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Old December 5th, 2015, 11:04 AM   #31
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Thanks for all the help guys! I am still considering how exactly this setup will be used for a majority of the work I'm going to be doing. I have two trips planned, one to San Francisco in March and another to Brazil in June. This means portability is a big concern as I do not want to check any baggage, especially camera gear. The LS300, C100MKii, or even pushing my budget with the Sony FS5 will make great documentary cameras but also require additional lenses etc. However, the options they give me outside of run and gun are huge. Of those three I would prefer the FS5 (it's tiny), of coarse I would be broke with that purchase. :-) At this point I am very much considering these cameras and looking at ways to get the most performance in the smallest one man shooting scenario I can come up with. The DVX200 is also on the list as it seems to be a good contender in the "all around" category. For portability I am considering the Sony PXW-X70 with 4K upgrade. Although I sacrifice features I get a small package with a large sensor capable of outputting 4:2:2 @10bit to a recorder via HMDI. At less than 2 pounds it will be easy to fly one steady-cam too.

I will continue to research the LS300 for which lenses work best (crop factors, adaptability etc). The C300 from Canada, hmmm. I'll look into it for sure. Maybe used...

What will January have in store for us? Canon looks they have pulled their older camcorders off their webpage archiving them and introduced two replacement models. Maybe we'll see releases of their 305 series soon. Also hoping to see some mid range camcorders from Sony at the $3000-$3500 price point. Maybe a NX100 variant, 1" sensor with OLED display and viewfinder, 4K in camera, 4:2:2@10bit with a 20x lens would be nice. I would buy it.

Cheers,
Greg

Last edited by Greg Allen; December 6th, 2015 at 09:55 AM.
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Old December 5th, 2015, 09:45 PM   #32
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

For what it's worth, couple years ago the BBC bought a bunch of JVC GY-Hm650 cameras that fall into your price range, even cheaper on the 600 which lacks only the wireless communication. BBC is Buying 500 JVC ProHD Camcorders | TvTechnology
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Old December 5th, 2015, 10:35 PM   #33
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Tagging onto what Mr Vaughan wrote about the HM650, the BBC did a quite comprehensive test report on the HM600 that might be of interest:
https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/tech/tech3335_s07.pdf

This is a much more in-depth report than any consumer magazine review I ever read.

Edit: Sony typically releases some new cams in the first week of January so that isn’t far away. As for Canon, they have been awfully quiet and based on what you found about them taking some models off their web page it seems like the handwriting is on the wall.

For a fairly compact cam, and given the short time to get to know it, the X70 (1/2” sensor) would be good to consider, especially with all the postings by Paul Anderegg (and others), including his recent settings. Has a nice cadre of users. Just be aware of the infinity focus “feature.”

Last edited by John Nantz; December 5th, 2015 at 10:56 PM. Reason: add Sony release date
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Old December 6th, 2015, 12:41 PM   #34
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Just for information the Sony HXR-NX3/1 has 3, 1/2.8" sensors and the X70 a single 1" sensor.

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Old December 8th, 2015, 12:31 AM   #35
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Thanks guys! Over the last few months I carefully reviewed both the Sony HXR-NX3/1 and the JVC GY-HM600. Both have what I am looking for in terms of features. However, at 28 + 35Mbps the images both look like they are just out of focus all the time. (soft) I keep yelling at the screen, use the focus ring! lol All the DSLR videos on YouTube has me spoiled I guess. Of course an external recorder may change that... The search continues. :-) In terms of price and the quality of video the Sony X70 seems pretty tough to beat...

Cheers,
Greg
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Old December 8th, 2015, 01:14 AM   #36
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

If the footage looks out of focus the user obviously did not know what they where doing, you wanted a camera that was compliant to BBC requiremements and as I understand the JVC GY-HM650 is used by the BBC and I found the camera back with a price below your budget so what are you waiting for? :)
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Old December 8th, 2015, 06:08 AM   #37
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

I can make my NX5U look out of focus too by closing down the iris more than F5.6. With 1/3" sensor they need to be, in my experience, no more closed than F5.6, F4 is better and ND needs to be used to stay within this limit. To avoid lens ramping on my NX5U I stay around F3.4 for best results. Before making any decisions based on video you have seen, you need to know how the shot was taken or try them yourself bearing in mind my comments on iris. The X70 is a nice camera too my AX100 is very sharp compared to the other cameras I have too.

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Old December 8th, 2015, 04:19 PM   #38
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Noa,

First, I am waiting on the cash which I will have in January. Also CES is January 7th thru the 9th which could possible turn up some interesting new stuff. Crossing my fingers for new camcorders since the market is pretty weak right now. :)
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Old December 8th, 2015, 04:39 PM   #39
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Allen View Post
Thanks guys! Over the last few months I carefully reviewed both the Sony HXR-NX3/1 and the JVC GY-HM600. Both have what I am looking for in terms of features. However, at 28 + 35Mbps the images both look like they are just out of focus all the time. (soft) I keep yelling at the screen, use the focus ring! lol All the DSLR videos on YouTube has me spoiled I guess. Of course an external recorder may change that... The search continues. :-) In terms of price and the quality of video the Sony X70 seems pretty tough to beat...

