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Old April 18th, 2018, 08:24 AM   #1
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Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

My son (aged 13) is really into skateboarding...I mean obsessed.

He showed me some videos he and his friends produced with their iPods and iMovie and I was very impressed. He's now hankering for a better camera and tells me that the Sony VX1000 with Century Optics fisheye lens is 'the one'. Somewhat skeptical, I did a little research to discover that the VX1000 was indeed revered as 'king of the skateboard camcorders' back in the day and is still used by pro's, as well as enthusiasts who esteem it's iconic value.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_DCR-VX1000

Other DV camcorders from that period, having a similar form factor (i.e. the integrated top handle) are also highly regarded - including the VX2100 and Canon GL1/GL2.

I explained to him the practicalities of working with older tape based DV technology, but he's not deterred. He reminded me that I used to have a DV camcorder and pointed out an old Dell (Pentium IV) desktop gathering dust in the basement (last used for playing games on Linux) that we could use - 'we' inferring that I would help him get set-up, which of course I would enjoy. Amazing the emotional intelligence and fortitude of teenagers when it comes to leisure pursuits versus studies ! Caught between a rock and hard place I said I'd look into it.

Checking going prices for 'good condition/used' on EBay it's clear that I could easily be looking at upwards of $US 800 for a GL1/GL2 and decent fisheye lens, and even more for an VX1000/2100. When my son inquired of a semi-pro who has a VX1000/Century Optics combo how much he could sell it for - $CAN 1700 ($US 1350). So I think he's come to terms with the cost and that it might be better to start with a more manageable 'entry level' set-up. But it has to be one with 'community credibility' - in short he needs to show at up the skate-park/centres and have other experienced skaters say 'good camera'. We all know that's important.

I thought maybe a used Panasonic GS320 with Kenko 0.43 fisheye and Cam-Caddie handle (or similar), which I could possibly put together for around $150-200, and he was encouraged when I pointed to some YouTube videos validating this as a good budget set-up, several years back at least. Can't help feeling though that he'd be better off with a card-based camera - say an older generation Canon/Sony AVCHD model. Problem there is overcoming a perceived notion in skateboarding circles that 'AVCHD camcorders suck' and that DV/HDV is still the name of the game. He's definitely not interested in a GoPro or similar, nor a DSLR. I regret now selling my old HV30 some years back - but who knew ?

I would welcome suggestions from any forum members who are up on skateboarding videography.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 08:38 AM   #2
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

Quote:
I could easily be looking at upwards of $US 800 for a GL1/GL2 and decent fisheye lens, and even more for an VX1000/2100.
I had a vx1000 and a vx2100 but no way I'd pay 800 or more now, for a vx1000 I'd spend max 100 and for a vx2100/GL2 max 300.

If you can find a used sony cx730 (I still have and use 2 of them) then the boss stabilisation would be one of the best you will find in it's class and great for handheld work, they are also pretty light sensitive, have nice balanced colors and use sd cards with a easy to handle codec. I would talk your son out of tape based camera's, I"m pretty sure he"ll regret getting a 720x476 sd camera, IQ is just poor compared to todays HD and 4K camera's if he plans to publish his videos on youtube.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 08:50 AM   #3
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

I don't get why anyone would want SD recording in an HD world...and on tape to boot! I really, really do not miss "capturing" tapes before editing, or the tape dropouts. But perhaps there is a certain aesthetic to the image captured....

But anyway, I did own a VX-1000 that was later replaced by 3 of the newer VX-2000 models. If you must go the "old school" MiniDV route, look for a VX-2000 or VX-2100, having a similar form-factor of the VX-1000 but with a better image (especially in low light), and the used camera will be a few years "newer".

VX-2000 offers 48k 16-bit audio versus 32k 12-bit on VX-1000, adds optical image stabilization and...LOOKS COOLER! And the VX-2100 looks a bit better yet, slight color change towards more light gray than silver.

Sony also marketed pro versions of those cameras, called the PD-150 and PD-170, same body style but having XLR audio and shotgun mic mount on the body, and they are dark gray versus silver.

