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Old March 6th, 2010, 11:30 PM   #1
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Dance recital camcorder recomendations...

I need some help! I am a bit out of my league with video...

While I have been a photographer for many years, I am new to video. I have been doing dance studio photography for the past 3 years -- got started when my daughter took up dance. Several of the studios in our area have now hired me to come do photography for their recitals. I in-turn sell the photographs to the parents.

Two of those studios (and the corresponding parents) have been very unhappy with the video portion of their previous recitals. Because the studios and parents are really pleased with my photographs, they asked me to do their Fall recitals: those happened in December. I attempted to explain that the two (photos and video) do not necessarily go hand-in-hand, but they felt no matter what I did it would be better than the DVDs they had gotten in the past. So I gave it a try.

I used my Canon HF10 and a Rhodes mic; then to edit I used Adobe Premiere CS4 -- though all I really know how to do is Titles and credits (still learning to do any color correction, etc.). My only video experience prior to this has been limited to family events, and pretty much AUTO or Easy modes from the Canon HF10. Although, I think they ended up being pretty pleased with the end product; I think they where pleased as I have been asked to do it for the Spring recitals of those 2 studios plus one other. I was not pleased, thus I am here to ask for help!

The Canon HF10 was slow to focus (had it on auto), it often over-exposed the dancer's faces, and was grainy in the dimmer/shadowy areas, and I struggled to produce smooth zoom effects with the tiny slider. I set white-balance. I had to let the camera do auto-focus because I needed to stay on the exposure screen and keep adjusting it as the dance lighting changed constantly. (As best as I can tell, it was not possible to make simultaneous adjustments to any setting with this camera.)

Initially I thought I would use the camera's Spotlight scene to handle exposure and I would do manual focus, but that mode would only work with solo dances. If it was a group of dancers, then the ones on the sides were way under-exposed. The graininess in the shadows was improved though.

So, unless the input here is that it was my error with the Canon, I am in the market for a new camera. The next recitals are the 2nd week of May, and all 3 are within days of one another. I would like to purchase a video camera sooner rather than later, so I have a chance of figuring it out.

I would like to budget about 2K total... maybe $1600 for the camera and 200-400 for accessories (mics, lens filters, memory cards, extra battery). That said, I should also state that if necessary I am willing to move my budget upward if needed. In other words if an additional $500 to 1000 gets me exponential gains in performance then I would make the stretch. Sometimes this can be the case. For instance I really like my Nikon D300 in MOST instances, but when it comes to controls (user assignable buttons) and low-light performances nothing beats my Nikon D700. IMO the extra $1K for the D700 was absolutely worth it, and vastly made my job of shooting dance recitals easier. If I got this same bang-for-buck trade-off in video cameras then I am up for it.

So my question is, as I am sure many others have asked in general terms, what video cameras would be recommended for me to continue doing the dance recitals. Keep in mind my budget. This is basically a hobby that I get paid a little bit to do. I don't intend on making a career move to it.

I think I would like these features:
1. HD recording ability. (Don't intend to utilize it yet as I will be selling DVDs for now, but may want to offer Blu-ray by next year.)
2. I would much prefer recording to hard disk of flash type memory: also prefer SD cards over Memorystick. If tape is more in my budget then I could settle.
3. I think a LANC port would be very helpful -- I am thinking better zoom control from a remote.
4. Decent manual controls for simultaneous (easy to get to) focus and exposure.
5. A good low-light performer. That is if spotlights are considered low-light for video? I ask because the Canon HF10seemed to over-expose, but for photography this is definitely a low-light setting and is it VERY, VERY tough to be over-exposed.


Sorry for the long first post... I won't always be so long winded.

Randy
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Old March 7th, 2010, 12:22 AM   #2
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Randy, whilst your gear may become a factor (I'm not that familiar with Canon cameras to comment about your specific) I think you're maybe coming at the problem from the wrong angle.

I relate your situation to making a DVD of a live concert of a folk group, dance troupe etc. First sit down with the director of the ensemble and senior dancers if appropriate, and the lighting man/designer. If you're making a DVD then your needs have to be paramount. That doesn't mean them losing all artistic effects, merely that you must have enough light to work with. Unless there's an artistic reason for the dancers at the edge to be half lit then the lighting design has to be amended. This should solve your first big problem.

