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


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Old January 21st, 2013, 10:19 AM   #16
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
It may even be a male thing, but the image of the bigger camera makes me "feel" like a pro even though I only scratch the surface of its capabilities
It's all between the ears, trust me, it's not the image of how you look like that matters but what you eventually deliver to your customers. :)
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Old January 21st, 2013, 10:35 AM   #17
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

Darryn I now have less files to deal with going to digital AVCHD than with tape. For most of the shows I do I would need to change tapes so for a 2 hour or so show I would often have 4 tapes from each camera, 2 for each Act often changed to make sure I didn't miss anything at the end of the act even if a 1 hour tape would do. Then I would have the problem of syncing these tapes since I lost some time changing tapes and would need to change tapes at different times in the different cameras etc etc. Now I have just 1 file for each act from each camera. Audio sync seems more accurate than with tape etc etc. Even though the cameras record to FAT32 I always use the Sony transfer utilities so only ever see the clips defined by the start and stop of the camera. So for a show its the whole act on each camera and sync is thus a lot simpler than tape. The NLE's I have ( Edius, Vegas and CS6 ) will all bring the AVCHD files onto the time line in order so having lots makes no difference anyway.

You may also run into the problem that the quests will shoot better video with their Compact cameras or cell phones !!! I have just got a Sony HX30V camera and it shoots lovely video at1920x1080 60P that matches or is better than my CX700 !!! Also my Sony Xperia T cell phone also shoots nice video too !!!

Like Noa says its not what you use its what you deliver that counts.

Ron Evans
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Old January 21st, 2013, 02:35 PM   #18
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

Darryn,

From a biz standpoint, you need to look at the cost and amortization - you've probably "used up" your 2100's, although you can probably sell them for "something" to put towards your new equipment.

As Noa points out, a top end consumer Sony/Canon/Panasonic will likely smoke a several year old "pro" camera. Since you need a minimum of two cameras, you should consider whether "investment" in older models that are already showing their age is preferable to buying somethign more "state of the art". FWIW, the improvements in the top end consumer models have been getting smaller and smaller, and indeed the Sony "new" cameras announced have been cut back - the high end "consumer" cam is being killed by cell phones and still cameras like the HX30 (and Sony killed most or all of their higher end still cams this year too... dang cell phones and tablets!).

You can get some EXCELLENT HD image aquisition devices pretty cheap if you know what to look for, and it's not all about size. You probably should look at the "small handycams" thread...


The FX7 actually was discontinued once, and brought back... it's a good handling camera, I'd love to see it revived in a 4K format (yeah, "HD" is so old hat already <wink>), but it's going to struggle in low light (the suggestion to drop ahutter from 60 to 30 works fairly well), and you are talking about a camera that was well regarded when it first arived on the scene... but is now getting pretty long in the tooth.

I understand the goal of not replacing all the accessories (do that exact same thing with my Handycams!), but you're looking at a major changeover (sort of wondering if you have factored in computer upgrades for HDV or AVCHD, depending on how big a jump you decide to take), a few extra batteries and some big memory cards are not going to be your main concern.

The tapeless workflow is painless for the most part, so don't let that freak you out, newer cameras can give you a LOT better image quality, and you won't regret if, even if you only go to an FX7... but don't get it side by side with a 2011/2012 pocket P&S or Handycam...
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 03:02 AM   #19
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Honestly, and I know it may not sound very professional, I would have a hard time using the smaller cams in the business of shooting weddings. It may even be a male thing, but the image of the bigger camera makes me "feel" like a pro even though I only scratch the surface of its capabilities. Last week I picked up a Vixia HF R300 for some different projects and I stared at it for hours thinking this could actually do the trick! While slightly embarrassing to admit, I only touch 2 buttons all day at weddings, start and zoom. I am in full auto mode, connect a beachtek adapter for my shotgun and lav mics for ceremony only, and that's it..
Darryn I'm ditching my Sony Z1/FX1 after many years - they are 1st gen HDV and show it - very poor/noisy/soft images in low light.

