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


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Old September 24th, 2012, 06:49 PM   #1
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Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Wow - just looked and I joined in 2003! Last post in 2008. It's good to be back. This was always a great place for advice, and I now need some...

Back in the good-old-days I used a VX2000. It was my dream camera. Amazing low light and I never had to touch a thing.

When upgrading years ago, I went against my gut and bought a Canon XH-A1. ADMISSION: I'm not a manual adjustment guy. I've download all the presets and learned how to adjust everything, but the damn camera is heavy and I've gotten a not so great picture as much as I've got a great one. AND IT'S NOT GOOD IN LOW LIGHT. I know it can be done and many love the camera. I hate it.

So here's where I need your help. What I want is an HD VX2000. :-) As I remember, when I bought the A1 I was comparing it to the Sony FX1, but the knock was that it wasn't nearly as good as the VX2000 at low light. I essentially want as close to a perfect point and shoot in any situation (impossible but you get it).

I'll be doing corporate interviews as well as event footage, so it has to look good. Budget is $1500 to $2k something range. Really depends on the bang for the buck.

I've seen good things here on the CX760, but wonder if the low light will really be good enough (sample footage on youtube looks good). Also the lack of manual focus ring worries me a little and I've heard the focus can hunt. The lack of 30p confuses me too. Only 60 and 24? LOVE the stabilization though.

The FX7 and FX1000 has been around so long, and I think I want to stay away from tape. The AX2000 looks interesting, but $3600 might be too much.

I'm somewhat stuck on Sony (after my Canon experience) but I'm willing to listen to all advice.

THANKS in advance for the advice. I really appreciate it.

LB
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Old September 25th, 2012, 01:36 AM   #2
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

I owned a vx2100 and then went to the xh-a1 so I understand how you feel :D
The cx760 will be equally good in low light vs the vx2000, as long as you keep it wide. Eventhough you could shoot corporate interviews and event footage with it I"d get something with a bit more controll. The auto focus on the 760 is very good but like with any camera, if it gets too dark and if it looses focus you have to recover manually which can be a bit of a pain if you have exposure assigned to the small wheel in front and have to change it to focus instead, but once you do that focussing is easy.

Your budget is quite limited so you might consider a Canon XA10, als very good in low light and with xlr, it's still a small handicam but you get a lot for the money. You also might wait a bit and see what the street price of the new panasonic ag ac90 will be, it might fall pretty close to your budget and from what I read what Barry Green thought about it it seems like a camera with good low light performance, a very sharp image and it at least has a lot of controll. Looks like a perfect eng type of cam to me.

Last edited by Noa Put; September 25th, 2012 at 04:06 AM.
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Old September 25th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #3
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Hey Noa

Preorders from B&H are $1999 and the retail list is around $2200 ..so it's quite an affordable camera and a nice size too!! I will get one just to play with when they arrive and if I'm suitable impressed they might even replace my shoulder mount cameras.

Chris
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Old September 25th, 2012, 04:05 AM   #4
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Just hope they fixed the bad autofocus the ac130/160 series had, around 2k is actually a very good price if you see what you get in return.
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Old September 25th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Hi Noa

Barry has tested it as well as Bob Diaz and it uses the HMC40 focus and is lightning fast and no hunting either...Take a look at the post from Bob on the Panasonic AVCCAM forum here and watch the videos..he does an autofocus test too at the expo!!

Chris
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Old September 25th, 2012, 09:09 AM   #6
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

I have all Sony cameras. NX5U, SR11, XR500, CX700 and of course my old FX1 ( all are better than the FX1 !!!). One thing to note with the new consumer cameras is face detection that was not on the older cameras and on my Sony's work very well. Most of the time though I am in semi auto on the consumer Sony's. Usually use touch spot focus( so they do not hunt focus and focus on what I want to be in focus) and AE shift to get exposure I want. If there is good light they will also track focus of the selected face too.

