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Old October 1st, 2010, 06:32 PM   #1
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If you were starting over...from the beginning..which camera would you choose?

I'm sort of a new technology junkie and a hobby business owner.

Canon's 5DMKII I bought when it first came out for it's video capabilities.

Since then, I've sold the 5DMKII but bought Canon's 7D when that first came out...not for video but for it's still photography capabilities.

I've owned some of Canon higher end still cameras to include a 1D and a number of 'L' lenses. I've learned to appreciate Canon's still cameras for what they do best...stills.

When Canon came out with the XH A1, I bought it for two reasons.

(1) I felt comfortable with Canon.

(2) I'm into bird photography/video so the 20x zoom was a bonus. (My XH A1 zooms close to over 600mm for both videos and stills...and a 500mm Canon lens for my still cameras runs over $6,500).

Another perspective:

From time to time, I shoot video side by side with a friend who shoots Panasonic video cams and, according to him, he get's the results he wants.

He has told me he wouldn't switch to anything else because he feels comfortable with Panasonic.


So for those of you who have been shooting video for a while now....which would you choose?

Canon? Panasonic? Sony? Other? (alphabetical order here)

Why?

Do we just choose a brand because we are comfortable with it?

Just curious.
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Old October 1st, 2010, 08:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lee View Post
So for those of you who have been shooting video for a while now....which would you choose?

Canon? Panasonic? Sony? Other? (alphabetical order here)

Why?

Do we just choose a brand because we are comfortable with it?

Just curious.
I don't choose a brand. I choose a camera to meet my needs. Thus I own 2 Panasoncs, a Sony, and 2 Canons. I also have a Canon still camera, and a Nikon still camera. I could care less who's name is on the front.

If I was starting over again from scratch, I'd do exactly what I did. Evaluate the best camera for my needs, and buy it. Today, that's a Canon DSLR. Two years ago it was an EX1, prior to that it was a Panasonic DVX100. And so forth.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 07:45 AM   #3
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Good point Perrone.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 07:50 AM   #4
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If bird videography is important to you, I'd think the extremely long reach an XL camera with EF adaptor provides would work well for you. If and when a solid state (XL-Fx?) camera comes out, one would guess that in addition to an even sharper image, it would have pre-roll which would be awesome for imaging birds who might flit in and out of frame unexpectedly.

Although I'm invested in Canon and tend to stick with what I know and therefore don't have a lot of opinions in the brand comparison realm, my impression agrees with Perrone that the manufacturers are all in the same general competitive class at given price points, merely leapfrogging each other with each new camera. Conversely, I'll just take a guess that to have such a pointed brand-specific opinion, your Panasonic-ophile friend doesn't shoot regularly with Canon, Sony, or JVC. Rather, perhaps his loyalty is out of familiarity, not objective experience with all the major competing cameras?
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 09:57 AM   #5
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Roger, stop being a new tech junkie. It sucks up free time and bleeds your wallet. You'll just keep second guessing your decisions, and that's no fun.
Buy one good workhorse camera like the XHA1 that does everything fairly well, and rent specialty cameras when you need them.

The brand of hammer that builds the house is irrelevant.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 04:15 PM   #6
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Dylan and others.

Good comments and thoughts.

I did buy an XH A1...when it first came out. :)

You are right though about buying new technology. It is expensive and time consuming. I do that sometimes just because I enjoy the challenge but lately I've been going with the tried and tested.

There are exceptions though.

I've wanted to go tapeless for some time with my XH A1. I've been waiting for those products to drop in price...they do but very slowly.

One product is new but within reach price wise. The Datavideo DN-60. I'm not sure if it's worth waiting another year until this product is established to buy it as I sure could use the tapeless function.

Thanks for the comments all.

Rog Lee
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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Determine what you want to do, then find a camera that does it.

For example, when I was shopping for an underwater camera, I had specific ideas of what I wanted: Good quality HD image. Compact. Solid state recording media. Reasonable price.

