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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 June 10th, 2004, 04:07 PM   #1
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Help me pick a camera! Please...

Hi! I am looking to get a prosumer dv camera. I have been reading reviews and comments on this board and have some idea what to consider, but i wanted to see if people could help me with recommendations for my needs.

The camera will be used for shorts and multimedia presentations. Some interview/documentary stuff, some presentations with heavy motion graphics/animated components. Some music video type stuff. We do a lot of shots outside without controlled light. Some night shots.

Up to now we have been using a low end consumer dv cam. I use After Effects for all my video processing and my friend uses premiere. We also use After Effects for motion graphics and animation.

I have been reading up on the GL2, DVC30, DVC80, VX2100 and, DVX100a. The DVX100a looks perfect, but the price is pretty high. I also think the others will all give us more than enough room to grow in terms of the quality of our work.

After reading reviews the DVC80 seemed like an awesome deal: great sound, great picture, bargain price, but then i was looking at the shutter speeds and it seems like you might not be able to get much motion blur.

We want to get a camera that has a "film" look. I know, use film and it is not only about the camera. We just want something that is flexible so it won't have a cheesy soap opera look for dramatic parts. We want it to look cool. The frame mode seems like it would do the trick for us together with the gamma controls and post processing.

From the reviews it also seemed like the VX2100 is better suited to news type stuff, but i haven't research this camera as much as the others.

The GL2 looks good, but i am leaning toward the DVC30 with the XLR adapter. It seems like that would best suited. Does that seem like a good choice? What do you think?
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Old June 10th, 2004, 08:23 PM   #2
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Probally the most FILMIC looking camera on the market right now is the DVX100. All of the cameras mentioned are nice in thier own right but if you are after a FILMIC 24p type of look then get the DVX.

All of the others will look like a soap opera.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 08:31 PM   #3
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The DVC30 and the GL2 both offer a "frame mode" which can deliver a somewhat filmish look.

For the real deal, 24-frame-per-second imaging, the DVX100A is the only camera on the market under $25,000 that can do it.

(excepting, of course, the original DVX100, which you could probably find used in your price range).
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Old June 11th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #4
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Everone seems to love the DVX100A and it is tempting. It seems to have everything we would want. Progressive scan, good gamma control, good shutter speed options, XLR.

Would the camara alone really make it $1000 more awesome even if we are not that skilled yet?

Can we work more with post processing effects? We have some experience with that. Or will it always have the soap opera vibe.

What if we are limited to under $2500, are the best options GL2 or DVC30?

I forgot to say that the output will be on DVD and then usually projected with an LCD projector.

Thanks so much for your feedback. I hope i can start getting good and start contributing to this board.
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Old June 13th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #5
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If you want a cam that "can acheive" a film look, then the ag-dvx-100a is the camera for you. Don't be fooled into thinking that you will have an instant film look however with the camera. You will require appropiate lighting and your scene's will need to be correctly filtered.

You can enhance your image with filters also.

I only have my dvx about 2 months, but I've learned alot with it in that time. I've tried not to be naive when it comes to shooting with the dvx. Don't expect everything to be perfect for you when you take it out of it's box but do expect it to be an impressive cam.

With a little work, if you need to achieve the film look, then it can be done. If your budget is a little higher, you could look at the mini35 adapter. It depends on how important the film look is to you.

Out of all the prosumer cams, I'd personally go for the ag-dvx100a at the moment. As far as your budget goes, don't be naive enough to think that a dvx will rid all your problems. you will require a fluid tripod, a matte blox for outdoor shoots and at least a polarizer filter. You will also require a decent mic.

When you have all this priced and added up, only then will you trually know how much this setup is really going to cost you.
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Old June 13th, 2004, 02:14 PM   #6
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Just think about it this way:

The DVX100 is more or less what the other cameras are in terms of 60i and being true DV. But it offers another step for you;

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Old June 15th, 2004, 05:03 AM   #7
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Maybe this was the wrong section to post it in. The DVX100A is awesome and i would love to get one.