In reality your needs can often help theirs. Almost certainly your imagery will be improved if you can get a bit of smoke into the lighting. It will swirl about and dissipate as the dancers move but judicious squirts will be enough to allow the light beams to be identified.

You don't need any sound - take a feed from the sound source - unless they're dancing to a piano or ensemble in which case you'll have to mic them up as for a music recording and sync the lot together in post. You'll record sound of course for syncing purposes but don't expect it to be usable. Audiences don't expect to hear reality, the scrapes, little squeaks etc as dancers shoes hit the floor.

Dance, and especially ensemble dance is often to do with shapes so I'd place a camera high above the set so you can catch this element which the audience usually doesn't see.

Finally on camera placement you will obviously have to consider the live audience. I'd therefore use four main cameras, two co-located in the centre of the audience, one long lensed, one wide, one to each side of the stage perhaps at the corner of the audience, plus the high camera.

Solo dances or anything lit primarily by follow spot should work on the spotlight setting - the Sony one works well.

On the main long focus centre camera I'd focus manually, so too the two side cameras if the cameramen are experienced enough, if not auto focus and be sure they get and keep the subject centre frame - that's why an experienced cameraman is worth his/her weight in gold - the subject can be off centre and still in focus.

Most of your light problems should have been taken care of by lighting the set better as I mentioned at the beginning so no need to bother with the iris.

Remember to do a manual white balance of all the cameras once the main lighting design is complete and running. Don't change any camera's WB once that's done. That way any adjustment necessary can be applied to them all. If this is on a stage with stage lighting I'd be tempted to use the cameras' preset. For an easy life, all cameras should be identical.

If the sound source is recorded it's a bonus - because you'll be able to record the dress rehearsal as reverse angles shots with the cameras on the stage. For this I'd put all your cameras back and side of stage, hand held or tripod mounted as you prefer to record the cutaways that will make your DVD special. Give each camera a specific area of coverage or group of dancers so they don't get in each other's eyelines.

Inevitably there's a chance that some of the first couple of rows of the audience seating will be visible in these reverse angle shots so it's a good idea to get the dancer director to have a couple of rows of audience people, parents, friends etc in place for the dress rehearsal.

Assuming you're using an NLE like Avid Liquid which allows you up to 15 streams of multicam, editing is a doddle. Sync up each piece against the recorded music and you can sit and choose between maybe 11 shots - just like the old days when you'd sit in the gallery calling camera numbers to the vision mixer - with the added advantage that today you can go back and do it again if you make a mistake!

Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #3
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You haven't explained what the lighting is like at the studios - but by the description of shadows and other problems, Philip has assumed (me too) that the actual show took place in a theatre of some kind - is this correct?

First thing is that auto focus for dance is just a no-no. Too fast movement and typically, lots of shadows and strong colour. All these things really confused the cameras.

Philip's comment about getting the lighting set up for video is certainly right - BUT although I do a fair number of dance events, I also provide lighting and sound services to theatre. The system over here in the UK is that most dance events in theatres are simply dry hires. Some rehearsal time, usually for the dancers benefit rather than as any form of proper technical rehearsal. Lighting will be whatever generic rig they have, and for the main this falls into two distinct types. Some venues have a generic wash style rig that enables bright, even coverage of the stage area - the kind of thing you'd want for an 'average' whatever that means - show. On top of this will sometimes be a few colours that can be added. Boring and a bit basic. The other kind of venue has a rig designed for what's called 'light entertainment' here. The artistes will perhaps be comedians, music(bands) or music (solo singers) and the followspots provide the real bright key, with the rest of the equipment doing 3 or 4 colour washes, often from PAR Cans - so essentially puddles of light where with a bit of haze in the air, it looks great, even before the artistes walk out!

