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Re: Another boring "choose a basic camera!" thread.

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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Another boring "choose a basic camera!" thread.
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:49:41 pm

It all depends. $3000 is limiting not for the camera, but the extras. Low end is a consumer camcorder, mid-range is a low-end DSLR with either the default lens and maybe 1 more (you will get nickeled and dimed to death with DSLRs) and the high end is something like a JVC GY-HM150U, Panasonic AG-HMC150 (I like this one - it reminds me of an HD version of the DVX-100), Canon XF-100, etc.

I'd stay away from tape since there are tons of SD and CF cameras out there. AVCHD has gotten a bad rep, but it's basically the same thing the Canon DSLRs are using (different name, but the same basic function - MP4 and h.264 living in weird harmony). I'd stay away from MPEG2, too (personal opinion).

Something else, too: anything but a prosumer camera or higher won't have any kind of resale value in the long run. If you really plan on doing this in a professional environment, don't get a DSLR or a consumer camera: neither are really designed for that kind of wear and you'll be down awaiting replacement and repair a LOT. JVC, Panasonic, Canon, and Sony all make great cameras in the $2k-3k range that have decent lowlight, well-made for thousands of hours of shooting, extremely versatile, great optics, and solid support.

I would pick up the phone and call your local equipment dealer - yeah, they will try to sell you something (duh), but they will also be able to work with your budget so they get a sale and a repeat sale year after year. Some have trade-in programs so you can recoup some cash and get next year's model.

Finally, if you still aren't sure, most cameras can be rented for not too much cash for a couple days or a week. You may find that you only need a camera once a month for a day or 2 and you don't really need to buy. Oh and don't forget lights, backdrops, tripod (get a good one with a good fluid head), SD/CF cards, cables, cords, power supplies and/or extra batteries (don't get the off-brand, they don't work as well - learned that the hard way), lenses, filters, 3rd party manuals, cases/bags, stands, etc. You can add extras for days so plan accordingly.

Jonathan Ziegler

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