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Old August 18th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #1
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My Head Is Spinning

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. When I decided to get back into video after about 5 years out of it, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. The plan was to use what I have now (Panasonic 1CCD consumer model) until I had the money to buy the Canon XL2.

Then I found this forum with all the info I was looking for about everything (more info then i was expecting really).

Now my head is spinning as I don't know what to purchase. I've found that my little consumer miniDV isn't going to cut it, even for my school projects. It has no external mic support, for one thing.

At first I thought, that's ok, i'll get a used GL1 and all will be good. But after reading the forums for a couple weeks, there are so many more choices. I'm having a tough time deciding what it is I really should be looking for. The canon threads seem to be biased to canon, the sony threads are biased to sony, etc. It has been tough to figure out what truly is the "best deal".

The following cameras are what I'm looking at, I'm sure I've left off more than a few (I haven't looked at any sony cameras):
DVX100B; XL1x; GL1

They all seem to come up in aproximately the same used price range (looking on ebay for price, because the local paper and local craigslist have ziltch).

Is there a best choice out of those three? Is there one I forgot that would be in the same price range and be a better choice?

I feel like such a newbie, but I am just hoping for some help, opinions, etc.

Thanks for reading and lending your input :-)
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Old August 18th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Shofner
The canon threads seem to be biased to canon, the sony threads are biased to sony, etc. It has been tough to figure out what truly is the "best deal".
And you expected WHAT!?!?!?!?! All kidding aside, yes, different forums will show different preferences. Human nature is that a person will try to justify his or her purchase even if was the wrong one!

Quote:
The following cameras are what I'm looking at, I'm sure I've left off more than a few (I haven't looked at any sony cameras):
DVX100B; XL1x; GL1.
Either one of those cameras should fill the bill. The best and only way to really figure it out is to, as Chris always says!, put them in your hands and see how they feel to you, and he is very right! I would think that in Vegas there must be a pawn shop or rental house where you could do just that. We probably have tons of members there too, who might be will to help.

Good Luck---Mike
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Old August 18th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #3
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In my opinion, I think your best bet would be try for the XL1s. It's a semi-shoulder mounted camera, and with the MA-200 attachment and some batteries, it's a great shoulder mount setup. If you're doing mostly tripod work, obviiusly that doesn't matter.

Yes, I'm sorta biased towards Canon, but I also own a SOny VX2100 that I wouldn't give anything for. It's been a great camera, and still works just as well if not sometimes better than the XL1s.

I was in your boat a few years ago, I had a cheap old JVC 1CCD cam and I thought it was great. Now that I've moved up, I purchased the VX2100 and it was also great. I came acorss an excellent deal on the XL1s, and that's also a great buy. Now I'm upgrading to the XL2 because I liked the XL1s so much.

But then again, you won't know until you try them, and also, the smaller cameras like the GL1 and DVX100 can prove to be very useful in certian situations, but I've gotten now where I prefer the option of the shoulder mount and interchangable lenses.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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it all depends what u want. I've shot with everything
all the prosumer brands, canon, sony, panasonic.
They all get the job done, its just a matter of taste, each has strong points and weak points. We cant make up your mind for you and i dont think we would want to. U just have to test the cameras(rent and shoot) or look over footage that ppl post and make up your mind. :D
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Old August 18th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help guys.

I guess the big thing for starting out is to get something with 3ccd and a line in for audio. Not to mention something I can afford.


I'm still leaning towards the canon's myself, I've always loved thier still cameras - just never used any of thier camcorders.

My boss said I could borrow his XL2 to play with if I want to, and warned me that I better have money because as soon as I try it, I'll be going out to get one of my own. He is probably right.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #6
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That's the best thing you can do... borrow a camera for free! I would still test out one of the smaller cams, like the DVX100 and see what you think, you never know, it might be better for you
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:04 AM   #7
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I don't beleive there's a "best" camera out there. It's all "what's best FOR YOU".

What are you going to be shooting with it? Films? Action sports? Wildlife? School plays?

Are you going to be using a boom mic?

Is it just for a hobby? Do you plan you use it in a business venture to make money?

I mostly shoot action sports right now. That make the XL2 a good choice for me because the zoom on it is awesome, and the in camera Image Stabilizer is the best I have seen yet (not that I have playing with many cams). Plus I like how it looks impressive, the the rocker blows away my GL2.

It fits my likes and needs, which may not be the same as yours.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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Get a DVX100A. The 100B doesn't do time lapse and it takes longer to change tapes. I own an XL2 and I should have gotten the DVX.

Some reality TV is shot on the DVX, so I have a lot of people asking me about the XL2, because they're unfamiliar with it, or they think it's the XL1. Or they want to match footage already shot on the DVX.

Don't get an XL1, it doesn't do 24P and it's too old.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #9
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A real dilemma

Lisa, everyone is going through this dilemma, even the professionals. The big thing going on right now is the change to HD and you MUST take that into consideration because in a few years SD will be history. Now, we both know that content is king, but you will severely limit yourself if you go GL1/XL1 or even 2. I almost made that mistake!!!