Cheers,
Greg
Sony has released updated software for the NX3/NX3/1 that ups the bit rate to 50Mbps.
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Old December 8th, 2015, 05:26 PM   #40
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Allen View Post
However, at 28 + 35Mbps the images both look like they are just out of focus all the time. (soft) I keep yelling at the screen, use the focus ring! lol All the DSLR videos on YouTube has me spoiled I guess. Of course an external recorder may change that...
Just that you know, those bitrates have nothing to do with footage that look out of focus and a external recorder will not change that if you use youtube videos as a reference, a external recorder will give you a more robust codec that can withstand post treatment better or that can deal better decreasing motion artifacts or can make your images look a bit sharper but the differences are often very subtle and the average Joe won't even be able to tell footage shot with and without a external recorder apart. I think you still have to high expectations of what a external recorder can do and it won't magically turn a dslr in a broadcast capable camera, it's just one part of a chain that may or may not be important.

Also "dslr" videos are not always a reference for high quality footage, sure there are capable "dslr's" out there but a 5d2 is also a dslr but produces soft moire filled footage, and youtube is also not the place to judge camera footage on. You don't know at what bitrate the footage was uploaded or what youtube has done to it to further decrease the image quality. You should always look at the raw footage to really have an idea how a camera performs. Often you can get a hold of this kind of footage when a user makes it available to download but even then it's not a reference for what a camera can do. With smaller sensor camera's, like a nx5, diffraction will cause soft looking out of focus footage. I have seen users complain about that which only showed they had no clue about camera basics, what f-stops to ideally shoot at or when to use a ND filter etc but at the same time they where misinforming other people about their camera. Lot's of youtube videos out there with "tests" that show the incompetence of people more then the quality of a camera.

Just saying that you need to take this into consideration. I think you would be better off making a list of specifications that you need a camera to be able to meet and that would narrow down your camerachoice considerably. You started this thread to know what others need but then you get many different suggestions because everyone has different needs, you need to figure out what you need for the type of clients you are planning to serve and buy a camera that fits that description but to be honest I do have a feeling you are not sure yet yourself what you exactly are planning to do.
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Old December 8th, 2015, 08:22 PM   #41
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

It is my understanding that bit rate is the amount of data recorded by the camera per second. Mbps = (millions of bits per second) and that the more data your gathering the better quality image. I would think that the images would be softer (insert metaphor - fuzzy, out of focus) with lower bit rates. If not then why have the higher bit rates in the first place? Yes, youtube compression I got it. Yes, many people auto shoot. I get it. But what am I supposed to compare stuff to? There is no local store that carries and higher end camcorders within 300 miles of here. Unfortunately I have to use the tools at my disposal.

"I think you still have to high expectations of what a external recorder can do and it won't magically turn a dslr in a broadcast capable camera, it's just one part of a chain that may or may not be important." Yeah I get that too but don't the large full frame sensors crush the 1/3" and 1/2" sensors on the $6000 camcorders in image quality?

"I can make my NX5U look out of focus too by closing down the iris more than F5.6. With 1/3" sensor they need to be, in my experience, no more closed than F5.6, F4 is better and ND needs to be used to stay within this limit." Interesting to learn. On a DSLR lenses seem to show only slight softness usually wide open and get sharper down a stop or two. Nothing like the stuff I have seen. It's like where are my glasses? Oh, I am wearing them.

"to be honest I do have a feeling you are not sure yet yourself what you exactly are planning to do." Actually I do but the offerings are not fitting my requirements. Using a DSLR on rig is not working for recording videos of clients on stage and its not going to work for traveling without creating a lot of extra work. I will also be doing documentary stuff in which I will have people around to help with the shoot. This means load up the vehicles and go. So a cinema camera works. Interviews can go either way. So I am trying to find a larger sensor camera with a long reach. The sensor size dramatically reduces my choices. If I choose a cinema style camera I am back to lenses. I am stuck in the middle right now and getting pissed off since there aren't any offerings other than the DVX200 (only 13x zoom). I'm semi-retired and back in school full time... If I commit $5K to a camera that is going to be it for a while. Maybe I just answered my own question. I'll just buy the one I think I'll use the most and that is most suitable for that task. (Shrug) I'll make something work.

