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Old June 25th, 2015, 09:42 AM   #1
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A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

I have a couple of lower end corporate jobs coming up in a while, and although I am very happy with the quality of footage that I take at the moment and am waiting for my first 4K cam to arrive, I fancied a larger shoulder mounted cam to add to the collection.

A couple of corporate jobs that I have recently done, seemed surprised at my small cams, but we're very pleased with the results. I thought that I would look at what's available in the cheap but efficient shoulder mounted camera range. I actually quite miss using a shoulder mounted cam where everything is easier to reach, more space for attachments, and easier to hand hold. Corporate clients also seem to feel that they are getting more for their money if it looks bigger :-)

I am of course very aware that the lower prices big cams are going to be the same basic guts as the small cams in a plastic body and certainly won't compete with big broadcast cams, but the end product is going to be mainly on DVD or HD on USB.

I have been a Panasonic man for years and have recently noticed the Panny HC-MDH2 and AG-AC8 models. At first glance they seem identical with the exception that the HC model says PRO in big letters on the side :-( Easily covered with my own logo though. Further delving finds that the only other difference seems to be that the HC has a 1/2.3 sensor and the AG appears to be a later model with the smaller 1/4.5 sensor.

Does anybody have either of these cameras and can speak first hand about the quality of the images? Perhaps some light can be thrown on whether the smaller newer sensor would be more efficient than the larger one. I notice that apart from the sensor the specs seem virtually identical on both cameras and include the latest 5 axis OIS, which is reportedly excellent, touch screen parameter control, twin SD card facility, built in stereo mic plus included external removeable shoe mounted mic, separate hot shoe for other external equipment, mic and headphone sockets, 20mb still photos, 9mb stills while filming, multi function lens ring and various other things that seem easier to access than with many smaller cameras. Some controls are also repeated to be accessible whether shoulder or hand held. I also like the look of the zoom.

So any input from anyone would be appreciated.

Roger
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Old June 25th, 2015, 09:54 AM   #2
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Hi Roger

My mate has an MDH2 and it produces very nice footage ... build wise it's very plastic and boxy and sounds hollow inside! The only thing that really put me off was the EVF ...it is tiny tiny tiny !! It's like looking down a tunnel so you would have to get used to that!! Then again it's an all-in-one camera and very light too and has dual card slots. I had HMC82's which had a beautiful build but 3 x 1/4" chips so at weddings a light was essential! I'm pretty sure that Panny commission a factory in China to make the cases of all MD series as they are not Japan quality at all ..however they do work well but if you want to (or have to) impress a corporate client I don't think they would make the best impression if they know what they are talking about! I had the original MD10000 cameras which were the SD 4:3 versions of the MDH2 and same as the old AVC20 with only 1/6" chips but they did lots of weddings. Like the MDH2 they also were a big hollow box with a smaller camcorder electronics mounted inside. If you can live with the plastic box the end result is good!!!

Chris
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Old June 25th, 2015, 10:22 AM   #3
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Thanks for that Chris, and I do realise that the camera is a big plastic empty box, but I do fancy the convenience of a shoulder mounted camera for some jobs. It's also helped by the fact that my FZ1000 supplier is also offering the HC-MDH2 at 524 at the moment, so I might be daft not to try it :-) You might also be impressed with their price on the 4K Panasonic WX970M 585.95

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; June 25th, 2015 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old June 25th, 2015, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Hey Roger

I'm not really sure I would buy a camera just to impress the client and the MDH2 isn't really a stunner to look at anyway .. If you get a high end corporate shoot you could always hire cameras for the day if clients are that needy that they have to have huge cameras on site. I doubt whether the codec in the Panny would satisfy broadcast requirements anyway if the job was that fancy... Most of my corporate jobs end up as a You Tube video rather than a National Television Commercial.

You COULD take the spare 500 quid and buy your lovely wife something really nice???

Chris
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Old June 25th, 2015, 11:27 PM   #5
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

This is Sony's answer to that $1k Panny:

Sony HXR-MC2500 Shoulder Mount AVCHD Camcorder HXR-MC2500 B&H

I put a mattebox on my Sony FS-100 and it looks like much more of a big-boy camera than it did before.
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Old June 26th, 2015, 01:27 AM   #6
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Don't know how sony does it, wasn't even aware they introduced this model end last year, here it's 1100 euro excl taxes and it has 5 years warranty.
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Old June 26th, 2015, 03:56 AM   #7
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hey Roger

I'm not really sure I would buy a camera just to impress the client and the MDH2 isn't really a stunner to look at anyway .. If you get a high end corporate shoot you could always hire cameras for the day if clients are that needy that they have to have huge cameras on site. I doubt whether the codec in the Panny would satisfy broadcast requirements anyway if the job was that fancy... Most of my corporate jobs end up as a You Tube video rather than a National Television Commercial.

You COULD take the spare 500 quid and buy your lovely wife something really nice???

