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Opinion - Best low-end professional camera

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Frank Cervarich
Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 9:06:09 pm

I know this is not a camera forum but I have done all my editing on FCP for over a decade, love and trust this forum and have a dead Panasonic DVX100A. I know, I should have migrated to HD long ago.

I will use the replacement camera to shoot for clients with budgets that force me to do so or for my own personal projects, some of which end up being sold.

I have gone to the B&H website and have gotten suggestions (I am looking in the $3000 to $8000 range. I would prefer to avoid cameras that are HDV. I would like to record to a card or something that is cheap to buy, plentiful and will hold plenty of data.)

Some cameras that have been suggested are - Sony HVR-Z5U, Sony HXR-NX5U, Canon XF300, Panasonic AF-100, Sony NEX-FS100UK. I know there are other candidates out there.

What say you all? What would be a good camera to buy in my price range?

Thanks


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 9:35:45 pm

If you were considering P2 I would recommend the HPX170/250 by Panasonic.
If P2 is to rich then look into the Panasonic HMC series.
Shoots to SD cards.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Frank Cervarich
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 9:44:56 pm

The P2 card is expensive. I would like to be able to shoot for several days in the field without have to wipe the card clean after downloading it onto a hard drive or computer. I shoot lots of documentary style stuff in, sometimes, remote locations.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 9:50:37 pm

[Frank Cervarich] "I would like to be able to shoot for several days in the field without have to wipe the card clean after downloading it onto a hard drive or computer."

Better buy fast Frank, because cameras that shoot tape are going the way of the dinosaurs in a big hurry.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Frank Cervarich
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 10:09:23 pm

From what I am reading and hearing I don't need tape to meet that goal. I need an inexpensive storage device (I buy enough to hold several days worth of shooting on them and save them to hard drives when I return from the field so that I can edit) and a camera one that uses the device and makes a solid HD image of high quality). Or, at least, that is what I am hoping will be my solution. Am I out of line?



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Steve Eisen
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 11:32:05 pm

[Frank Cervarich] "The P2 card is expensive"

Yes, P2 cards cost more money than SD cards. They are also very cost effective. P2 cards will last a very very long time. You can shoot for days in 720/24pn mode. The HPX-170/250 is right in your budget WITH P2 cards. P2 shoots at 100mb/s compared to AVCHD which has a maximum data rate of 24 mb/s.

The HMC-150, AC-160/AC130 are very good cameras. But they are AVCCAM.

AF-100 is NOT for you. By the time you add lenses, you are way over budget. I'll bet you didn't know there is no servo zoom on any of the lenses for the AF-100.

If you want the ease of editing, P2 is the way to go.

If you want cheap, AVCHD is your option.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Sohrab Sandhu
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 10:08:14 pm

IMHO you should buy Panny Af-100.

Records AVCHD on SDHC cards which are not that expensive. Abilty to get shallow DOF with a wide range of lense choices. XLR inputs, SDI output. Can record to external recording devices like nano flash. Very good performance under low light conditions.

And FCP X is said to have native support for AVCHD so editing should be smooth!

All the best!

Sohrab

2.66 GHz 8-core, ATI Radeon HD 4870,
FCS 3, AJA Kona Lhi



"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." -- Carl Ally


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Rafael Amador
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 11:44:34 pm

[Sohrab Sandhu] "IMHO you should buy Panny Af-100"
The PANY (love it) is not a video camera and his DOF is mostly a constrain unless you need it.
IMHO, as a VIDEO CAMERA the EX-1/3 still being a very good value.
That 10b Unc SDI out is priceless.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Garrett Evans
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 10:23:53 pm

Panny's HMC-150 is the DVX100A with everything up to 1080 60i. I love this camera...sure it's got limitations, but so I.

MacPro OSX 10.6.6 2x2.26 QCIX 10GB 1066MHz DDR3 FCP7.0.3/FCS3
FCSvr1.5 Xsan2.2 DotHill 24TB QlogicSANbox 8GB ATTO 8GB


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 10:49:11 pm

The Canon XF300 records 4.2.2 to CF cards, the only camera in this class so far that can do so.

It's still only a 1/3" chip though.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Shawn Miller
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on May 31, 2011 at 11:43:05 pm

I used to shoot quite a bit with the DVX100, and I've been shooting with the HVX200 and the HPX500 for the past few years. I recently started using the AF100, and I'm very happy with it. The AVCCAM CODEC is sturdier than I expected, and the AF100 has all the things I've come to like about Panasonic cameras; nice, natural color rendition, over and under crank (in 1080p no less) and familiar gamma/matrix modes. There are also some new features that I would find hard to live without now; built in waveform monitor, interchangeable lenses, focus in red, great low light performance, NTSC/PAL switchable, built in ND filters, etc. That said, I'm really curious to see what the Sony FS100 will be like, I understand it has the same sensor as the F3... so it should be pretty hard to beat at that price range.

Thanks,

Shawn



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Rob Grauert
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 12:37:41 am

I'd recommend the HPX170. I think the HPX250 will be a bit out of the price range with a 6000 price tag (i think). It won't take long for you to go over budget with that camera. So I personally think the HPX170 would be perfect - not too expensive, leaves you with cash to buy 64GB P2 cards and batteries, records DVCProHD, SDI output if needed.

