Best camera for shooting wedding
Any opinions on new camera's for this purpose? Seems like HD might be overkill and low light shooting a big concern. What do you think is the best camera for this type of work?
There are literally dozens of ways to answer this question, but based on those two factors (not HD and low-light) I would suggest the Sony PD-170 as an excellent choice.
I only stopped using my 170 because I DID want to go to HD. There are complications with that and, yes, it's not in very high demand yet. The 170 should still be useful for weddings for years to come.
It should be noted that you will not see an increase in low-light sensitivity by shooting with an HD cam in SD mode. If you frequently shoot weddings/receptions in poor lighting your only choces are to add light or shoot with the best SD low-light cams. The best low-light pro-sumer cams are the Sony PD-170/VX-2100...bar none. If you can convince the bride to allow you to add light...rock on. But if that isn't an option, its 170 or grainy video. Even the best low-light HD cams are not on this same level yet. Perhaps they are getting close but they ain't there yet. Someday, sooner than later I hope, the HD tech will catch up with the SD tech and they will be on an equal playing field.
[Marty Osborne] "Someday, sooner than later I hope, the HD tech will catch up with the SD tech and they will be on an equal playing field. "
That day has arrived. I did a low light test between my PD170 and my XDCAM EX and the EX was the clear winner. In fact, the test was done with the EX in progressive mode which requires even more light than shooting interlaced like the PD170 does.
The Sony PD170 and VX2000/2100 are still good choices for SD video production, but are a questionable investment in the HD era. Many wedding videographers are migrating to HD cameras for their widescreen recording format plus better long-term potential, and low-light concerns are disappearing with the latest batch of HD cameras. The most popular HD cameras for event work today are the Sony FX1/Z1U/Z7U and Canon XH-A1, with corresponding consumer models (Sony HC9, Canon HV20) being used for "b roll" shots. The EX1 is also intriguing but doesn't seem to have caught on due to the high camera price plus high price of the required memory cards.
Keep in mind that a growing number of customers own widescreen HDTVs, which are typically set to "stretch" traditional SD video to fill the screen. So if you shoot and deliver SD content to such customers they'll likely see it stretched to make everyone in the video look wider, which isn't an ideal option for a wedding video. Buy HD cameras and you won't have this problem, plus you'll be ready when someone asks whether you shoot in HD. Buy SD cameras and you'll be increasingly stuck as customers comes to expect HD for paid video projects.
Always Memorable Videos
This is great advise.
I do shoot wedding videos and until recently shot with both the Sony DVX2100 and the Panasonic AG100a. Both are great cameras. The Sony the winner in low light but the Panasonic's rich colors and XLR inputs were superior. That said, I have just purchased the Sony HVR-Z5U which is their newest pro HD camera. A step above the FX 1000 (no XLR) inputs. This camera is amazing and is 1.5 Lux. The is negligible difference in low light (even HD) with the Sony 2100. A bit heavier but is so worth the extra effort. It has a 20 X zoom G lens and a wide angle lens as well. The best of both worlds. I do get far more request for sD wedding than HD. And few want Blue ray yet. But I do get occasional HD weddings, and a price bump up. Just being able to offer HD has brought more people to my site. It looks good in this HD era.
If you are going to spend the money on a new camera for weddings, I strongly suggest going HD and this camera. You have the capability for hard drive (FlasH card) as well and can shoot both mini DV and Hard drive at the same time. Not bad. Back up Back up Back up. Makes you feel more confident for these no second chance to get it right events.
I was wondering if you could give me some tips on equipment purchasing as I intend on purchasing both the Z5U and Z7U for event coverage, mostly weddings where there will be many flash lights going off due to photo coverage. Based on research, the Z7U has some lense issues/roller shutter/band issues and the obvious wobble and so fort.
Have you noticed any of these issues? And what is your take on them? Your posting is quite a while back, would you still advice on these Sony brands? I have heard about the JVC HM100 and 700 as good cameras for events, basically b/c of the 3CCD chip in comparison to the SOny's 3CMOS. What is your take on them? I guess I just want to know which camera brand will be best to choose for my services.
