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Old February 29th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #1
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Need some expert advise

Hi! Thanks for reading my post.
I've got a litte money burning a hole in my pocket and need a new camcorder.
Budget 2500-5000
I have just sold my HDR-FX1 Sony Camcorder. It was a great camera for about 8 years or so.
I have just sold it. Here's what I loved about it.
all things considered it was good with color and light
it was bulky enough that my clients took me serious ( i even had film friends borrow it just to take on preliminary interviews with clients)

I would like to move away from miniDV tapes or tapes in general. I'm not big on the capturing process with miniDV. I 'm not looking to get a lecture on why AVCHD sucks, I have a Cannon HF-11 as a pit cam and love the workflow (just not as good with light.) I also love storing footage on HDD instead of the millions of miniDV tape racks now staring me down.

I'm not looking for a specific brand of camera. I wasn't super impressed with the durability of Sony. But it had its advantages as well. Thanks for your suggestions
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Old February 29th, 2012, 08:09 PM   #2
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Re: Need some expert advise

SJS...I don't have a great deal of experience, but having HD-SDI BNC connectivity is a feature I looked for, I don't know if your old camera had that feature. Something I didn't understand when I purchased my camera is that some broadcast clients insist on 4:2:2 with a 50Mbps transfer rate at a minimum. It depends upon your application, if you plan on doing a lot of Chroma-keying, Green Screen or critical color correction in post, you will want at a minimum 4:2:2 at 50Mbps color sampling. My camera uses 4:2:0, through the AVCHD H.264 CODEC which requires I use an ancillary field recorder to get a 'broadcast' quality product. XLR connectors are also a desirable feature. The camera I purchased was a mid-sized camera, clients consider my rig 'professional' looking, it's size and substantial feel contribute to that 'professional' look. Some camera don't have built-in ND filters. Even though I'm an old 'stills' photographer and familiar with ND filters, I didn't realize how convenient it is to have ND filters internal to the camera. Even better, my camera flashes 'ND' when I need to use them. The last item is very subjective and it depends on what type of memory storage devices you want to use or are use to. My camera has an optional Flash Drive and can simultaneously capture DV to SDHC cards. You can even capture SD to the SDHC cards and HD 1080/60i to the Flash Drive. Pretty cool.

I hope this helps.

J.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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Re: Need some expert advise

Hi Samuel,

It may help others to make good suggestions if you state what you would like to use your camera for. There are A LOT of great AVCHD camcorders within your budget. If you need something that's broadcast ready then I believe the simplest and easiest way to go is the Canon XF100. The image quality is excellent and it will leave you a bit of headroom in your budget for accessories and such. However, it doesn't have 3 rings, which is a big deal for some people.

If you're doing film style productions then I'm sure you are aware of the capabilities of DSLRs. Got a few new ones coming out from both Canon and Nikon that should prove interesting. Since the "revolution" has been happening for a few years now there is a plethora of great accessories for them within your budget.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Re: Need some expert advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Kraus View Post
Hi Samuel,

It may help others to make good suggestions if you state what you would like to use your camera for. There are A LOT of great AVCHD camcorders within your budget. If you need something that's broadcast ready then I believe the simplest and easiest way to go is the Canon XF100. The image quality is excellent and it will leave you a bit of headroom in your budget for accessories and such. However, it doesn't have 3 rings, which is a big deal for some people.

If you're doing film style productions then I'm sure you are aware of the capabilities of DSLRs. Got a few new ones coming out from both Canon and Nikon that should prove interesting. Since the "revolution" has been happening for a few years now there is a plethora of great accessories for them within your budget.
The XF100 is a great selection I will have to research it more.. thank you.
I'm wary of the DSLR's because I've heard they have overheating issues if you use them more than 17 minutes (what the guy at TV specialists here in salt lake said) this is a no go when filming a dance concert. and that they still have some quirky chip issues(again according to the guy).
I would like to experiment with the wide variety of lenses ect that they have for them. The outdoor footage looks great.
Here are the must haves with a camera
1 professional look to them ( I know it's not essential to the camera, but I work with clients and if I show up with something that looks like the parents are using to film I'm sunk. Even if it's a better camera.)
2 something with good-great light capabilities
3 something I can set up for a noob can use with 30 minutes or less of instruction (because half the time I'm gonna be handing it over)
4 something I can upload WITHOUT the tape batch capture process in premiere pro cs5 Honestly i'm sorry if I offend people, its a dog, I can't spend the rest of my life trying to coax programs to capture HDV off of miniDV tapes correctly. I love the drag and drop and wait an hour of the AVCHD codec.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Need some expert advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kuhn View Post

I hope this helps.

J.
James
Thanks for your reply, what camera are you using? I could see where you referenced it but I would like to research it further.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 10:15 PM   #6
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Re: Need some expert advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Jackson Smith View Post
I'm wary of the DSLR's because I've heard they have overheating issues if you use them more than 17 minutes (what the guy at TV specialists here in salt lake said) this is a no go when filming a dance concert. and that they still have some quirky chip issues(again according to the guy).
The HDSLRs released in 2011, like the T3i/600D or the Panasonic GH2, don't have the problems your 'guy' thinks they have.

Quote:
I work with clients and if I show up with something that looks like the parents are using to film I'm sunk.
...something with good-great light capabilities
...something I can set up for a noob can use with 30 minutes or less of instruction (because half the time I'm gonna be handing it over)
...something I can upload WITHOUT the tape batch capture process in premiere pro cs5
You have two options that meet all of your requirements - the Panasonic AF100/101/102 or the Sony NEX FS100. However, I still think you should look at the new Canon 5D that will be announced any time soon, as well as the Nikon D800 that was announced last week, before you take a call on the other cameras.

