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Old March 6th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #1
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Small "travel" video camera

Can anyone recommend a small, lightweight travel camera that doesn't record to AVCHD?

I own an XF300 but it is way to big and complex for when I am on holiday with friends etc and just want something that will produce good quality video with ease of use and small enough to not be a problem.

I have read many things about AVCHD being very hard to edit on a dual core computer. I know the MXF files off the XF300 are all but impossible to edit with my current set up.
I have been looking at the Canon S200, S21, Panasonic SD/TM 700 and Sony CX550. I think they all record to AVCHD right?
I am not totally against tapes either if there was a camera that produced good picture with them.

I am looking to spend 500-1000 or buy used.

Any recommendations?
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Old March 6th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #2
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Andy

How about the G10 or what looks like it's XLR cousin, the XA10. They go for $1499 and $1999 USD
At B & H.

regards

Jack
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Old March 6th, 2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

The look nice but are way over my budget as the XA10 is 1999 over here!
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Old March 6th, 2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Hi Andy (great name!)

What computer/NLE you using? I was dead against AVCHD but have found that (at least on my recent Windows box running Vegas) it's actually pretty painless...yet to try it on my recent Mac Pro with Final Cut - but I know that's going to mean transcoding to ProRes 422 etc.

I plumped for the Panasonic TM900 for my small travel cam and could not be more happy! Got mine for 775 (on pre-order/before they were available - from a camera shop in Bristol) but the cheapest I have seen it now is about 800 (reputable UK sellers only) and a little more on amazon uk - so well within your budget.

The Canon XA10 is WAY overpriced and has some bad ergonomic faults too.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #5
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

[QUOTE=Andy Solaini;1625185]The look nice but are way over my budget as the XA10 is 1999 over here![/QUOTE
Ouch!
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #6
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Hi Andy (great name!)

What computer/NLE you using? I was dead against AVCHD but have found that (at least on my recent Windows box running Vegas) it's actually pretty painless...yet to try it on my recent Mac Pro with Final Cut - but I know that's going to mean transcoding to ProRes 422 etc.

I plumped for the Panasonic TM900 for my small travel cam and could not be more happy! Got mine for 775 (on pre-order/before they were available - from a camera shop in Bristol) but the cheapest I have seen it now is about 800 (reputable UK sellers only) and a little more on amazon uk - so well within your budget.

The Canon XA10 is WAY overpriced and has some bad ergonomic faults too.
My NLE is Premier Pro CS5.

What are the major differences between the Panasonic TM900 and the cheaper 700 model? I want the camera for some nice quality video but it will be most likely used more as a fun/not serious/tourist camera so I'm not sure if I need loads of features etc.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

I still like my HV30/40, tapes and all. One of the newer Canon DSLR's (60D, 600D) may be viable for you as well.

Here's some of my old HV30 travel footage
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Old March 6th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #8
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Kevin,

Firstly, I have no opinion on a small travel camera, but I wanted to tell you I just finished watching your Liberia video and the emotions it brought roaring to the surface demanded their voice.

I have been a part of a number of medical/dental/humanitarian aid projects; Ethiopia, Nigeria,Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras. The first trip changed me forever....The day we arrived, I hated it and was ready to catch the next plane...at the end of a month of 18 hour days in intolerable heat, filth and disease, they almost had to drag me to the plane, I wanted so badly to stay.

I am completely addicted, and there is no cure. I wanted to say that your video captures the essence of the people who do these types of trips....they are all the same...amazing, caring people who don't "talk", they "do"

Well done...very well done.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #9
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Solaini View Post
What are the major differences between the Panasonic TM900 and the cheaper 700 model?......
This thread (below) summarises most of them. Also, if you want to go cheaper get the ones without the 32GB on-board flash memory that the TMs have, the new HS900 or older HS700. Some other model variants loose the viewfinder/lens ring...but that would be a step too far down for me, personally.

Details on all the latest models are within a separate link (Panasonic global site) that's in this DVinfo thread too.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...rs-thread.html
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Old March 6th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #10
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Before I bought a TM900 last week I watched a few slick video presentations and downloaded step by step instructions on just how easy it is to work with AVCHD on FCP 7. It looked so simple.

So far I have not even managed to get any TM900 images even as far as the browser let alone do any transcoding. FCP keeps telling me to get something with which it can it can work.

My next step will be to try Aunsoft's offer of a free trial of their software.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #11
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

The TM900 looks like a really good quality camera. The only think holding me back is how well my computer and Premier Pro CS5 will handle the AVCHD files. My PC spec is:
Core 2 Due E7500 @ 2.93GHz
4GB RAM
Asus GTX 460 1024mb
Running on W7 64-bit

Any idea how it will run on that? As I said earlier the MXF files off the XF300 bog it down if I have more than a few minutes worth of clips on the timeline.

Andy S
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Old March 7th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #12
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Traill View Post
Before I bought a TM900 last week I watched a few slick video presentations and downloaded step by step instructions on just how easy it is to work with AVCHD on FCP 7. It looked so simple.

So far I have not even managed to get any TM900 images even as far as the browser let alone do any transcoding. FCP keeps telling me to get something with which it can it can work.

My next step will be to try Aunsoft's offer of a free trial of their software.
Alastair, why can't you just convert the clips with Compressor to ProRes 422 for editing in FCP? If not, maybe consider Clipwrap - see the 3rd post in the thread below - would save a lot of space and be much quicker (but maybe the new FCP will do all this AVCHD stuff on the fly anyway - we'll all know in a month or two if the rumours are correct).

Best non-AVCHD solid state compact HD cam?

Andy, I'll let the CS5 guys and gals answer that as I've no idea (just learning about editing with the TM900 in Vegas 9E at the moment and I've not even had time to try it in FCP 6 on my Mac Pro yet!)
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Old March 7th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #13
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

Thanks Andy, I will investigate.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #14
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Re: Small "travel" video camera

I just started shooting with my TM900, and I'm quite impressed with the images thus far. If this cam had three rings I think it would be fine for a lot of pro work. The focus ring works well, but you have to choose one aspect of what you want to control with the single ring. The lens is very crisp and it does a decent job in low light. In good light its really quite nice.

I may spend tomorrow doing some comparative shots with the TM700 and a 7D/t2i to see how they handle the same content in different lighting and situations as well as how they cut together. I've enjoyed the DSLR world but really missed my XHA1 and its smaller sensor for safe, deep shots. Other than loosing some great control options on the A1, I think the images on the TM900 will be very good and may actually be superior in many ways. I may even borrow an XHA1 from a friend and throw it into the comparison.

Very pleased for $1,100.
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