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Old April 15th, 2013, 03:46 AM   #1
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Cheap unmanned camera

Hi,
I do events and I would like to have some cameras, with no cameraman, around the room in key positions. I am looking for something that should have the following characteristics.

- Good optical zoom (a camera could be pointing at a single speaker)
- Microphone Input (sometimes I need to input audio from an audio mixer the other side of the room and pass it along the HDMI chain)
- Full HD both Interlaced and Progressive
- Good video quality
- Low live HDMI output delay (difficult to find info on this online)
- Cheap (need to buy few of them)

As use is for LIVE I am not interested in compression, disk space, effects, titling, lights mount, etc...

Seems an easy request but in my researches I found that many of the low end don't have a Microphone Input and tend to be only progressive OR interlaced.

I found the SONY CX320E that should have all the characteristics although seems impossible to find a review around from somebody that actually used it and could tell me more about the video quality.
Anyone can help on this?
Do you have other cameras to suggest?
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Old April 16th, 2013, 03:00 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcello Mazzilli View Post
Good optical zoom (a camera could be pointing at a single speaker)
- Microphone Input (sometimes I need to input audio from an audio mixer the other side of the room and pass it along the HDMI chain)
I do multicam shooting, and only worry about a microphone input on one of my cameras. I record audio on all the cameras, but just use that audio to sync.

But if it is an issue, you could just add a tiny, cheap mixer like a Rolls MX-36, that takes an XLR microphone pair in and outputs a stereo mini-phone signal that you can plug into a wide range of consumer cameras.

I shoot with one Canon XH-A1 and a number of Canon HF-S100s. I'll use the XH-A1 with my condenser mics, and take the board feed into one of the HF-S100s. It took some experimenting to get the optimum levels for the manual audio input on the camera, but since then, I am very happy with the results.

Quote:
- Full HD both Interlaced and Progressive
- Good video quality
- Low live HDMI output delay (difficult to find info on this online)
- Cheap (need to buy few of them)
Not sure about the rest of your list, but for cheap, an external mixer give you far more options,
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Old April 16th, 2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

Mixer is not a problem... The thing is that not many low end cameras have audio in jack.
I'll chek the models you list. I don't eant to mix cameras because i am afraid of differences in hdmi delay (talking about fractions of a second).
Thanks anyway
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Old April 17th, 2013, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcello Mazzilli View Post
Mixer is not a problem... The thing is that not many low end cameras have audio in jack.
Not an audio jack, but quite a few of them have a microphone in jack. The Rolls mixer I linked to has a microphone level output, and the circuitry to block the phantom power that exists on consumer camcorder microphone jacks.

Quote:
I'll chek the models you list. I don't eant to mix cameras because i am afraid of differences in hdmi delay (talking about fractions of a second).
Thanks anyway
How many cameras are you talking about? For instance, I have 3 Canon HF-S100s, which I bought used for approximately $199 each. I'm fairly confident that all would have matching HDMI delay.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

Great tip that phantom thing... I had not thought of that... O will need to find a solution.
I will need to 2-3 cameras too. The ones you have arr 1.000$ new but if you found them at 200$ used is a good deal... I will need to do the same... I was thinking of NEW Sony cheap but also used better ones is not bad... I'll give a look around and see what I find.
Thanks for help.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:24 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

That Canon HF camera is $1000 because it has been out of production since 2009. It didn't sell for $1000 in it's best day.

Look at a current Canon Vixia for something similar. This one has a mic in and HDMI out for $315.

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Vixia-Me...6258765&sr=8-2
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Old April 18th, 2013, 02:04 AM   #7
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

In Europe where I live I think the same cameras are the LEGRIA series and the first I found with a mike costs around 430... That is why as far as now the best buy (at least new) for me is Sony cx320e that I fond at 330 allthough Ican't find any review around
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Old April 19th, 2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

I wish I could find some HF S100's for $199. That would help me a lot.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 04:07 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

I'm lookin around.. in Europe you can get them around 350 I think that's more than 400$
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Old April 19th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

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Originally Posted by Paul McDaniel View Post
I wish I could find some HF S100's for $199. That would help me a lot.
I had a lot of luck on eBay.

I want to get a camera to replace my older HF-200. But most of the inexpensive cameras have those damnable touch screens. I love the physical controls of the HF-S100, especially the very useful programmable knob, but I'd love to find something the same size, with a joystick/knob interface, but with higher resolution and better low light.

One thing I don't like about the HF-S100 is the location of the SD card port, that requires removing it from the tripod to change the media. I frequently have to do multiple shows in one venue, and have to change cards between shows.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

Last week I walked into a Costco and they were closing out the Canon HF-R300. I bought the last 2 they had for $125 a piece.

Maybe you can find a close out close to you.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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Re: Cheap unmanned camera

I love US.. unfortunately I live in Europe.. never heard of such offers !
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