But i might need to settle for less, especially if there are all these other things that we should get like a tripod, filters, etc. I am not convinced that we should spend $3400 on the camera alone.

Shouldn't we work on excellence in shooting first and spend some money on other things? It seems like $1400 would get us a lot farther with camra filters, after-effecs plugins, and other non-camera components, than 24p. But i could be wrong. Please tell me if i am.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 01:55 PM   #8
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Its up to you. We dont know what your budget it. Sure there are many accessories and 'toys' that alot of must have (Matteboxes, External Sound packages, Filters, Stabilizers) and you are correct; Using a DVX100 will not make you a better filmaker at all.

It depends on what you are ready for. Perhaps you are not ready for the DVX100. If thats the case you are definatley not ready for the Canon XL1s.

Maybe a GL2 is better suited for you while you learn. Once you do become a practical filmaker then the DVX100 would only serve to enhance your filmaking talent.

The DVX100 is not priced high at all (maybe for your personal budget) but is the only 24p camera under $4000.00. The next jump for 24p is about $25,000.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 03:31 PM   #9
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Erik, getting the DVX100A is the best bet. Get a decent tripod for now until you can upgrade. Polarizers are not expensive and the matte blox is also inexpensive compared to the Chrozsiel. When you look at the others, maybe the PD170 is a good trade off but almost the same price and it doesn't have 24P. The features in the DVX100 cannot be found on cheaper cameras and as one post said, the next camera that offers 24P is about 25 grand. There is news that Canon is coming out with a 24P camera, but who knows when.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 03:32 PM   #10
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"Shouldn't we work on excellence in shooting first and spend some money on other things?"

You've actually hit the nail on the head with that remark, Erik.

Photography, particularly narrative photography, is the key core competency involved. Composition, lighting, exposure, shot selection, pacing and basic use of the audio/visual medium are the most important issues, far more so than the camera. All of these skills must be mastered and coordinated to produce a good visual story.

As an owner of many (most) of the cameras you've considered I can tell you that there really is no progression, per se. Yes, each features certain technical characteristics. But I've seen some very "filmic" work done on each of them. There's a great tendency, particularly on the part of those who come into "filmmaking" from technical backgrounds, to believe that cameras and computers play a greater role than they really do. Such folks want to mimic what they've seen on big productions and believe that can be accomplished with stuff.

So, cutting to the chase I recommend that you select ANY camera that produces a reasonably good image and permits manual controls over both your exposure and your audio. The fact is that all of the cameras in the "prosumer" price range have far more in common than in distinction. They all have about the same imaging characteristics. Yes, the DVX100A is truly a bit unique in many ways. But its unique characteristics are certainly not requisite for producing a good movie.

Once you've made your purchase, learn every aspect and nuance of the camera. Shoot, take notes, review, shoot, take notes, review, etc. Very few people ever really take the time to learn to use their cameras really well. That accomplishment alone will help to distinguish your work and will prepare you well for judging future upgrades in equipment.

Have a great time with your new camera. That's the most important advice I could offer. And study, study, study!
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Old June 16th, 2004, 11:41 AM   #11
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Ken says it all.... he often does!

You could consider renting some of these camcorders for a couple of days and test them to see which one approaches your needs.
I stepped up from a 1 ccd consumer camcorder to the DVX100 (PAL) after renting the DVX100 one day. I was truly going for manual controles and the progressive (filmlook) mode. But I have read a lot of forum discussions and reviews to find out about the camcorder and if it suits my kind of work, before I bought it. But I didn't looked at the quality of the autofocus in the interlaced mode, didn't bother about interchangeable lenses or a compact light-weight camcorder. Other people find these points more important and they will probably choose another camcorder that fits their needs better.

Good luck with it!

Peter / Orphic Film and
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