A venue with a rig like this is going to have dark patches, plenty of them, and a typical dance show will mean people going in and out of these areas. To the naked eye, it looks great. To the camera the opposite! Asking the venue to refocus an entire rig to given more even general light will take a long time. It's also probably not been budgeted for, so the dance school or other hirer will end up with a large bill. At the venue I operate, this takes a crew of at least 4, and will take pretty well a day. Cost to the client is at least 800 ($1200). Lighting is pretty critical to a show. I'm always feeling a little guilty when we've been rehearsing a dance show all day, ready for the evening public performance, and then with an hour or so before curtain up, a couple of video guys arrive and start asking for changes to the lighting. I know why they are asking, but by this time, there's nothing much we can do. It could be possible to try to keep a little wash up, rather than blackness in the shadows - but after programming everything, many operators are very reluctant to change things in case it messes up what they've no chance to rehearse, and what the dancers got used to.

Without spending a huge amount - my own advice would be to look for cameras that have real knobs - No way I'd want focus on a button, or if I could avoid it, even on one of those rotate for ever servo knobs. Auto iris, if it works properly can be lived with. Some, seem to take ages to react, then when they do it's really abrupt, only to then have to do it again because light levels have changed again. On a lot of cameras I have used the spot mode actually does work quite well. Camera specs rarely give you ANY idea how well they'll deal with this kind of subject material - sometimes there are real surpises!
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Old March 7th, 2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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Even in my long windedness I seem to have left out a few key details:

1. These recitals are done in the local high-school auditorium.
2. I do the photography portion during the dress rehearsals (typical the day before the actual event). Since I don't know much about video but have been gaining confidence in my photography, I work with the lighting crew based on what I need for photography: without interfering too much with how the dance director's desire for lighting/effects.

To the viewing eye the lighting looks very good. To the DSLR eye the lighting is good, to the 800 ISO film the lighting is okay, to the Canon camera the lighting is bad. Given this I don't believe the actual lighting is the problem, I have begun to conclude it is the Canon that isn't up to the task: much like a point-and-shot digital camera couldn't make a decent photograph in that lighting environment, but a good DSLR has no trouble with it.

Mr. Howells, thank you for the ideas on the multiple cameras. I aspire to be able to offer something like that one day, but alas I am merely an advanced hobbyist right now, who is lucky enough to get paid by a few dance studios.

Mr. Johnson said, "On a lot of cameras I have used the spot mode actually does work quite well. Camera specs rarely give you ANY idea how well they'll deal with this kind of subject material - sometimes there are real surpises! "

May I ask which cameras you have found the Spot feature working well?
Secondly, I couldn't agree more that the specs are a poor real world measure, which is the key to my asking for advice here: based on forum users' experience, which cameras would be recommended in the $2K range?
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Old March 7th, 2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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You came to the the right place for advice on this stuff -- I've learned much of what I think I know right here. There's a great sticky above about doing stage shows, but it'll take you about a day to read it all and follow all the links.

I won't go into as much length as I did in my response to you over in the other forum, but I will reiterate that for your budget you might consider a used FX1 or Canon XH-A1. Both can likely handle your shooting situations better than what you have now. An FX1000 would be even better, but way above your budget (for now).

Paul and Philip really know their stuff, but I would present another viewpoint and say that auto focus is in fact a must for dancers. You can't possibly focus fast enough or accurately enough to keep up with them, and you will always -- always -- turn the focus wheel the wrong way first, resulting in more footage that's out of focus than is sharp. Perhaps a good compromise is you use manual focus but ride the "Push Auto" button.

And I know, at least for the people I do shows for (about 22 a year) that if I even suggest changing the lighting or, heaven forbid, adding smoke, I would not only be fired instantly but dragged out to the parking lot and beaten severely about the head and shoulders. It was made clear to me after I had the audacity to suggest a lighting note on our first show, that I was there to document the proceedings and stay out of the way.

But perhaps your clients are nicer.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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Mr. Gold, I came to this site based on a recommendation I read from you to another forum member over at another site. So indirectly I am here because of your recommendation.

I have been working my way through the sticky, and taking notes. Looks like there are great tips on settings, etc. So far, though, I haven't seen recommendations on gear. To be clear I am not saying it isn't there as I have not made it all the way through the posts in that sticky.

I have been watching/looking for an FX1. eBay has some for about $1800. That felt a little bit steep to me for an aging camera. Also I am still wondering about the possibility of recording to SD cards rather than tape. So I began thinking about the FX1000, but you are right that is blowing my budget and seems a bit silly to even consider given my "hobbyist" status. Although as I start to think about the FX1000, I figure why not think of the HDR-AX2000 since it is only a little more and can record to SD. Then I pull myself back to Earth and remind myself I am not making a living at this stuff; it's a hobby; I can't justify the expense.

