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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:41 PM   #1
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Need some advice about cameras.

Hello,

I'm a recent graduate from Brown College with a TV degree. Finding a job has been hard so I've decided to get into wedding/event videography. I shot some weddings last year for another company with a JVC GR-DVL120U which is a decent camera for how very cheap it is, but hardly what a professional would use. I still plan to use this camera as the second camera in two camera cerimony shoots.

I need some new gear. I would like opinions on the following cameras.

JVC GY-DV300U $2,289 at BuyDig.com

Panasonic AG-DVC80 $2,379 also at BuyDig.com

Sony DSR-PD150 (a rediculous $3700 at B&H) $2,570 at Best Digital Online. (There are a number of online stores that offer the camera for around $2700 and I was wondering if anyone knows which, if any, of these stores are selling the U.S. warrenty models. The list of stores I am referring to comes from epinions.com)

The Sony is my front runner, but I would like to find one at a decent price. I've hear the 150 has some sound issues (hiss). Anyone care to comment on that?

Should you only shoot in DVcam with this camera? How does the regular DV performance compare with the DV performance of other cameras?

Also, any reason I should consider the DSR-PDX10 over the 150?

My main requirements are 3 chip (of course) and XLR inputs (that's why I'm not really looking at the VX2000) and I want to keep the price down to afford tripods, lavs and a wireless mic, etc.

I'm all set to go computer wise with premire and dvd burning. I'm still trying to figure out package pricing, but I doubt my most expensive package will be over $1500-$2000, so I don't need to have super expensive gear. I just want to have respectable quality (whatever that means).

Thanks for any help/advice.

Chris
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:45 PM   #2
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CentralDigital.com for the PD150 and VX2000. Love the PD150 and the VX (have them both). The PD150 is nice in that you don't have to buy an xlr adapter.


You're going to invest quite a bit though (better shotgun, wireless system, tripod at the very least).

If you can wait, you can buy from a woman on eBay. You must be willing to wait AT LEAST 6 weeks. I bought my PD150 from her. A pain to wait but I paid 2550. Full US warranty.

Jeff
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:52 PM   #3
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Hey, welcome to the forum Chris, i'll try to answer your questions the best I can.

Out of them 3 cameras, the best for weddings would be the PD150 hands down, but don't think your going to be able to get it for $2700, thats just a plain rip off. Check out www.resellerratings.com. B&H is one of the best places to buy from, buydig is also pretty good. I also suggest checking out some of the sponsors of this website.

Take a look at the VX2000. It's essentially the PD150 without DVCAM support and the better audio. It goes for around $2300 at B&H.


"The Sony is my front runner, but I would like to find one at a decent price. I've hear the 150 has some sound issues (hiss). Anyone care to comment on that?"

"Nah, it doesn't. I do think it (or the VX2000) had some small sound issues when it came out, but they got fixed.


"Should you only shoot in DVcam with this camera? How does the regular DV performance compare with the DV performance of other cameras?"

Nah. There's no quality difference between DVCAM and the regular DV mode. The only difference is in DVCAM mode the tape runs faster, so you only get 40 minutes per tape, but that advantage to this is there is less of a chance of getting dropouts, but thats no big deal, as long as you don't use tapes over and use the same brand of tapes. Regular DV mode is fine.


"Also, any reason I should consider the DSR-PDX10 over the 150?"

The PDX10 is a nice little camera. Really the only advantage to it over the PD150 is it has a better 16x9 mode, but that shouldn't be a big deal for weddings, as far as video quality, the PDX10's video is probably a bit sharper (maybe) but it's low light capabilites aren't anywhere near the VX2000/PD150's, which is very important for weddings/receptions.

"My main requirements are 3 chip (of course) and XLR inputs (that's why I'm not really looking at the VX2000) and I want to keep the price down to afford tripods, lavs and a wireless mic, etc."

You can add XLR inputs to the VX2000 with a beachtek adapter. I don't know what would be a better deal, the VX2000 with a beachtek or a PD150...

Good luck.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 08:08 PM   #4
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The PD150 doesn't cost $3700 from B&H. I paid about $3600 for the kit which includes the rain cover and soft case.

Just ordered another one from them, same kit plus a 4 year extended warranty. Tax, shipping, and the camera came to less than $3800. This was purchased for a community college here in California and we have to pay state sales tax. IRRC, the quoted price for the camera alone was just under $3,000. You have to ask them to email you a better price.

Of all the cameras you mentioned, the PD150 is the hands down winner.

As for editing gear, you should visit the editing forums on this site to get a good idea of what is available. You basically have a choice between Mac and PC and between editing systems that are real-time or require rendering. And a few that are sort of in-between. They show you what it will look like but you cannot use the video until you render.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 08:29 PM   #5
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For that matter I recommend Canopus Storm2 or RaptorRT.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 08:57 PM   #6
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I did not see the "email me a better price" thing at B&H. What a difference. $3099.99. That's much better, but if anyone has gotten a better deal for the U.S. model, let me know. I'm about 95% with my decision to go with the 150.

