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-   -   A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed. (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/528866-cheap-shoulder-mounted-cam-needed.html)

Roger Gunkel June 25th, 2015 08:42 AM

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

Chris Harding June 25th, 2015 08:54 AM

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

Roger Gunkel June 25th, 2015 09:22 AM

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

Chris Harding June 25th, 2015 08:36 PM

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

Mike Watson June 25th, 2015 10:27 PM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
This is Sony's answer to that $1k Panny:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1078287-REG/sony_hxr_mc2500_shoulder_mount_avchd.html
I put a mattebox on my Sony FS-100 and it looks like much more of a big-boy camera than it did before.

Noa Put June 26th, 2015 12:27 AM

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.

Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 02:56 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Harding (Post 1890616)
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

Chris Harding June 26th, 2015 03:12 AM

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


Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 05:54 AM

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

Chris Harding June 26th, 2015 06:23 AM

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!

Dave Baker June 26th, 2015 06:46 AM

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

George Kilroy June 26th, 2015 07:20 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1890638)
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.

Steve Burkett June 26th, 2015 07:56 AM

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.

Chris Harding June 26th, 2015 08:38 AM

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!

Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 09:06 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Baker (Post 1890664)
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

Dave Baker June 26th, 2015 09:24 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
I hear you Roger. I just thought with a QR plate you could get almost instantaneous on and off the rig.

Dave

Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 09:31 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Burkett (Post 1890673)
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.

One thing I don't feel ever, is self conscious about using small cameras as I like not being noticed and working very quickly. That said, the reason for quite liking the idea of a shoulder mounted camera, is the ease of holding it steady on the shoulder, but also being able to instantly move to a low level shot, and use the top sub buttons for start/stop and zoom, while supporting it with the top handle. They are things that are much more difficult to get stable with DSLRs and small video cams. I also like the long battery life and continuous recording on both the Sony and the Panasonic together with the twin recording facility for safety. There is also room on both for extra mic, receiver etc and good balance on the cameras.

What seems to put many people off the cameras, is that it is easy to compare them with similar sized high end cameras. However both the Panny and Sony cams use current technology and facilities that are available on smaller cameras, so there is no particular reason why they should be inferior in image quality to other smaller cameras in the same price range.

I certainly wouldn't buy one to impress people, but a spinoff from a bigger camera is that some people make assumptions that they are getting more for their money than when you turn up with something that looks to them like their own camera. In some environments, that may be a secondary advantage.

For me though, I would like to see if I would get comparable image quality to other current smaller cams and to run alongside, rather than replace my existing cams for different situations.

There must be members on these forums that are actually using one or other of these cameras, rather than comparing them with older versions, so it would be interesting to hear from them as well.

Roger
I

Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 09:36 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Baker (Post 1890690)
I hear you Roger. I just thought with a QR plate you could get almost instantaneous on and off the rig.

Dave

That makes perfect sense Dave if you want to do a lot of work with the rig, but I also like to use a lightweight tripod and I do feel that a rig would either have to stay on me if I take the camera off, whereas a shoulder cam cam be instantly attached to the tripod without the bother of what to do with the rig. I would add that I have never used a rig, so I am only speculating, so your points add interesting input.

Roger

Dave Baker June 26th, 2015 10:46 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1890694)
........without the bother of what to do with the rig.

What doesn't get mentioned in the videos is the safety strap that comes with it. With a little practice, I just tried it for the first time a minute ago, it is easy to remove the camera and swing the rig behind you so it hangs at your back, from your shoulder.

I'll quickly describe it so you can work out if it's something you would be prepared to try. I'm right handed, so the rig hooks over my right shoulder. I put my right arm and head through the strap, so both hands were free to operate the camera. I removed (well, ok, I pretended to since I didn't put one on) the camera and pushed the rig round, under my right arm and up my back out of the way. I didn't bother, but a quick tweak of the locking knob and it would have folded up as well.

Dave

Roger Gunkel June 26th, 2015 11:11 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Thanks for that description Dave and I will be going over to Wex in Norwich at some point, so I will see what they have there as I have never tried one. As they say, 'Don't knock it if you haven't tried it'.

Roger

Chris Harding July 11th, 2015 07:00 PM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Hi Roger

I'm not sure if you did anything about getting a shoulder mount camera but I see that Global Media Pro are now listing the AS9000 camera at only a few hundred bucks more than the MDH2 ...Seems to have some neat extra features but still looks a bit of a big plastic box ... Dunno if the UK is listing them ?

