What camera should I buy?

MichaelJames
MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
I've read some of the prior posts on buying a camera and I wanted to post this again because I feel as if I am in a different situation. I opened a production company and I am going to be contracting work out to other individuals, such as camera work, and even some of the effects work. Knowing that I still want to be in control of my company and not having to rely on anyone. I am interested in buying a camera because even for test videos I am limited to either a webcam or trying to get someone to let me use their camera. I am interested in spending 2 to 3 grand on a camera. I want HD video, I need ports for mics but I am planning on buying a seperate sound recorder. I want manual control over the focus (because not all cameras will have that basic function), and i would prefer a interchangable lens but its not a sticking point. I want the most uncompressed video possible but I am actually ok with recording onto SD cards. I have been doing my research and have a small list of camcorders that have my attention.
Panasonic AG-DVX100
Panasonic AG-HMC70
Panasonic AG-HMC150
Canon XH-A1S

I've been using Cnet and http://www.videomaker.com/ as a way to review camera options to find their strengths and weaknesses. Any suggestions?
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Comments

  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    I've done more research... i think im going with HVR-A1U
    With the sony HVR-A1U
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012
    That's an old camera in a slicked up "Sony Style" package built for looks, not performance.
    It records in Mpeg2 fer krisakes! That's DVD grade, not AVCHD (BlueRay). Mpeg 2 WILL record HD, but it was built for a long GOP, and doesn't edit frame accurate, and you're going to need a ton of memory because it's not very compressed.
    EDIT: Scratch the memory, this thing uses tapes and firewire, both old technology and on the way out. You won't find a tape camera in a store anymore, only the tapes.
    You said you wanted a separate recorder, and that's a good idea, and this rig's audio is probably subpar too.
    Those Sony "intelligent" batteries are notorious for going flat while showing a full charge.
    And no, you won't hear anything like this at "review" sites that take revenue from manufacturers. I don't think there are ANY fair review sites, the only revenue is ads.
    Budz Bottom Line: This is something for the over fifty crowd that wants to get in on the video craze, but is otherwise clueless, and wants the "pro look" for a consumer price. In other words, Sony's usual target customer base.:) AKA, the "auto" shooters, Hahaha.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    Every day i research cameras i completely start my search anew, to make sure I am looking at every option. I found a panasonic which caught my eye. Panasonic AG-HMC80pj or the Panasonic AG-HMC80.
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966

    Every day i research cameras i completely start my search anew, to make sure I am looking at every option. I found a panasonic which caught my eye. Panasonic AG-HMC80pj or the Panasonic AG-HMC80.
    I've been looking at cameras too for literally everyday lol, at around £400-£500 (my budget) there are some good cameras, my favourites being the canon EOS 55d or 600d as they both have full hd video and mic jacks, and interchangeable lenses :) and they shoot stills too. (I have done more research but it all other data matches up with other DSLRs, the only major difference is the user interface and ergonomics of it)
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    I couldn't do a DSLR. My budget is up to $4800 but I am trying to keep it low so that I can get the accessories I'd need.
    Im thinking
    Panasonic AG-HMC80
    VWW4307HPPK 0.7x Wide Angle Conversion Lens
    Pearstone - VW-VBG260 Lithium-Ion Battery
    Tiffen - 43mm Circular Polarizing Filter
    Tiffen - 43mm UV Protector Filter
    Porta Brace - FC-3 Filter Case (or something like it)
    Tiffen - 43mm Neutral Density (ND) 0.6 Filter
    Rotolight - RL48-A Professional HD-LED Ringlight
  • Froi
    Froi Posts: 966
    Well I know Sony have some good "handycams" http://www.sony.co.uk/product/cam-high-definition-on-memory-stick/nex-vg20eh which can be easily accessorised, and if you were to stretch your budget you could get a RED scarlet, http://www.red.com/store/scarlet
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    Lol its not a stretch to nearly tripple the budget just to get a body. I would love a Scarlet, but i'd like a little success.
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    Im kind of thinking the Canon Xf100, because the colors are very accurate and i'd rather worry about controlling the lighting and save money
  • I don't know why you don't want to go the DSLR route. It gives you more option, then what you are looking at. Dude you don't need to spend all that money. I also have a production company with a mobile green screen studio that I can fit in my trunk. Also I spent under $400, for my camera. I am using the Sony HDR-CX 160 Handycam, till I can afford to get, a decent DSLR. This is my set up.

