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


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Old October 18th, 2016, 11:46 AM   #1
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What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

I mainly have been shooting Canon 5D and DSLR video for corporate productions but I do shoot some company conference's, performing dance shows, and lectures (live events).

In the past I have used Sony Z1, Z5, EX1r, etc for these sort of things. I just sold most of these old cameras, and have a Sony HXR NX3 which I like and does the job well.

I was wondering if most of you have switched to total DSLR for lectures and conferences and dance shows or if you use a standard broadcast camera such as the Sony PXW- Z150 or similar? I would think that because focus is touchy with DSLR's it might be difficult to capture dance shows or moving people. (Lectures are probably okay if you have the right lenses?)

Thinking about getting the Z150 since I have now sold my old cameras and would like to get a newer (4k?) camera.

Thanks for the advice and input!
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Old October 18th, 2016, 12:32 PM   #2
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

I would have said my Canon 70 D but no more, I was covering an event recently, when the camera locked up with a Error 80, no warning no nothing, lucky enough I had a little Sony PJ 790 in my bag that performed without fault as usual.

Later I got the Canon to boot up again and I haven't been able to replicate the error, but i have no confidence in it anymore so it sits on a shelf untouched since!

yeah I would like the Z150, although I'd prefer a little more reach.
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Old October 18th, 2016, 01:58 PM   #3
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

I shot around 300 hours of live theatrical performances over a 10 year peiod with a Sony VX-2000 in 4:3 DV, then switched to anamorphic 16:9 with a Sony PDX-10 and finally 1080i HDV with an HVR-Z1U. All the tapes from these shows have just come back home and I'm capturing them so they can be preserved. I used a Century-Schneider telephoto adapter on the Z1 to shoot a lot of shows from the rear of the house (about 100 feet from the stage). Quite a big chunk of glass but it did a terrific job. Working on a project with VX-2000 tapes from 2001-2002 at the moment. Have to say, I'd forgotten what a nice job that old camera did.

All those old cameras are long gone and I just have an original Sony EX1 tricked out with a Century mattebox and Schneider wide adapter now. For the amount of shooting I do these days, it suits me fine. Shot some performances for a friend at Symphony Space in New York this spring and was happy with the results. Will just stick with the EX1 until I find a reason to upgrade to something newer… which isn't likely in the near term. :)
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Old October 18th, 2016, 05:59 PM   #4
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

Hi Silas

I used to be a big DSLR hater and was the sort of person that reckoned the only decent camera was a big shoulder mount unit. My views have changed quite a lot now. I'm still not a DSLR fan but I am a bridge camera fan. It's nice to have a camera that can do everything so being able to take decent stills or right up to 4K DI video is a huge asset... all the video features I need (but sadly I still need an XLR audio adapter ) My new Lumix FZ2500 cams have almost everything I want at half the price of a conventional video camera ..and yes HDMI out and no recording limit like other DSLR's and no need to change lenses every 5 minutes either. Besides I'm getting on in years so a lighter camera also makes sense when handheld work needs to be done.
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Old October 19th, 2016, 08:34 AM   #5
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

Hi Chris, have you got the new Lumix already or did you mean your new FZ1000s?

Interesting that you are also doing your photography on the Lumix as I stopped using the dslr for photography a while ago and also take both video and photography on the FZ100s now. Makes life so much easier than constantly swapping lenses :-)

I'll be interested in hearing how you get on with the new Lumix as I will also be ordering one before long.

Roger
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Old October 19th, 2016, 05:52 PM   #6
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

I'm camping under the bridge too.. he he he

I find the RX10M2 to be my go to, with the little RX100M4 when I need small and I don't need all the zoom range. Those two work together to cover most of what I might need, both have the recording limit hack app, and I'm happy with the results for stills and video. One of these days, I'll find a deal on a RX10M3, to cover the once in a while need for an insane zoom range, but it may turn out to be a bit big and heavy for an "all the time" cam...

I tried the FZ1000 and it just didn't knock me out, the specs for the new updated FZ2500 (with new updated price....hmmm) look interesting, and I'm sure they would both be a pretty sweet "go to" camera.

I agree with Chris and Roger, wanting to "travel light" and still be versatile for a mix of still and video. I can carry the two cameras above, with plenty of spare battery and memory and other miscellaneous accessories (small flash, a bracket to help stabilize, a flash diffuser, some filters....) in a small or medium sling bag, and drag along a footed monopod for added support, and I'm "good to go".
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Old October 19th, 2016, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

Hi Roger

Nope I have it on pre-order and have paid the required 20% deposit and I'm waiting patiently. I will of course give you a full run down ..not a lot of difference for stills people but I think the new zoom features will be neat as well as the ND filters so worth buying just for that. Because we are mainly doing weddings live broadcast now the 2500 is very essential as it can send out HDMI and can record to card at the same time which the FZ1000 cannot do so I have been doubling up on cameras which is a pain. My local stores are predicting the FZ2500 will arrive within the next 2 weeks (last week in Oct or first week in Nov) I will give you my comments the moment I get my grubby paws on it!

Dave? Yeah I am continually thinking about how to make myself more portable ..I helped out with a DJ friend last night at a wedding as the MC and after we were done I realised we are quite lucky not having to lug huge speakers, stands and desks around to gigs! Maybe we need a special forum for hints and tips on reducing your gear load. Wouldn't it be great to carry the same gear as photographers!! That's my target anyway!!

