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Old January 26th, 2015, 01:18 PM   #1
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You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO:

You have $3,000 to spend. Your mission is to buy a camera (or cameras) to produce marketing videos for a major university.

Do you spend the whole $3K on ONE camera and a lens or two?
Or do you opt for a less expensive camera and buy TWO of them?


(In other words, which is more valuable: the ability to do 2-camera shoots? Or have a better camera for single-camera shoots?)

Scott

EDIT: The kinds of shoots you do run the gamut: everything from shooting events, to interviews with 1-3 people, to classroom sessions, to building tours and more.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

If you do interviews, then two - 100%. Can you buy two second hand ones?
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Old January 26th, 2015, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

Does that amount cover any additional gear like a tripod or anything for sound? Getting 2 camera only would be necessary if you need to cover a certain event from 2 different angles, if that is not the case one camera would be sufficient as well. But I have to say, just for backup purposes alone a second camera is a good investment + that you can use it for a second angle when needed.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

For single person interviews, I've used multiple cameras in the past, but I often find the 2nd angle distracting. I prefer using b-roll to cut things up and make it interesting.

From a camera motivation point of view, this makes sense. What in a single person interviews motivates an off axis wider shot? Nothing!

That said, if there is an audience, it can be motivated. When the speaker walks in or addresses the crowd, the wider angle has a reason to appear. It can also be motivated with multiple speakers. When another person speaks, it can make sense to cut to another view. That can cover the pan with a tighter camera from one person to the next.

Aside from the logic of having a backup, there's no single right answer. It really depends on what you shoot and how you like to present it.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

2 cameras, but not matched, spend more on the A camera than the B camera. for instance, i used the rx10 to B camera the C100 quite a bit, and despite the far lower cost, the RX10 provides an image which cuts with the more expensive camera very well, and the C100 takes care of all the typical necessities like XLR inputs.

Likewise, many folks are using Gh4's to cut with much higher end 4 cameras. you could do something like an ax100/x70 with an rx10
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Old January 26th, 2015, 04:18 PM   #6
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

I always did the different camera approach - using a small handicam, but I bought an identical proper camera to the one I normally use, and the images edit together better - the handicam specs on paper are even a bit better than the other, but of course, the lens isn't, and the look is better. Although the mismatch looked ok, the proper pairing looks better.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 05:04 PM   #7
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

Interesting responses—thanks to all!

In my case, the $3,000 does not include other gear (meaning I have more money to devote to tripod, lighting, mics, etc.). I originally spec'd out a Panasonic GH4 along with a couple of good lenses—that pretty much used up the $3K.

But then I started wondering, for example, if I'd be better off buying a couple of decent $500-600 DSLRs, like the Canon T5i? I know they shoot perfectly good HD video (especially with decent lenses in good light), and they also shoot good stills (which I'll also need to do).

This is why I posed my hypothetical scenario.

Then again (as someone suggested above), I could go with a more extreme "gap" between the cameras—like get a GH4 and also a $200 Canon Vixia. (Or something like that.)

I go both ways on the interview setups. It's nice to have a 2nd tighter shot for cutaways/closeups...but I'm fine shooting them (well-lit with a nice background) with a single camera too.

I think my main situation for using 2 (or more) cameras would be covering things like town hall-style meetings, the sorts of things where there is a lot of back-and-forth between speakers.

Scott
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Old January 26th, 2015, 11:19 PM   #8
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

I'd second the AX100 + RX10 Darren mentioned, as the sensor is common between the two, and it would give some versatility in a compact "system".

I think you'll find that if you get one camera, there will be many times you find yourself wishing for a second/backup camera... the other way around, as long as you get decent cameras, not so much, unless you are really set on a more expensive camera and can only get one within the budget (in which case maybe that could be a later purchase!?)
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Old January 29th, 2015, 12:30 PM   #9
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

One other option would be two used Sony FS100's, which I'm pretty sure you can snag for $1500 with glass these days. That would give you the pro audio inputs, as well as the Super35 sensor, plus the ability to swap fast primes into if needed. No 4k but it gives you the option to get a cinematic shallow DOF look at 1080-60p.
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Old January 29th, 2015, 01:25 PM   #10
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

Depending on how often you would shoot the 2nd cam, you might get into a single cam and rent to supplement as needed. Thinking that you wouldn't want to have that 2nd cam just sitting on a shelf most months, if that's what it comes to.

Which brings up another set of considerations: What would your accountant say? In my case, I'm my own accountant, and I want to be sure that a 2nd cam is paid for by client work! I do happen to live in a city where rentals are very available.

If I give my inner accountant full control, he says "Does it pencil out?" Period, end of story!
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Old February 1st, 2015, 06:31 PM   #11
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Re: You have $3K. Do you buy 1 camera or 2?

Last year I did something similar. Limited my camera budget and I shot with two Nikon D7100's. They have headphone and mic jacks, onscreen audio meters, 1080p24, time-lapse and you can get some prime lenses cheap. You could probable pickup a body for $700. Leaving plenty in the budget for batteries and lenses.
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