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Re: Camera upgrade advice

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Dave FelderRe: Camera upgrade advice
by on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:35:29 pm

Anyone who's bought one of those cameras will tell you why their decision was the best. Me too. :) I just went through the same decision making process, so here's a little about what I did and why.

I already have an EOS 5D Mark 2 (want to buy it?) I was in love with the image, but dual system audio is a pain and shooting a meeting or seminar is impossible, due to the 12 minute record time restriction. Also, lack of a servo zoom is tough - if you're shooting "video." If you're making movies or working with dollies & cranes, that is probably much less of an issue.

So, I wanted a video camera with servo zoom, built in balanced audio and a good picture. I was looking to spend in the 6-7K range for the camera alone. Media cards, batteries, and a new, good fluid head tripod add to the cost. (You don't want to put a good camera on a cheap tripod.)

Sony FS100 - no servo zoom. Great image, but if I can't zoom I can't shoot corporate video.

EX1/EX3 - 4 year old model. only 8 bit, 4:2:0 recording. Not really broadcast quality (I'll duck the slings and arrows from the Sony users out there) Honestly, I've rented the Ex3 a dozen times and love it, but why buy something that's approaching the end of its lifecycle? I've also pulled good green-screens from it, so the 4:2:0 isn't really that big of an issue, unless you have clients that are specifying "broadcast standard." But, it's more expensive than the Panny 250.

I ended up with the Panny 250. It's essentially the same camera as the 370, with a different form factor, the ability to use much cheaper batteries, and a lot easier to carry on an airplane without buying it a ticket. I've rented the 370 several times and it's a good camera, I just didn't see it as worth 4 or 5K more than the 250.

The 500 was out of my price range. It'd be great to have a camera with those larger chips, but since I don't shoot as frequently as a full time cameraman, I didn't think it was worth the investment. If you've got paying clients that are happy paying PD-170 prices, it's going to be a hard sell to get them to pay HPX500 prices, unless you're a heck of a salesman.

I've had the 250 for about a month and a half and have used it on 5 shoots and am very pleased. It's got a ton of features I never went shopping for that I use every day, like the waveform monitor and ability to back up to hard drive without a PC. It's got a 22x zoom lens, which is a long lens at that price point. Right now, there are some great prices on the camera and a $730 rebate if you buy a 64GB P2 card when you buy the camera, which is like getting the card for free. Buy the Panny250 and you'll have lots of left over money for a good HD monitor, a case, some extra batteries, etc....

Whatever your decision, good luck.

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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