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Old August 26th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #1
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Another which camera?

I just sold my XHA1 for a few reasons, mainly underutilized and too much to carry, and mostly because my dreams of being a big time videographer have went down the same tubes as my waistline and early retirement. Now I'm shopping for new cameras.

So the question is:

If you were mainly recreational shooting a hobby you were invilved in like car and motorcycle races, sunny days, lots of color and action, and a few close up static features on car/bike subjects and maybe an interview with a contestant. And you did this for your own enjoyment and love of the sport, and not for profit, except maybe the odd DVD you would sell to one of the event participants, and your wife ran the b camera, which cameras would you get?

My budget will alow any two of the following cameras.

Canon HV-40
Canon HF-S200
Canon Rebel T2i

Right now I'm leaning towards the HV40 and T2i for the following reasons. HV40 because I'm used to the HDV tape work flow, and T2i because...because... well I have no friggin idea except people telling me that's the way to go. I admit it has lots of feature I'd like to play with, like beautiful stills, shallow DOF.

The HF S200 in in there because I'm wondering if I should abandon tape all together.

Is it a bad idea to mix formats? should I stick to two of the same cameras?

Just looking for a little help.

Tom
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:38 PM   #2
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T2i gives you the flexibility to do things none of the others can. But she's a demanding mistress, and you'll have to learn to work within the constraints. Primarily, you'll have to abandon sloppy habits and shoot like a filmmaker.

I've been taken to task for saying tape is dead. So I won't. Tape is on life support and a drunkard is stumbling toward the power plug. I wouldn't go back to a fixed lens tape camera if it were offered for free. In fact, I have three of them. Two haven't seen the light of day in 3 years, and the other I shoot as a static wide camera when I need an unattended shot for cutaways.

Go read the pain of the JVC guys on this forum who are upset because JVC just pulled the plug on offering tape. The writing is on the wall in big, bold letters...
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Old August 27th, 2010, 04:17 AM   #3
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Tom,

The HV-40 is a great camera and shoots excellent footage - I bought one recently and have no regrets at all - I would recommend it wholeheartedly (and I bought it to work with my XHA1 and now us it more as it smaller, lighter etc. and in good light, produces comparable video, though not in lower light).

And as long as one can buy tapes whether people call it dead or not is really not relevant in your situation. I can only assume the negative attitude towards it is because of commercial format pressures rather than anything else.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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There you go Tom,

Two absolutely opposite opinions! :)

Only you an choose.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #5
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"T2i . . . I admit it has lots of feature I'd like to play with, like beautiful stills, shallow DOF."

The crucial statement is "play with." Perrone is right about the T2i being demanding. If you can look at the demands as "play," then you'll be a lot happier with it. But, all that playing with it may mean you spend a more with the camera than you do seeing the motorcycle and car races.

That you found the XHA1 unsatisfying suggests that you might also find it unsatisfying to work with the T2i. These are "maybe, but maybe not" points. It depends on what, besides the bulk, was not satisfying to you.

Are you looking for something for mostly stills, static shots and interviews or are you trying to capture a lot of the racing, as well? Or do you figure that the "b-roll" cam will be mostly used for the racing shots? The T2i is --- as most DSLR cams would be --- great for the set-piece and static shots but harder to use for video of high motion, high contrast stuff with rapidly changing distances. You may already have thought this through, but, if you have not, it is an important thing to consider.

The HV40 is a nice little camera. Let me place the emphasis on "little." While it has only a 10x zoom --- which might or might not be enough for the video you want to make --- it certainly solves your issue with the bulk of the XHA1. You'll definitely want a monopod if not a tripod. I do not know how easily it matches with footage from the T2i. I've had its elder sibling, an HV20, for years and the footage did match up well and easily with that from my XHA1. The T2i footage could be a different story. Have you searched the HV/Vixia forum? If you don't find anything, you might post a question there to see if who else has experience working with this pair and might be able to provide tips on how to do it.

Since you are thinking about going tapeless, you might also want to consider the Sony CX550v. It, too, is a little camera like the HV40, but records 24 Mbps AVCHD to internal flash memory or SD cards, and also shoots 12 mp stills. The CX550v has very nice image stabilization (Sony calls it "active steady shot") which you might find very useful. With a bigger battery, these little cams will run all day. (I use a couple for my "b-roll" and static cams and have been really impressed. One thing though, for carrying the cams around, I'd suggest getting the medium sized NPV70 batteries; I've got NPV100s and they are so large that it can be hard to get close enough to use the viewfinder when the scene is too sunny and bright to use the LCD scree.) You can get 6 hours of recording on the internal memory alone. Dave Blackhurst and Ron Evans, among others, have posted extensively on using these and related small Sony AVCHD cams.
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