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Old 01-30-2011, 06:18 PM
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Question Entry-Level cam bargain hunter

If someone were looking for the familiarity of a big-bodied ENG style camera, what would you guys recommend for someone who is looking for the maximum bang for their buck in terms of a quality video gathering tool? It would have to be HD, of course, and capable of either 30p or 60i framerate, 24p would be a neat bonus but not necessary.

In regards to a lens, I'm not looking for glass that can reach out forever, or be wide enough for the smallest of airplane cockpits. One of the models that comes with a basic 16x ENG style lens would be sufficient for a start.

I've gazed longingly at the PMW-320K that's on B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...CAM_EX_HD.html

But I really don't want to dump 12k right out of the gate. Some of the alternatives in a lower price bracket have intrigued me, such as this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ies_P2_HD.html

I've never used a 1/3" camera, so I would love to hear your opinions on how something like this would perform in low light, etc.

I know there are some pretty good small-bodied cameras available, but what frightens me away from them is the prospect of relearning how to shoot, when I already have all of the muscle memory in place from using a big cam for so many years. The squirrely nature of trying to focus on the fly with those things drives me bonkers, let's not even get into things like Iris adjustment or audio levels. I want to be able to adjust things quickly and efficiently, and leave all of the handycam toters in the dust :-)

Thanks guys and gals!

-Danny
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:07 PM
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Default You need to hold still for six months.

Brock-
Slow down for a few months. Prices are likely to dip on what you want.
There are a huuuge number of changes that are coming down the pike in the next six months, in both the Professional, Prosumer, and DSLR world.
Hold your money for the next few, and don't sweat it:
A lot of quasi-expensive cameras will not be so expensive, and a new classification of professional camera is already out, and coming out.

If you need to see what the universe is bringing, go no further than the Sony PMW-F3K. It's 15k to start, but for 15k it does everything, and it will get a zoom lens.
It does everything you could want for high end. http://www.sony.co.uk/biz/product/xd...w-f3k/features

It also has a few videos out on the web for it.

There is also the relatively cheap $4500 Panasonic AF100.

http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/af100/

But none of that matters right now, because Canon hasn't come out with it's 5DMII killer, and that market is left in the cold until it does.

Also, Sony is planning on launching a new NXCam format pretty soon, that will be good like XDCam, but not nearly as expensive. I think that you would want to look into that.

Either way, there are a lot of good choices coming down the pike, but it's going to be at least six months until all the players show their cards in this game, and a few months after that to decide what producers are going to start clamoring for, or what could make good episodic or IPTV television cameras.

You've got a little time.
More importantly, the traditional form factors of cameras are going away, so there might be a discount on what you're dying to get a hold of.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Samson View Post
If someone were looking for the familiarity of a big-bodied ENG style camera, what would you guys recommend for someone who is looking for the maximum bang for their buck in terms of a quality video gathering tool?
I respectfully disagree with just about every single piece of advice Alex has given.

If you're looking for a shoulder mount camera for ENG/EFP, then stay totally away from the new F3, Sony's NXCAM super-35mm camera (no model name yet), the AF100, the EX1R, and all other cameras of that style. Run away from those cameras just as fast as yo can. You will be extremely frustrated working with them in a ENG environment.

The EX3 is certainly a possibility, especially if you are willing to spend the extra money to put a real Fujinon/Canon broadcast lens on it. That makes all the difference. The EX3 is the best bang for the buck of any camera ever invented, and it's easy to shoot with hand-held.

However, the camera I would suggest is a good used PDW-F350 or PDW-F355. There's a lot of them out there available for under $6000 as many people who own them are moving up to F800/700. It's a full-size shoulder mount camera and shoots on XDCAM optical discs, which is by far the very best tapeless system because the discs are under $20, can be resused, and there's no data wrangling like you get with other tapeless cameras. Plus it has D-tap, wireless slot, takes normal camera batteries, CRT viewfinder, weather sealed, built like a tank, etc. You will pick it up and feel immediately at home and ready to roll.

I have a F350 w/ lens for sale, but I'm not trying to sell you on mine. Take a look around on the web and you'll find some great deals. The F350 or F355 will meet your needs very well.

And finally, if you can make money with a new camera today, buy it today!!!! Don't wait six months to see what's going to be new. You can play that waiting game forever. Buy now. Make your money now. Upgrade later if it makes sense. Never wait to see what's around the corner if you can earn money now.

The other problem with waiting is that most of the hot new cameras are not what you will want buy. There aren't going to be any major new changes in the full-size shoulder-mount market for a long time. We're at a plateau with the PDW-F350, PMW-320, PMW-350, PMW-500, PDW-700, PDW-F800 -- just from Sony! There's no need for Sony to bring out anything new -- and why buy new when you can get a great deal on a used camera?
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:01 AM
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Dont forget the JVC camcorders. Small body, but all the controls in the right place, and importantly, balance. 1/3" though.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:07 AM
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I personally shoot on the JVC GY-HM700U. Good camera. Does everything I need. Shoulder mounted, but lighter than my previous rigs.
JVC just came out with the GY-HM750U. A few more features than the 700.
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:42 PM
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You guys have given me some stuff to consider, thanks for the responses. There are definitely some things brought up that I hadn't mulled over yet...
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:36 PM
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If you're going to be shooting in the cockpit of a small plane, then you'll need wide and small. Certainly a full size ENG style rig won't work for you, and most of the advice here has been for that type of rig.

The AF100 with a 10.5 Nikkor lens would be amazing in such a setup and it is available now. You would never be able to shoot in that environ with anything larger, and the Sony F3 isn't available yet. I've already been able to pay for about half of my AF100, and I've had it for about three weeks.

One of the biggest issues I've encountered lately is that clients want the video to be file based and to have the ability to injest and digitize immediately and without an additional deck. Recording on an SD card and downloading with a card reader is very important to them. Having to rent a tape deck or a disc deck is now a problem for most, so the advent of cameras such as the AF100 is timely. The biggest hurdle with the camera is the post people needing to download the codec plug-in to make the files compatible with their workflow.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Samson View Post
I want to be able to adjust things quickly and efficiently, and leave all of the handycam toters in the dust :-)
I don't know if this PDW-F350 fits your budget, but it's a heck of a camera for the price. I've decided to put a whole bunch of surplus gear up for sale. Mics, mixers, cameras, cable, monitors . . . let the garage sale begin.

http://www.vortexmedia.com/used/UsedGear1.html
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2011, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
I don't know if this PDW-F350 fits your budget, but it's a heck of a camera for the price. I've decided to put a whole bunch of surplus gear up for sale. Mics, mixers, cameras, cable, monitors . . . let the garage sale begin.

http://www.vortexmedia.com/used/UsedGear1.html
Maybe one of these days...can't swing it right now, but a guy can hope eh.
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