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What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K

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John Reynolds
What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K
on May 1, 2009 at 6:22:49 pm

Was wondering if any of the pro's here in this forum care to share what Professional Video camera they use and why they like it? What are some of the pro's and con's to them? And what they would rate from top to bottom the 4 big companies Sony, Canon, JVC and Panasonic in terms of overall quality, reliability and price vs. features worth?

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.


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Todd Roush
Re: What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K
on May 9, 2009 at 9:46:35 am

And I hear it is many of the Apples that can't do AVCHD because it requires Intel.

If you want interchangeable lenses the JVCs are interesting. The new sony EX and one other that cant remember seem to be the low light champs again and I never worried too much about low light until I landed a couple of Canons. Its a hard camera to learn and I actually now feel that low light may be the MOST important aspect of a camera because it means the sensor is sensitive, much like a Sennheiser Mic verses and Azden. Shimmering and magnificent vs. serviceable.

Im not ripping the Canon because even after 6 months I dont feel like I know everything about it but I work 100 hour a week to not a lot of time for tweaking.

Good luck on your hunt.

Best,

Todd

Todd Roush
Dreamscape Digital Media
Canon XH-A1's - Dell Studio XPS i7, 920, 2.66 gig,6 gigs RAM (soon to be 12) 650 gig SATA, 1TB eSATA external, 3TB USB(storage). 512gig ATI video card, 28" HannsG Monitor, 24" Dell Monitor.


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Don Greening
Re: What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K
on May 9, 2009 at 3:19:35 pm

[Todd Roush] "I actually now feel that low light may be the MOST important aspect of a camera"

If you're continuously obliged to work indoors with available light only then it is the most important camera attribute. Cameras are so specialized these days and there is no perfect camera that does everything well. You buy the camera that fits the type of work you're doing.

Up until late 2007 the undisputed low light king in the hand-held camcorder class was the Sony PD170. Nothing else could even come close to it. Then Sony released the EX1 and it actually beat the PD170 in low light performance. By a noticeable margin, I might add.

- Don



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Todd Roush
Re: What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K
on May 10, 2009 at 9:00:54 pm

Thanks Don.

I am a Panny DVX user and the A1 is so beautiful in so many ways that it's going to be a crushing disappointment to let it go, but let it go I most likely will.

Being a Canon owner for 8 months, I would not suggest Canon cameras unless you're always shooting in either sunlight or TV lighting type setups. Unfortunately, and after much experimentation I believe these cameras have redefined what low light is......meaning "good light theatre projects now have to be considered low light."

Otherwise, I love everything about this camera but poor low light performance is like having a ferrari......you can go drive it on a professional race track adn it's fine, but it sucks around town. I pretty much NEVER shoot on a "professional track."

I actually think the HVX 200 might be worse than the Canon.

I'm regrettably, probaly heading to the Panny HMC150 or Sony EX (around 7k if I remember correclty) and of course, they have their drawbacks. Low light just happens to be the one drawback that is nearly insurmountable.

I spoke to an EX owner and he loves the image quality but hates the way you have to operate the camera. He said EVERYTHING is manual and I may be wrong but I thought he said there is either no auto focus or that it's so bad it's useless. Regardless, he said it's a BEAR to operate and he's coming from the Canons which are pretty tough.

Good luck!

Best,

Todd

Todd Roush
Dreamscape Digital Media
Canon XH-A1's - Dell Studio XPS i7, 920, 2.66 gig,6 gigs RAM (soon to be 12) 650 gig SATA, 1TB eSATA external, 3TB USB(storage). 512gig ATI video card, 28" HannsG Monitor, 24" Dell Monitor.


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Don Greening
Re: What are the best Pro Video Cameras today under 12K
on May 10, 2009 at 10:56:34 pm

[Todd Roush] "He said EVERYTHING is manual and I may be wrong but I thought he said there is either no auto focus or that it's so bad it's useless."

I've got an EX1 and and EX3 they both have auto focus but it's slow to acquire the target depending on how far you're zoomed in and what your F stop is. Obviously the farther you're zoomed in and the more open your iris is the shallower your DOF will be and that's what affects how fast the auto focus works. The upside to this is the fact that once the auto focus locks on it's not easily confused if someone momentarily walks in front of your target. It will hold focus for quite a while even with a larger target in the viewfinder. There are several focus aids on the EX cameras that really help in acquiring your target:

  • focus assist - when you get close the camera will lock on by itself. I don't use this- that's just me.
  • peaking - a coloured outline will appear around something in focus - several levels of peaking avail.
  • expanded focus - zoom in 2X more while recording. This is a great feature.


The EX cameras have an LCD viewfinder that is sharp enough for critical focus - a first in this class of camera.

The EX cameras are not what I would describe as "point and shoot" cameras. They take more work to learn to use properly but the results are more than worth the effort. But you aren't just buying the camera: you're also buying into the workflow. Remember, these record to solid state media. And there's nothing under 40 grand that comes close to their low light performance. And no lens ramping, meaning you can zoom in all the way and your iris will not close down from f1.6 to f2.2 - not like my XL2 does.

Downside - only 14X zoom and your A1 has 20X. I could go on but this is a Canon forum. BTW, when we do 3 camera shoots and the final delivery is for DVD I use my XL2 along with the 2 EX cameras. I love that XL2. Other than the fact that it records to tape :)

- Don



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