My 2c: depending on what you do, go either one CCD or 3CCD, but go high def unless you work exclusively for the web. What camera? Of course there is bias - here's an explanation with a 25 years background: you want film look - go Canon or Panasonic; you want video look, go Sony. Period.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:28 PM   #10
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Lisa:

Canon's most recent announcement made me, primarily a Sony user, consider their new HDV offerings. It will only get worse. Sony is bound to come out with new gear soon. I'm hoping they look at increased zoom, and a 3 cmos version, with better low light capability, and perhaps variable frame rate. Of course they are doing that in the XDs, but that is a different price range than we are talking about...
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Old August 19th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #11
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I don't agree with some of you for pushing HD technology right now (don't shoot me...). I know there's a lot of folks on this forum who disagree, but I don't think HD is quite the move to make just yet, especially if you're on a limited budget like me.

I seriously looked into the move to HD a few months ago, and I was going to have to upgrade everything! My computer, my preview monitor, my hard drives, etc. etc.... not to mention I don't have an HD DVD player, HD DVD burner, or an HD TV! Sure, you can get your HDV cameras and downconvert to DV... which makes a nice picture (I've rented an HDV cam just to test this, and it does look wonderful). But my delima was, if I'm going to offer HD, I'm going to do it right, edit, preview, and publish it in HD. Now this may not be yours or anyone else's case, but the price to benefit ratio proved to be wayyy more expensive than it's worth RIGHT NOW. Now, in another 3 or 4 years, when my video business becomes more successful, and hopefully HD/HDV will become more common in the home and computer world where the prices will drop dramatically, then I'll think again about making the move.

Some may say I'm too far behind times, but I don't think HD is common enough, or standard enough to make a move just yet. It all probably depends on your area too, I'm sure the NYC/Vegas/Hollywood areas are more popular HD locations, but smaller areas like mine it just wouldn't pay off. I'm sure someone will come by with many more (and better) reasons to switch to HD, but for me, it's too expensive and in my area at least, there's not enough demand for it just yet.

Something to think about

Also, Mark: what do you like better about the DVX than the XL2?
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Old August 19th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #12
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Don't go to HD yet! It simply has not stabilized and we don't know what the next year will even bring, let alone the next few. The HDV cameras could all be obsolite in a year, start with SD.

And, like was previously mentioned, you will need a HD computer, HD software, and on and on.

Mike
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Old August 19th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #13
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No HD yet

I'm not planning on going HD yet. Right now I just need a 3CCD camera, something semi-pro for school projects and for small gigs that I've already been offered (but without a 3CCD camera couldn't accept).

If HD sticks (I beleive it will), I'll be purchasing a latest-and-greatest in the future. Talking somewhere around 2 to 3 years from now. Once I finish my Film school, the first part of it anyway.

I'll upgrade as I go, as I learn more and actually use my equipment. When there's a need to upgrade, I will. Just like now I'm looking to upgrade from my 1ccd to a 3ccd - because there is a need. Currently, I have no need (or funds) to go HD.

Thanks again for all your input everyone :)
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:56 AM   #14
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The XL 2 is fantastic.

it's the first 3 chip I've owned and it is the most versatile camera out there. I produced a feature shot on one about year ago. One of the editors for Hoop Dreams watched a rough cut, and called the director up and asked if it was shot on 35mm. Now, he didn't have it in front of him at the moment, but still, it fooled a very, very experienced eye.

If you get the XL1, don't spend over $1500 on it and make sure it doesn't have the fixed eye piece. We purchased an XL1 to do some B roll footage, and the fixed eye piece (it doesn't tilt up and down) is a real pain to work with. I need to get one of those small lcd screens to use with it.

There are lots of people shooting stuff on the DVX, and you can probably get more freelance camera work with it, but if it's just for you, I'd really encourage you to get the XL2.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Starfelt
it's the first 3 chip I've owned and it is the most versatile camera out there. I produced a feature shot on one about year ago. One of the editors for Hoop Dreams watched a rough cut, and called the director up and asked if it was shot on 35mm. Now, he didn't have it in front of him at the moment, but still, it fooled a very, very experienced eye.
That's very impressive!

Quote:
If you get the XL1, don't spend over $1500 on it and make sure it doesn't have the fixed eye piece. We purchased an XL1 to do some B roll footage, and the fixed eye piece (it doesn't tilt up and down) is a real pain to work with. I need to get one of those small lcd screens to use with it.
If you're going for the XL1 as opposed to the XL2, find an XL1s. I just sold mine for $1500, so you can find them around that price. THe only problem you're going to have is finding an XL1s with low hours becuase it's been around a while. But someone correct me if I'm wrong, I think the XL1s has a better picture and is more sensitive to light (better in low light).
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