Hmmm UPDATE : End of November now for the FZ2500... I could get one from B&H but it would be a LOT more money so I'll wait

Last edited by Chris Harding; October 19th, 2016 at 09:27 PM.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 02:37 AM   #8
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

There is just no substitute for a conventional videocamera with a smooth variable speed zoom with fine control over speed trough the zoomrocker, 3 rings on the lens and with a focus ring that gives you a good precise control over focus. For dance shows anything other then a conventional videocamera will be more difficult to handle. If you have to shoot a interview with a person that doesn't move in controlled light then almost any camera will do.
Same applies for dslr's, they shine in low light so you could use a tele with no light for the speeches in a dark venue and it will look ok, use a videocamera or a hybrid camera and both will fail under the same conditions.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 02:40 AM   #9
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I think the new zoom features will be neat as well as the ND filters so worth buying just for that.
I thought you hated the ND filters on your previous Panasonic camera's? This camera will be no different in how you need to select your ND depending on the incoming light.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 03:13 AM   #10
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

Hi Noa

The FZ2500 has manual ND's that you can select by choice AND it also has Panasonic's Auto ND as well ...as the iris closes down with ND set to auto the ND's start to come in to keep the aperture at the sweet spot ..All the HMC cameras had auto ND's which is what I will use for video then use the manual ND's if I need a small DOF for either stills or video when the occasion arises. The filters on my AC-130's used to be brought in mechanically and caused an optical glitch in the footage which is not desirable when a bride is saying her vows and the camera decides you must change a filter... big difference. The Auto ND's on my HMC70's and 80's were seamless in operation and you never knew they were even changing. So by choice you can let the camera kick in a suitable filter OR you can do it manually which you would obviously do before shooting not during a clip recording. I love the opportunity to use ND filters I just never liked the way they were activated on the AC-130.

I have yet to try the new zoom controls but from what I see on sample videos, you can activate a very smooth and very slow zoom using a function button so it zooms at the speed you set as long as you hold the button down ... (that what they say anyway!!) I do miss a rocker zoom but this might be almost as good..we shall see when the camera eventually arrives!!
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Old October 20th, 2016, 03:18 AM   #11
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

I've gone down the DSLR route myself for Corporate work now, with 2 GH4r's being my workhorse in those situations. Admittedly those jobs have been very controlled with little movement. I also used a similar setup to record a Pop concert to great effect. I think if I was doing more dance recitals where focus was an issue, then I'd stump for the Panasonic DVX200. That said, I did a few theatre productions and when using 2 additional unmanned cameras, gaps in focusing with my manned camera were less an issue.

As for being as portable as a Photographer, that very much depends on the Photographer. I've seen many that have 2 camera bodies strapped to a belt, with a reflector, light stand and flash unit carried by an assistant. Some have umbrellas in case of rain for the couple; others have battery packs with large lights for outdoor and indoor shots.

Last Wedding I did, for the Photo shoot in London, I relied on my GX80 and 12-35mm lens, whilst the 2 Photographers each were carrying 2 Canon bodies and lenses. The beauty of the micro 4/3s are the smaller lenses. A small camera bag can accommodate 3 extra lenses without compromising portability.
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Old October 20th, 2016, 05:03 AM   #12
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
it also has Panasonic's Auto ND as well ...as the iris closes down with ND set to auto the ND's start to come in to keep the aperture at the sweet spot
That's the last thing I would want my camera to do on it's own until a bright light source fills your frame and then that spot won't be so sweet anymore :) it also will have an effect on your depth of field, maybe less noticeable on a smaller sensor camera but still, it can show.
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Old October 21st, 2016, 05:24 AM   #13
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

The auto filters only kick in once the iris goes beyond F8, Noa? so whether you are at F8 or F16 doesn't really affect DOF anyway .. at those apertures it's already 3' to infinity so there would be no difference in an image taken on tiny F stops

Panny have incorporated the auto ND for many years and it works very well. Of course on the 2500 you have the best of both worlds as you CAN go manual without the inconvenience of having to screw on filters. The current FZ cameras simply don't close the iris any more than F8 and they just lift shutter speed so in bright light your video can be a bit jerky!! The new arrangement will be a lot better
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Old October 21st, 2016, 05:41 AM   #14
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

To each his own but for a manned camera I never would use a auto exposure, nd filters for me are used to be able lock my shutter and to select a f-stop depending on the depth of field I want as that will determine a look I want to maintain throughout a continuous shot or throughout a series of shots. From the moment I let the camera decide, shutter and f-stop can be all over the place and it will have an effect on my exposure as it will fluctuate depending on the incoming light and depth of field can change, there is no reason why you ever would let your manned camera handle exposure automatically using a nd, shutter, iso and f-stop, unless you are a tourist on holiday. :)
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Old October 21st, 2016, 08:59 AM   #15
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Re: What's your GO TO CAMERA for non wedding events?

As you say .. different strokes for different folks I would rather not miss a priceless moment because I was fiddling setting the camera up. I have never had an issue with using auto exposure ..The Lumix wheel can instantly change EV at will if you need to and our brides are more concerned with capturing their wedding than technical perfection ..I actually had a bride who told me "the photographer spent more time fiddling with the controls on his frigging camera than taking the photos we asked for" (her words not mine)

I watched a video from a USA based celebrity photographer who said "on your camera dial you have an "M" and a "P" .... M= Master (he gets perfect shots but misses the moments P=Professional ..he might have to correct a bit in post BUT he gets the shots the bride wants that the Master misses while he perfects his manual settings. I'm not a Master!!
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