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Need Advice Purchasing a Camera

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Faraz Mozafarian
Need Advice Purchasing a Camera
on Jul 16, 2010 at 8:40:40 pm

Hey all,

Not sure if this is the right forum to post in but I am going to purchase a camera for my company on Monday. I need a little help differentiating between a few models and need some suggestions on what to purchase. I am currently looking at 3 different Panasonic models.

The HPX170, The HVX200A and the HMC150.

My first choice is the HPX170 however p2 cards are sooo expensive which makes me want to lean towards the HMC150 which records on SDHC cards.

Basically I want the best quality camera I can get, that records on a card and has variable frame rates so I can achieve super crisp SLOW MOTION effects and Fast motion affects since I will be filming alot of action sports.

My budget is $5000.00


Any suggestions on what to purchase? It doesn't have to be a Panasonic either i can be Sony or anything else.

Thanks!


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Gord Stephen
Re: Need Advice Purchasing a Camera
on Jul 16, 2010 at 9:02:30 pm

I'm a happy HMC150 user. The 150 and 170 are very similar - the 170 has a few extra features that the 150 doesn't, but the biggest difference is, as you've said, the recording format and media. DVCPRO HD is an older format, quicker and easy to edit, and the cards are more robust/reliable - but as you know, more expensive too... AVCHD is a leaner, more space-efficient codec, but that means it's also more processor intensive and often requires transcoding. The cards are dirt cheap though.

So depending on your timeline in post, that could be a factor (ie for quick turnaround news work the 150 probably isn't your best bet).

When you say variable frame rates, do you mean 24/30/60 fps or do you want the more exotic rates as well? The 150 won't do the non-standard frame rates, but honestly, in my experience I've never had a need for them... If you want slomo, shoot 720p60, if you want sped up footage, just speed it up in post... Just my opinion though, maybe others have had different experiences.

I don't know if you've looked at Sony's HXR-NX5U? I don't know much about it other than that it records AVCHD like the HMC150, but it might be an option for you to consider.

Gord Stephen, DP, Editor - Ottawa/Kingston, Ontario


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Rick Wise
Re: Need Advice Purchasing a Camera
on Jul 16, 2010 at 9:04:47 pm

You could also consider Sony's Sony HXR-NX5U, or HVR-Z5u, both around $4,000. You may prefer the images you get with your first choice though all these cameras will produce similar results.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Faraz Mozafarian
Re: Need Advice Purchasing a Camera
on Jul 19, 2010 at 8:26:29 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. My next question is, can I record in slow motion with any of the cameras? including the Sony?


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Gord Stephen
Re: Need Advice Purchasing a Camera
on Jul 21, 2010 at 1:59:31 pm

They'll all do 60 fps in 720p, which you can play back at 24 or 30 fps for 2.5x or 2x slomo - the Sony also apparently has a 'Smooth Slow Record' feature that shoots at 120 fps (I'm assuming for a short duration and at reduced resolution, similar to previous Sony cameras).

Gord Stephen, DP, Editor - Ottawa/Kingston, Ontario


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