    the set up I have here is equal to 1200 watts, but I am only using around 400 watts, and not all the heat.
    Most of the stuff I am shooting is for the web. hope this helps
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    Its like iphone vs Android. Your not gonna convince an Android person like me to go to the iphone. Yes there are some benefits, and some drawbacks.
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012
    Its like iphone vs Android. Your not gonna convince an Android person like me to go to the iphone.
    Umm...nobody's trying to convince you of anything. It's just the cameras you're looking at are simply not on the radar of anyone looking for decent equipment, so they offer you information on what's current.:)
    Try dialing 2012 into your time machine and hit the "GO" button :)
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    How is it not trying to convince someone if they say no to DSLR early on and theres more DSLR advice later? People's radar's depend on their price point and right now Im considering some old favorites because of just some stronger advantages. As i've done research my choices and understanding has changed.
    Sony EX1
    Panasonic HVX200
    Canon Xf 300
  • Why would you not go the DSLR route? I have looked at all the cameras you've listed but I'm thinking of going with the 60D. Just curious what your reason is. Happy filmmaking
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012
    I'm going to put this issue to rest by giving away the real deal. This camera has the most bang for the buck and can do "cinematic" work.
    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-T3i-Digital-Imaging-18-55mm/dp/B004J3V90Y/ref=zg_bs_502394_2
    The entire EOS line can also run "Magic Lantern", which was created by professionals to add pro features like zebras, visual manual focus, visually focus follow, bitrate control in movie mode, an intervalometer, and too many great features to list here.
    Same for the D60, that's the next step up, and it's slightly larger if you have bigger hands, or desire a heavy telephoto lens. Same sensor though.
    The single best feature of this camera, IMHO, is that of being able to manual focus PRECISELY in live view using the digital zoom button.
    And to make this camera really something special, you need to get an "LCD Viewfinder" eyepiece, around $50, and that turns the DSLR into a movie machine.
    [img]http://cheesycam.com/wp-content/gallery/letushawk-t3i/letus-hawk-t3i-6-of-10.jpg[/img]
    Fitted with this Nifty Fifty lens, you've got ultra low light performance, and extreme DOF capability.
    [img]http://cheesycam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Letus-Hawk-T3i-3-of-10.jpg[/img]
    This camera excels in every department except the autofocus can be a pain, so that's why I never use it, or any other "auto" settings, except highlight priority in the main menu because of the way video sensors tend to blow highlights, as opposed to film.
    If you're serious about filmmaking, but you want to contain cost, this is the best deal in town, Period.
  • So why not consider the 60D?
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012

