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Old April 23rd, 2011, 03:31 PM   #1
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Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

I am a sound mixer and own a digital multi-track fly away package for remote recording. I record mostly live band performances. I want to include a multi-camera lock down video package as well. If the gig has the budget then I will hire professional camera ops with broadcast quality cameras. But for the basic YouTube quality video package I need to do it all myself. So my question is can you recommend a HD handy-cam type camera that records to a flash drive, is extremely good in low light, has a flip out monitor, zoom control, video out and built in cameramic. Is there any handycam type cameras that you can recommend in the $500 to $1000 range per camera? I will probably need 3 or 4 of these.
I might consider buying used possibly off eBay. Some cameras models that have been mentioned to me are Canon HV20 or HV30. Any other ideas?


Thanks,
Andy
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

The Canons are great cams but they're not good in low light and they don't record to flash. You should look at the Sony cx560v, or a used 550 or 520.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your reply.

I checked out the 560 550 and 520 and the reviews are all very favorable. It also seems like these models have a pretty nice wide angle lens. Would this lens make it limiting to how much I can zoom in for a tight shot. What I am wondering is what the maximum distance the camera could be and still get a good head to waist shot. Is there a way to calculate that?

One comment I read about the 560 is that when mounted on a tripod it sits forward or was it backwards from the mounting stud. So the balance is off and a little forward (or was it backward) which makes it hard to pan. Have you ever used a 560 on a tripod? Did you notice any panning difficulty? I didn't read about that problem with the 550 or 520

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Andy
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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Re: Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

The newest Canon camcorders have been getting good low light reviews. Canon has changed the design specifically to address the low light issue. These are the Canon models that I know currently have this new design:

XA10 US$2000
HF G10 US$1500
HF M41 US$800
HF M40 US$700
HF M400 US$650

Finally, if locking the camera down and putting it into manual is an option, there's always the DSLR route.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 01:00 AM   #5
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Re: Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

DSLR is absolutely NOT an option for unmanned cameras... pleeaaasse....

In the $500-1000 price range, go with any of the 5xx series Sonys - XR500/520 are HDD cams, so may not be the best in high SPL/db situations, but have a "longer" lens range. CX500 and 520 have the same lens, but are flash. These are 1-2 model years old, but still use the same sensor block as the CX550 (last years model), which is quite nice and an easy match in post.

The CX560 and CX700 are brand new and will run a tad over your price point for a while. Not sure they really improve over the earlier cameras in low light - reports have been a bit mixed, and I haven't seen these "hands on" to know for sure.

Don't worry about the tripod mount position, it won't matter for your application, it's odd on the CX550 too, you have to watch that you don't overtighten the screw, as it can tilt the camera slightly because the mount is offset to one side...

I'll presume these would primarily be for small/mid size clubs, and these should be able to stay in optical zoom ranges, worst case if you go a bit into the digital zoom it won't degrade enough to be noticeable for web use.

If you want to go cheap and don't mind 30 minute recording clip lengths, you could take a look at some of Sonys new point and shoot cameras, I used a TX7 to record some concert footage (way too short a zoom!), and it was acceptable image wise. I think they might be too limited, but if you're trying to get multi angle shots, it's a cheap way to pick up some extra angles... look at current HX and WX series for P&S with some zoom range, don't count on them for anything other than scratch audio, they tend not to handle high spl very well.

Don't forget to budget for large batteries, SD cards if you don't want to use the internal memory, and decent tripods or clamp mounts if the clubs have places you can mount a camera.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 01:02 AM   #6
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Re: Recommendations for handy-cam type camera

There probably is a way to calculate field of view at various focal lengths and how that translates to how far you can/must be to get the shots you want, but I'm not sure what it is. Haven't heard about tripod mounting issues but I'm still on the xr520v.

I suppose an option might be to rent or borrow some cams locally to see if they do what you want. Up until a few days ago, the Sony refurb outlet had cx550s online for $850, so you might want to check there periodically to see if they get some more.

I see that while I was writing this Dave has weighed in, and he's the expert on these matters, so I'll defer to him....
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