I hear you on the lighting... they allow me to make suggestions and slight modifications when I am photography the rehearsal, but "interfering" with the actual production (when I am videotaping)... well that is another story.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 12:53 AM   #7
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Randy, first I speak only for myself but I'm positive the others here would agree with me, the formality of Mr is very courteous but entirely unnecessary.

I now write with some caution because I don't want to convert you into a James Cameron-type tyrant on the set, but at the same time I want to encourage you to be firmer with the people with whom you're working.

You've been asked to make the DVD - to do that properly you need the lighting people's help and understanding. Use your relationship with your "commissioner" to pressure these primadonnas into cooperating with you. If they remain intransigent I'd be persuaded to avoid the video - you're obviously well regarded for your stills, don't jeopardise that reputation because others won't cooperate.

Incidentally, I've been in precisely this situation myself a coupe of years ago and reached the point when the concert promoter (the "commissioner" was actually the performers) simply said "no" and declined to let us record the show at all.

What I was asking for was to change their dynamic microphones (which would have meant the head-on shot was a face behind the ball screen of the microphone very close to the singer's mouth) for our more sensitive condenser microphones which would be almost out of shot on a tight BCU. What I'd actually encountered was a primadonna of a stage manager who knew nothing but wanted to impress his staff with his authority. Sadly it was a great venue and the DVD idea fell by the wayside.

Some you win ......
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Old March 8th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Wesnitzer View Post
Although as I start to think about the FX1000, I figure why not think of the HDR-AX2000 since it is only a little more and can record to SD. Then I pull myself back to Earth and remind myself I am not making a living at this stuff; it's a hobby; I can't justify the expense.
Either of those would be fantastic as well, but I hear what you're saying about budget.

You might look into the Sony CX or XR550V as well... closer to your budget and no tape. But fewer controls. But many report good results using these for shows.

The sticky thread will probably not have too many equipment suggestions, as IIRC most who wrote in were asking for or giving advice on settings for their particular gear... and gear changes frequently.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Randy, first I speak only for myself but I'm positive the others here would agree with me, the formality of Mr is very courteous but entirely unnecessary.
Understood. Being new I wanted to be courteous first, and told to knock it off second. Rather than come off as obnoxious or something worse...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
You've been asked to make the DVD - to do that properly you need the lighting people's help and understanding. Use your relationship with your "commissioner" to pressure these primadonnas into cooperating with you. If they remain intransigent I'd be persuaded to avoid the video - you're obviously well regarded for your stills, don't jeopardise that reputation because others won't cooperate.
If I had great confidence that it was the lighting, I would push harder and I believe they would accommodate. However, what it is coming to is this:
1. to the eye the lighting looks very good.
2. to the DSLR camera the lighting is very good, and helps catch some stunning images of the dancers.
3. to the 800 ISO film and aged camera the lighting is good,
4. to the Canon HF10 video camera the lighting is bad.

Given the above, I have begun to conclude it is the Canon that isn't up to the task: much like a point-and-shot digital camera couldn't make a decent photograph in that lighting environment, but a good DSLR or a cheap film camera with the right film have no trouble with it.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #10
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You might look into the Sony CX or XR550V as well... closer to your budget and no tape. But fewer controls. But many report good results using these for shows.
I will look closer at those.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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One's that I found to be pretty good in theatres where follow spots are in use (and have the switchable feature that's supposed to cope) are in no particular order or age.

JVC GR-33 DV camera
JVC DV500 DV5000 and DV5100
Sony PD150
Canon XL1 - this has manual adjustment similar to the Panasonic below, but results on stage were much better - I rather liked this one, and was a little sad I sold it.


Ones I have had that were not so good
Panasonic AJD200 - you can adjust the auto exposure up or down from the 'average' but the results were all rather murky.
Sony CCD5000 Hi8 I can't remember if this had a adjustment at all, but it was hopeless - that I do remember!

