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Looking for my next camcorders

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Tom Galli
Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 28, 2009 at 1:20:02 am

Aloha all!

I oversee a video production facility at a small college. For the past many years, I've been using JVC GY-DV500 cameras for the intermediate and advanced ENG classes. While these cameras have been outstanding, their age is starting to show, and repairs are becoming a regular event. Further complicating matters, the local JVC service center closed down, meaning I now have to ship the units to California or Japan for repair.

So, I'm "in the market," as they say.

What I'm looking for is a professional-style camcorder, with full manual controls. None of these prosumer jobs, a real ENG camera, with all the important controls at your fingertips, not buried in a menu somewhere.

I'd also like something that is true HD. Not HDV, HD. I don't really care if it's tape, hard drive, or RAM-based, but operating cost is a major factor, which really knocks the P2 cameras right out of consideration.

I'd like to keep the cost under $10k per unit, inclusive of lenses, batteries, and chargers. I could probably find the money to go 15K, but end up buying fewer units.

I've been trying to find this perfect camera, but I'm really no having much luck with the professional HD ENG camcorder at any price. I comb through B&H and find... nothing. Well, the Panasonic P2 cameras always start by looking promising, until I start adding $800 batteries and $900 memory sticks.

So, what's out there that I'm missing?

Mahalo,
Tom G



The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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john sharaf
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 28, 2009 at 1:37:23 am

Tom,

This is a very common problem in the educational production community. I bid a sale just today to a school in New Orleans with the same budget request. I recommended EX3 for them. Another, and perhaps better choice for you might be the PDW-F330. It is a full sized, very robust camera and the XDCAM optical disc media is inexpensive ($20) and archival, so no downloading and copying from expensive memory chips. Also, inexpensive ($2500) disc readers called PDW-U1, instead of VTR's connect to you NLE for faster than real time import.

The company I work with for sales offers these cameras in bstock with a YH18x6.7KRS lens for $10500.

If you're interested feel free to contact me off list:

john at sharaf dot net

JS



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Rick Wise
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 28, 2009 at 2:30:45 am

JVC Gy-HD500U, http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/497873-REG/JVC_GYHD250U_GY_HD250U_Pro.... You might also consider getting over your anti "prosumer" approach and consider either the Sony EX1 or EX3, both 3 x 1/2" chips. Either will need some sort of shoulder support as they are not ergonomically designed. Good solutions for that problem start at around $65.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.recessionvideo.net
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Tom Galli
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 28, 2009 at 2:35:42 am

I'm not anti-prosumer, really. Personally, I'm a fan of prosumer cameras, their size in particular.

However, if I'm training students to compete in a professional environment, I absolutely insist on having professional tools with which to train them. Someone schooled on a pro camera can puzzle their way through a prosumer variant. It doesn't work the other way, though.

I suppose I really don't need HD from that perspective, but spending a hundred grand on SD technology in this day and age seems... wrong.

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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John Fishback
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:38:31 pm

The Panasonic HPX300 at B&H Photo is $7700. You need to add a P2 card or 2. Current 16GB is $800, but the just introduced E models are much less expensive (approx $420 for a 16GB card) and shipping next month. The DVCPro HD codec is an intra-frame codec. This means the camera records discrete frames rather than occasional keyframes in groups of pictures as with the inter-frame codec Sony prefers. This makes a huge difference when editing.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE Enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
24" TV-Logic Monitor
Final Cut Studio 2 (up to date)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Mike Johnson
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:41:12 pm

If you're a fan of the JVC DV500, then you'll like the JVC HM700. Its brand new from JVC at runs $7K from B&H for the body, 17x lens, and Anton Bauer Gold Mount. There is also an option for a wider 14x lens.

The HM700 will shoot both SD and HD, with a choice of 720 or 1080 in HD. A variety of frame rates are available in both interlaced and progressive. It records to affordable SD cards ($90 for 16GB - which holds 55min at 1920x1080 35Mbps). The clips are QT .mov format using the XDCAM EX codec and drop right into FCP without any transcoding or rendering.

Whatever battery system you are using on the DV500s would easily be transferred to the HM700. As well as most other accessories. So, your looking at $7K per unit plus a handful of SD cards.

Here's a couple of links:
http://pro.jvc.com/prof/attributes/features.jsp?model_id=MDL101851&feature_...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/606888-REG/JVC_GY_HM700L17_GY_HM700L1...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/606881-REG/JVC_GY_HM700U_GY_HM700U_Pr...


Mike Johnson

Final Cut Pro Editor

Drury Outdoors

http://www.druryoutdoors.com


View Mike Johnson's profile on LinkedIn


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Tom Galli
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:47:03 pm

Wow... that HM700 looks promising! I'd (naturally) prefer a full 50 Mbps data stream and true 4:2:2 sampling, but that seems unlikely in my budget range.

