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Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?

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Danny Grizzle
Re: Cheap Backup Camera ?
on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:32:32 am

I also have a Stedicam Merlin with Arm and Vest, but frankly I don't know that I would buy it again given what I am doing with the HX9V. I did purchase a pistol grip by Barska at Amazon for $12 - highly recommended. Afterwards, I found a video review of this exact rig on cheesycam.com, and it is accurate about the tripod screw being a bit too long. However, you don't have to grind the metal screw shorter as they suggest. You can fix the issue by adding a shim using a few layers of gaff tape or a single layer of any other adhesive pad that can be cut to fit the camera stage and basically make it a tiny bit taller.

OTOH, the Jobi Gorrilapod Video Tripod achieve the same end result by simply gripping all three legs as a handle, though the Barska is a much nicer pistol grip and the rubberized finish is very nice to the touch. Considering the low cost, I recommend purchasing them both.

One further thing I did was to purchase a Zacuto Z-finder glue on frame so that I could mount my existing Z-finder to the HX9V. I had an older Z-finder; I don't know if the latst version still offers a glue on option. But the size and fit is perfect. The finder costs more than the camera, and I wouldn't have done this except I already had the finder, so cost to me was only $11 for an extra glue on mount. But if you are working outside in bright sunlight a lot, this is an option. Frankly, shooting indoors, I don't use the Z-finder. You can get great Steadicam like shots using only the Barska grip, and with a camera this featherweight, all the things you read online about the value of multiple points of contact with your body are really overrated.

Don't get me wrong, the HX9V is not perfect. Lack of manual control can be an issue, but not a terrible problem.

FYI - my next camera is going to be a Sony NEX-7, but *not* as a replacement for the HX9V. It might be easy to think the NEX-5n or NEX-7 are an upgrade, but for me the HX9V has earned a place in my package, and knowing what I know about it, I would make the purchase again instantly even if I already had an NEX camera.

My motivation on the NEX-7 is large sensor, full manual control, intercutting with my 5D Mk II. But the big attraction is I have 10 Canon FD lenses that have been in mothballs for a decade, and the NEX will put these back into service.

I actually view the small sensor of the HX9V as an asset, because large sensor shallow DOF and lack of auto focus is a real dangerous combination on a handheld camera being used for Steadicam type work.DSLRs are a challenge to begin with, and it is easy to push them beyond the limits of the most skilled operator. I'd rathe have sharp footage and interesting shots than to ruin my reputation with constant failure on overreaching, always soft and even horribly out of focus camera work. Shallow depth of field is great, but not if you can't control it.

The HX9V is a really sweet camera. For $300, you can't go wrong.


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