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


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Old February 3rd, 2014, 09:03 AM   #1
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1st HD Camera

I currently have two Sony 2100 cameras, but finally looking to move on into the HD video realm. I'm trying decide between 3 cameras to purchase in order to shoot my first wedding in HD:

Sony NX30
Canon XA10 or new XA20.
Panasonic AG-AC90

Anyone have a recommendation?

What is best setting to shoot for weddings- 1080/60p or 1080/60i, or something else?

Thanks
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 09:29 AM   #2
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Hi Jim

Your relationship with your gear is a very personal one so look for something that feels right to you. It's much like buying a car. If you have any tech considerations then try a post in the camera forums too. You might want to stay with Sony or jump ship ..I have no idea, so if you can, test drive what you can.

I was a Panny user for 23 years and swore by them until Sony brought out the EA-50 and I jumped ship and love them to bits! You might hate them but love the Canon XA20

Sadly only you can decide what you feel comfortable with ..you might decide that you would be better off with a DSLR ..only you can tell

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Old February 3rd, 2014, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: 1st HD Camera

The Sony looks like it has XLR inputs, that should be a fairly big consideration. I agree tho, it's alot about preference & feel. Like buying a car.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 11:29 AM   #4
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Re: 1st HD Camera

If I had to start from scratch and needed an HD video camera at rational prices then the XA20 would probably top of my list since it's small, light, not 'that' expensive, has XLRs, removable handle, pretty good low light and 1080/50p.

It doesn't have as much as I'd like in the way of buttons etc and many operations are via the screen, but then so are all the other small cameras out there too.

I'd go for the 20 over the 10 because it's got better image quality and 50p / 60p whereas the 10 is only 25p/30p.

Even so, the others are pretty good too, so try to play with them all!
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 05:22 PM   #5
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Thanks for the feedback all!

My buddy is letting me test drive his Sony NX30, which he uses as a back up to his Sony NX5U for weddings. I can't afford the NX5U right now, so the NX30 seems like a good $2000 cam...but I keep leaning towards the canon xa20. I use to have a Canon GL1 before I purchased my Sony 2100s.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 05:49 PM   #6
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Re: 1st HD Camera

I have been using the XA10 for a while now and I really liked the button layout. Clearly it doesn't have all the features you would want in a pro-camera which is why it is more of a prosumer cam. However I find that I can access most of the features I need without using menus. I can adjust focus, zoom, aperture, iso, and shutter speed without ever entering the menu. I find the only thing that I really need the menu for is the white balance, and once that is set, I'm good to go.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 06:49 PM   #7
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Hi Jim -

Well, you don't state a timeframe, it looks like you're in the roughly $2k@ camera budget, and I'll say you've probably pretty well used the cams you have...

Let's throw a curveball at you... Sony just announced the AX100 (supposed to start delivering in mid March), it's at that $2K price point, and it has 4K as well as HD 1080 60p @ high bitrate. It doesn't have XLR inputs (optional, expensive, via the proprietary shoe), but otherwise has some impressive specs/features, and it would future proof you for a while, since it looks like you like to keep your cameras a bit longer than the average <wink>.

I'm going to guess that reusing some of your current accessories isn't a big consideration, but you'll want to budget for whatever batteries/memory cards/other accessories will be needed. ALSO, whatever computer you've used to edit SD probably won't be adequate for HD (or 4K), so that should be in the budget consideration as well, if it's not already.

There are a LOT of image capture options available, lots of good "toys" to pick from, so you may want to spend a bit of time on DVi before you jump! I have used Sony for some time, so for me they are "comfortable" - others like Canon and Panasonic, and a few JVC... each brand has a slightly different "look" and design philosophy, and of course features vary. I'll presume you aren't considering SLR/ILC cameras with video options, but that's a whole other can of worms, if you're open to the possibilities...

I've got the "consumer" version of the NX30, the PJ760, no complaints and the BOSS image stabilization is pretty hard to beat if you shoot handheld much. Other than that, it's already two model years old, but not much has changed in that time (the AX100 is replacing the top consumer model this year).



I suggest the AX100 "Handycam" simply because the imager/processor has already been turning in impressive results in the RX10 and RX100M2 (either of which might provide a less expensive 2nd/3rd camera option as well, albeit 1080/60p at a lower bitrate) that Sony offers in the "Cybershot" line.

There is speculation that there will be a "pro" version of the AX100, which I think you can "bet" on, but it will be more $$, and there is a slightly cheaper CX900 that skips the 4K option, if you don't want to leapfrog HD entirely... I am of course joking to the extent that 4K is likely the "future", but most of us are just looking at it for the pan/crop potential at the moment while we try to wrap our heads around deliverables!

