New Camcorder and/or Still Camera?
I'm doing a new kind of shooting where I do a lot of video and still photography at the same shoot. I have been using a VX2000 (and small Sony 3Mp still camera) for most of my shooting so that is the quality I am accustomed to. I am looking at the possibility of using a more compact camcorder that also offers good (at least 3-5Mp) still capture capability. I'm looking at condensing how much gear I have to carry around if possible. The other thing is that my VX2000 probably doesn't have a lot more mileage left on it.
With technology getting so advanced I'm wondering if I can find a trade off. Hard disk camcorders, Memory Stick Pro Duo, HDV, 1080i, lions & tigers & bears, Oh My! I've been researching a lot but the amount of products and different technologies can get overwhelming. It's pretty much been Sony VX1000/2000 MiniDV & Adobe Premiere for my bread & butter for the last 10 years. It works but I know there are a lot of other possibilities out there.
I see that Sony has this SR300 with 40GB drive, HDV format, and a 6Mp still capture. I notice that this is using an MPEG2 compression from the camera so how well does that integrate with Premiere Pro 2? Part of me just says get a PD-170 (stick with tried & true MiniDV) and be done with it. Then use a Sony H5 or H9 for all the stills (a lot more money up front, but a lot better results). Sorry so many questions, I'm research weary!
Premiere Pro 2 can edit HDV footage quite well.
However, all of the cams that have 4-5 MP still image specs are definitely in the "consumer" camp when it comes to video. You will find that they have quite a bit less light sensitivity than what you're used to, and while the HDV format improves the picture, the cameras' use of a single image sensor (instead of the VX-2000's 3) degrades it. There are also many fewer manual control options.
Conversely, the HDV camcorders that fall, like the VX-2000, into the "prosumer" category don't have the kind of still image resolution that you'd like. Models like the Canon XH-A1, Sony HVR-V1U or FX-7, Z1U or FX-1, JVC HD-110U.
Add to that the fact that still photos are a medium where posing your subjects and carefully selecting the background, will give the best results, whereas video excels in capturing the ongoing action, and you are probably better off getting both a good camcorder and a good digital SLR, and then using two different people to shoot them.
Yeah, the more I look into it I am going to have to go with 2 separate cameras. That is what I had originally planned to keep doing but I thought I would check out what's out there anyway.
I think the VX2000 has spoiled me for color reproduction because I have tried to use a little 3-chip model (the chips were only 1/6") and it just couldn't do it for me. It might have been fine, if I hadn't been getting footage from the VX1000/2000 for the last 10 years!
Thanks for all the replies. It is looking more like the FX-7 than the PD-170, since they are the same price, but my mind is still not made up yet. I am also going to give the Canon models a serious look (and hopefully test drive) too. My choices are getting clearer, and for that I thank you all.