On the practical front - focus forward or back, and the choice - is tricky at first - BUT while you are learning there are always clues. Stage depth is rarely enough to make focus a huge issue - if the subject is out of focus, check the background - if that's blurred, then you've focussed too far forwards. If the back ground is sharp, you've focussed too far back. Nowadays, with the light levels on stage pretty good, and camera sensors pretty good, then if you pick a point on the stage floor about half-way from the furthest forward to the furthest back, then focus on this, then the very front and back will still be very close - and any adjustments when in close up won't need to be extreme.

I never use autofocus because saturated colours, especially the reds and blue we lighting designers love so much cause autofocus to be very uncertain. I'm happy for others to use it if they want - and some have kit that auto exposure and theatre lighting go well together. I've just found it a problem, that's all. Other people cannot stand the pumping you get with auto exposure - oddly, I don't find this for me a problem - so best to give it a shot and see for yourself.

The one thing that I'm uncomfortable with is the kind of attitude that professionals should change what they do and know well when a stranger requests it. The theatre contracts that I'm familiar with make no mention at all of video - and I'm currently negotiating (not demanding) with one venue in Essex where I'm booked to shoot a dance show - and I know they will resist what I want. I need to be patient, and make my case - but if they say no, that's it.

I cannot compromise the show just for the DVD. If the audience pay for their ticket, then they deserve the best show they can get. If I compromise that, then I have spoiled it for 1000 people, just to get my DVD done. Even when the DVD is the money spinner, it's up to the organiser to decide which is most important - the audience or the video - NOT me! Being undemanding to the venue technical staff will mean they offer things - secret power supplies, use of their tie-lines for audio feeds, that kind of thing. If you are awkward, then cables won't be able to cross gangways, your radio mics will be on unsuitable channels and you might not get the key code to get backstage from the auditorium.

Quote:
What I was asking for was to change their dynamic microphones (which would have meant the head-on shot was a face behind the ball screen of the microphone very close to the singer's mouth) for our more sensitive condenser microphones which would be almost out of shot on a tight BCU. What I'd actually encountered was a primadonna of a stage manager who knew nothing but wanted to impress his staff with his authority. Sadly it was a great venue and the DVD idea fell by the wayside.
This worries me. In many venues, gain before feedback is the only way important consideration - and while swapping to your condensers may have helped the visual side of things, what could easily of happened would be their PA becomes unstable and they get the blame for excessive feedback. The primadonna stage manager is actually extremely common. The resident stage manager is in charge of all things backstage and all things technical. Many are in fact not technical people at all - but they are in charge of the people who are. Think about the pub landlord who objects to customers bringing in their own spirits or mixers that he doesn't stock, or the garage foreman who will not let you provide your own oil or wiper blades. Of course their pomposity is a bit silly - in the theatre world, you MUST get on well with this person, or so many problems can come your way.

It doesn't matter if you are right. You are a guest in their venue, and they don't have to have you there. Just because the hirer booked you doesn't mean a thing. You have no automatic rights, you are their by their good grace.

The theatre industry is odd, full of ancient rules, heirachy and tradition - and you have to go along with it. Part of what I do involves taking shows into venues, and getting on with them, finding out the house rules and dealing with insecurities is everyday activity for me. What is absolute is that you need them more than they need you. Video people are viewed as extreme nuisances - they get in the way, spoil things for the punters and always want things. Many houses are also very strict on timekeeping and their breaks. Keeping them waiting just 5 minutes can have a huge knock-on effect, and if they are due a break, and you take 5 minutes of it, then this may well be charged back to the client as a 'missed break' - if they cannot get their full 15 minutes as the time for the break ending is fixed. I see it happen - and often, it won't be just one person, you keeping the lighting man for 5 minutes might also cost you 5 minutes of the stage managers time too as breaks are often called 'officially'. To strangers, this is all very odd. In rehearsal week in November, missed breaks cost me over 1000!

Last edited by Paul R Johnson; March 8th, 2010 at 02:27 PM.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #12
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Hi Randy -
Think of this as a comfortable hangout, it's pretty casual.

I second the XR550V and CX550V recommendations, although it's a little early as AFAIK no one has had the chance to shoot with them yet - they are supposed to be in the retail pipeline, but havent's seen them yet. The XR550V takes over for the XR500V, and the CX550V is an upgrande to any earlier Sony CX series.