With the money you save, you get the same quality (at least as far as your purposes are concerned), and you can buy good glass.

Hope this helps.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Re: Need some expert advise

Sam,
first you need to do your homework and decide on what direction you want to go, because today it's either camcorders as we used to know em, and large chip cameras, and they are very different and have their pros and cons;
Depending on what are you planning to film I would think twice before choosing DSLR as your main camera, however, DSLRs are probably the best solution for B and C cams,
But if you hoping to explain to a noob within 30 min how to use large chip camera (including DSLRs) - forget it, get lightly used EX1\1r\3 , it'll meet all your requirements and in your case it'll be the best bang for your buck.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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Re: Need some expert advise

I think I am going to need to do some serious homework.

I'm going to post some of my findings here so that I may help others, I can't imagine I"m the only one switching from miniDV to a tapeless system workflow.
I've decided to rule DSLR's out, for now. I'm told along with overheating, I have read in forums most DSLR's don't know how to solve the issue of fat32 4gig file size limitations, so when recording a dance recital or the like it would be a no go to have the camera stall out.
the cannon Canon XF100 is still in the running but isn't as impressive as the EX3. The only pitfall for me for the EX3 is the proprietary cards, I don't know why Sony insists on reinventing the wheel, I'm not jazzed about spending 800 bucks for memory. And the other sony mentioned is overkill.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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Re: Need some expert advise

Samuel,
A $5000 buget won't get youan EX1R with accessories like batteries and cards. Look around and I'm sure you'll agree. The DSLR kick is a personal choice and will work fine IF you have total control over what you're shooting. IMO for run and gun type work which means anything that isn't a set up (again my opinion) something like the Panasonic AC130 which while it shoots AVCHD (Whether you're computer will handle it or not I don't know) with enough batteries, cards and any other accessories will be right in that price range and the people around here that have them, love 'em.
Just another monkey wrench thrown into the mix.
(I love spending other peoples money)

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Old March 16th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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Re: Need some expert advise

A used EX1 fits the bill. Get over the SxS cards. It's a non-issue. They are the most reliable solid state media you can buy. The non-SxS cameras don't have that option. I don't have one but many respectable camera people here say the EX3 is the best $8000 camera ever made. You can't go wrong with one as far as I can see.

I shoot with an EX1r and 5D. Shooting with a DSLR is a pain ... working around the limitations.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 05:13 PM   #11
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Re: Need some expert advise

After renting an EX1 and filming for the weekend I've decided to buy a xf300. For the following reasons.
1)It is fairly easy to use, has all the external features I want and like on the ex1
2)it's sorta in my budget.(I'm in the used market)
3)it doesn't use proprietary cards although some argued on this thread that SxS are the most reliable, I've never had a CF card fail. Is this a common problem? I've had MiniDV taps go south all the time. I'm not storing on cards ever. I have a raid 0 for that.
I'm still not interested in cards that are 800-1300 bucks a piece. I don't know how that can't be an issue.
4) 4;2:2
5) the fs 100 is too dainty for shots in the desert and the way I work. I'm a run and gun sorta videographer.

I can be talked out of it. But I think this is a good camera selection. Thanks for all your input gents.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #12
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Re: Need some expert advise

The EX1 is 1-2 stops better in low light for those desert evenings. New, the EX1r is cheaper than the XF300, has an SDI port and lets you use both the zoom rocker and zoom ring without changing modes. If you are finding used XF300's cheaper than the EX1, it's showing you how the EX1 holds it's value. That 4:2:2 50mBS CODEC of the XF300 means less storage per minute. The EX stores 35mbs. That means you buy more CF for the same amount of time. I don't know where you are getting $800-1300 price from for SxS but 100 minutes of SxS-1 is 32GB and costs $450 at B&H. And lastly, the EX1 has a rotating hand grip which if anything, is for run and gun. Similarily, the XF300 is probably the most oversized handy cam on the market. That means longer, higher and heavier. So yeah, the XF300 is bigger, heavier, uses more memory, costs more, and is less sensitive. And, you have no where to go. The EX1 is the bottom of the line. The XF30x is the top. That's it. No shoulder mount with proper eyepiece like the EX-3 and PMW-320, 350, etc to add later or to rent for multi-camera. YMMV.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 03:10 AM   #13
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Re: Need some expert advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Jackson Smith View Post
After renting an EX1 and filming for the weekend I've decided to buy a xf300.
Either are excellent cameras. It depends on what you are doing whether the 1/2" sensors of the EX1 are more important than the 50 mbps 4:2:2 recording codec of the XF300. For shooting outdoors where the scenery has complex textures I would prefer the higher bitrate of the XF300. For shooting indoors where there is less light I would prefer the larger sensors of the EX1.

There are reports that the XF300 viewfinder is easily damaged by direct sunlight. This may be a concern when shooting in the desert. Given your budget, I would also consider the Panasonic AC130/160.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 03:35 AM   #14
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Re: Need some expert advise

Not that I know much. But don't you get a adaptor to take SD cards.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 11:34 AM   #15
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Re: Need some expert advise

It does take them. Sd adapters. Most pros on here are wary of them because its one more thing in the chain to fail. My point is why not buy the 4:2:2 canon that takes cf carts natively. The low light shots point les brings up is a concern. I do shoot allot indoors now days. I've also realized the budgets gotta go up to6-8k
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