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Old June 20th, 2013, 06:54 AM   #1
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Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

I shoot weddings with two C100s. Before the ceremony starts my HMC150 setup on a tripod, zoomed out and left running. The large battery and card will keep going for hours and I can safely forget about it until after the ceremony.

I want to swap out this HMC150 for something a lot smaller. The requirements are that it must be equal or better in low-light. Have enough battery juice to go for at least two hours and obtain a fairly wide angle. The following cameras I am considering:

BlackMagic pocket: love the size but wide angle could be problem plus battery only lasts for an hour.
GH3: Not sure about low-light ability or battery life?
Canon XA25: What's the actual size like?

Don't want to use a DSLR with MagicLantern BTW and my GoPro 3 Black is just too unreliable with crap low light performance.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 06:59 AM   #2
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Considered a VG20 or VG30 ( has picture profiles ) ? Dimensions wise they are slightly smaller, but definitely a lot lighter (body only).

I definitely wouldn't opt for a DSLR camera. They are not designed for continuous non-stop recording.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 07:32 AM   #3
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Hi Dan

Noa from Belgium gets excellent results from his little Sony's (I think they are CX730's) I'm sure he will chip in here but I know that he thinks very highly of them and they are certainly small enough not to get in the way... According to Noa the low light performance is truly outstanding too.

I have been thinking about getting another GoPro as an extra camera but it's worrying that the so called "pick of the bunch" ..Hero 3 Black has bad low light! I thought that the Hero 3 Black was a huge improvement over the older Hero 2 cameras?

Chris
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Old June 20th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #4
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Hi Dan - Noa does indeed use Sony CX730 and raves about their low light performance - I was intending to get some myself but they are notoriously difficult to get hold of

Sony: Why are stock levels so low for CX730?

I therefore (having trawled these very forums) opted for 2 Panasonic TM900 cameras which have a nice crisp image and are very good in low light - one of them has the VW-WE08H wide angle adapter. You''ll get about 2 hours from the high capacity batteries. They've now been superseded by the X900 which is cheaper in price - I can't comment on the performance though.

I also have a Hero 3 Silver Edition which is great but only if the light is good - they suffer in low light

Pete
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Old June 20th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #5
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Canon hfg10, awesome decent wide angle great low light. Cheap at present 699 on ebay/750 amazon. or get the same sensor but smaller camera hfm56/52/506. and get a wide angle lens raynox to fit the 43mm thread, same picture as the hfg10 and the cost? picked one up for the same shots you require at 289 amazon...90 raynox hd wide angle lens
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Old June 20th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #6
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

I heared someone calling me? :)

The cx730 has a wideangle lens that goes wider then a hmc150 (it starts 26,5mm), it is a remarkable camera but it does have it flaws:
At certain focal lengths and especially when the lens is wider, the image can get blurry in the edges, it can be sharp in the center and right but a bit unsharp on the left. It's not repeatable because sometimes I see it sometimes not. This seems to be an issue other camera's, such as the nx70, have as well as I have seen user reports/videos showing the same issue I have but even worse. So it might have something to do with their new lens design or whatever, I don't see that problem on my xr520.

This has not ruined a shot as I only occasionally see it pop up and it is just in the edges of the frame.

Another thing that is not working a s well as on my xr520 is the touch focus which is quite unreliable and a 3rd issue is that the lens ramps quickly once you start zooming in.

Other then that it's all good with this camera, superb image stabilization, it's ridiculous good. Low light is very good as well, low noise at gains up to 24db. It even beats my 550d with a f2.8 lens at 1600 iso. Auto whitebalance is very good, the camera gets it's right every time. Autofocus is very good, even holds focus in very low light. Only IF it does loose focus it can be lost completely and you just need to zoom out wide, point at something else and wait for it to recover.

Manual functions is limited, I controll exposure with teh front wheel and have touch buttons on the screen to change the white balance, set the focus to manual and set the ois to on or off.

Also with a one big battery you can shoot all day.

The camera can display zebra"s, it auto magnifies the screen when you change focus manually, it has focus peaking, it can do 50p, it has a build in videolioght. The build in mike is not that good but sufficient for ambient sound. There are more good things about the camera but above come to mind.

