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sarah febbraro
buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 2:13:22 pm

I need serious advice on a good quality camcorder or dslr I can buy for around 2000. I am an artist who makes videos and documentaries I'm not a huge techy and am more comfortable with camcorders than dslrs. I also shoot spontaneously, without a mic a lot of the time and often. I get intimidated by technology really easily so am nervous about buying a dslr even though people have said it is way better than a camcorder. I edit in final cut pro too. I want to be able to pick up my camera and start shooting without worrying about lenses,extra mics etc... but also want a really high quality image.

Suggestions???Do people even use camcorders anymore??


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Warren Eig
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 5:24:52 pm

A DSLR is not better than a camcorder and a camcorder is not better than a DSLR. It all depends on your needs. If you are uncomfortable with technology, get a camcorder as it was built to shoot video and run and gun with built in mic, auto focus, etc.

DSLRs take a little more care to get good results. You do benefit from larger sensors and compact size, but is is not run and gun and they aren't configured to record great sound right out of the box.

Warren Eig
O 310-470-0905


email: warren@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com


REEL: http://www.babyboompictures.com/BabyBoomPictures/Reels.html


For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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sarah febbraro
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:27:40 pm

Do you have any suggestions for good quality camcorders?


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sarah febbraro
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:28:27 pm

Is there a big difference in image quality between a dslr and a camcorder?


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Warren Eig
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:38:10 pm

Sarah,

It all depends how much you are spending. Canon makes the XF-305 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=684198&gclid=CJCI_Jy...)

It's not as big as a DSLR sensor and cost more than a 5D Mark iii. IT really comes down to what your needs are.

Warren Eig
O 310-470-0905


email: warren@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com


REEL: http://www.babyboompictures.com/BabyBoomPictures/Reels.html


For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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sarah febbraro
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:46:49 pm

My budget is 2000. I'm shoot documentary projects and screen and or install them in art galleries. I edit w final cut pro.


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Warren Eig
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:38:55 pm

Are you editing with FCP 7 or FCPX? FCP 7 is best to convert most modern camera codecs to ProRes. I recommend the same thing with FCPX but FCPX works with a lot more native codecs.

I really can't recommend a camcorder at the $2000 price level as I don't have enough experience in this price range. Most of the projects I do use more expensive cameras. Perhaps someone else can chime in.

I'd also recommend, depending where you live, to go to a pro store that has floor models you can try. Samy's in California, B&H in NYC.

Warren Eig
O 310-470-0905


email: warren@babyboompictures.com
website: http://www.BabyBoomPictures.com


REEL: http://www.babyboompictures.com/BabyBoomPictures/Reels.html


For Camera Accessories - Monitors and Batteries
website: http://www.EigRig.com



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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 21, 2014 at 4:33:30 pm

$2k puts you at the lower end of professional camcorders or mid-range for prosumer. Dslrs are different than camcorders and are neither better or worse, per se. If you aren't comfortable with the tech, I suggest getting a good camcorder for that price in hd. You should have several options at that price.

Rather than buying right away, consider renting one for a weekend to be sure you will like it. You're gonna have to do some research and find the features you know you'll need - we will make recommendations, but those will be based on our needs not yours. Your needs are a little vague right now - documentaries and such have a broad range of workable solutions at all price levels so it inevitably comes down to you and your specific needs: how you work, run-and-gun, what you expect from a mic, how you edit, what you edit on, what you realistically expect to capture, does the camera cover all of your shooting needs or will you need a support camera to fill in the blanks? If you can raise your budget, you can afford a better camera, but spending more won't guarantee a better camera if it doesn't serve your needs. Bla bla bla. This question comes up quite often and the answer is inevitably the same: it depends on you and your needs and how you shoot, etc. I think once you look at all the specifics of how you shoot on your terms, you'll find something to suit your needs quite fast.

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

http://www.electrictiger.com
520-360-8293


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Bill Bruner
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 23, 2014 at 10:54:00 am

Hi Sarah - the camera with the best image quality in your price range is the $1697.99 Panasonic GH4 (with SD card and camera case). Combined with a manufacturer refurbished $299.95 14-42mm power zoom, you'll have the best video camera you can buy for less than $2000.

Although the GH4 is a large sensor interchangeable lens camera, it is not a DSLR, and has many of the features that make camcorders easy to use (e.g., the built-in video viewfinder, headphone jack, fast autofocus, compatibility with power zooms and unlimited continuous recording time) - while at the same time delivering resolution that no camcorder below $10,000 can match.

This camera is very easy to use, especially in auto mode, and you won't need all of the fancy accessories a DSLR requires in order to be usable (e.g.,loupe or external viewfinder, follow focus, etc.)