I'm concerned about the $700 batteries, though. I've got 6 Anton-Bauer Q2 chargers and many ProFormer 3 Logic Series batteries. The batts are dying and in need of replacement anyway, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings to be sure that I could buy batteries that are:
A> compatible with by chargers,
B> compatible with the new cameras,
C> under $200 each.

I know, it's old school technology now. But, really, $700 per battery? And $2,000 per charger? Do I really need that level of technology in my power supply?

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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John Reynolds
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 1, 2009 at 2:10:24 pm

It was very interesting reading this thread as I too am looking for my next ENG Video camera. All the answers and comments are very helpful and I thank all who replied. However.....I'm always concerned about which video camera is actually worth it in terms of performance and ability. There is always some sort of drawback to these cameras. One thing I'm noticing is that on the video card capture features I always see this "The clips are QT.mov format using the XDCAM EX codec and drop right into FCP without any transcoding or rendering". What gives with this? Why is it like this? I use both PC and MAC and would like to be able to not have to go the extra step in transcoding for Premiere Pro on a PC. Why are they making cameras that do this. More people use PC than a MAC.

What Cameras have the best rating and worth there weight and price?

Thanks


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John Fishback
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 1, 2009 at 6:35:01 pm

While we don't own an HPX300, we do have an HPX500. The workflow is simple and fast with FCP: P2 mxf injested as DVCPro HD. I'm not familiar with Premiere, but if it can handle mxf it should be fine. Avid is fine with mxf. All these cameras have their plusses and minuses. You need to decide what your business requires and your customers, too. When I was deciding which camera system to buy two years ago I made a grid with features and capabilities I needed and which cameras met them. Then I made my choice.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE Enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
24" TV-Logic Monitor
Final Cut Studio 2 (up to date)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Tom Galli
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 1, 2009 at 11:21:52 pm

Yeah, the decision-making is certainly simplified by knowing your needs. And mine are probably different than most folks. For me, performance and workflow are actually secondary concerns. My major interests are in having a camera that teaches generalizable skills and runs on affordable media.

I keep a stable of 8 pro cameras for an average of 35 students per semester. Each student does multiple projects, all with shared deadlines. So, effectively, I have to have a minimum of 35 pieces of media. More practically, I need 70. Not a problem with $5 mini-DV tapes. Insurmountable problem with $700 P2 cards.

Of course reliability is a concern. If I buy anything besides Sony, I have no local support. Repairs mean boxing it up and shipping it across an ocean.

It will have full manual controls. I am a firm believer that you best learn the techniques and theories by actively practicing them. Transitioning to a camera that does the work for you is easy. Walking into a TV station for a job interview when you've only handled prosumer gear isn't.

I'm glad that I started this thread! I've become aware of cameras that are contenders but I had previously overlooked. Both the Sony XDCam and the JVC cameras have potential. And, who knows, there might be something new on the market by the time I do make my purchase.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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john sharaf
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 1, 2009 at 11:39:15 pm

Tom,

The biggest selling point to the PDW-F330/335/350/355 line is the XDCAM disc media itself; it costs $20 for 45 minutes of HD master, can be submerged in water, dried out and played as if nothing happened, is said to be able to last for 50 years and can be erased and reused a thousand times.

The XDCAM recordings (both SD and HD) are file based so they transfers into NLE's at faster than real time from either the camera or an inexpensive drive (PDW-U1 at under $3K) and the camera itself has a shoulder mount form factor that is the same as is used by many local and national news operations, and kind of modeled after the original Betacam.

The 335 and 355 versions differ only in that they can record on double sided discs (doubling the recording time), which incidentally cost more than twice is much so makes little sense. There are still new b-stock (slightly used but with new warranty from Sony) 330 and 350's available at considerable savings (within your budget), so I think these are just what you're looking for. These cameras will definitely stand up to the rigors of use in education, more so than any of the others mentioned. Again, feel free to contact me off list to talk business.

Regards,

JS





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Joshua Porter
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 5, 2009 at 8:38:32 pm

I don't think you can get both-low budget price and quality ENG camera.

How about going truely digital and buy the RedOne for 17k and a couple JVC-GYHD110 cameras. I think the new JVC HD hard drives has a DVCpro codec or similar.

That's an awesome mix.




Joshua Porter
Producer/Director/DP
I AMedia
http://www.visions2video.com


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John Cummings
Re: Looking for my next camcorders
on May 6, 2009 at 10:29:12 am

It's funny how people tend to get hung up on specs. All these cameras look great. In your particular case, durability is as important as what format you shoot.

Students are notoriously hard on gear (think the old samsonite commercial with the gorilla...)

A full size camera like the HPX300 (or the Sony PDW) will be much more durable than the JVC's or the Sony EX. It is hands down the closest you'll get to a real ENG-style camera, uses your batteries and is in your price range.

Avoid the heartbreak of seeing those "plasticams" come back with broken and missing parts and stripped screw holes.

Pretty much a no-brainer from my perspective.

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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