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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.

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Old October 22nd, 2006, 03:07 AM   #1
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What kind of camera are you using?

I am planning to start shooting some widlife documentaries in the near future and are wondering which camera's are most suited for that purpose. Therefore, I would like to ask you, which camera do you use and why?

This way, I hope to get more insight in their use in the field. Thanks!
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #2
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OK, I'll bite...


I don't think that you can argue against the Canon XL cams for Wildlife. The stock 20x lens is equivalent to about 800mm. Add the EF adapter and all Canon lenses are now in your arsenal. The only question then is HD or not. I chose the H1 because I wanted a cam that will still be relevant for a couple of years. If I had already had an XL1 or 2, I'd have been happy to stay with it. But because I was getting back in after a few years off, I was starting from scratch.

I'm not editing in HD yet, I'm downconverting to edit in SD. Yet I still have HDV master copies if and when I want to recut when HDV editing (and viewing) are more streamlined.

The images from the component out (from tape) are magnificent on an HD screen, really spectacular when you use a custom preset as opposed to the factory default settings. You can do the same on the XL2.

HD also stands for high debt. A hi def field monitor is nearly 1,000. Currently an HD edit system will set you back 3,000 or more and will probably still give you some grief. Not to mention the H1 is already 4,000 more than the XL2.

I have seen some of your other threads, so I know that you are trying to decide. However if you are planning to shoot outdoors (wildlife etc.), then Canon XL (not the new ones) is the best choice.

I have also the found the Canon's to be more able to withstand the harsher conditions (cold, heat dust, sand). Search posts by Didi Schoeman(sp), he is shooting with the H1 in Africa. Also Micheal Devlin is shooting off the coast of Mexico (marlin fishing) with the H1.

Good Luck...
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 08:59 AM   #3
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Also look into the new cameras from Canon and Sony which should be out this late Fall. They also have the 20 by zoom with some great new bells and whistles. Also keep in mind the Sony LCD screen in my opinion is much better than the Canons. With all these small HDV cameras if you are going to be shooting outside make sure you get a Hoodman LCD adapter. Sun will at some point be shinning directly on your LCD and this gizmo helps out tremendously. We run the Sony Z1's and have been for the last 2 years they are also a great camera but beware of the 12 by zoom and dont buy any add on extender they all cause huge amounts of vingetting, yes every one of them. Good Luck
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 11:21 AM   #4
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I'm Cheap.

I'm going to be using the canon elura 100. Its a 300 dollar camera, but it has a lot of nice functions. Sure its not any of the XL's but its cheap, and if money is problem for you (like it is for me), then I would recommend it. its got threads too, so you can add telephoto and wide lenses, plus filters. You can probably even make a converter so that you can use "real" SLR lenses and nice Video lenses like the ones the XL's use. The camera has a 20X zoom built straight into it.

Good luck! I hope you find what you want.
Gabriel Photography
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Old October 25th, 2006, 11:58 AM   #5
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I purchased a gl2 and it has been very good for wildlife. I also have the century 2x for it and it is for longer reach, but like all duplexs the further out you go the softer the image.

Realizing the need for a second camera I solicited advice from this list, In the end I went for the xl2 because of the ability to use other lenses. The new hd version of the gl2 looks intriguing!!! perhaps more affordable than the canon xl h1 high definition camera, if you can afford the switch over to h d!!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old October 25th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #6
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I'm a wildlifevideographer up in northern part of Europe. As Ken says, no one can argue against the XL-series for wildlifefilming.
You don't define what kind of wildlife you gonna film?
But if you are doing some of the kind of shooting that many of us here at the wildlifeforum do, you definitive need the option to interchange lenses. Wild animals and birds are difficult to get good close-up with if you don't have the right equipment.
Personally I use the XL2 with an ef-adapter and mostly 300mm slr-lens combined with the 20x stock lense.

Please feel free to look at my website http://www.video-film.no/index_eng.html, it's redesigned with a part for english speakers.
- Per Johan
Vimeo Site and Stock Footage Library at Pond5

Last edited by Per Johan Naesje; October 25th, 2006 at 04:14 PM.
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