Ron Evans
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Old September 26th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Thanks to everyone for the responses!

Noa:
Dammit I blame you! Your threads on the cx760 is the big reason I'm considering it. :-) Something small and light with a great picture and lowlight AND steadi is a big draw. Your point about being able to adjust the front wheel to focus is a good one though. I'll have to test that and see how responsive it is.

How is the audio? Does it have an external mic input? (I'm assuming yes but never thought to ask)

I appreciate the XA10 suggestion. I will look into it, but after my A1 experience it would take a lot to get me to buy another Canon. The AC90 won't be available till next

And yes, wasn't the vx2000/2100 wonderful? Damn!

Ron:
Good to know all the recent stuff is better than the FX1. How much better is the picture and low light on the NX5U vs the CX700?


Any other opinions welcome. Thanks again.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Think about it before you buy and don't just take my word for it :) it does work for MY workflow but it might not for yours. The inbuild mics are not that good, it's ok for ambient sound but I prefer my external mics (zoom h1,h h4 etc) for better sound. I do have a beachtek adapter for my sony so I can use xlr mics or my wireless interview mike, so yes, there is a audio input. I have not done a side by side test with my xh-a1 but first impression is that the soundquality I could get through the xlr input of my xh-a1 was better. If I have more time I"l do that test to confirm that.

And yes, the vx2100 was my first love :) that and a cheap hama tripod, those where the days.

About choosing a camera based on previous experiences, you have to know the xh-a1 is a first generation hdv camera and when it came out it was a very good camera at it's price point, at that time no hdv camera did well in low light, the sony fx1 f.i. did suffer the same low light issues.

Every HD camera that has been released recently will do MUCH better then the xh-a1 in low light, no matter what brand it is. I don't care what brand I use, as long as it performs it's ok for me.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #9
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Landsburger View Post

Ron:
Good to know all the recent stuff is better than the FX1. How much better is the picture and low light on the NX5U vs the CX700?


Any other opinions welcome. Thanks again.
The NX5U isn't better than the CX700. There is the option to select how the picture is shot on the NX5U but in a point and shoot test the CX700 would win hands down. The video noise on the CX700 at 24db is less than the NX5U at 12db when looking at large single colour areas. I never use the focus wheel on the CX700 as the touch spot focus is a lot better. I have the wheel set to control AE shift most of the time. The NX5U wins in that it does not have a backfocus issue so I can set focus for a point on stage once for a performance and know that the depth of field will allow me to zoom in and out. Also it has XLR audio and smooth iris and gain changing. Not possible with all the other small single chip Sony's I have as they will not hold a manual focus through zooming, and step change exposure. Hence on the CX700 and the others I use manual focus but use the touch spot focus frequently to reset the focus and AE shift to control exposure that gives the camera the ability to optimize the picture. That way the cameras do not keep going out of focus with lights going up and down. In good light with face detection on the small Sony's are great and the newer CX760 or PJ760 balance optical stabilizer is very good I am told by a friend who has the PJ760.

For family shoots or holiday its the CX700 every time. For shooting on a tripod where long zoom is needed or in difficult lighting then the NX5U is the choice. The CX700 is great in full auto the NX5U is happiest in manual.

Ron Evans
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Old September 27th, 2012, 02:04 AM   #10
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Quote:
The NX5U wins in that it does not have a backfocus issue
So that was what I have been seeing last time I shot a dance performance! I shot one beginning this year with a sony xr500 and a xr520 and was standing not that far from the stage. I zoomed in, switched to manual focus, focussed and zoomed back out and all was good after that, very sharp images all throughout the video.

But later this year I had a performance where I was standing much further back from the stage and had to zoom in completely many times during the performance, there where several occasions at certain focal lengths I saw the video was soft and out of focus.

I have not tested this with the cx730 but will for sure now as I have another dance performance coming up beginning next year.