Chris
It's more the fact that I have a couple of low end corporate shoots coming up soon, and I felt that a shoulder mounted camera may be better as they won't have a clue about cameras apart from the size. Broadcast quality doesn't come in to it as they will want DVD and highly compressed MP4 only.

Roger
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Old June 26th, 2015, 04:12 AM   #8
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Is there any way you can get one to try in your hot little hands locally ...I found it didn't sit well on my shoulder and was very boxy and awkward to use .... We cannot expect a pro camera at that price bracket however but if you can actually hold and use one I would definitely do that before buying!!

If you want to impress the client then why not put the FZ on a cheap shoulder mount rig off ebay ..they come with a pad, matte box and can look quite impressive once you add a few goodies. It just seems a shame to have it only to do a few corporate jobs ... Panasonic still call it an "entry level camera" although the IQ seems to be good

I found this video and the footage isn't too shabby at all!! It's the MDH1 though so the 2 does have some extras like XLR audio etc etc

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Old June 26th, 2015, 06:54 AM   #9
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

The MDH2 doesn't have xlr inputs, but that doesn't bother me. There is also a comprehensive review on the HD Warrior site which shows it in quite a good light. Here is a link to their video review
EDITED TO SAY this review is for the slightly later version with the smaller sensor, but everything else is the same.

The Sony camera that Mike referred to below also looks quite interesting although a bit more money, still cheap though.

I am not convinced by shoulder rigs for small cameras as they look a bit 'temporary' to me and not easy to change to a low level shot or revert to a tripod.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; June 26th, 2015 at 06:56 AM. Reason: Correction
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Old June 26th, 2015, 07:23 AM   #10
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

We don't get the AC-8 here at all .. only the MDH2 but it seems OK footage wise ..I still don't like the body or the EVF ..especially the EVF!!

I saw a few reviews on the cheap Sony cams and they are terrible in low light ! I think the Panny will be a better option if you reallt want a shoulder mount camera!
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Old June 26th, 2015, 07:46 AM   #11
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Roger, I guess it depends on what shoulder rig you have, but I have an el cheapo Cowboy style rig which I use on the odd occasion, with none of the additions that are shown in the videos, I put one of my favourite QR plates on it, so it's clip on, clip off and clip on to a tripod or whatever I want to put the camera on.

It works remarkably well for something so cheap, what I like most though is being able to wear the camera and wander around with my hand in my pockets, yet it's ready for instant use.

Update: Cheap Shoulder Rig Works Perfectly for HDSLR Work - DSLR Video Shooter

Dave
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Old June 26th, 2015, 08:20 AM   #12
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I felt that a shoulder mounted camera may be better as they won't have a clue about cameras apart from the size.
Roger
Don't be so sure. I do small corporate jobs with a couple of now aging JVC HM 700's and at most locations there's often a tech savvy bod or media person who'll be very interested in the kit. More often than not I'm now asked why I'm not using big sensor stills cameras. However this is rarely the concern of the department who book me. As you suggest they couldn't care what kit is used the result is all they are interested in.
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Old June 26th, 2015, 08:56 AM   #13
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Back when I used 900 handycams like the Panasonic TM900, I use to feel a little self conscious with my equipment, but never with the GH4, GH3 and GH2s. I've invested so much money in this equipment including lenses, tripods, monopods etc; insecurity over equipment choice is now a thing of the past. I don't like buying just to pander to clients ignorance on what makes good video.
That said, buying because of better functionality makes perfect sense. I've thought about selling my AF101a for another GH4 from abroad so would lack the clip limit. However the AF101 can be very useful for certain Corporate jobs. Long battery life, dual card slot, audio inputs; makes it much more convenient for filming where picture quality isn't the primary concern, but being able to film non stop for long 3 hour sessions is.
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Old June 26th, 2015, 09:38 AM   #14
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

You could also buy an old and BIG VHS camera on ebay like the MS4 and rip out the insides and the lens and put a small 4K camcorder inside .. I've seen it done!! Otherwise use the VHS camera on a BIG tripod and put a little camera next to it ..that will fool them all!
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Old June 26th, 2015, 10:06 AM   #15
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Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Baker View Post
Roger, I guess it depends on what shoulder rig you have, but I have an el cheapo Cowboy style rig which I use on the odd occasion, with none of the additions that are shown in the videos, I put one of my favourite QR plates on it, so it's clip on, clip off and clip on to a tripod or whatever I want to put the camera on.

It works remarkably well for something so cheap, what I like most though is being able to wear the camera and wander around with my hand in my pockets, yet it's ready for instant use.

Update: Cheap Shoulder Rig Works Perfectly for HDSLR Work - DSLR Video Shooter

Dave
Thanks for the link Dave' it looks like a good rig for DSLR or Bridge, but the problem for me is that I am used to working extremely quickly and the idea of having a rig like that would give me shoulder mount functionality but take away the instant change to a low level or overhead shot that I love to use. My usual small cam, lightweight tripod ring allows me to do that, and a shoulder mounted bigger cam would give me handheld stability but freedom to immediately change to low or high shots.

Roger
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