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Old May 27th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

Hi,

I've been reading on this forum the XH-A1s isn't the best in low-light situations, and I concur ... I have a Canon XH-A1s but it's terrible in low light, I am looking to spend $2500-$3500 for a great low light camera preferably uses media cards (not mini dv tape).

Your suggestions ?

Thank you.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #2
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

If you want to stay on the Canon side, the xa10 seems to be doing remarkably well in that area and will outperform your xh-a1 easily. I use a sony xr520 with my xh-a1 and that camera also gives much cleaner footage at much higher gain values while retaining colour way better. I only hate the way you have to go through the lcd screen for a lot of functions that are easily accessible on the xh-a1. As long as there is enough light my xh-a1 is the to go to cam without a thought but when lights get low it's the small sony, 2 weeks ago I filmed a dance perfomance with my xh-a1, a xr500 and a xr520, the xh-a1 and the xr500 where wide capturing everyting that was going on and I followed the action closer with the xr520. the performance was often quite dark and I ended up using the 500 and 520 in the edit as I could not get higher then 6db on my xh-a1 (to avoid excessive grain) and I think the sony's easily go to 15db and give clean noise free, well exposed and colourful images. Only in bright daylight they tend to oversaturate or give too harsh colors and contrast, this is where my xh-a1 shines as I can keep very good control over every aspect of the image in realtime, it might be looking flat in post but after color correction it will look very nice, only when it's too dark it's just muddy and lacking colorinformation, so colorcorrecting to make the colors pop seems virtually impossible.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #3
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

What are you filming and what do you consider low light?
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Old May 27th, 2012, 09:52 AM   #4
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

Great input. In your opinion, if you were to film a wedding reception in a low light situation, would you choose the Sonry XR520 or the Canon XA10.

In addition, as budget is a concern, I would most likely have to sell my A1s, will the sony/canon xa10 perform well for the ceremony.

Lastly, both the sony and canon xa10 have the menus on the lcd screen? so changing from manual to auto focus, or changing the fstop for example, is difficult to do while shooting? do you leave on automatic?

Thank you, I value your input,

Stefan
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Old May 27th, 2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
What are you filming and what do you consider low light?
Hi Chris, a wedding reception dance floor with low light... dimly lit situation such as that.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

the xr520 is allready an older camera, these days you have these Sony HDR-CX730/740 which again are an improvement and there was a topic on this forum comparing such a sony to the xa-10 and the canon was even a bit better in lowlight. xa10 user will probably be able to give you much better input then me as I don't use that camera.

For the sony handicam type of camera I can lock my focus with the very good spot focus (just touch an area on the lcd screen what you want to be in focus) and then I can assign exposure to the small wheel in front meaning when I turn then exposure adjusts but it jumps between each f-stop, it's not smooth like the xh-a1. It's doable but nowhere near the way you can do this on the xh-a1.
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Old May 27th, 2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Re: Best low-light camcorder $2500-$3500

Current US Sony model is CX760, and yes there is a good video here on DVi comparing it to the Canon, Canon looks just a bit better, but I'd suspect it may be possible to squeeze more out of the Sony. Either cam should be acceptable for what you want to do if you can live with the limitations of a "small cam". If you shop carefully, $3K should get you into a pair of cameras. If you are willing to go slightly used and a model year or two back, you can cut that budget significantly (Sony CX700 or CX550 come to mind, and even the prior years models (stick to something with a "CX or XR 5xx" model designation.

I'm retiring a couple "pairs" of small Sony cams of the above description (need to get around to eBaying 'em), if you're interested - transitioning to shooting with DSLT... still keeping a couple CX700's for additional angle/free run, but retiring two others, and a pair of CX550's.
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