Edit: Sorry for the attitude. I just spent my second 12 hour day working on geospacial analysis problems and I am burnt. I am going to stop worry about this until I have cash in hand. Maybe I'll be back in a month or so.
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Old December 9th, 2015, 01:23 AM   #42
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Hey, don't apologize for an attitude, it's just a healthy discussion :) First to make discussion a bit easier you have to start using quotes when you are using someone else response to comment on, just type [ quote ] at the start and [ /quote ] at the end of whatever you want to enclose (without the empty space between the brackets but I had to do that now to show what you need to write) so that it looks like what I did below

Quote:
But what am I supposed to compare stuff to?
It's always difficult to choose a camera, especially if you are not able get a hold of one to try or being able to get raw footage shot by someone who knows what he is doing but I was talking more about camera specification based on client expectations. Take my work as example, I do weddings and by now I know exactly what my camera's should be able to do.

Like, do you need xlr, internal nd, motorized zoomlens, long lens reach, live streaming, codec options, shallow dof, high iso performance, control from outside the camera instead of via a software menu, etc, etc. I could make a very long list of camera functions based on my own and my client needs and once that is done you easily could cross reference a wide selection of camera's where you eventually end up with a few camera's that meet both requirements. Then you can see which one fits your budget.

Like I said before, everyones needs are different so asking who is using which camera's will give you many choices and at the end you still won't know what will work for you.

Quote:
but don't the large full frame sensors crush the 1/3" and 1/2" sensors on the $6000 camcorders in image quality?
Absolutely not, large sensor size does not automatically mean superior image quality, just take a 5D2 as example, there are many much smaller sensor camera's available these days that would "crush" a 5d2. There is much more behind good image quality then sensor size alone. With Dslr's those sensors are sometimes not optimized for videoshooting but more for photography so there is more to consider when buying a camera.
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Old December 9th, 2015, 02:08 AM   #43
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

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Originally Posted by Greg Allen View Post
It is my understanding that bit rate is the amount of data recorded by the camera per second. Mbps = (millions of bits per second) and that the more data your gathering the better quality image. I would think that the images would be softer (insert metaphor - fuzzy, out of focus) with lower bit rates. If not then why have the higher bit rates in the first place?
Higher bitrates tend to mean greater scope for editing rather than out of focus shots. Unless the shot is excessively detailed like a vast field of flowers, generally a low bitrate even of 17mbps will give you a sharp image. True there maybe jagged lines if you pixel peep, compression artifacts, banding maybe and poorer colour, but its only when you try to grade the footage, the image falls apart.

Poor focus could be down as others have said, to diffraction, excessive noise in low light scenes or poor focusing on the operator. There is another cause. I own a Panasonic AF101a; on buying it I consulted several websites for recommended settings. The AF101a has a plethora of custom settings that dictate the look of the video as do most Professional cameras. Those settings I applied resulted in a very soft looking image that to my eyes looked mushy. No amount of sharpening could restore the lack of detail.

Now maybe as I was capturing via AVCHD rather than say a Prores codec via an external recorder, those settings I used were not intended for internal recording. However what was clear to me was that having a professional camera, I needed to be clued up on what this camera could offer and what each setting did to the image before customising the settings.

My best suggestion is that in attending the CES in January, that you try various cameras and see which one works best for you. Bring along some cards, and if allowed, record some footage and compare before committing. As you say its a big purchase. No one here can make the choice for you.
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Old December 9th, 2015, 11:22 AM   #44
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

Low bit rates don't necessarily make things look softer. Often it makes things look sharper! (...but in a negative way.)

For instance, imaging filming cobblestones. Each stone has a soft, convex profile with a sharp oval edge. If you lose focus, the edges blur. But if the image in in focus and you starve the bit rate, the first thing you're likely to lose is the smooth profile. Instead, you'll get harsh, contour lines due to losing subtle shades of gray. As you keep starving the rate, the oval stone edges turn into rectangular shapes. It's more of a case of adding noise and error, rather than losing sharpness. It's more like losing the accuracy of the edges and color values rather than just blurring the edges.
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Old July 11th, 2016, 03:08 AM   #45
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Re: What camcorder would you buy?

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Quick look through the BBC guidelines. Its clear they don't accept DSLR's unless for certain shots and under approval by them - comes under single sensor cameras. 100mbps seems to be the minimum recording for HD. I recall reading a 2012 list of requirements from them and they mentioned certain cameras were acceptable as long as an external recorder was used. I think any $4500 camera would need an external recorder to get broadcast quality material. However what is consider acceptable will differ depending on who is broadcasting. Other smaller channels may have less strict guidelines.

You want a proper Broadcast quality camera, then look here:

Buy - Sony PXW-X500 (PXWX500) XDCAM Shoulder mount Camcorder with Three 2/3-inch HyperHAD FX Full HD CCD Sensors and Multi-Format Recording

This is what you'd be expected to film with to be taken seriously in the BBC world and would be considered a true professional camera. Something like the Panasonic DVX200 is more for event filming, though again with an external recorder could meet the BBC guidelines. However this is just the BBC's guidelines; others as I said could be more forgiving.
Just for general interest (I realise this is quite an old thread) - I see the Beeb are using iPhone 6 footage on their news website now, shown in the clip below, which is well wide of their white paper specs.

New job 'helped me heal my broken heart' - BBC News
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