Hope this doesn't mess up your planning too much, but I think it's worth consideration!
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 08:26 PM   #8
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Dave- thanks for your feedback- appreciate it. I've been holding off going HD for sometime...seems like technology just keeps getting better and better the more I wait, so I hear you.

I'm looking to get a HD camcorder now- to test out at a March 1st wedding, but I plan to eventually get a 2nd camera, so I can always grab the AX100 next.

Thanks!
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 09:55 PM   #9
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Hi Jim

I use a Panasonic AC90 and also a Canon HFG30, same as XA20 without XLR mic inputs. Before that I used a Canon XH-A1 with a Canon HV30 .. and before that I used 2 x Sony VX2100's.

I filmed many a wedding and all sorts of other events with the Sony's and they were excellent in just about every way .... I say this because you may find the VX2100 hard to replace.

People often say that the XLR inputs are a must but as you have obviously found that's not always the case. I use a Sennheiser radio mic system and I have used this same system with all of the above cameras. I haven't noticed any difference in the quality of audio between XLR or 3.5mm mini jack.
I do own a Rode NTG 2 mic now and so having a camera with XLR input makes that work for me.,

Coming from a Sony VX 2100 I found the Panasonic AC90 quite a bit different. The AC90 definitely needs an external ND filter in bright sunlight as the built in ones are just not strong enough. Also the white balance in auto is nowhere near as accurate as the VX2100.

I must say however that the image quality from both the AC90 and the Canon HFG30 is excellent. The canon is a lovely little camera and I find the 20 times zoom (The reason I bought it) is fantastic.

Coming from the Canon XH-A1, which also has a 20 times zoom and initially going to the AC90, I always felt like I needed a bit more reach. The Sony VX2100 is also 12 times zoom ... but it's not til you've had it and lost it that you realise how handy it really is.

The Sony VX2100 was a fantastic SD camera ... and I wore out 2 off them. If they recorded native 16x9 I'm sure a lot of people would still be using them. Of course the new HD cameras produce a better picture .. that is until the lights go out. The VX 2100 was a serious low light performer.

Anyway, time has moved on and I've been happy with all of my cameras. Shifting away from tape was the best thing I ever did .... I'd still have the Canon XH-A1 if it recorded to card. I'd say the Canon is the easiest camera to use ... just set the basic parameters and go film with it. The Panasonic has more controls but they need more adjustments as you film.

The image stabilisation on the AC90 is fantastic ... the Canon is pretty good too. I haven't used a Sony camera since the VX2100 so I'm sure they are very good also.

Finally, just in case you start looking at DSLR cameras .... you need to seriously look at the Panasonic GH3 ... I'd say this is the best camera I've ever owned.
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Old February 3rd, 2014, 10:12 PM   #10
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Re: 1st HD Camera

OK, so time is a factor... if you're seriously thinking about the AX100, take a look at the DSC RX10, available now, around $1300, unless you can find a deal somewhere. Noa has already shot a wedding with one, and there are a lot of "regulars" who have them and there's some good sample footage.

There is a 29 minute clip limit, and you have to get used to a different form factor, but other than that, I've seen it described as "the best video camera" more than once! The advantage is that if you later paired it with an AX100, they would match nicely. Toss in a RX100M2 or two, and you'd have a pretty nice multicam setup, and not break the budget too badly.

I'd shoot with mine without thinking twice, stills or video, it's a beast!
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Old February 5th, 2014, 02:41 AM   #11
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Re: 1st HD Camera

@Richard Thanks for the great feedback. I know what you mean about the VX2100...I've had mine for years and they have served me well for many weddings. I finally have to move on into the HD cams...my buddy enjoys not dealing with the mini dv tapes as well...he had a PD170 and VX2100 for back up. I was thinking about the HFG30 as well...and simply use with a beachtek adapter...that's what I used with my 2100 for XLR inputs. Yes, I want to also get a dslr, so I'll take a look at the GH3.

@Dave- thanks again. You're the second person that mentioned the RX10...I'll have to take a look.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 02:48 AM   #12
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Re: 1st HD Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Tatti View Post

I use a Panasonic AC90 and also a Canon HFG30, same as XA20 without XLR mic inputs.
Richard- have you used a beachtek adapter to give you two XLR inputs for the HFG30?
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Old February 5th, 2014, 03:49 AM   #13
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Re: 1st HD Camera

No Jim, I've only ever put a single 3.5mm mini jack into the HFG30.

I do own a Tascam DR60D which would give me the option of 2 x XLR's into the Canon but I've never needed to do that. When I need XLR's I use the AC90.

Most of my work is multi cam so I don't have to put good audio into all the cameras.
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