Quote:
and smooth iris and gain changing
I can tell that the cx730 has very smooth exposure adjustments, I set the wheel to exposure and always manually controll it, if you look really close you can see some very minor jumps when turning the wheel but from a normal viewing distance exposure adjustments are almost as smooth as on my xh-a1.

Quote:
as the touch spot focus is a lot better
Touch focus on my cx730 is not as good as on my xr520, after working a while with it now I noticed it can be quite unreliable (both my cx730's have the same issue so it's no camera defect) and I need to check focus each time with my hoodloupe to be sure. When I have zoomed in on a person and there is a bright background I have had moments where it refused to focus right, even when shooting outside.
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Old September 27th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #11
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

Event video can be really demanding (and much more than interviews) and you really do need a camera that thinks for itself if it has to! I bought two Panny AC-130's and although they worked well, the auto-iris really sucked and was only semi-auto as it never changed shutter speed so I still had to "baby" it and turn on and off ND filters. Working solo at events you really need a camera that can adjust itself from bright outdoors to indoors and not have the operator have to change an ND filter when a cloud goes over the sun.

There sadly are times with a two cam shoot where you have to leave the second camera to work out good settings on it's own!!!

Chris
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Old September 27th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #12
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

For event video I find the autofocus function the most important, you can fix a bit under- or over exposure but slightly out of focus sticks out like a sore thumb when viewed in HD. Every serious videographer will say you will have to use manual which I do whenever I can but there have been so many occasions I needed to rely on a good autofocus to get the shot. In that regard the cx730 has not let me down, unless you do a spotfocus on the screen, but if leave in auto I have to push it hard to get an out of focus image, even at dark receptions. Only if it goes out of focus it's completely lost.

I think it was quite similar to my vx2100 many years ago, that one also had a very good autofocus.
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Old September 27th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #13
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

If you zoom in and focus and then come back all will be in focus but if you zoom in again you may find it has gone out of focus again. Not reliable if one is zooming in and out. That is why my wife ,who uses the SR11 most of the time will always spot focus again if she zooms in to a new area of the stage. Of the small cameras I have the XR500 is the best I think. Colour is a little better on the CX700 and the CX700 is better for a travel camera. A friend used his PJ760 in the show recently and it matched much the same as the CX700. Just needed about the same colour matching to mix with the NX5U and the EX3.

The iris moves in steps so if you are just adjusting that it will be stepped. If you use exposure control or AE shift the camera can use both iris and gain ( and shutter speed if you haven't locked that) so the changes are smoother.

We have noticed the same issue with touch focus on the CX700 compared to the SR11 and XR500 which is why my wife still uses the SR11 ( it has zebras the XR500 does not). Its why I am looking for a better camera for her as the SR11 is looking a little dated now.

Ron Evans
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Old September 27th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #14
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

It is the exposure control I use and that is smooth enough for gradual exposure changes, works pretty well when in manual. Does the cx700 have zebra's? I find setting the right exposure on the xr500/520 not that easy, especially because it doesn't have zebra's plus you can clearly see the steps when you adjust.
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Old September 27th, 2012, 08:20 AM   #15
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Re: Remember the VX2000 :-) Need help moving on...

All my stuff is theatre multicam usually 4 cameras or sometimes 5 camera. If I am by myself then it is three cameras. One or two are always fixed unattended ( the XR500 and CX700) spot focus on a mid point of the stage at the zoom position they will be set at for the whole show. Exposure set to AE shift full negative. This way they do not change focus when lights change and will change exposure for the lights. NX5U and EX3 ( when he comes) are in full manual, my wife using the SR11 uses manual exposure and spot focus. I have found this gives me the best combination. Lots of choices and at least one of the cameras is in sharp focus and well exposed !!! The EX3 or my wife with the SR11 are used for closeups so very often are moving to new position and out of focus so I use the NX5U as a medium shot to track stage action and then the two fixed cameras are also a choice in editing to show full stage activity or set the scene..

Ron Evans
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