Thanks

Jeff
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Old April 18th, 2018, 09:25 AM   #4
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

Thanks Noa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I had a vx1000 and a vx2100 but no way I'd pay 800 or more now, for a vx1000 I'd spend max 100 and for a vx2100/GL2 max 300.
That would be including a fish-eye lens. I could maybe get lucky in an EBay auction ('watching' a couple of listings just now), but current trend for a (NTSC model) GL1 (in good condition/standard accessories incl.) is in the $CAN 150 - 350 range (plus shipping/duties for US import). And for the VX1000, anywhere between $CAN 400 - 900. Surprising, I know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
If you can find a used sony cx730 (I still have and use 2 of them) then the boss stabilisation would be one of the best you will find in it's class and great for handheld work, they are also pretty light sensitive, have nice balanced colors and use sd cards with a easy to handle codec.
I've been on the look out for one (or a 760) myself, as a back-up and for shared family use, for those very reasons - but they are very hard to come by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I would talk your son out of tape based camera's, I"m pretty sure he"ll regret getting a 720x476 sd camera, IQ is just poor compared to todays HD and 4K camera's if he plans to publish his videos on youtube.
I'm trying to, but like I said, any alternative needs to have some credibility in skateboarding circles. That's a big-deal.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 09:35 AM   #5
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Originally Posted by Jeff Pulera View Post
I don't get why anyone would want SD recording in an HD world...and on tape to boot! I really, really do not miss "capturing" tapes before editing, or the tape dropouts. But perhaps there is a certain aesthetic to the image captured....
That's a large part of it Jeff - the 'retro' look. Plus that particular combination of VX1000/Century Optics fish-eye is famed for the iconic close-up angles and sense of dimension it achieves, in experienced hands that is. I guess you need to need to be a skateboader to fully appreciate that dynamic.

As that Wiki states "Today the VX1000 is used among cult skateboarding filmmakers and has become one of the strongest symbols of street skateboarding culture since it has featured in iconic videos over two decades"

I guess I could get him a fisheye lens for his iPOD but I think that's only going to buy a little time.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 18th, 2018 at 10:15 AM.
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Old April 20th, 2018, 08:05 PM   #6
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

It amazes me that the antique VX1000 still carries street cred... that's astonishing.

Ooooooold skool. That must be the appeal.

I was going to suggest a miniature 360 video / panorama cam like the Insta360 ONE (about $300) because I thought 360 video was the *thing* for skateboarders these days. But what do I know, I'm way over 40.


But I don't know if selfie sticks or helmet cams are frowned on in that world or not.

I mean, have you showed him what standard def video looks like on YouTube? And tape... holy cow... gotta be played back in real time to get it into the computer... who does that? These days.

No action cams, eh? I thought those were where it's at. I must be over the hill.

I can't really recommend the DV camcorder route, but you know -- we've got a forum for that!
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Old April 21st, 2018, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

Thanks Chris.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
It amazes me that the antique VX1000 still carries street cred... that's astonishing.

Ooooooold skool. That must be the appeal.
Apparently these are the reasons why....



Warning: High anality/drone-on factor. Have a pot of strong coffee to hand.

It was/is that particular combination of VX1000 and Century Optics MK1 fisheye that produced the iconic look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I was going to suggest a miniature 360 video / panorama cam like the Insta360 ONE (about $300) because I thought 360 video was the *thing* for skateboarders these days. But what do I know, I'm way over 40.

https://youtu.be/qz9MzLcvr7o

But I don't know if selfie sticks or helmet cams are frowned on in that world or not.
I get the impression that being filmed by another skilled skateboarder who can follow and capture the moves at *sick* angles is where it's at. And my son definitely has that aspiration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I mean, have you showed him what standard def video looks like on YouTube? And tape... holy cow... gotta be played back in real time to get it into the computer... who does that? These days.
He watches them all them time and can instantly identify a video recorded on a VX1000. Shame I didn't hold onto my old Canon HV30. Whether he would use it or not, I could at least demonstrate what is involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I can't really recommend the DV camcorder route, but you know -- we've got a forum for that!
I just posted here for visibility Chris - shows the level of desperation !

Best option I think might be a past-generation Canon AVCHD model (HF-S, HF-M series) with compatible fisheye lens and Camcaddie-like grip to get him started. I could probably come up with a 'DV look' grade that he or I could slap on the finished video with a LUT to give it that retro feel. There's a fish-eye (Death Lens) for iPhones that runs with an app that has a 'VX1000 look' option, but he's not interested.


On the other hand it will be 'yard sale' season here in a couple of weeks and you never know what that might turn-up.