Here the cx730 is not possible to get anymore and has been replaced I believe, the top end handicams of canon are also very good, sharp image, good in lowlight so I think you don't necessarily need to get a sony.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

I use a Canon XF105 for just this purpose. It intercuts well with the 5D & has more detail for wide shots. I like it also for the XLRs for hooking up audio. In fact I have used it purely as an audio recorder. This little baby Canon is now the only 'proper' camcorder that I have. The XF105 isn't awful in low light (it's better than my old XHA1) but it's certainly not as good as a 5D. The XA10 also has XLRs & uses the same sensor & is said to be better in low light but it is much much smaller & records AVCHD to SD cards. The new XA20 that's replacing the XA10 records 1080@50p but if XLRs aren't important then the similar consumer model the XF G30 is about half the price.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #8
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Noa, anywhere in any of your vids you could show me an example of it in low light??
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Old June 20th, 2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

I will second the XF100/105 choice. I rent one anytime I need that exact shot. It matches my XF300 perfectly. I have also used it for b-roll on a nationally airing TV series. Highly recommended!
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Old June 20th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #10
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
Noa, anywhere in any of your vids you could show me an example of it in low light??
I"ll try to make a quick comparison with my nex-ea50 and it's stocklens tommorow at a wedding so you have a better idea. Will try to publish this weekend.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 10:18 AM   #11
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

but if XLRs aren't important then the similar consumer model the XF G30 is about half the price.[/QUOTE]

and then the hfg10 half the price again but the g30 has a wider angle.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Thanks for all the replies chaps.

Does anyone know how the HF G10 compares to the HMC150 in low light ability?

Chris, I own both a GoPro 2 and a 3, the low light is improved a bit but its still not good. For me its unreliable: Stops recording for any frame size over 1080. Locks up when wifi is on. I have tried reinstalling the latest firmware, different class 10 cards, different batteries. Nowt.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

You might try Slashcam for some samples of frame grabs - they include a "low light" sample. Their accuracy is "ususally" fairly good in representing relative performance between cameras, and they have their database set up so you can choose most any models to compare.

I'm normally a Sony guy, so the CX/PJ/NX type cams are a "first" recommendation, and Panasonics can be quite nice... but since you're matching CANONs as your main cameras, you probably want to swing that way - they have some new models coming out shortly that look pretty good (check the forum section near the top of the main page here at DVi). Of course you'd probably want to either grab "last years model" at a discount or wait till some real world reviews hit the bitstream, just in case. Most times newer is better, but there are those OTHER times...
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Old June 20th, 2013, 08:19 PM   #14
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

I am sure there are a lot of good consumer camera's out there for a locked off fixed shot. I have had great luck with Canon consumer cams for this.

I started out using a Canon HV20 for my fixed wide shot center cam several years ago. When editing footage with my two Sony V1U's a little color matching was required but the quality of the image matched quite well.

A couple of years ago moved to a little Canon M301 recording to SD card. It has been great also and had a great pic. I think the Canon models people are recommending here are even better.

A lot of times the downfall of consumer cameras is how they adjust to different lighting, quirky zooms, etc. However when locked down for a fixed shot it is amazing what image these little cameras can produce.
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Old June 22nd, 2013, 03:20 PM   #15
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Re: Small camera for unattended locked-off wide shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
Noa, anywhere in any of your vids you could show me an example of it in low light??
See below comparison, sorry it was just a very quick one, didn't have much time for this, a few notes on this "test".

As you can see the venue was candle lit and the lights above the table where dimmed so it was quite dark, what you see in the video is about what I could see with my own eyes at the moment of the test. The nex ea50 and the 550d (which is included at the end) had both a 14mm f2.8 lens and where set at 3200 iso and 1/50th shutter, the cx730 was set at 24db and here I made a judgment mistake because at 24db gain the camera switches to 1/25th shutter (and I didn't think of that during the test). I"d say that at 21db gain, where the camera is at 1/50th shutter the exposure should be similar the nex-ea50 image at f2.8 and 3200 iso. The ea50 had preset pp3 and the 550d had preset neutral.

Noise wise the cx730 is the cleanest, the cx730 is sharper as the nex-ea50 but looses some resolution at that high iso so, I included the 550d image at the end as well so you can see that one looks the worst.

Not bad at all for such a tiny small sensor handicam, no?

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