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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old October 5th, 2003, 09:56 PM   #1
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choices...please help!

hello everyone,

I’ve been reading threads from this forum for the last few days and I must say that you guys are very knowledgeable and informative. Hopefully you guys can help me solve my dilemma…

You must’ve heard this at least 1000 times but I too am an aspiring filmmaker. During my high school years, I’d be willing to direct anything. Give me a tight story and a miniDV cam, a VHS-C cam, even a 8mm cam and I’ll shoot it. At that time I didn’t care so much about technology at the time (such as the difference between 1CCD and a 3CCD) and was more concerned with telling a good story. Now I am entering my 2nd year of college and I’ve been in search for a mini DV cam for my video production classes. The more I learned about camcorders the harder it became to choose one. I went from a TRV70, to a TRV950, to a VX2000 to being stuck between a VX2000 and a DVC80. And now, the dark horse(who we also know it as the DVX100) is sneaking up my alley.
Please help me choose the right cam that I can benefit from in every condition.

So when I break everything down, it looks like:

VX2000-great res, great lowlight, but lacks ext. mic and on board XLR ports…plus its 3 years old!

DVC80-newer cam, good res, on board XLR ports and ext. mic…but not as good as the VX in lowlight

DVX100-based on what you guys say, great everything (esp. 24P)…EXCEPT the price(keep in mind I am a typical broke college student hehe)

Besides good lighting, postproduction, acting and pacing…which cam will give me great performance and longevity in most (if not all) circumstances? Should I buy a VX and get the extras down the road, get a DVC80 and not be happy with lowlight, or sacrifice everything I own for a DVX100? I have become a victim of getting caught up in technology and forgetting about how to make good movies. Guys help me pick one out so I can get my head straight. Sorry for the extra long post, thanks in advance !!
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Old October 5th, 2003, 10:26 PM   #2
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If you are serious about making movies, you may want to decide what your entire budget should include.

For example -- for my purposes, the XLRs on the DVC80 were a big selling point, but I'm doing more of run-n-gun commercial work, not films. You may want to invest in external audio components (miniCD w/ mixer, etc) to allow you the greatest freedom and best audio for films. This would make XLR inputs on your cam less important.

Also, what will your final output be? Video or film? TV or Projector? Many people here will tell you that a well-composed, well-lit 60i video can look really great. I have no experience with 24p, but from what I've read, you only really benefit from it if you know composition, lighting, settings, etc. -- the same things that can make 60i video look great, too.

I've started checking out http://www.ladyxfilms.com/ as well -- these shorts are accompanied by a list of the equipment used -- there are some DVX100s used there.

You may also want to see if you can get work once you buy the camera. Local musicians or artists who need footage shot, or a low-budget video. You have shooting and editing experience, so put your ear to the ground and see how much low-budget, quickie work you can pick up in the next six months. It might be a gamble, but even if you can only find yourself a guaranteed extra $600, that might help you make decisions about your budget.

I'm sorry that I can't relay personal experience in shooting films, but I think these are some basic things to consider. Far more experienced people will come along and give their advice, for sure.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 10:51 PM   #3
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John actually makes an acute point with his remark, "If you are serious about making movies, you may want to decide what your entire budget should include."

As an owner of an XL1s, a GL2 and a DVX100, and as a prior owner of an XL1 and a GL1, I can safely say that prosumer cameras have far more in common than they have in distinction. The camera you select within this range really makes very little difference. By contrast, making the commitment to really learn to use the camera you select would make a far larger contribution to your project.

But back to John's remark, image is only part of the story-telling toolset. You need good sound and, to make those images, you need light. All of that has to be in your budget, too.

Taking a step ever further back (fatherly tone here) keep your perspective in terms of your financial situation. Borrow or rent expensive gear that might not be justifiable or realistic to purchase as a college student.
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Old October 6th, 2003, 12:46 AM   #4
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And as a side-note, ask yourself just how important low-light performance is to you. It may not be as crucial as you think. If you're aspiring to be a filmmaker, most likely you'll want to light your sets, negating the need for shooting in no-light or low-light.
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Old October 6th, 2003, 12:51 AM   #5
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Thank you for your great replies.