Cheers.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 21st, 2018 at 09:20 AM.
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Old April 21st, 2018, 04:03 PM   #8
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

Bryan, you might also want to consider the Canon HF R800 as it is available as a factory refurb for US$129:

https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/c...ck-refurbished

Just add a couple of high-capacity batts and a 43mm WA. Not very expensive, a one-year warranty, and will probably get the job done...

(thanks for the YT vids on the VX1k popularity!)
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Old April 21st, 2018, 11:04 PM   #9
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

Thanks Chris,

Yes, I'd been thinking about an HF-R800 (or 700/600) too.

The (latter generation) HF-S series AVCHD cams were higher IQ, but I think recording in mp4 would be more convenient for him especially if he wants to edit with iMovie on his iPOD (school iPAD or Mum's iMAC.....I'm the only one with a PC). Plus there's 1080/60p if he wants it. WiFi would be nice for direct upload to iPOD but that's only available on the sister HF-R80/82 models - not such a big deal though.

Only thing I wondered is that he might be put off by the small size - I checked one out in a local store today, and it is tiny. Still it has a tripod mount for attaching to a Cam-Caddie/grip, and (as you indicated) a 43mm filter thread for lens attachment. It does have an external mic jack, but no shoe mount. If he ever wanted to use an external mic though (I have an old Sony that would do) he could mount it on the grip. I think that would make a tidy little rig.

Cheers.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 22nd, 2018 at 05:28 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2018, 07:16 AM   #10
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
It amazes me that the antique VX1000 still carries street cred... that's astonishing.

Ooooooold skool. That must be the appeal.
I agree. I guess you can't always predict these things but it's probably similar to vinyl. Plus skateboarding tends to have that punk/anti-establishment mantra.

I would think they're available cheap on ebay. I have a VX2000 still & tried selling it a year ago, no bids. Didn't bother relisting it but maybe I'll hang onto it a bit to see where the market value of them goes.


They really were great cameras.
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Old April 24th, 2018, 07:35 AM   #11
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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I have a VX2000 still & tried selling it a year ago, no bids.
Sell it to Bryan! That one is even better then the vx1000
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Old April 24th, 2018, 09:57 PM   #12
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
Plus skateboarding tends to have that punk/anti-establishment mantra.
That is an unfortunate and somewhat ignorant stereotype. Yes there is hard-core 'street' sub-culture who still foster that life style and reputation, but skateboarding as a sporting activity is very different these days. It will in fact debut in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Do you really think we would encourage our son in pursuing this activity if we thought it would lead to rebellion and delinquency ? A punk he is definitely not, and if it stimulates a parallel interest in sports videography, who knows where that could lead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Sell it to Bryan!
No thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
I have a VX2000 still & tried selling it a year ago, no bids. Didn't bother relisting it but maybe I'll hang onto it a bit to see where the market value of them goes.
Maybe post it on a skateboarding forum ?

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 24th, 2018 at 11:06 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2018, 12:57 AM   #13
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Originally Posted by Noa Put
Sell it to Bryan!
No thanks.
Why not? Both the vx1000 and it's successor the vx2000 where popular camera's amongst the skateboarding community.
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Old April 25th, 2018, 07:56 AM   #14
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Originally Posted by Bryan Worsley View Post
That is an unfortunate and somewhat ignorant stereotype. Yes there is hard-core 'street' sub-culture who still foster that life style and reputation, but skateboarding as a sporting activity is very different these days. It will in fact debut in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Wow, I think you're taking it a bit too literally. It was more of a term of endearment. While other teens might want 4k, XBox 360, the newest Call of Duty, and a iPhone X, Kanye & Drake, Skateboarders tend to want the bare essentials, there's a certain cool factor in having a clamshell flip phone, Nintendo 1990 w/Super Mario, cassette tapes of Black Flag & Minor Threat etc.

I didn't call them drug addicts or losers.
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Old April 25th, 2018, 12:32 PM   #15
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Re: Budget Camcorder/Fish Eye Combo for Skateboarding Video

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Plus skateboarding tends to have that punk/anti-establishment mantra.
....hardly conveys a sentiment of endearment and most definitely portrays skateboarders as a community of miscreant losers - a perception that I don't think would be appreciated by the vast majority of people involved in the sport today. The emergence of well designed and properly supervised facilities and centers has done a lot to dispel that image and to attract a new generation of upbeat youngsters who enjoy it for the exhilarating and highly athletic sport that it is. My only concern as a parent is the potential for injury when you see the level of acrobatics that these kids aspire to and achieve. Anyhow, no bother.
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