I wouldn't recommend the AF-100. Sure, shallow DoF is nice, but not when you don't have a monitor, or a camera assistant to pull focus, or aren't working in a controlled situation. Personally, I'm sick of seeing videos filled with pointless rack focuses and a never ending search for focus. Sheesh.

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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shawn Bockoven
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 3:00:58 pm

We just ordered five of these http://philipbloom.net/2010/04/10/video-review-of-new-panasonic-hpx-370371/


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Shawn Miller
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 6:19:54 pm

"...Sure, shallow DoF is nice, but not when you don't have a monitor, or a camera assistant to pull focus..."

Actually, the AF100 is pretty easy to focus with the provided LCD and peaking features... a lot easier than the HPX500 with the histogram. I normally use a 7 inch monitor, but I have used the camera without an external LCD and have not had issues. If focus is an issue, there's no rule that says you have to shoot wide open with a telephoto lens. :-)

"..Personally, I'm sick of seeing videos filled with pointless rack focuses and a never ending search for focus. Sheesh..."

Not really camera's fault though, is it? :-)

Shawn



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shawn Bockoven
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 7:08:22 pm

They are for our sports truck, so we will be using every mm of that zoom. ;-) They were just under $7,000 for the package with a 17x Fuji lens.


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Rob Grauert
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 7:47:53 pm

[Shawn Miller] "Not really camera's fault though, is it? :-)"

Nope and that's not what I was suggesting. It takes time and money to skillfully work with shallow DoF, in my opinion. Although, I suppose I shouldn't assume the original poster isn't willing to spend that time and money.

If you say the AF-100's LCD is fine for focusing, though, I"ll have to take your word for it :)

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 8:36:45 pm

[Shawn Miller] "Actually, the AF100 is pretty easy to focus with the provided LCD and peaking features... a lot easier than the HPX500 with the histogram"
DOF is beautiful but in real life is a pain.
Or you control everything (action, light) and you have the team and TIME to get what you want, or you may end up with a bunch of beautiful shot that you won't be able to put together.
Before buying a camera, think about the kind of work and the conditions in which you work.
Being able to get better picture doesn't make sense when you miss the best shoots.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:51:21 pm

"Or you control everything (action, light) and you have the team and TIME to get what you want, or you may end up with a bunch of beautiful shot that you won't be able to put together."

I couldn't agree with you more, Rafael. However, I would like to make the point that you can achieve deep focus with the AF100 as well, so it's not as if you have to use shallow DOF... you just have the option, should you choose to use it. :-)

Shawn



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Shawn Miller
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:19:42 pm

"Nope and that's not what I was suggesting. It takes time and money to skillfully work with shallow DoF"

Certainly... I guess that was my vague way of saying that poor shooting skills and lack of restraint by some people, shouldn't influence the purchasing decision of a this camera. ;-)

I think it's worth keeping in mind that the the AF100's sensor isn't as large as most of the DSLR cameras, so DOF isn't as shallow... that may be one reason it's so easy to focus (IMO). If you get a chance, I highly recommend getting your hands on one a few hours... you might be surprised at how easy it is to control DOF and focus... or you might completely hate it. Either way, I think it's worth checking out. :-)

Shawn



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Rob Grauert
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:50:45 pm

[Shawn Miller] "poor shooting skills and lack of restraint by some people, shouldn't influence the purchasing decision of a this camera"

Good point :)

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 8:37:31 pm

I was just in the same spot looking at gear for work. We were looking in the same price range, and have the same concerns as far as media are concerned. After a few days of research I landed at 2 Canon XF300s, a Canon XF100, and a GoPro as a crash camera. 4:2:2 50Mbps recording is a major attraction to the Canon XF line, and with the price and reliability of CF cards it was difficult to agree to anything else.

The other cameras that had my attention were the Panasonic HMC-150, the JVC HM700 series, and the Sony 7ZU. Here were my list of strong points the Canon had over those models:

HMC150 - The Canon does not record AVCHD, and has double the bitrate. The Canon (300) also has a lot more lens than the HMC150
HPX170 - P2 cards are expensive, and the same lens as the HMC150. I'm quite familiar with it, and while it isn't bad, it leaves quite a bit to be desired.
HPX370 - More than we were willing to pay, and more bulk than we want to travel with.
HM700 - Much like P2 cards add dramatically to the cost of Panasonic cameras, the batteries added to the cost of the HM700. Again, more bulk than we want to travel with. The ProRes422 files are hard to say no to however.
7ZU - When you add the SxS cards the cost goes up quite a bit.


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Rob Grauert
Re: Opinion - Best low-end professional camera
on Jun 1, 2011 at 9:49:44 pm

[Jeff Meyer] "After a few days of research I landed at 2 Canon XF300s, a Canon XF100, and a GoPro as a crash camera. 4:2:2 50Mbps recording is a major attraction to the Canon XF line"

Walter Biscardi had his hands on an XF305, which is basically the 300 with a few more features. His blog post might be of interest

http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2010/11/testing-the-canon-xf305-camera...

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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