Panasonic AG-AS9000 (AG-AS9000EN, AG-AS9000E) AVCHD Camcorder PAL

Roger Gunkel July 12th, 2015 02:48 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Hi Chris,

That looks identical to the AG-AC8, perhaps with a different designation for your part of the globe. The spec appears to be identical and I think is a more recent update of the MDH2.

I haven't made any moves yet as things are getting very busy at the moment, but the Sony MC2500 looks to be possibly a slightly better bet than the two Panasonics, although I have never been a Sony man.

Roger

Peter Rush July 12th, 2015 02:55 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Harding (Post 1892107)
Hi Roger

I'm not sure if you did anything about getting a shoulder mount camera but I see that Global Media Pro are now listing the AS9000 camera at only a few hundred bucks more than the MDH2 ...Seems to have some neat extra features but still looks a bit of a big plastic box ... Dunno if the UK is listing them ?

Panasonic AG-AS9000 (AG-AS9000EN, AG-AS9000E) AVCHD Camcorder PAL

That looks like it might be front heavy Chris like our EA50 cams - "pro-style form factor that gives you added comfort and stability during long handheld shoots" - I doubt it

Chris Harding July 12th, 2015 03:19 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Hi Roger

Yep same model different number! I wouldn't even think about the Sony 2500 I've heard they are awful in low light and with all these cameras I honestly feel you would cry after using the FZ1000 ..they are true entry level cameras with VERY few settings ..you have manual or iA auto ..you cannot change ISO ...just iris and shutter ...even the Panny MDH2 will disappoint you!!

Pete? Actually no! I have tried one out (never owned one) and they are very light and a big hollow plastic box and a tiny 46mm diameter lens ..nothing like the EA-50 which is solid... the EVF is also TINY !! I don't think I could use one at all ..it probably tips the scales at a mere 2kg including the lens ..My Sigma lens alone was nearly 1kg!! It sadly looks like a toy and feels like a toy ... probably great for students learning video at school.. that's about all!!

Roger Gunkel July 12th, 2015 04:11 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
You are probably right Chris, although it would be useful to find somewhere to actually try some of these cameras, not much chance of that though round here. It's on the back burner anyway at the moment as I intend to get another FZ1000 and my Landrover Freelander has just had to be replaced after needing a complete set of injectors that would cost as much as it is worth, to have them fitted. I just traded it in as is, but cost me a fair chunk of money to replace it :-(

Roger

Peter Rush July 12th, 2015 04:18 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Roger you might get a CVP.com rep to do a demo for you - I got one to Salford to show me the EA50 - They have offices at Brentford and Warwickshire. Less then 2 hours drive for you?

CVP.com

Roger Gunkel July 12th, 2015 06:50 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Warwickshire is about 2.5 -3 hours and the same for Brenford. Unfortunately where we are, there are no decent links to any of the main network roads, so A1 is about and hour, so is M11, just makes mileages that don't seem that far in distance take twice as long. Claire is filming a wedding in Warwickshire and will be staying overnight because of the journey time.

Roger

Chris Harding July 12th, 2015 07:44 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Hi Roger

A mate of mine over East has 2 x MDH2's and had a high lights clips up on Vimeo for evaluation and wanted to know how he could get better IQ and exposure and he gave me a link to the advanced manual. I think if you read the manual you would see that it's very very basic and I seriously don't think it would meet your expectations at all. PANASONIC HC-MDH2 PDF*MANUAL - Manuals - Instruction Manuals

I would run thru the manual first before doing any long drives to try it out ... control is way too basic for you!

Chris

Noa Put July 12th, 2015 08:36 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Why oh why do they make cheap shouldermount camera's like this to give it less features then your average smartphone with a videofunction.

Roger Gunkel July 12th, 2015 09:04 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Harding (Post 1892139)
Hi Roger

A mate of mine over East has 2 x MDH2's and had a high lights clips up on Vimeo for evaluation and wanted to know how he could get better IQ and exposure and he gave me a link to the advanced manual. I think if you read the manual you would see that it's very very basic and I seriously don't think it would meet your expectations at all. PANASONIC HC-MDH2 PDF*MANUAL - Manuals - Instruction Manuals

I would run thru the manual first before doing any long drives to try it out ... control is way too basic for you!