If your budget is $1,000 buy a used Panny TM900 (I have two of them) or failing that an X900 - they are great in low light - shoot 1080/60p and have nice wide lenses (x900 slightly wider)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-TM900-1920x1080p-Ready-Camcorder/dp/B004I1KPG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358844865&sr=8-1

Put it in a Gearbox cage for extra satabilization

GearBox GB-1 - Video Accessory Cage by PNC | Photography and Cinema - Store

Mount a rode VideoMic

Rode VideoMic Shotgun Microphone | DV247

Put it all on a decent monopod

Manfrotto 560B-1 Fluid Base Video Monopod - Monopods - Bags & Tripods - Harrison Cameras

You will get great footage and will look a little more like a pro than just using a small handycam - all for under $1000
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 03:49 AM   #20
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

+ 1

I got a very cheap shoulder mount on ebay with rails and a shoulder pad to attach a beachtek adaper and the camera onto, I also can slide a magnifying loupe onto the viewfinder so I can use the setup as a mini shouldercamera (DSLR Mini Shoulder Pad Rig Mount Rails with Handles for Sony T3i T2i GH2 D60 D90 | eBay it's the topleft image, seems to not be available anymore)

The handheld shot in the video I posted where I stand right behind the priest was done with this shoulder mount, you can't get much more stable then that.

I know I spoke about the image you project when holding a camera, whether it's a shouldercamera or handicam doesn't matter I was not entirely honest, but only a little bit :) Now I don't care about the fact that I use the handicams, whether it's on a tripod or just handheld and I don't care much about what people might think at a wedding. Because I know they do deliver that's all that matters to me but, well, almost.

The shouldermount I got for 2 reasons, one is that it does provide me with extra stabilisation when filming handheld but the second one is that I wanted it when filming in church, there is a point where I"m out in the open during the vows and ring exchange and where I need to be filming handheld, in Belgian churches you always stand just behind the priest and the couple at that moment, like in the video I posted.

At that point everyone in church could see me handholding the camera (when I didn't have the rig yet) and it felt a bit "awkward" standing there holding the camera in front of me like an "amateur"' would do on holiday and I have to admit, only that moment gave me a uncomfortable feeling even if the footage turned out great.

So I just got the small shouldermount to take away that last doubt.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:06 PM   #21
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Honestly, and I know it may not sound very professional, I would have a hard time using the smaller cams in the business of shooting weddings.
The HF R300 is good, but noticably better is the step-up HF M500 which actually uses the same sensor as the expensive XF100. You can always market the small camera size as a technological innovation that is less intrusive to the wedding ceremony! On the other hand, people more easily understand the intrusion of someone holding a professional looking camera. In my experience it is possible to obtain very nice widescreen SD from noisy HD source. However, given the currrent prevalence of bluray disks in the discount stores, in only a few years it is likely that widescreen DVD will not be enough to satisfy many customers.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 04:02 AM   #22
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
If your budget is $1,000 buy a used Panny TM900 (I have two of them) or failing that an X900 - they are great in low light - shoot 1080/60p and have nice wide lenses (x900 slightly wider)
What advantages does the TM900 have over the newer X900? It seems crazy to pay more for a used camcorder in preference to a new one with warranty. My understanding is that the cameras are very similar.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 05:37 AM   #23
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

Nigel in various reviews the TM900 beats the X900 in low light performance - I scoured quite a few user forums as well

Panasonic HDC-TM900 Comparison - Panasonic HC-X900 Camcorder Review

Low light performance is a big deal for me after years with the Z1/FX1 so my B cameras need to have that edge - plus I got a good deal on 2 refurbished units from amazon with 3 month guarantees - Also Darryn's budget is $1,000 - a new X900 will soak most of that up with nothing left over for extras.

There's probably not that much in it really but every little helps - the images from the TM900 are great - 1080/50p and 32GB internal capacity - plus they're nice and descreet - great for on top of a light stand!