    So why not consider the 60D?
    The 60D is also an exceptional camera, I love it.
    The reason I promote the T3i ahead of it is because it's cheaper and still hits the same quality marks (specs that matter).
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    I want to hook up mics and get some of the features not yet possible on a DSLR. I am not denying the power of DSLR cameras but its just not everything I need it to be. Also I want 4:2:2 color sampling and that requires a camcorder. I know the camcorders i've listed have faults, fixed lens, or expensive media, or low light problems but I want to give my self the best options for the film I am working on. I am doing a Sci Fi movie with hints of western & and ninja elements. After doing a teaser trailer which left me feeling wanting on the color correction(pre hitfilm days) I knew I would have to improve my original plan to include better balancing the main need of my movie. I'll need the sky to be red, and the light to have a red tint but keep as much as possible looking normal. I am most likely going to offer someone on here a contract to handle the color corrections on the final footage. I want to ensure that I do my best to work towards giving my self enough room on my film. I may also be green screening on later projects.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/camcorders/cam-cam.shtml
  • NullUnit
    NullUnit Posts: 779 Just Starting Out
    I personally find shooting video with a dslr to be a pain in the butt. Not to mention all the extra equipment you have to buy to make a dslr friendly to shooting video. You don't need a dslr anymore to achieve "film look" or shallow dof.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    You don't need a dslr anymore to achieve "film look" or shallow dof.
    Never did ;)
    The only reason I'm going for a DSLR (personally) is because if you compare a T3i's video with ANY camcorder under $800 you will see that the T3i's video is much sharper, and more detailed. If I could afford a broadcast quality camcorder, even the standard def GL2, I probably would, simply because I like camcorders better than DSLRs.
    Good luck with choosing a camcorder. I don't know anything about the higher end models, not enough to help you pick one anyway! I wish you the best on your project though! :)
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    Don't DSLR's shut down after their internal temps get too high after prolonged filming? Kind of a big deal if your making movies.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    The T3i and 60D don't have that problem. The heat problem came from the heat of the LCD, which added to the censor heat, but since they are now on swivel screens, the LCD no longer contributes to the internal heat of the camera.
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655

    Don't DSLR's shut down after their internal temps get too high after prolonged filming? Kind of a big deal if your making movies.
    Really? Then don't do prolonged filming, hahaha. :)
    Seriously, films are made from scenes edited together. How long is the longest scene you've ever "seen"?
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited January 2012
    If I could afford a broadcast quality camcorder, even the standard def GL2, I probably would, simply because I like camcorders better than DSLRs.
    Whaaaaat, the GL2 is ancient.
    vvv Those are cool, but not a DSLR.
  • I'm using a Sony NEX-5N dslr. I like it because of the ability to have interchangeable lenses, including nikon and canon lenses with adapter, it's small enough stick in your pocket when a pancake lens is attached, high almost noiseless iso and 60fps at full HD for awesome slo-mos. Worth checking out IMO.
    Bon
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Posts: 2,031 Enthusiast
    @budwzr actually some fairly long scenes thanks to "Children of Men", but why would i want ot limit myself? I would want to be able to film as long as I want. If I keep saying I want 4:2:2 color sampling why would people still bring up anything except what I am asking for? Thank you everyone who has taken the time to contribute into this forum because truthfully I know there has to be tons of people looking at buying a camera out there.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited January 2012

    Whaaaaat, the GL2 is ancient.
    vvv Those are cool, but not a DSLR.
    Haha, okay, probably not a GL2, that was definitely an exaggeration... But I would still rather have a camcorder than a DSLR. Haha. But when you want to spend less than $1000 on a camera, no camcorder will match up to a DSLR.
  • Just in case anybody is interested, and you live in the, northern orange county, LA, area of California. I have a Sony VX 2100, with a Kenko 0.65 wide conversion lens, that I am selling for $1,000.00. I bought it new, and for the last few years, I have just been using Firewire into my laptop to film, gets rid of the step of uploading.
  • budwzr
    budwzr Posts: 655
    edited January 2012