To John, How do you like your DVX80? The reason I considered it is because I thought I would save money by having on board XLR ports than having to buy or rent them. Plus its alot newer than the VX. I have been offered several jobs to shoot music videos and weddings but I have declined the offers until because I didn't have a cam yet..hehe. So I'm pretty sure I'll have work ready once I choose a cam.

To Ken, my budget is either the VX or the DVC80 (same price at B&H) but in every comparison I try to read up on, the DVX100 just ends up in the article/thread and has been said to rip up the competition. What do you feel about the DVX100? Is it really worth the EXTRA ($600-$1000)money or is the hype just getting in my head? Output wise, can I get similar results with the older VX2000? Is 24P really as awsome as everyone says it is and will there be a problem using beginner editing software? (In my current PC I have Pinnacle v.8...I'm currently building a new tower that will have Adobe Premiere)

To Chris, lighting may be a problem if I'm filming outdoors in the evening time. I dont know, but it just makes me feel more comfortable that the low light performances are good.

By the way, the ladyxfilms look great. Down the road sometime next year I'd love to volunteer my effort. THANKS ALOT guys, you've helped me alot. Once I chose a cam, I will commit my efforts to using the cam to the best of its ability. But the question is,which camcorder will it be...
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Old October 6th, 2003, 01:13 AM   #6
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Bryan,
I have never used a VX2000 but have every reason to confidently say that it's a fine, sturdy camera that's withstood the brutal test of time and wide use.

I've only had the DVX for a short time and have not really yet had a chance to take it through its full paces. Yes, it's a unique animal in the herd. Is it worth the extra money FOR YOU? I can't say with certainty, but I'd speculate that it isn't.

Frankly, if you're on the typical tight budget that most students face, I'd be inclined to advise you to get a less expensive camera to learn your craft. This will, at least, leave more budget for lighting and sound. Most of the subtle attributes that the DVX can bring to a project may be completely lost on the vast majority of your viewers. No, 24P won't make your project look like a $30mil production. Don't misunderstand me. The DVX is an intriguing camera. But I merely advocate that you not be swept away by the typically breathless hyperbole that surrounds nearly any new product in the prosumer category. Skilled filmmakers/videographers with a good script can (and do) produce excellent works with nearly any "prosumer" camera. Unskilled filmmakers couldn't do good work with a $200,000 HD rig.

So I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but again I suggest that you keep your real goals and priorities in sight.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 12:14 AM   #7
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I am into the same situation. Each time I go to the net to get info about the DVC80, here comes the DVX100 with all its glory.

I'd truly want to know what are the real differences between them, out of 24p and 30p. I am interested mainly in the more cinegraphic controls of both (as it seems, they both have true manual focus?).

What about shutter speed controls, iris, etc? Do they work the same way?
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Old October 14th, 2003, 01:16 AM   #8
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from what I read I believe that the only difference is the progressive shooting modes, but I'm sure someone here can give you a more detailed description.

I shelled out the extra money to get a DVX100. I felt that the more I researched about these camcorders, the longer I'm stuck dreaming of making movies instead of going out in doing them. I chose the DVX just cause I might as well go for broke, and try to master a wonderful camera. Thanks for the advice guys and good luck with your choice Emilio.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 01:48 AM   #9
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There are many differences between them, but the basic functionality (i.e., the lens, the tape transport, the audio system, etc) are the same.

The major differences are that the DVX100 has everything the DVC80 does, but the DVC80 is lacking several features the DVX100 has. Those include:

24P progressive-scan
30P progressive-scan
CineGamma
High Gamma
Low Gamma
External record deck control

There are lots more small features that are missing from the DVC80. Someone on 2-pop once went through and made a definitive list. If the price difference where you're shopping is $400 or less, it would be very difficult for many shoppers to justify buying the 80 instead of springing for the 100. But if the price difference is $900 or so, well, that makes the DVC80 make a lot more sense...
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Old October 14th, 2003, 09:00 AM   #10
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Thank you.

Well, I am facing the decision now.


<<
24P progressive-scan
30P progressive-scan
CineGamma
High Gamma
Low Gamma
External record deck control
>>

Thank you for the info.
Well, these are nice features from the DVX100.
About progressive scan and 24p/30p/frame mode etc, I want to say I used to be obsessed about that, but now I avoid over-estimate these capabilities.

The DVX100 not only has 24p but it has the exact typical cinema shutter speeds options, so motion blur is very alike. I love that.

