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At a crossroad in a camera purchase.

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robert mckoen
At a crossroad in a camera purchase.
on Jul 21, 2010 at 3:10:19 am

Hey all,

I am at a crossroads.

I am currently an event videographer with the majority of my work being weddings with some commercial stuff mixed in. I currently own an XL1, and 2 VX2000's. I am needing/wanting to upgrade to HD/HDV and don't have a clue in what direction to go. I have a budget of $10,000-$15,000 that I can spend on new equipment.

I need atleast two cameras. Low light is important but so is the rolling shutter issue with camera flashes etc. Tapeless format seems like the direction where everyone is headed but I also don't want to be putting down a lot of money for cards like the P2 series. Tapeless scares the heck out of me but I figure I need to embrace it and as well buy more hdrives.

I have been looking at the new Canon XF300. I'm really impressed with camera as a whole and have seen that the rolling shutter issue in terms of flashes is minimal compared to many CMOS cameras from the last couple of years. It's also a bit on the pricy side so I couldn't just buy two of these then my whole budget would be shot. As well I'm not a big fan of DSLR's at the moment. To me I want to buy a camera that is designed for videography first.

I was thinking combining the XF300 with a smaller HD/HDV camera like the XH A1. Would this be an acceptable solution? Both are canons. Use the same batteries. How would the footage mix seeing as one is HD and the other is HDV? As well since I've only been on tape format how well is the editing workflow when it comes to the Canon codecs? Are there any other cameras that people see that would go with the XF300 or would someone go completely in a different direction? Just remember that the majority of my work is event/wedding videography. A fair bit is handheld.

Thanks for everyones help,


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Richard van den Boogaard
Re: At a crossroad in a camera purchase.
on Jul 21, 2010 at 8:36:51 am

I was trained with professional ENG broadcast cameras, but I really prefer working with DSLRs now as they are lighter to carry around and more versatile in terms of production.

So to me, it is the other way around - I ONLY use DSLR cameras and can work fine with them, although I do notice that syncing audio recorded on a Zoom H4N with the footage out of the Canons is time-consuming in post. And PluralEyes is not that easy with Premiere Pro (yet). This is why I am quietly looking for an affordable "interview" camera with a stock lens with sufficient DoF (F2.8 or faster) that features two XLR inputs and for which I can match the images with those of the DSLRs (safe for some post CC-ing).

If low light is your issue then only DSLR cameras will make it possible to do what you want, given their huge sensors and the limits of your budget. Going DSLR means you have the ability to buy two camera bodies (I have a 5D and a 7D) and a wide variety of lenses (wide, tele, zoom and primes). Your customers will instantly fall in love with the shallow DoF shots you can make with them (especially for something as personal as weddings), aside from the added benefits of doing timelapses.

As for rolling shutter - don't whip-pan, record slow(er) and ramp up in post (if possible). I don't quite get the relationship between rolling shutter and flashes... you mean flashes from photo cameras?

Working tapeless is a blessing - shoot -> copy -> transcode -> edit. I work with 4 32GB SD cards for recording which I regularly switch. And yes, you do need a substantial number of HDDs for archiving, but these get cheaper by the day.

Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant

Branded Channels

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Jared Cicon
Re: At a crossroad in a camera purchase.
on Jul 24, 2010 at 3:05:37 am

Hi Richard,
Just want to let you know I am also at a crossroads and mulling over a 5D purchase. Your succinct and frank overview has pushed me one step further towards my decision to go DSLR. I am always amazed at the availability of such useful knowledge here at Creative cow.

I have a few questions I hope you can help me with. For image stabalization purposes I have been looking at the gear from Red Rock (Link: ). I am very disheartened by the cost. Would you have an opinion on what are the most important pieces of support equipment that I will need and the cheapest way to go. I am a commercial director and don't want to learn the hard way (on a job) that i really needed something I failed to purchase. I am on a freelance budget so I hope you can provide some options that don't cost 3-4 thousand dollars.

My tentative plans are to buy the 24-200 EF zoom at the time of purchasing the camera, the EF 100-400, and I already own the EF 14mm. Is there a barlow lens that I can get to double the telephoto value?

Thanks in advance for your help. Looking forward to your answers.


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robert mckoen
Re: At a crossroad in a camera purchase.
on Jul 26, 2010 at 6:50:38 pm

Thanks for the reply Richard.

I have looked at the DSLR's but isn't true that they only record up to 12 mins at a time. I shoot a lot of event videography and if that is true I don't have the time to run up to my DSLR and let it record. If I'm wrong on this that'd be great but from what I have read they have a limited recording time which is useless to me. Isn't focusing a problem as well. That the lens doesn't give me seamless focus is I pan or zoom the camera and I'll need to refocus by using the AE lock button. And it's hard to get focus by using the lcd screen on the back. I heard that one should buy an adapter that slips onto the back of the camera for that. (an addition $400) As well it might have a larger CMOS sensor but from what I have heard when you shoot video the camera is not using the whole sensor anyways.

The roller shutter issue has been around and when it comes to camera flashes I'd like a full exposure per frame with a camera flash and not a partial exposure. With camera flashes and the shutter rolling you will get a full exposure some times but most of the time only 1/3 or 1/4 of the screen will record that flash so it looks unnatural. Unnatural enough to bug me. Here's a great explanation on the cons of both CCD's and CMOS.

And by the time I get the body, a lens or two, and battery system then I am pretty much spending as much for a Canon XF300 which is dedicated to video. Has two compact flash storage systems which at up to 50 mbps on two 32 gigs cards I can record up to 2.5 hours with having to go back to the camera. And once one card is full I can swap it out without stopping. I do loose a bit on DOF and it will be heavier handheld but that's the downside to it.

I shouldn't knock it until I try it but I am looking at the possibility of combining a Canon XF300 and XhA1 and just wanted to know if those two images from those cameras would cut well together. As well I have a fair bit of money invested in batteries and other canon accessories which can be used with these newer versions.

Thanks for the reply.


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