    If I keep saying I want 4:2:2 color sampling why would people still bring up anything except what I am asking for?
    You said you had a $4000 budget, right? Now you say you want 4:2:2 sub sampling. You're all over the map TOO.
    This forum is mostly independent filmmakers, and as such, we want to beat Hollywood at their own game, and do it on the cheap.
    Our mantra is "It's not the gear, it's the technique".
    DSLR video kills two birds with one stone. Great video AND great stills. No need to switch gear, when you can just rotate a mode button.
    When I'm lurking around in the field trying to get some B roll, I look like a tourist, and I dress like one. I don't WANT to draw attention. The last thing I want is people staring at me.
    I get a lot of great shots simply acting like a "putz camera buff". I wouldn't dare go out there with a rig, and get run off.
    A lot of times, I act like I'm taking pictures of the pretty flowers or building architecture, but in reality I have already envisioned a scene and I'm waiting for the right kind of action, then I'm all over it, hahaha.
    The best camouflage I've ever found is a cheap plastic "Lei" worn over a Tommy Bahama shirt, with shorts and sandals. Hahaha, it's like a lizard blending into the desert.
    You can't do ANY of this with a pro camcorder.
  • Arktic
    Arktic Posts: 52
    [quote]If I keep saying I want 4:2:2 color sampling why would people still bring up anything except what I am asking for?[/quote]
    Why do you need 4:2:2 sampling, out of interest?
    And what are you recording the 4:2:2 signal into? Do you have an AJA or Blackmagic capture system set up, or are you recording to an external digi deck or similar? AFAIK, there are very few cameras in your price range that will record 4:2:2 directly onto media, without throughputting to some sort of external capture system (I think the sony EX-1 will output 4:2:2 over SDI, but it only records 4:2:0 to the memory cards - UNLESS you invest in something like a Nanoflash, but they're a bugger to use AND a Nanoflash on it's own probably costs more than you want to spend in total).
    So, back to the point, why do you want 4:2:2?
    Here are my current camera recommendations:
    Canon XF305 - This is one of the cameras I'm shooting on at the moment for a very, very high profile project here in the UK. Lovely camera, meets your technical requirements (4:2:2 colour sampling, you can 'plug in mics' etc) - but it's somewhat outside your price range (around $7,500 / £5,000).
    Canon XF100 - As a consumer/budget version of the XF305, I imagine that it will produce similar results. I haven't used this myself, but looking at the specifications, it meets your requirements and is probably within your budget range.
    Canon 5D MKII - This is the other camera that I'm shooting on for this project. Fabulous footage, interchangeable lenses that you can hire as and when you need them, and a full-frame sensor. Comparing the XF305 and the 5D however, the 5D blows it out of the water, it just looks vastly better in my opinion.
    Canon 60D - Cheaper than the 5D, but gives much the same sort of look. Also has a flip-out articulated screen, which is the one thing I miss when shooting on the 5D. No need to worry about overheating on the EOS range, either; I've shot with a 60D at a swelteringly hot nightclub in Brazil, in the middle of summer in the Mediterranean, and in the sunshine in Indonesia. I've never once had the camera overheat on me. Also well within your price range.
    Canon 600D / T3i - See above.
    Sony EX1 / Sony EX3 - Doesn't quite meet your technical requirements (unless you have the Nanoflash / external capture system), but it's still a really good camera. Somewhat outside your budget range.
    Arri Alexa - Hah, only joking, unless you find $60,000 down the back of the sofa. A beautiful camera though ;)
    So, to sum up - if I were in your position, I'd get myself a Canon 60D and pimp it out with a Redrock Micro mount and followfocus, a Zacuto Z-finder, a Beachtek XLR adapter box or a Zoom H4N sound recorder. But I'm not in your position, and you've shown a distaste for DSLRs, so I'd suggest that the next best bet is the XF100 (or, if you find some more cash, an XF305).
    I hope that helps :)
    Cheers,
    Arktic.
    PS - that link you posted about DSLRs sounds like someone in the 1800's extolling the virtues of candles over newfangled incandescent lightbulbs... A rather luddite view, if you ask me. I'm not saying that DSLRs are the be all and end all - but for value for money, you simply can't beat them. They give you full HD broadcast quality video, for a fraction of the cost of other cameras. There are quirks and problems with them, but there are work arounds for everything, meaning that you get incredible looking video.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,370 Enthusiast
    I've shot with a 60D at a swelteringly hot nightclub in Brazil, in the middle of summer in the Mediterranean, and in the sunshine in Indonesia.
    Oh yeah? Yeah? Well, well....I've shot on the MOON!