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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 17th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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Is there a better camera for the intended purpose?

Greetings.

First Mr Chris Hurd please relocate this post if you feel this is not the proper place for it - I could not find a suitable section for this camera.

Wich is the Sony HDR-XR520V.
Consumer high-end (no prosumer).
Records on a 240GB HDD.

It is intended to shoot conventions wich can have several 3 to 4 hours long talks during 3 to 4 days. Lots of hours to shoot.

Budget is limited. No several 1.000 bucks to spend in pro gear.

Needs to be small and not too heavy, so the whole set of camera, batteries, charger, mic, etc, fits in a hand lugage type of trolley, so it goes with me in the plane cabin.

Looked at the Canon HG21 as an option, but they don't have a two battery charger, wich is a must.

These conventions are filmed with two Sony HDD cams from previous generation. This will be a third camera.

Would be spending around 1700 in the kit comprising:
HDR-XR520V cam, 2 high capacity batteries, dual bat charger, and external mic, (tripod already in house).

So, gentleman. The question is: Is there a better option?

Thank you for your time.
Take care,
Arnaldo
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Old September 18th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #2
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Arnaldo -

There's a bit of discussion on the XR500V (same as the 520, just a smaller HDD) in the AVCHD area. Primarily in comparison to the Canon HF-S10/100 series, which is the closest competitor.

You don't say which previous generation you're using (SR11?), but all the accessories should transfer to the XR, and operation is very similar. The XR is a big jump in low light/bad light performance, and the OIS is much better. Since you're already using Sony, you can probably save some on not buying new accessories - the VQP10 dual bay charger seems to work just fine with FH series batteries, as does the little TRP wall charger (two of those are really small).

Since you're shooting lots of footage, the HDD cam is probably the best way to go - lots of storage, no tapes or cards to swap.

FWIW, I had SR11's and CX12's, and after a couple minutes with the XR500V, I quickly upgraded the whole fleet - it's a pretty good little camera, and should be good for your described purposes. If you have any specific questions, I'll try to answer them for you, there are a couple other "regulars" here who also are shooting this cam, and like it, it's nice for badly lit events!
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Old September 18th, 2009, 05:00 AM   #3
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Hi Dave.

Thanks for your reply.

We'r using SR12s.
Thinking about the XR520 as cost only about 100 bucks more then the XR500 and you get double the hardrive.
The dual charger you mentioned is the one I have in mind.
Have you come up with any sort of solution to cope with the fact that this cams don't have LANC? (why Sony oh why???).

Bye,
Arnaldo
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Old September 18th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #4
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OK, SR12 is just the same as SR11, but bigger drive (same size drive as the XR500). You'll find the cameras fairly similar function and menu wise. Prices I've seen seemed to be around $200 difference for the bigger drive, but 120G seems like plenty of space, never got even close to using the 60G in the SR11! You'll probably be tempted to upgrade the SR12's when you put the cameras side by side, particularly if a lot of your shooting is in tough lighting conditions!

The VQP10 can be had fairly cheap, the VQH10 is the one supposedly "designed" for the FH batteries, though I just use the older model and a couple of the BC-TRP wall units, with a stack of FH70 batteries (I find the FH100 a bit bulky and gets in the way of the VF, which won't matter if you're shooting inside).

There's a LANC interface located in the A/V jack - it's been there for a while on Sony cams (since the HC3 in the HDR camera series), they have a remote (RM-AV2) that's similar to their older one, plus they have released tripods with the A/V jack interface. There's a cable on eBay that hacks the interface.

I figured out the hack myself back when there weren't solutions commercially available, but now just use the AV2, simple and works for me - if you need more controls, the hack should allow most LANC controllers with the 2.5mm plug to work - I ran into a couple odd behaviors on obscure functions with some cheap controllers, but the standard on/off, W/T zoom, record start/stop, and photo functions always worked as expected.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 03:48 AM   #5
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Good tips. Again, thanks a lot for your help. The info on LANC makes me more comfortable.

Take care,
Arnaldo
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