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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 9th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #1
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Help me pick my next camera.

I'm in the market for a new camera, and I'd like the input of the great minds on this board.

A little background. I own a Canon XL1S. Had it about 5 years now and love it, but it's way past time to upgrade.

My main experience is in commercial/promo production for television news stations and I also have a background as a news videographer. In my every day gig, I use a Sony PDW-F355 XDCAM. So, I'm very used to, and very comfortable with a shoulder mount/ENG style camera.

I've been shooting weddings for about 6 years now (about 30/year) and just started my own production company. We plan to use the wedding business as our meat and potatoes, but we also shoot commercials and documentaries, so I'm looking for a camera that will serve well in all three parts of the business.

Okay. My budget is about $4000.00.
Here are the contenders (drum roll, please).

JVC GYHD110U - My first choice for a long long time. In fact, I started a thread on here recently asking about other wedding shooters that use it. I like the ENG style design, the "pro" style lens. Most of the research I've done has given it positive reviews.

Canon XH-A1 - Damn you Still Motion. After seeing Patrick's work, I think, if it's good enough for Still Motion, it's got to be good enough for me. The footage I've seen from Patrick and others on this board has been amazing. The price is great. Plus, I'm kind of a Canon guy already.

Sony HVR-Z1U - My second camera at my "day job". I've used it from time to time to shoot weddings and it holds up well. The only negative, and it's an important one, is that it's a bit out of my budget range.

What do you guys think?
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Old October 9th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #2
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You've got quite a choice ahead of you. The JVC is the only ENG style camera on your list but it's probably the worst choice for weddings due to it's dreadful performance in low light.

I'd say that the Canon trumps the Z1 because of it's 24p capability (maybe useful in your non-wedding work) and from what I've seen out of the two I just think the Canon has a better picture.

I'm gonna add another camera to your list. It's not ENG, and it's not from a "pro" line like the Z1, but take a look at the soon to be released FX1000. It has 1/3" chips, shoots 24 & 30p as well as 60i, evidently is pretty darn good in low light, and fits well within your budget.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #3
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Don't overlook Panasonic's AVCCAM AG-HMC150. Tapeless HD recording to inexpensive SDHC cards; otherwise pretty much the same feature set as the AG-HVX200. See http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/panasonic-avccam-camcorders/
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Old October 9th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #4
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Don't overlook Panasonic's AVCCAM AG-HMC150. Tapeless HD recording to inexpensive SDHC cards; otherwise pretty much the same feature set as the AG-HVX200. See Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network
Ah... how'd I forget about that one?

Decisions, decisions.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 02:17 AM   #5
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Also consider the new Sony Z5 and the more expensve Z7 or EX1. For your intended combo of work I'd recommend the EX1 if you can swing it. Sony has some good loan terms available if you ask around.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:48 AM   #6
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Kevin - if the Z1 is beyond his budget then the EX1 and Z7 most certainly are.

The FX1000 will indeed be good in low light, but without XLR inputs I'd say forget it for the wedding and pro work.

All points to the Canon XH-A1 in my book. Ageing, but it's sure stood the time test.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #7
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The FX1000 will indeed be good in low light, but without XLR inputs I'd say forget it for the wedding and pro work.
The FX1000 is likely to be popular for weddings and events if the low-light performance is similar to the Z7, and use of an XLR adapter box solves that issue. The XH-A1 is used by some for weddings but not nearly as much so as the Z1U and FX1, which are easily the most popular HD wedding cams up to this point.

Understood that the Z7 and EX1 are beyond the stated budget, but for the corporate work they'd be worth considering a stretch. The EX1 in particular is in a class by itself for full 1080p resolution, subtler depth of field and fast solid-state workflow. (Which is handy unless the client expects a tape at the end of the shoot.)
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Old October 10th, 2008, 08:43 AM   #8
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Don't overlook Panasonic's AVCCAM AG-HMC150. Tapeless HD recording to inexpensive SDHC cards; otherwise pretty much the same feature set as the AG-HVX200. See Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network
My thoughts exactly. That is going to be the new hot cam in this price range. Ehe footage is gorgeous. And 3 hours recording per 32gb card...

Only issue is whether the home hardware is up to editing AVCHD.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 05:58 PM   #9
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As popular as the XHA1 is, I would not get the it at this point.. there should be a new model coming out.. One major feature I'm looking for is high res LCD and better low light performance. The new Pansonic HMC150 is tremedous low light performance for a 1/3" HD sensor, it also has better controls and handling than the XHA1. Recording without tape should be a no brainer obviously.
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Old October 11th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #10
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Recording without tape should be a no brainer obviously.
You sound like a camcorder salesman Yang. The reason Sony have just introduced lots more tape-fed cameras has grounding on good soild reason.
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Old October 11th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #11
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The FX1000 will indeed be good in low light, but without XLR inputs I'd say forget it for the wedding and pro work.
You're falling for all the marketing hype around built-in XLR inputs just like everyone else. Sony leaves them off so they don't detract from higher-priced models.

Send your camera in for repairs because the built in XLR doesn't work. I'll just send in my $120 adapter and keep the camera.
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Old October 11th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #12
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You're falling for all the marketing hype around built-in XLR inputs just like everyone else. Sony leaves them off so they don't detract from higher-priced models.
If you look at the FX1 and Z1 the big difference appears to be the XLR inputs and it's easy to say that Sony's charging a lot for this addition when a Beachtek box seems to even the score.

But the Z1 is a far nicer camera than the FX1 to use in the real world and that's why I recommend it every time. The underscan v'finders, the zoom readout, more assign buttons, the PAL /NTSC switching, the fine tune of the white balance, the focus assist (not expanded focus, note) as well as the XLRs and far deeper menu options make the extra money well spent. And I'm not falling for marketing hype.

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Old October 12th, 2008, 09:54 AM   #13
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You sound like a camcorder salesman Yang. The reason Sony have just introduced lots more tape-fed cameras has grounding on good soild reason.
If you like to deal with drop outs and 1 hr max recording time per tape then by all means have a ball with them HDV cameras..
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Old October 12th, 2008, 01:44 PM   #14
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If you look at the FX1 and Z1 the big difference appears to be the XLR inputs
Eh? You were talking about the FX1000.

Quote:
and it's easy to say that Sony's charging a lot for this addition when a Beachtek box seems to even the score.
Then why dismiss any camera by saying, "without XLR inputs I'd say forget it for the wedding and pro work." This comment implies that the merits of any serious camera is rooted in its XLR capabilities (or lack thereof). The entire VX series was the backbone of the industry at one time and always did give the PD's a run for their money.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #15
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Yes, the FX1000. I was just going into lateral thinking mode Rick, thinking that Sony were going to differentiate the FX1000 from the Z5 in the same way they kept the FX1 and Z1 apart.

And with those thoughts in mind (i.e. that the Z5 will offer lots more very useful photographic goodies) I say avoid the XLR-less 1000 version.

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