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


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Old July 30th, 2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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cant decide which camera to buy.. DSLR or Z1?

I really need some advice on which camera I should buy. I have only recently started doing weddings and have been using my sony AVCHD camera (SR-5E), and a sony Z1 borrowed from a friend.

After doing a couple of weddings with these cams i've realised that they dont really work together. The footage from the AVCHD cam has a completely different colour to it.

So I am going to sell my AVCHD cam and buy a Canon HV30.

I then have the choice of either buying the Z1 from my friend (for about 800, which is a very generous price I know!), or buying a DSLR instead (probably the 550d/t2i as its the only one in my price range)

I would love some opinions on which would be a better combo- Z1+HV30 or DSLR+HV30.

Thanks!
James :)
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Old July 30th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #2
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Once I saw footage coming out of DSLRs, I sold my Sony Z1s and FX1s and completely switched to DSLR (namely the T2i).

The image quality coming from the T2i is so phenomenal, that for me, it is worth putting up with all of it's limitations (ie. record time, overheating, poor audio, etc).
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Old July 30th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #3
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I would say go with the z1.
I am primarily using my 7d but still think that there is no replacement to the auto focus video camera at this point.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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EVERY camera has a slightly different interpretation of COLOR, a Canon HV series will have one color cast, a Sony will have a different one...

First, spend the time to learn to set the cameras as close as possible when shooting, and Second, learn to color match in post. Buying new cameras won't "fix" color mismatch, and may in fact make it even worse.

I'm sure that "new" cameras are very tempting, but without mastering the above fundamentals of shooting and post production, you'll simply have the same problems, just with new cameras.

Your choices of a relatively "old" HDV/tape camera (still a nice cam though), and a DSLR with an entirely different approach from a "video camera" to "solve" a color correction issue lead me to remind that the camera is a TOOL, there are lots of good TOOLS, some better in one way or another, choose the TOOL that you're comfortable with to do the job at hand. Whatever tool you have, learn how to use it to maximum results.

DSLR-V's have strengths and weaknesses - find Chris Hurds post listing them elsewhere on DVi. Remember that the body purchase is just the beginning (good glass ain't cheap, and lenses add up). I'll still be adding one to my toolbox, for the things that a DSLRV does well.

But I'll still have my small Sony cams for what they do well, and I'll spend some time figuring out how to match the "look", as I always have when shooting different cameras...
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Old July 30th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #5
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If the reason you are switching cameras is to try and get the footage to match, then I wouldn't try to go with a DSLR and an HV30. Those two images are going to look quite a bit different.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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James, first I use three Z|1/MRC1Ks - so understand where I'm coming from.

Second, unlike Ian, I would not be prepared to accept any drawbacks, especially in audio.

Third, the day is coming soon when video cameras will record images as good as those produced by still cameras, which must be a worry for many photographers. Only when there's a professional version of the Sony VG10 will I consider changing my Z1s for videomaking.

Lastly, never be afraid of not having the latest gear.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 01:06 AM   #7
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Dave is right on, learning to color match your two cameras should be the top priority. It took some time but I got to where I could get my GL2 to match my DVC60 pretty well. Custom white balance plus some color correction in post and matched pretty well.

We just made the jump to HD with a HMC40, no where near the quality of the Z1 but with the right lighting it captures a nice image. I also picked up a Pentax K-X DSLR to get a feel for shooting video with a still camera. The Pentax was $500 and old fast manual focus prime lenses are a dime a dozen. The Pentax is only used for select shots for the highlight so a I couldn't justify a 7D, its just one of the tools we use.

I think evaluating your needs and your shooting style will point you in the right direction. For me having a traditional video camera is a must and a DSLR is a luxury.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 08:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I think i'm going to go with what the majority of you suggest, and get the Z1 and an HV30. That way I'll be shooting with two cameras with the same format, so will be a bit easier to edit, and the colour should be similar....

And I'll hopefully get a DSLR later on when I can afford it!

cheers, James
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Old August 1st, 2010, 10:41 AM   #9
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Canon t2

I have also thought about getting the T2, is this the best of the Dslr or just the most affordable one brand new?

is using a dslr camera the only way to get that awesome Film Look?
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Old August 1st, 2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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Jay - The T2i is the least expensive Canon DSLR offering, meaning the lowest BODY cost - lenses are a whole other dark art, and can be very expensive... yes they get a great "look", but require a different shooting approach. Speaking for myself, the reason I haven't gone to Canon is I have SONY compatible lenses, and so switching represents a significant investment... suposedly this year Sony will have compatible bodies...

James - "the same format"... meaning tape?! Yeah, the ingest will be the same, but don't count on the colors being well matched until you take the time to match the cameras - Canon and Sony "look" different... different cameras even from the same mfr can look different.

The technology moves fast, and you're talking about a couple great cameras that are now several years "old"... probably making them attractive budget wise, but be aware that they aren't state of the art today... still good, but...
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Old August 1st, 2010, 06:39 PM   #11
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Yep, meaning both HDV... I guess I just assumed that all HDV cameras would produce similar images! Back to the drawing board then I guess. Maybe I'll just hire out a second Z1 in future..
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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If you are thinking about getting a DSLR, I recommend renting one first to test it out. The learning curve on DSLR shooting is very high and not for everybody. I was shooting with a redrock 35mm adapter for about 4 years before I switched to a DSLR, which made it extremely easy to learn (controlling your DOF and lens choices are two of the biggest challenges).

I definitely recommend taking some time to learn how to color correct in post. It will make your footage match and you can tweak to better match certain "film looks".

If you want it to look like film, shoot on film or a Red One.

If you want it to look closer to film, shoot on a DSLR.

If you want it to look like "video", shoot on a video camera with a smaller chip.
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