Pete

Last edited by Peter Rush; January 25th, 2013 at 06:12 AM.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:57 AM   #24
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

Only issue I have with the TM900 is that has 3X 1/4.1 sensors. My research has show that smaller sensors optimized for photos, those with a high pixel density such as the Panasonic cameras, suffer a loss of image quality for video. The developers of the GH3 camera discussed this when talking about the development of the GH3 camera. Consumers want to see a high pixel count for photos, and great video at the same time. Too high of a pixel count fitted onto a tiny 1/4" sensor is not a good thing and video will suffer from it.

Smaller sensors means less dynamic range, and it shows with footage I've seen from the TM700/900. We can't get around physics with these tiny sensors. To me 1/3" is a minimum requirement for any camera. We mustn't ignore that 1/3" is going to collect more light, all things being equal than a 1/4" sensor, and 3X 1/4" do not equal a 3/4" sensor, it doesn't work that way.

The common misconception I hear people state is that three sensors is better than one. This is not necessarily true. It can be, but more often no it's not. It depends. I know my nearly 1" sensor DSLR style camera has much better dynamic range and light gathering ability than any camera I know with three 1/3" sensors.

My preference for a small video camera is one, newer 1/3" sensor, which has superior dynamic range, which means less blow outs, and better matching with my DSLR style camera. It also means, in this case, shooting up to 20db gain with no grain.

The 1/3" sensor of the Canon XA-10 and G10, which is the same sensor as used in the venerable XF-100 ($2795) is great in low light, has a high dynamic range, and is newer than the Panny sensor, unless the 900 sensor has been updated, and even so there is the 1/4.1 issue that cannot be ignored.

TM900/700 users tend to be rabid fans about their cameras, so I know this is a sticky wicket, but felt like tossing this in the mix for consideration.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; January 25th, 2013 at 11:02 AM.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 10:34 AM   #25
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

You're right of course Jeff - I was just trying to get Darryn some 'bang for his buck' - he only has $1,000 budget after all - although he can probably get the Legria G10 but not have any change left - The TM900 will still give him change to spare and 50p compared to the canon 25p!

All that said I only use the Pannys as extra cameras to my Sony EA50 - probably amounting to less than 5% of the shots in my finished weddings.

Pete
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Old January 25th, 2013, 11:19 AM   #26
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

Your recommendation is sound, of course Peter, the TM900 is a fine camera at a ridiculously low price point for it's features. Personally, I have had such disappointing results with the two 1/4" sensored cameras that I've owned I am really against them for myself.

The TM900 is not popular for no reason, it is a well-loved camera with a good reputation, but I also believe a video is not stronger than it's weakest link. I have had to depend on backup footage so many times, and now that I deliver Bluray discs with every wedding, every shortcoming shows up in such glaring detail.

But you're right, for the money the camera is a bargain and it gets the job done, even if it cannot quite measure up to the quality of the main cameras.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; January 25th, 2013 at 02:39 PM.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 02:41 PM   #27
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
Nigel in various reviews the TM900 beats the X900 in low light performance - I scoured quite a few user forums as well

Panasonic HDC-TM900 Comparison - Panasonic HC-X900 Camcorder Review

Low light performance is a big deal for me after years with the Z1/FX1 so my B cameras need to have that edge - plus I got a good deal on 2 refurbished units from amazon with 3 month guarantees - Also Darryn's budget is $1,000 - a new X900 will soak most of that up with nothing left over for extras.
The reviews all seem to say that there is precious little difference between the TM900 & X900 except the latter has a wider angle lens. The only complaint in the reviews that I have read is that there is so little difference in quality & performance between the older & newer models.

The X900M is currently $743.99 from Amazon which is well under budget
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Old January 25th, 2013, 02:48 PM   #28
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Re: FX7 Low Light? OK for weddings?

The Upcoming VIXIA HF G20 with improved low light improvement over the XA10 and G10 will be sold for MSRP for $1099.

It does cost more, it does not have 1080 60p ):

Supposed to be available February.
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