Plus, the GH4 records to Quicktime compatible .MOV files, so you'll have no trouble editing your footage in Final Cut.

As an artist, I thought you might enjoy these examples of what this camera can do:

Fashion Film:

Behind the Scenes:

Day Exterior (with 1080/96p slow motion):

Night Exterior:

I do advise you to get an inexpensive external mic to get started.

Here's the sound you'll get with an $87.95 Rode Videomic Go microphone:





Here's what this compact mic looks like on the camera (photo of Jared Abrams from wideopencamera.com): https://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQAK8g4TO9992tw1&w=470&h...

This camera is a great value for your money.


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Ryan Holmes
Re: buying a new camera
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:06:37 pm

[Bill Bruner] "Although the GH4 is a large sensor interchangeable lens camera, it is not a DSLR,"

Bill a GH4 is essentially a DSLR. Yes, it's technically mirrorless so it's not strictly a DSLR by definition. But all the practical problems that come with DSLR style shooting are present and accounted for on the GH4 - poor ergonomics, poor audio (unless you add the XLR grip which doubles the cameras price), poor lens selection (unless you buy an adapter to cross mount different types of lenses), etc. I agree with you that for the price nobody can touch the resolution of the camera. It shoots a nice 4K image, but the camera would struggle in a run-and-gun situation (as any DSLR does). And according to Sarah's original post:
[sarah febbraro] "I want to be able to pick up my camera and start shooting without worrying about lenses,extra mics etc... "

She has to worry about all of those things if she buys a Panasonic GH4, Canon 6D, t5i, 5D Mark 3, etc. The rub is her last statement:
[sarah febbraro] "but also want a really high quality image."

So Sarah, you're going to have to define what that means. In some shooting environments you may only need a camcorder. For other shoots you may want a GH4. And like Warren says, other projects demand even higher-end equipment for various reasons. So if you want to have blurry backgrounds then you'll need to start looking into cameras that allow you to change the lens (GH3, GH4, 6D, t5i, Blackmagic Pocket Camera, etc.). Those cameras typically have larger sensors allowing you to create that blurry background look among other things. If "high quality" means it's all in focus and sharp in HD resolution then I'd steer towards a camcorder. There are plenty below $1K that work well. In fact, we have a small podcast that we produce using 4 Panasonic HC-V720's....and that works for that production. So like Warren says:

[Warren Eig] "A DSLR is not better than a camcorder and a camcorder is not better than a DSLR. It all depends on your needs. If you are uncomfortable with technology, get a camcorder as it was built to shoot video and run and gun with built in mic, auto focus, etc."

If you're not technically inclined a DSLR (or mirrorless camera like the GH4) may be more hassle than it's worth for your needs. Without knowing more about what you do, and your comfort level with cameras/tech we may have a hard time assisting you.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Mark Anderson
Re: buying a new camera
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:28:33 pm

Hey Sarah, it sounds like you want a camcorder that produces cinematic footage with soft depth of field. That's going to be tough with your budget.

When I am not using DSLR I go to my Panasonic AGAC 90. It's one of the easiest cams I have ever used plus the HD footage looks great. All for under $1,500. It's one of the newer cameras from Panasonic. I love it and use it a lot for run and gun events. Just know you won't get a lot of creamy background. You can always fake it a bit by adding gaussian blur and garbage mattes if you needed to create soft DOF.


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sarah febbraro
Re: buying a new camera
on Aug 28, 2014 at 3:06:15 pm

From my research I think the Panasonic Camcorder HC-V720 or the Panasonic AGAC 90 would be my best bet except the codec is not prores. This creates extra hassel for me when trying to edit in final cut pro. Does anyone know a camcorder that's similar to the Panasonic Camcorder HC-V720 that has a pro res codec?


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Ryan Holmes
Re: buying a new camera
on Aug 28, 2014 at 3:15:51 pm

[sarah febbraro] "Does anyone know a camcorder that's similar to the Panasonic Camcorder HC-V720 that has a pro res codec?"

Not for what you're looking to spend. But you can add an external recorder connected via HDMI to your setup which will capture in a ProRes format. Cost effective options:
Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle ($330): http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/hyperdeckshuttle/
Atomost Ninja Star ($300): http://www.atomos.com/ninja-star/
Atomos Ninja ($700): http://www.atomos.com/ninja/

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Mark Anderson
Re: buying a new camera
on Aug 28, 2014 at 6:28:20 pm

I am still editing on FCP 7 and I have no issues bringing in the footage from my 90 using Log and Transfer. Works like a charm.


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