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Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range

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Jaanus Henno
Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 2, 2012 at 6:17:03 am

Hi!

I want to upgrade my simple camcorder to something more professional, but need an advice from you who have experience.

I will go to India after few months and will be shooting religious gatherings, discourses. Main usage will be discourses, shooted on a tripod, static environment, but also moving on the streets, lots of people singing, lots of dynamics. Most of the environment will be well lighted, but there will also be low light environments on the evenings.

As I will be travelling a lot, it should be quite portable, small size and light. Discourses might run to 3-4 hours in a row, and I would like to be able to shoot that on battery.

I'm not a professional. I would like to shoot as much as possible in auto mode. Main thing is crisp quality, high resolution. All other disadvantages (low light, little noise, colors) I can take care in post editing.

As little research I did, I could get a Canon 5D Mark III in that price range, from the aftermarket. But I'm not sure is DSLR the way to go or not.

Thanks for any input!


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:33:25 pm

A DSLR is not the right choice for what you have in mind. You will greatly appreciate a camera that is turnkey, has great battery life, recording times, and is rugged.

You will need ND filters most of the time during daylight. You might not have the best vantage point on most ocassions, so will be grateful for a good zoom range lens with a large constant f-stop. You will have a hard time focussing manually so you could use a focus peaking option. Also zebra, histogram, waveforms, audio levels, etc.

For $2k, check out the Canon XA10.

http://www.wolfcrow.com - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 3, 2012 at 6:48:37 am

Hi Sareesh!

Thank you for a quick response and professional advice. I considered all the points you made and checked out the Canon XA10 camera. Looks like it's really the one that suits the best. It's really small size, portable and has I can use external shotgun mics for high quality sound and that is important, especially when filming a speaker from behind the audience.

I'm not sure why DSLR is not a good option, because it's more fragile and probably has a low battery life, and no XLR support?

One thing about the ND filter. Will it take down the sharpness? Although in daylight in India it's pretty bright and the filter should balance it out well.

Any other filters to consider?

Any other cameras to choose from?

Thank you again for the advice, I'm almost sure to get that Canon.


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 3, 2012 at 10:49:13 am

A DSLR will cost you valuable time to setup and repack after each shoot. You will need to rig it up, which is not cool for the kind of work you are undertaking. The disadvantages are frustrating for run and gun work. On my blog I have a Nikon D800 rigging guide. Take a peak to see if the trouble is worth it.

Built-in ND filters are fine. Nothing to worry about. If you want more ND buy a good variable ND filter for those rare ocassions. Daylight in India is extremely bright, even in winter. You will come to love the ND filter. I've just uploaded the filters chapter of the new comprehensive rigging guide. You might find it useful.

Also take a look at the wide angle adapter. I'm currently traveling in Rajasthan and I'm finding 28mm (in 35mm equiv) insufficient sometimes, but I'm shooting stills, not video. The XA 10 is about 30mm max at the wide end. Not bad, but not wide enough in my book.

I personally have owned Canon, JVC and Sony, and will recommend all of them. But the Canon has everything you need, plus one important fact: Canon has brilliant service in the major metros, like Mumbai and Delhi. JVC service is non-existent, and Sony is hit and miss.

Hope this helps.

http://www.wolfcrow.com - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 3, 2012 at 12:02:29 pm

Thank you very much for the information, I'll go with the canon.


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Bill Bruner
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 8, 2012 at 1:04:57 pm

Jaanus - the real reason you don't want a DSLR for long discourses is their video clip length limits. The 5D Mark III can only shoot 30 minutes before it shuts down and has to be restarted. In the DSLR/DSLM form factor, only Panasonic GH2 and GH3 can shoot essentially unlimited length video clips. If you want your video camera to double as a still camera, these (and the large sensor Sony NEX-VG 20 camcorder) are your only choices below $2K.

But if you want pro sound and XLR inputs built-in, your only choice is a small sensor pro camcorder.

Regarding the XA10 - it produces great video - but it doesn't have the rock steady image stabilization of newer cameras in its class such as the Sony HXR-NX30 or the Panasonic AG-AC90. And the Sony comes with a shotgun mic, while the Canon and the Panasonic do not.

Here is what the Sony can do:

Hope this is helpful and good luck on your trip!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Choosing a proper camera in 2K price range
on Nov 10, 2012 at 3:01:24 pm

Thank you Bill for your advice!

I checked out those cameras and Sony NX30 stabilization: impressive! Also it's really small size. Panasonic is yet to come out, I have to check out all the specs, but looks like it will be a choice between XA10 and NX30. They're both smaller size, have removable hood and handle.

There's not good enough reviews yet on Panasonic and it's stabilization is also not clearly tested, although something is available here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-avccam-camcorders/510881-first-look-p...

It seems that Sony does a better job on stabilizing the movements. Are they using same technology or not?

I wonder how fragile Sony's new optics are? They're all the time moving and I will be traveling a lot, lot's of movement and shaking. I hope it's sturdy enough to withstand that. In that sense Canon seems a better choice, but the stabilization is definitely a tempting feature.

I'll get into comparing other specs tomorrow.


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