From experience, the XR500 is a VERY capable camera in horrid/bad/difficult light conditions, as is the current crop of CX5xx cams. That's really their strong point (along with excellent OIS), and while similar Canons are great little cameras, IMO they don't match the Sonys with the R sensor in this respect.

The new 550's have some interesting upgrades/updates and if the image quality is as good or better than "last years models", a couple of them would give you a good wide and closeup pair that would intercut easily.

I'm waiting to get hands on the CX550, which looks like the better option to me (lighter, smaller, and really don't need the HDD, 64G of internal flash + memory stick slot is plenty).

The downside to the small cams is they don't look terribly impressive, BUT the image quality DOES look impressive, and in a "lo budget" market, having a couple of them as your image acquisition devices can make pretty good economic sense - you can produce high production quality results on a beer budget.

Sometimes I wonder whether one needs to have a big old clunky camera hanging around just for show, and sometimes having a big cam is handy if you need quick access to the manual controls, but for the $$, these little pocket monsters are worth a look.

When you consider the increase in price between say a CX550V at $1200 (and you can pick up bargains easier since they make more of these, so "retail" is not what you're likely to pay), and an AX2000/NX5U at $3K+, you have to ask some serious questions about whether you're getting nearly 3x "better" results or whether being able to shoot multicam (in effect being able to buy 3 cameras for the price of 1) offers better production value and results.

There may be an even cheaper option, as Sony released two compact P&S cameras with EXMOR R sensors that look mighty promising, although they would have a 30 minute (actually probably 15-17 in full HD mode) limit on a single clip.

And to toss in a "wild card" - you're shooting stills, but don't mention what you're shooting with - you probably are already aware of the DSLR with video "revolution"... have you considered a new/backup body with video capabilities? There are pluses and minuses with shooting a DLSR-V, but again it might be a "cheap" way to upgrade your stills a notch, AND get a second angle camera. Canon rules here, Nikon has a couple options, and probably due for some refresh/updates to their line, Sony has some cameras coming, but who knows when... I turned blue last round of product releases, so not holding my breath anymore!
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Old March 8th, 2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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Dave, my original post was rather long winded and rambling, so it is easy to fall asleep or be tempted to skip to the end. ;) I completely understand. From that first post (somewhere about 3/4s into it), I shoot a Nikon D700 and a Nikon D300 as backup. I am completely pleased with those two cameras and don't need another. Unfortunately neither is capable of doing video... and honestly, I am probably a little bit caveman here, I prefer a dedicated piece of equipment: camera for stills and video camera for video. But you make an excellent point, and I have read that Canon's D7 is really quite impressive in its video capability.

It is sounding like I had better take a long hard look at the Sony 550V line. But let me ask one more question (that I hope is not obvious to everyone but me), would I be better off buying a used FX1 for $2K with its 3 chips over the CX550V with its single chip?

I have heard that the 3 chips are superior for color and contrast to the single chips. I believe that to be true, however I wonder if a new generation single chip would be on par or better than a 3 chip that is a few generations old.

I guess what I am really asking is, am I giving too much weight to new technology while ignoring potentially VERY good old tech?

I really like the idea of recording to SD or hard drive, but not at the expense of other features (user controls and interface for example) or image quality.

Last edited by Randy Wesnitzer; March 8th, 2010 at 04:51 PM. Reason: spelling errors
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Old March 8th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #14
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Hi Randy -
Guess I missed the Nikon mention - I've got a friend who shoots Nikon, he bought the D90, I played with it a bit, and was intrigued... if and when Sony gets around to releasing an Alpha series body, I hope to add it to the fleet...

You might search for posts by Ron Evans (a regular here) - he has several of the cameras you're considering, and he's of the same opinion that I am, that the little XR500V produces a very good usable image and makes the FX1 look dated. He also shoots stage productions, so he's a good additional opinion.

The technology changes SO rapidly that it's hard to compare a 3+
year old camera to a new release... the EXMOR R sensor changed the low light performance of the small single chipper camera drastically.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 10:17 PM   #15
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Location: Casper WY
Posts: 16
Thank you, Dave. I suspected that the FX1 may be challenged by the newer single chips. I really appreciate the help and input, and I will poke around some of Rob Evans' posts.
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