciate your responses.

First, yes, I should've made myself clear about what I'll be shooting. Specifically, people, interviews, animals in close range. But it will focus on people.

Stating the obvious, I want the camera to deliver the best picture and sound quality as possible. Besides that I also want to be able to shoot in low-light conditions (heard good things about the FX1000 in this area). I also would like flexibility on white balance, shutter speeds, iris control, gain control. In short, I want it all, which I know no camera in my budget-range can do. The first criterias are the critical ones, as is low-light ability. It needs to be able to deliver television broadcast quality.

The ideal would be to get the Canon XL-H1, but it beats my budget I'm afraid.

Adam, I'm curious as why you didn't write much about the HM100. What are the pros and cons of that, in your opinion?

Are there any other options besides the ones I mentioned? I have looked at the Sony A1 but as I understand it doesn't do true 16:9 in HDV mode.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #5
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I've owned a bunch of Sonys but only have read the specs on the Panny, so my knowledge is limited. It's probably a fine cam but I'm not qualified to evaluate it.

For low light, though, you want the FX1000 or the new AX2000, trust me. For the other qualifications you listed, all will do. Until the AX2000, the FX1000 was the prosumer cam that came closest to its Pro counterpart (the Z5) in terms of features.

The chip on the Sony A1 is fine but you'll want more controls and a newer design.

"Television Broadcast Quality" is a debatable term and I think none of these cams really qualifies. If any, it would be the Panny because of its higher bitrate, but I think most networks demand 50Mbps or better, although some will take limited amounts of content at the EX1/3 or even Z7 level. So if you mean "Acceptable to the Broadcast Standards Department" then you need to go up a couple of notches, but if you mean "As good as what I see on TV" then any of these qualifies if you handle the footage right.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #6
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I appreciate your input, Adam, and will take it into account.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 11:31 AM   #7
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The HMC150 should be another choice. It can do native 24p unlike the AX2000 in which you have to remove the pull-down and 720 60p which is excellent for fast action.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #8
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Thanks. Certainly, I'll weigh that in as well.

The specific niche I'm trying to establish myself in is news and documentary photography, focusing on conflict environments. I'm well aware that the camera I'm shopping around for at this moment won't be enough for this purpose. But do need a camera for the upcoming documentary this summer, and it wouldn't hurt if I could use it for other assignments as well.

There's my story...
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Old February 25th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #9
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Christopher, based on your interest for the field of news, travel and documentay journalism I think you should really consider the new AVCHD Sony camera (the 2000). You would get the benefice of low light and the tapeless factor, in a package bigger than the JVC but still very small yet heavy enough to be stable when handheld.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 02:53 AM   #10
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I assume you mean the Sony AX2000 camera? I do find that camera interesting, but not the price, at least where I'm at - in Sweden. Looking it up, it seem to go for around $3500 in the US, but well over $5000 over here.
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