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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 9:39:53 pm

Okay, let me clarify: I don't care for MPEG2 (as in me, personally). It's been in use for a long time: TV, DVD, satellite, cable, HDV, XDCAM etc. If I'm going to be using a lossy format, I'll stick with AVCHD. AVCHD is really only a step away from MPEG2 (MPEG2 is h.262 and the new h.264 is its later cousin in MPEG-4 AVC). Long story short, MPEG-4 is better at good quality at lower bitrates than MPEG-2. Since most sub $3k cameras use compression in the codec versus a high-def, raw feed, it makes sense to get the best codec you can even if you will transcode to something like ProRES (start with the best footage even if its gonna wind up on the web or on DVD). I won't go into all the reasons as I could go on for hours and I don't have that kinda time! ;)

That said: I still like the cameras I used as examples. I love the XF100 (and the XA10 ain't bad either with its compactness and cost of $1k less) and good quality recording. It's a 3CCD in a world of CMOS chips, but the footage looks great anyway. Here's a long-winded review of the Canons with Philip Bloom:

I think the HMC150 has been out longer and there is a lot more reviews and such about it, but if you've ever used a DVX-100, this seems just like it with the addition of some serious pro features like the vectorscope. The JVC GY-HM150U I mentioned is the one I have the least experience with (sorry about that). I used it for one day and I liked the 60i features (maybe 60P at like 720?), the glass, and, of course, the price. Maybe I should take it off the list?

You'll also notice I haven't put anything from Sony here. Sorry. I like the VG20, but haven't used it enough to make a proper judgement, but its basically a DSLR (or maybe a CMOS video camera with interchangeable lenses which is suspiciously DSLR-like). Runs something like $2000-2500?

As for lowlight performance: how much really low light shooting will you do? If you are like most shooters, not that much. You will be using bright studio lights for static shots or you will be shooting outdoors in sunlight. If you are doing work for your company, you won't want to be fiddling with dark corners, you will be flooding the area with light and tamping down the aperture and shutter speed as well as throwing in a couple ND filters. Don't spend a lot of money on the camera only to have lousy, dark, unprofessional footage - you can get that with a consumer camera! ;)

Jonathan Ziegler

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