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Old March 18th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #1
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Best HD replacement for an XL2

Hi guys.

I hate to add another "which camera should I buy" thread. I'm just in a small dilemma and respect all you have to say.

I'm looking to replace an XL2 with an HD camera that has much faster focus at low light conditions and is also not shoulder mounted. I often have to go to parties where the lighting leaves much to be desired and I'm not allowed to supplement it with my own solution so I have to make due with whatever is available. That's why the low lighting is a must. My budget is between 2-3k and I have read up on quite a few of them and Canon seems to be the recommended choice as far as the brand goes. From Canons, the only camera that I've seen in my price range is the XHA1s. However I've also seen used XH-G1 ones for slightly more. From my experience with the XL2 I'm not impressed with its low light capability and constant lens' scanning. I know the slow focus is due to the 20x factor but nonetheless it has made me a bit weary of Canon's. I've also looked at the Sony HVR-Z1U and the Panasonic DVX-1000 but can't seem to get a clear idea of the winner here.

The problem is that I don't have any major stores nearby that stock any of these cameras so I can't go in and look at any in person. What other cameras are out there that you think would be a good fit for my scenario? Is the XHA1s that much better as far as lighting goes? If so I'd be willing to go with one.

I would like to narrow it down to 4 or 5 and then pick from there. What is your recommendation? Your input is appreciated as usual.

Thank you.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 10:22 PM   #2
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

All of the cameras you've listed are 1/3" CCD chip cams, so none of them will be great in low light. They may actually be worse than your XL2, because SD cams are usually better in low light than HD cams. I've seen video from the XHA1 and it wasn't too bad in low light.
I'm not familiar with a Panasonic DVX-1000. Do you mean the DVX-100, or the Sony FX-1000?

Do you want to stay with tape, or go to solid state recording?
Don't forget the Panasonic HVX200 and HPX170. They're within your price range, although you might have to buy used. I had an HVX200a and it wasn't too bad in low light, certainly better than the Z1. Both Panasonics have SD chips uprezzed to make HD images. SD chips have less pixels than HD chips, but the pixels are bigger, so SD chips usually give better low light ability.

Also look at the new Canon XF100. It has a great codec, but a single 1/3" CMOS chip. CMOS chips, as a rule, are better in low light than CCDs.

NAB is just around the corner. There will be new cameras introduced.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 03:19 AM   #3
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

I apologize for the typo. Yes, Panasonic AG-DVX100.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #4
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

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Originally Posted by Arber Davidi View Post
I apologize for the typo. Yes, Panasonic AG-DVX100.
In that case, the DVX-100 is a standard def camera.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #5
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

What about a DSLR?
They handle the low light well, especially with faster lenses. The Canon T3 or the Panasonic GH2 should be in your price bracket.
What would you be using the camera for mainly?
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Old March 19th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

I had an A1. It is poor in low light which in turn affects auto focus because AF depends on contrast. The better your camera is in low light, the better chance you have of your AF working better. According to this article, in it's class, the Sony Z5 outperforms the A1 in low light.
EventDV.net: The Event Videographer's Resource

AF vs MF wars aside, there are focus assist features on cameras these days that you may find let you focus manually better than depending on AF. Combine focus assist with better low light and you will have moved to HD without the intermediate step of spending a wad of money on a camera that doesn't do the job, selling that camera, and then getting the camera you should have gotten first.

So, buy your second HD camera first. Save longer and get a used Sony EX1 or new EX1R. It's the low light king in the handycam class.

The negative with DSLRs is the shallow DOF. If your concern is focus, the sDOF effect means lots of blurry video with a slice that's focussed. Yes you can stop the iris down to get a deeper DOF but guess what, that means less light. An ENG design can give you good low light performance and deep DOF which is what you seem to need/want. YMMV

EDIT: There's the new Canon XF100 which is brand new. I have not yet seen a low light comparison or measurement but it's something to look into.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 10:30 PM   #7
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

Thank you for your responses. What is the performance of the Canon XH-G1 in low light?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

XH G1 and G1S equals XH A1 and A1S. No difference in that regard.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 10:37 AM   #9
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

Good Morning,

I went through this same delima in 2008/9

Do you need interchangable lenses??

If not the Sony nex5 U could likly do everything you want, has excellent low light capability for high definition 1/3 3 cmos imagers. It is available in the open market for 3200 dollars. I have the same cmos ccds in my fx 1000 (HDV) and it is really quite good in low light.

I still prefer non rolling shutter/cmos imagers!
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 01:15 PM   #10
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

as of now, there is no better camcorder (under $10K) than sony EX series, and you can buy one in exellent condition, under 100 Hrs around $5K,
but Red Scarlet is very close, and I'm sure it will change a lot of things.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #11
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen View Post
Good Morning,

I went through this same delima in 2008/9

Do you need interchangable lenses??

If not the Sony nex5 U could likly do everything you want, has excellent low light capability for high definition 1/3 3 cmos imagers. It is available in the open market for 3200 dollars. I have the same cmos ccds in my fx 1000 (HDV) and it is really quite good in low light.

I still prefer non rolling shutter/cmos imagers!
I don't need the ability to interchange lenses at this time.

Thank you for your suggestion. I'm not sure which NEX-5 you mean. Would you mind providing a link to a description of it? A google search only revealed the Alpha NEX-5 DSLR. Is that what you were referring to?
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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #12
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
as of now, there is no better camcorder (under $10K) than sony EX series, and you can buy one in exellent condition, under 100 Hrs around $5K,
but Red Scarlet is very close, and I'm sure it will change a lot of things.
Wow. Red Scarlet is one crazy looking camcorder. I had never heard of it before but it looks fantastic.

As far as the low light debate goes, would you say that the Sony then performs better than Canon? What's the cheapest place to buy the EX from?

Thank you for your input.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:23 PM   #13
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Re: Best HD replacement for an XL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wood View Post
What about a DSLR?
They handle the low light well, especially with faster lenses. The Canon T3 or the Panasonic GH2 should be in your price bracket.
What would you be using the camera for mainly?
I like DSLRs but I'm rather skeptical of using them for video work :-). I will be using it for birthday events/parties and some weddings.

What do you guys think of the low light and overall performance of the Sony NX5U ? I've found a used one for about $3500.

Last edited by Arber Davidi; March 27th, 2011 at 04:25 PM.
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