Best prosumer video camera
I have been away from videography for 2 years. The last video camera I purchased was a DVX100A. From what I've heard, the Cannon 7D is the best camera around, more so than the RED. Is this true?
I find it hard to believe since it is a still camera first. What other cameras does the Creative Cow community recommend for video. I was thinking about purchasing the Cannon Vixia M31.
2 x 2.66 GHZ Dual Core Intel 5GB 667 Ram
Asking what the "best camera" is, is a bit like asking what the "best car" is... Don't think there's an answer...
It depends largely on what you're about to be shooting and what your skills are, what your computer setup is like and so on...
The 7D is a great camera just as the RED (which IMHO is not a *prosumer* camera but more like a professional camera) and with either of them you need specific skills to produce great video.
So, if you tell us, what you want to shoot, for what medium (web, DVD, broadcast,...)you'll be shooting, etc... some of us might be able to give you advise which camera could be right for your specific purposes.
A 7D is no where near the quality of a RED, now I don't shot with the RED but lets be honest, the RED is far better camera for quality, that doesn't mean the 7D is fine and in some cases better for a curtain job. But both require a lot of other gear to make them work, for RED you are probably looking at spending $30-50K average and the 7D average is probably $4-5K for a system.
Then you talk about getting a $500 camera that isn't even close to prosumer.
But starting the discussion with "what camera should I buy" is putting the cart before the horse.
What do you plan to shoot? What is your budget? What is your skill level (or your commitment to learn)?
I shoot Internet videos and local TV commercials. I'm looking for a quality HD image.
2 x 2.66 GHZ Dual Core Intel 5GB 667 Ram
[Martin Knox] "I shoot Internet videos and local TV commercials. I'm looking for a quality HD image."
Among other things: DSLRs are not camcorders.
Just one example: Unlike most camcorders, DSLRs don't have headphone jacks built-in, so if monitoring audio live while you're shooting is important to you, then a camcorder might be a more appropriate choice.
There are work-arounds for this (use an external portable audio recorder), but they cost extra, and add inconvenience and extra work while shooting & editing.
The main reason for shooting HD video with a DSLR is the ability of these cameras -- when fitted with fast lenses set to wide-open apertures -- to get a very narrow depth of field focus effect. Another good reason might be if you already have a large investment in DSLR lenses. Another: DSLRs are relatively small & inexpensive.
You might give a careful look at the Sony NEX-VG10 interchangeable lens camcorder. It has a relatively large sensor like a a DSLR, together with many of the features of a conventional prosumer camcorder.
In addition to DSLRs such as the Canon 7D, T2i & 60D, and Nikon D7000, check out the new Panasonic DMC-GH2. They are all very good HD-capable cameras (the GH1 & GH2 are favorites of mine), but none of them have a camcorder's $0.05 US headphone jack! :-)
All DSLRs are a bit tricky to work with, since they are still cameras in the first place. And for me it took a while to get used to the handling.
My work consists mainly of sports- and imagevideos, and so I choose my camera specifically for each project.
Can't use my T2i or 7D for sports, because those cameras don't give me that precise "point and shoot handling" that "regular" camcorders provide (not to mention the rolling shutter issues).
For image clips, I use most of the time DSLRs, because I can plan my shoots better and they give me more of a cinematic feel with the shallow DOF etc...
So, I don't think that in a prosumer category you will find THE camera. I'm happy to be able to choose from a couple of affordable cameras that are available to me all of the time. And if a project demands a "better" (or to be mor precise: a more specific camera), I rent it for the project.
Just my two cents... HTH
Hi Martin: That's quite a range, the 7D, RED and M31 all in the same post! :-)
[Martin Knox] "... I've heard, the Cannon 7D is the best camera around ..."
The 7D is a very good camera for taking digital stills (although of course there are better, more expensive DSLRs), and it's a pretty good camera for shooting HD video, too (although, again, there are "better" HD video cameras for certain tasks, including some which cost less than a 7D).
[Martin Knox] "... 7D is the best camera around, more so than the RED. Is this true?" ...
No, generally speaking, that's not true, not by a long shot. Of course, a RED One costs >10 times what a 7D costs, so it's an apples & oranges comparison.
[Martin Knox] "... I was thinking about purchasing the Cannon Vixia M31 ..."
In capable hands, the M31 can probably record relatively pleasant-looking video, but given its limited features (due to it low cost) it has a relatively limited range of appropriate applications. Doesn't make it a bad camera, or the wrong camera, just not appropriate for most "prosumer" & "pro" video work, unless a project requires a "look" best captured by a camera such as the M31 (or something in its size or price range).
Enjoy your research!
Just got the D7000. Quite pleased. Does gave headphone jack and basic volume controls while recording.
Richard M. Harrington, PMP
Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques
Hi Richard: Thanks for the good news about the D7000 including a headphone jack. It's funny how something seemingly so minor is really quite awesome. I gladly stand corrected. Cheers.
Hello again, Richard: If you or anyone else could clarify a bit further, because I'd like to be clear on these points:
Is it the Nikon D7000's "A/V out" jack which can be used as a headphone output for monitoring _live_ audio either during preview and record, or are you using one of the other connectors?
Additionally, does the D70000's HDMI jack output _live_ audio while the camera is in either preview or record mode?
I'd greatly appreciate confirmation about these details if you are able. Thanks!
Martin, if you want to get a quick read on DSLRs in general, check out the No Film School site: http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/ - they have a ton of info and they keep the site nicely updated (subscribe to their updates if you want to see).
I shoot DSLR, but I also come from a Super-8/16mm/photographer background. I'm comfy swapping lenses and fiddling with settings. I also use an HMC-150 which is a great, prosumer HD camcorder AND it operates a LOT like the DVX-100 (even looks the same!). If cost is a concern, you may want to reconsider a camera which has interchangeable lenses. Those lenses aren't cheap.
On the Vixias - I agree with others: there are some really great things you can do with these cameras, but I don't see them being TV commercial quality. I don't care for the colors and low-light on this camera series, but that's based on previous Vixia cameras and I haven't used the M31.
Yes, you'll need an external audio capture like a Zoom H4n or similar and a couple good mics for even a base-level DSLR setup. See how things start adding up? If you want to do pro-level work, consider a pro or prosumer camera before you go buy a DSLR. There are some really great cameras out there in the $3000 range that won't require you to buy tons of extras and produce a superb HD image.
Finally, if you still have your DVX-100, USE IT! These are great cameras! I've shot a TON of stuff on this camera (http://www.crewingup.tv and a host of others). Also, if you are shooting for internet, you can't go wrong with this camera - since most people view a small, 3"x4" video on screen, they don't care if its SD or HD. Also depends largely on what you shoot and how you shoot it.
Again, check this site first: http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/