I found a few cameras, then had to see if anyone made housings for them. It finally narrowed down to a single choice.

Someone covering surfing from shore will have different requirements from someone covering surfing in the water, or an independent filmmaker, or someone who is recording weddings. Do you need a wide range of focal lengths at your fingertips? Then a DSLR won't work for you. You want to get shallow depth of field? Then cameras with smaller imaging chips can't get that. Want really wide shots with no barrel distortion? You'll need to find lenses that provide rectilinear accuracy, and that's not possible with lower-level pro or high-end consumer cameras.

Technology changes as fast as the weather. What is the best choice during Easter might not necessarily be the best choice by Labor Day. That's where forums like this come in. People post their experiences and that can help people make a better decision.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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I agree that if you were starting from scratch, determine your needs then find a camera that fits. The only exception is if you already have a cam of a particular brand, and like it, the learning curve will be less if you stick to the same brand. Menus tend to follow the same thinking process, similar controls and in some cases, interchangibility of lenses, batteries and accessories.

Just my $.31 (only worth $.02, but adjusted for inflation)!
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Old October 12th, 2010, 06:16 AM   #9
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Life is what you make it, If you like to buy new things and can afford them, have at it. I am research junky, I have more fun planning, packing, and traveling for a fishing trip than I do the fishing. Some may see this as a fault, but it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

With that said, all the kind people that responded are correct about the camera being for your needs. My only contribution to your plight is to advise you not to overlook your gut feeling that some cameras are better than others.

I to am getting ready to make purchases myself and like the Sony PMW EX3. It's 1/2 inch sensors will give me the extra low light capabilities I need to shoot at night and the image quality seems to be there as well (+ DOF characteristics). The only draw back is the SxS cards. I sometimes need to run and gun and the tape system gives me an inexpensive option to hand off a story to anyone, insert a new tape, and head to the next job. SxS is expensive and trusting others to return them is problematic. My only gripe about sub 10k cameras is that they don't pop with color ( I know, lighting lighting lighting).

Have fun, take your time, do your homework and don't be afraid to be yourself.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #10
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IMHO ...

There is no one camera that is perfect for everything.

I use two cameras in my kit.

The video quality from the small HD camcorders is absolutely incredible (for the size price weight, etc). They are so light, that they're easy to glidecam with. They are forgiving with depth of field (where DSLRs are a PITA for sports, action, etc). Long recording times. I like the canon Vixia line, because they provide for Manual audio control (slap a juicedLink low-noise preamplifier on the bottom to give yourself XLR inputs and excellent audio). I've been using the HF100.

Then a DSLR for the artsy-fartsy stuff. Excellent low light capabilities. Shallow depth of field. Tons of lenses to choose from. I like the 5D for the extra large sensor (for great low light and shallow depth of field), and also Manual audio control (so we don't have to play stupid AGC disable games) and use a juicedLink DT454 low-noise preamplifier for great audio (plus metering and headphone monitoring).

-R
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Old October 14th, 2010, 08:26 AM   #11
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I don't know, the fixed focus, clockwork 8mm camera that I first used would still teach a beginner a lot.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #12
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Is there a budget limitation? If it means sticking to my own personal budget, then yes, I might have picked a different camera. I have an HPX500, which is an excellent camera and a good money maker for me. But after using an EX3, I probably would have gone with it, especially since they're pretty close budget-wise. The viewfinder, full raster 1920x1080 and the lighter weight (I'm not a young man anymore) of the EX3 probably would have won out over the 500's bigger chips and better codec. But 2 years ago, the 500 was clearly the better choice for me.

If I had to choose today, I'd go for the EX3 or the Canon XF300/350. I really like what I'm hearing about the Canons, even if they are 1/3" cams. The Panny AF100 is also a tempting option, but for some of my run-and-gun stuff, maybe not so good.

If I can dream big, I'm liking the specs for the new Panny HPX-3100.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #13
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Yeah ... It is always a lot easier (and more fun) to spend somebody else's money ... ;)
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