Chris

I've already downloaded the manuals for the MDH2 and the AG-AC8 and the main difference seems to be that the AC8 has a more recent sensor, probably the same sensor as the Sony MC2500 which seems to have a much better viewfinder than the Pannys. All academic at the moment though as I am still experimenting with the FZ1000 and am also all spent out!

Roger

Roger Gunkel July 12th, 2015 09:48 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Seems a shame that Panasonic have emasculated the AG-AC8 as some of the cameras features are extremely useful. The same sensor seems to be used as on other recent cameras, and the convenience of a shoulder mounted camera is not to be sniffed at. They are obviously disabling some of the features to avoid taking sales away from higher priced shoulder mounted cams.

Looking at the manual on the Sony, it also seems to be using a current sensor, and again has some very useful features like wifi, double recording, stabilisation and various other useful bits that you don't see on the small cams. They don't mention ISO but there is definitely manual gain control which is the same thing. It looks as though almost all the normal functions are manually controllable, shutter, focus, aperture, gain, audio levels etc. Zebra zoning, peaking, and histogram views are also available.

I'm not sure why the lowlight performance shouldn't be as good as any other camera with the same sensor, but it's always difficult to tell with YouTube videos as half of them are posted by people who haven't got a clue. It would be interesting to get hands on at some point as that's the only real way to tell.

Roger

Chris Harding July 12th, 2015 07:51 PM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Hi Roger

To be honest I have never tried out the Sony entry level shoulder mount cameras ...if it's still on the market it MUST be reasonably good ... I thought they do purposely cripple low priced cameras so they don't lose sales on the fancier ones so one cannot expect the same features on the 2500 as the FS700 has!! I'm actually quite surprised that Panasonic have included such amazing features on the FZ1000 considering it's a sub $1000 camera .... It actually has way more features than my AC-130's had in the firmware which is not normal considering the 3 times price difference!

Yeah, the only real way to choose would be to try them all out. Wouldn't it be great if the UK (and Australia) had a B&H where you can go into a big warehouse and try out a big range of cameras!

Chris

Roger Gunkel July 13th, 2015 03:58 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
I think the lack of ISO/ gain control on the Panny is a big no for me, but the jury is still out on the Sony. What I would hope for is the same facilities as some of the smaller cams with the same modern sensor, plus the extras like the dual recording, external mic, extra mountings, easier to select controls, bigger batteries etc all in a shoulder mount body for ease of use. I wouldn't expect the same facilities as the higher end big cams, but then for most of my work a lot of the top line pro stuff is not required, neither are interchangeable lenses for the use I would expect.

Roger

Chris Harding July 13th, 2015 04:42 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
On the MDH2 you can change ISO/Gain actually ...the iris wheel goes down to the widest aperture and if you continue on the wheel in manual it starts adding gain until it reaches the maximum gain ISO .. so if you are in a situation where there is not enough light with the iris open you can continue to add gain up to where you feel is enough ... my Panasonic HMC72's and 82's had the same function.

Roger Gunkel July 13th, 2015 04:58 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
Not as flexible as manually setting the gain and still having aperture control, but I suppose it goes part of the way.

Roger

Anthony Lelli July 13th, 2015 07:09 AM

Re: A Cheap shoulder mounted cam needed.
 
I am truly impressed by the JVC-HM70. Events indoor with average light come out better than my X70. It's a little front-heavy for a shoulder mount, so I put 1.2 lbs weight on the back of the shoulder pad. Now stays on the shoulder like a charm (can hold it with one hand). Impressive HD (shoots only 1080p60), clean and sharp.The audio is weak, needs good microphones (3.5mm). With a sennheiser wireless the sound is OK. If you need a backup track or ambient then a sony CS3 sounds fine. (needs a hosa splitter, 2 mono to stereo). if you need a shotgun then definitely a sony ecm-cg50 (that gets plug-in power from the camera)
the HM70 is now my main camera, and the X70 stays on the tripod as a B . Seriously.
the other annoying thing is that it only uses a dedicated and unbelievably expensive remote for zoom.(varizoom or bebob). Bought one used for 100 bucks (still expensive LOL)
other than that goes on youtube and on DVD beautifully with little or no processing at all (as shot pretty much all the time). The files are small, writes any card. What can I say.. it's a keeper. Bought it as a demo at the store, 800 US bucks. Beside the good quality of the footage is also a pleasure to shoot, on the shoulder for hours with no fatigue and no heavy frankenrigs.
nuthing else to say, it's a good camera , great controls except the audio


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