Thank you to the folks who have taken the time to respond so far.


An update. I went ahead and put in my order for the 150 from IBuyDigital.com. Mostly good feedback and they say that their products are US warrenty models. Total price with shipping was around $2900. I will post my experience after getting my camera (with no problems, I hope).
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Old July 31st, 2003, 09:35 PM   #7
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When in doubt about a seller, or the price seems to good to be true, it's always wise to check them out here:

http://www.resellerratings.com
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Old August 1st, 2003, 03:16 PM   #8
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--------
I'm still trying to figure out package pricing, but I doubt my most expensive package will be over $1500-$2000, so I don't need to have super expensive gear. I just want to have respectable quality (whatever that means).
--------

I remember an article somewhere which tabulated all the expenses for a wedding videography business and concluded that you need to charge nearly $1500-$2000 to make a decent living. I can't remember where I saw the article.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 09:40 PM   #9
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As a beginner, you would be very lucky indeed to get those rates. I'd bet you will have to do a few at $500 or so to get started.

I do weddings for $500 for the local police and friends. Those weddings lead almost always lead to larger bookings and more bookings within the same families.

I can make money doing $500 birthday, retirement, anniversary parties (and even funerals).

They almost always lead to commercial work.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 02:14 AM   #10
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Well, I do have the TV degree, and I have shot 6 weddings, so I don't feel like a complete beginner, but I see where you are coming from.

I am all set up with post production gear, Premier, Matrox 10, DVD burner, so I can offer something a bit better than a VHS dub of unedited video.

I also have a part time job to pay the bills while I build a reputation. It's all about networking and following through, and I am fairly good at both. If I average 1.5 weddings a month by this time next year, I will be very happy.

Not to get too far O/T, but my real dream is to produce a sketch comedy show. Shoot a pilot with my new camera and see if anyone thinks it's funny. Wedding videography is a perfect fit because it leaves me with enough time during the week to work on my show, and I have worked at weddings for a number of years (also as a still photographers assistant) so I am very framiliar with the setting.

Thanks again for your input to all of you with lots more experience than me.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 09:59 PM   #11
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Well heres an example for you.....I have a Degree in Film and Video from the very highly regarded Full Sail Film program and I was very much into the TV Productions program in my high school. I also worked for a broadcast company with a live productions truck . I started out here in Rochester with my prices at the top end for this area ($1500-$3000) I seem to have no trouble booked my services. I will admit that I dont book as much as the low end guys...But then again I dont think that those are the clients that I am looking for. If you produce a top end product and have good customer service skills, theres no reason you cant charge top dollar for your product.....But at the same time relize that your product isnt priced for everyone. If you want high volume sell your soul and buy a Panasonic 3 chip SVHS camcorder and do unedited wedding tapes that you deliver to you client at the end of the night. Not to say that there is anything wrong with this persay.......However in my opinion you remove the artistic value of the industry with this method.

Experiance isnt everything....Artistic talent and know how are. Experiance is good for preparing you for what will happen. Experiance is a must in the live world because you have to be able to "think on your feet" at all times. But when it comes to wedding video once you've seen a dozen you've seen just about all. Not to say that experiance doesn't count for anything. Because in its way it s invaluable. However all the experiance in the world isnt going to help you if you put out a plain vannilla product. In order to produce excellent video that will make people come back for more you must have a compelling product.....

Thats just my take on things...Dont pay any attenion cause its probably wrong!

Scott
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Old August 7th, 2003, 11:15 PM   #12
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Go with Sony

I admit, haven't had a lot of experiences with other cameras, but Sony cameras generally have pretty good color reproduction, and can handle low light situations like a madman. I own the VX2000 myself, and aside from the "steadycam" not being as steady as I'd like it to be, and the weight, it's an excellent camera. I could go into a church that has low light and still get great footage. I say go for the camera you like - or you'll spend the rest of your shooting days wishing you would've gotten the other.

Good luck.
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Old August 11th, 2003, 10:58 AM   #13
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IF you want to save money and get lot of features for the bucks,
try Panasonic NV GS100K Japanese camera, its around $ 1200 including shipping, tax etc.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 03:03 PM   #14
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Well, I got my camera today, looks very nice.

I decided to go with the four year extended warrenty for $274 which seems like a good deal for me. I was sent a very nice Tamrac bag for buying the warrenty, although I will have to find another use for it as it is too small to fit the PD150.

So the total price with shipping and warrenty was $3195.90, which may not be the very best deal, but not too bad IMO.

I would recommend I Buy Digital, as my experience was good, and they have a decent rating on epinions, but like almost every on line company, not everybodies experience is great.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 07:55 PM   #15
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Chris,
Congrats, you'll be very pleased. Take lots of time to get to know all of the settings on this camera. Shoot a lot of tape. You'll be amazed at what it can do.
Jeff
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