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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #1
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Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

Hello all,
I'm looking into purchasing a camcorder that would get me the BEST results in low light situations, as we'll be using it to film a drive along a night road, showing the differences in headlamp light output. Traditional camcorders don't capture any of the light spread, and appear that we're driving behind flashlights. I'm hoping to find a camcorder that would better collect the detail in the dark environment.

I've found that the Sony MPW EX1 or MPX EX1R are quite highly recommended, but they are older models that are no longer stocked. Does anyone have any knowledge of any subsequent Sony models that may have similar low-light capabilities? I'm not sure if I'm looking at a line that's more costly that would need to be, but it seems highly recommended. If there's something that's less expensive, I'd obviously be open to recommendations.

I appreciate everyone's help.

Thanks.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

Sony FS100. Cheaper and amazing low-light performance.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

It's news to me that the EX1R is out of production. Go for it - it's the best low-light camera of that form-factor out there.

Piotr (a prolific poster) thinks the FS100 is a bit so-so in low light:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-avc...sensitive.html
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

US dealers are selling the EX1R on their sites, but you need to order them and there's a 2-4 week delivery time.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

EX series camcorders are amazing for the price, but for what you're going to film, you'll need wider than EX can provide dynamic range, if you're not planning to shoot those head lights for the rest of your life, I'd say rent Red MX for the shot, but if you plan to buy, FS-100 is a good camera, but you'll need faster than stock lens, with fast lens you will loose AF and IS, and unless you'll record to nanoFlash , or similar, 21Mbs AVCHD won't give you a lot of latitude
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:53 PM   #6
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

Thanks for the replies everyone, this is priceless information. I sincerely appreciate it.

We are looking to do this type of filming regularly, so rental is not an option. Yes, the wide range will be a significant need, so the FS-100 seems to be a good consensus. If we went with the FS-100, is there a particular lens that would be ideal, and would also offer IS or AF?

Thanks again all.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

The kit lens has been getting good reviews, believe it or not. Also, the 16mm "pancake" wideangle lens is also a good buy.
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Old August 17th, 2011, 12:16 AM   #8
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Lee View Post
I've found that the Sony MPW EX1 or MPX EX1R are quite highly recommended, but they are older models that are no longer stocked.
The EX1 is indeed discontinued because it's been replaced by the EX1R, but the latter is far from there... the 2-4 weeks delay is due to the conjunction of high demand and the trouble Sony got in its factories in Japan.
I got lucky to get mine just after the Japan disaster, before they became out of stock everywhere for more than 1 month.
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Old August 17th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #9
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

For low light use, you will want to get a lens with an f-stop of 2.8 or better.
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Old August 17th, 2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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Re: Advice on buying a camcorder for low light

For the best low light detail, I would use a F3 with S-Log in order to record far more detail in the shadows versus any other camera with gammas that crush the shadows. For the external recorder, I would go with uncompressed (gemini) or the PIX240 for 10bit recording.

Some might suggest turning the blacks very high in other cameras but most are 8bit so the limited bit depth will be a major issue.
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