Elsewhere, If I didn't know if I will want to go to 24fps, or if the film-look will be rejected by my client at the final approval, I'd better work with 60i than in progressive, and with correct shutter speeds. If you are unsure, you can get still nice 24fps in post, even if you tweak the video speed while editing. I don't say 24p is unnecessary, I'll use it a lot for my projects.

I do a lot of post in after effects. So it's a nice feature to have gamma controls and cine-look while shooting but I can live tweaking video in AE until i get "the camera".


HOWEVER, one thing that makes lean in favor of DVX100 is the lack of interval recording, as I read about the DVC lacks.

I've made some incredible shots with my modest trv7 with interval recording: a flower opening, the weather changing, the night falling upon the buildings, the marvelous Bahia sky shifting shapes...

Now combine THAT with progressive scanning...
In my case that makes the DVX100 features worth the $900
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Old October 14th, 2003, 09:16 AM   #11
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Hello Gang,

I have searched and read the the threads on the DVC80. This is the most current.

I was first attracted to the GL-2 and asked some questions over in that section. However, I have been reading everything I can find on the DVC80/DVX100. They seem more um... professional. I like the large eyepiece.

I REALY like the specs (I can find) on the DVC80 as being what I need. Several questions I have puzzle me. There seems to be a lot of talk about the price of the AG-DVX100 and AG-DVC80 being so close. I checked B&H and there is $1K between them. ($3.3K-$2.3K) That's a lot of $$ in my book. Is the DVC80 being discounted?

I have no asperations (at least not $1K worth) to own a 24/30P camera. I will be doing training videos and personal projects. Probably some travel. Not making feature films. Also, who says you can only buy one camera in your life! <G>

One real question for someone who owns one. What is the close focus ability? I need to be able to do some macro type filming of hand held controlers. (fingers on buttons...)

Regards,

Dan Kautz
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Old October 14th, 2003, 09:24 AM   #12
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The 80 will do macro just like the other cams.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 11:26 AM   #13
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$1k is a lot of extra money for me too.

With $700 you could buy a dual DV/SVHS vcr in B&H.

Or an additional consumer mini-DV camera, like the old and mighty GR-DV3000, to use as VCR and support camera (say you want to shoot from inside the oven, or to screw the camera on top of a 10 ft aluminium pole...)

And I'll have more $300 to spend in DV tapes or a new 7200 RPM Hard disk...


I am still with the DVX100, but i agree the prices are not 'so close'.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 01:04 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Daniel Kautz : Hello Gang,

One real question for someone who owns one. What is the close focus ability? I need to be able to do some macro type filming of hand held controlers. (fingers on buttons...)

Regards,

Dan Kautz -->>>

You can focus down to the surface of the lens, but there's not a lot of magnification (because the lens is so wide-angle). For ultra-macro photography you'll probably want to invest in something like the Canon 250D or 500D achromatic diopters.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 04:56 PM   #15
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Rob, Barry,

Thanks for the info even if I went slightly off thread.

It seems to me the DVC80 must have been at a higher street price at one time. Thus closer to the DVX100 price. I haven't been around here long enough to know. That's why I asked if the 80 is now being discounted deeper.

I see them as two cameras with two different missions. But common enough to call then cousins. Here's my view:

The DVC80, as a very pro design 60i video camera with an adequate zoom & WA Leica spec lens. No consumer frills for taking snapshots in zero light, etc. but a "hard body" 60i video work tool.

Then the DVX100 is same base camera with added progressive scan, cinema (like) features that push the value an additional $1K of your cash. It's aimed at folks wanting video to look like film.

Don't think of it as giving up features and a move *down* to own "just" the DVC80. Think of it as an investment of another $1K to get cinema like progresive scan, if that is your goal with your work.

The human tendancy is to want everything with all the features, the highest quality and at the lowest price. Reality is you get what you pay for. The best deal is to only pay for what you need. (Hard to do!)

Roll up your pant cuffs. Here are Dan's words of wisdom:

"A pure business person only invests enough to get the job done for the greatest return of that investment. A Hobbyist buys from the heart for the prestiege of ownership and the thrill of new discovery. Many lone artists behave like hobbyists. Isn't that what this "prosumer" thing is all about?"

Humbly, <g>

Dan Kautz

(I don't think 60I is actually dead yet. Is it?)
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