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Re: purchase recommendation

COW Forums : Sony DV

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Peter DeCrescenzoRe: purchase recommendation
by on Mar 30, 2006 at 8:59:46 pm

Hi Cedric: Jeff makes some good points. I mostly do corporate shooting and some events, and I went through a similar decision process last year. Like Jeff, I decided to buy a SD cam, too (the Sony DSR-450WSL).

If a full-size, shoulder-mount, removeable-lens cam is appealing to you (or your clients), you can't go wrong with Sony's now discontinued but excellent DSR-390 1/2" 3-CCD DV cam if you can find one slightly used from a reputable dealer. If not, Sony's replacement model, the DSR-400 is a 2/3" 3-CCD DV cam with outstanding specs and available with a basic lens and other accessories in your price range from good dealers such as B&H and Armatos in NYC.

Although both the DSR-390 and DSR-400 are native 4:3 aspect ratio cams, you can crop their high quality video to 16:9 in post without much degradation. Likewise, both are interlaced-only cams, but converting high-quality interlaced DV to 24p can be handled with good results in post using software from Nattress and others.

Other full-size, but relatively low-cost DV cams worth looking into are the Ikegami HL-DV7AW (2/3" 16:9) and JVC GY-DV5100U (1/2" 4:3).

Meanwhile, for many projects the handheld Sony PD-170 and Panasonic DVX-100B 1/3" 3-CCD DV cams are hard to beat. The video they creates isn't quite as good as the 1/2" and 2/3" cams mentioned above, but can come very close in the hands of a good operator. And of course these 1/3" cams cost much less than 1/2" and 2/3" models.

If you have an immediate need for "low cost" HD, there are several models now available from Sony, JVC, Canon & Panasonic. These tend to cost more than SD-only 1/3" cams and less than the 1/2" & 2/3" SD-only cams. The 1/3" HD cams are typically less light sensitive than SD-only cams. As Jeff mentions, there are typically additional costs associated with HD compared to SD, such as lighting, lenses, monitors, post production hardware, and so forth. However, this first crop of 1/3" HD cams are proving useful for many shooters, so are well worth a look.

Note that the NAB trade show is in Las Vegas next month and there may be new product announcements which could affect your decision-making process.

All the best,

- Peter


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