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Old October 21st, 2013, 08:38 AM   #1
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Cheap general purpose camera?

I'm a working DP and my wife is a staff video producer for a nonprofit. For most jobs, she hires a pro DP for her projects, but more and more finds a need to have a cheap, small, easy to use, no-brainer video camera for quick interviews and small event shoots where there's no budget for outside help. She's a very good producer/writer, but is nearly helpless when it comes to camera gear...
So she's come to me for a recommendation for that camera, and while I'm current on pro gear, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to tell her. There are so many options. At a minimum, I would think the camera would have to have XLR audio to mount a shotgun or wireless and a decent fixed lens...perhaps with image stabilization. 24 and 30p is a must. Several non-pro staff people might end up using the camera, so it needs to be dead simple to use but capable of making a decent picture. I tend to think a DSLR would be a bad choice for this scenario because of the complexity and audio hassles. She'll cut on Premiere. Finally it would be nice to keep the cost at around $2K or so...

I would love to hear from people that have a camera that works well for them in this sort of scenario...
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Old October 21st, 2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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Re: Cheap general purpose camera?

Hmmm...

It almost sounds like you want a Sony RX10.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap general purpose camera?

Looks like a nice camera, At least that Sony has a headphone jack, which is a good thing for a dslr.
I'm thinking that might be more complicated for them to figure out than a camcorder.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap general purpose camera?

Sony has "auto" down to a nearly no-brain-required art... the "consumer" cameras are indeed designed to "point and shoot" (to be fair Canon and Panasonic also have "auto" that will do the trick most of the time). But depending on the model, you have manual controls available to varying degrees.

30p isn't a mode on any Sony cams, but you should be able to shoot 60p and adjust in post, 24p is available...

There's quite literally a HUGE selection of options available under/around 2K... just about any of the top end "consumer" camcorders with an XLR adapter... the new RX10... and if you could run dual audio, even more cameras including stuff well under 1K... "decent picture" quality is not too hard to achieve - as long as they understand some basics on lighting and setup.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 08:13 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap general purpose camera?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cummings View Post
I'm a working DP and my wife is a staff video producer for a nonprofit. For most jobs, she hires a pro DP for her projects, but more and more finds a need to have a cheap, small, easy to use, no-brainer video camera for quick interviews and small event shoots where there's no budget for outside help. She's a very good producer/writer, but is nearly helpless when it comes to camera gear...
So she's come to me for a recommendation for that camera, and while I'm current on pro gear, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to tell her. There are so many options. At a minimum, I would think the camera would have to have XLR audio to mount a shotgun or wireless and a decent fixed lens...perhaps with image stabilization. 24 and 30p is a must. Several non-pro staff people might end up using the camera, so it needs to be dead simple to use but capable of making a decent picture. I tend to think a DSLR would be a bad choice for this scenario because of the complexity and audio hassles. She'll cut on Premiere. Finally it would be nice to keep the cost at around $2K or so...

I would love to hear from people that have a camera that works well for them in this sort of scenario...
Have you considered the Canon XA20? I own the XA10, and it does a great job on full auto when you need to run and gun without worrying about settings. The XA20 has 2 XLR inputs, a 20x lens, good optical stabilisation, and great image quality. It also has manual zoom/iris/focus control when you need it. I think you can pick it up for around $2000 USD.

The XA10 does 24/30p, so I would assume the XA20 does too.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap general purpose camera?

Wow that Canon looks just about perfect. Thanks J!
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