Thanks you in advance for you
I really haven't had a lot of problems with the rolling shutter wobble. When I shoot 30P or 24P a little more noticeable, but very minute if ever. I used to do a lot more hand held music video shoots, and those I was using the panasonic AG100 which was 3chip not CMOS. Perhaps if I was shooting HD Music videos with the Z5U I would notice more. But the sony has been great. Now, flashed are a problem for any CMOS camera. It seems like the camera flashes going on during a wedding shoot, on the video footage, there is a noticeable horizontal line down the middle. If you were to freeze frame, you would totally know what I mean. At first it made me go bananas because I had never seen this and couldn't do anything about it. As I watch more and more wedding videos online I am realizing most weddings are being shot with 3 chip CMOS because that is what is being sold pretty much these days. Its like my eyes have accepted it and I think so have most people. Sad, but true. Now the wonderful trade off for the CMOS issues is the fabulous low light capability. My Z5U shoots as good as my Sony 2010 did 5 years ago and thats shooting HDV which requires more light. I have not been disappointed, considering the low light situations we are forced to shoot in as wedding videographers. Now I have shot with the Z7U and I prefer the Z5U because of the 20X versus 12X lens. It also goes wider as well if I remember.
I don't know a whole lot about the the two JVC cameras you mentioned, although I know they both shoot native uncompressed quicktime files for FCP. the Z5U and Z7U are taped based but the nice thing about both is they have the capability to also shoot file based. Even both at the same time for backup archiving. For those who like tape, you have the best of both worlds. I shoot for other wedding companies as well as my own, so when I shoot for them, I have to send in tapes. I shoot over 55 weddings a year for others so tape is the only choice I have. When I shoot commercial or my own weddings, I go file based, for quick transfer and then edit in FCP Pro Res 422 codec. Never ever ever edit HDV as HDV. Impossible and unbearable render and conforming times. Pro Res is a breeze with HDV. So, I guess for you it really comes down to preferences. I myself am having no issues with CMOS rolling shutter, but others may. If you like options, I think the Sony line is the way to go. I am a sony fan. Hope this helps
Thank you so much for your prompt and detailed response. It is very very helpful for a newbie/rookie like myself confused with all the new cameras out there. I do apologise ahead if some of my questions may be of the obvious but as a self taught videography, I might have missed some things. :)
I am a 'Sony-addict' myself that is why I am trying so hard to find every reason to stick with them. It is really good to know that you still use your Z5 for weddings and you have also helped me narrow down on the substantial difference b/w the Z5 and Z7. I love the lens length of the Z5 so I'm starting to lean towards that more. Or maybe end up with one of each since they are still the same make.
I am still a little worried about the CMOS issue. Sorry if this is redundant, but you mentioned freezing the frame to see the horizontal line down the middle caused by camera flash lights during the ceremony. I know you say your eyes have gotten used to them, but do you get any complaints from your customers? or is not noticeable to those not into video production and only when frame is frozen? How about your shots on the dance floor. How do those come out? NO wobble?
You have already made your final recommendation which is the Sony line and I am leaning towards that. Just want to make sure that I am making the right choice. Like you said I like the different recording format and the low light sensitivity. But just want to make sure that the CMOS and wobble problems will not affect the quality of work provided to the customer. Such as the lines from flashes. To make sure it is not something a customer will cry over.
I will also like you recommendation on other equipments: Light. I will need studio lights and portable lights that use optional batteries. Although you are not a photographer, just wanted to highlight that the studio lights is for a partner to use for studio photography.
Once again, thank you so much for your response and look forward to another feedback.
Multi-media and Entertainment company
Hi Ki Ki,
Listen, it is never trouble helping a fellow videographer. I too am self taught. I count on these forums for help, and love creative cow. I am by no means an expert but have been around and done tons of jobs and made my share of mistakes. But when we are putting out the kind of money we have to for equipment in this business, you want to be thorough and do it right the first time. In regard to the camera flash issue, never once in the 200 weddings I have shot since I got the Z5U have I ever ever got a complaint. And I have not gotten a rolling shutter on the dance floor. At the start of the reception I am on wheels a pretty conservative shooting, but by the middle, the music pumps up, the floor is full and I go hand held and do some creative moves, including swish pans and no issues with rolling shutter. Thats where I would expect it. I use the Cannon A1A sometimes (3 chip not CMOS) and am always disappointed the the overall look. Side by side I would pick the sony each time. Again, If you want to move into tapeless, (although you can with the Z5U M2T files, I would go with the HXRNX5U.
I use the on camera flolight microbeam LED http://www.flolight.com/microbeam-128.html?ctt_id=2934045&ctt_adnw=Google&c... I love it. I can use a sony rechargeable (770 or 970) and it last pretty much the whole night. Photographers love my light. It give a very even light. I use their line for indoor as well . I also love light panels LEDs. Once you have gone LED, You never go back. They are dimable as well.
Thank you once again for your prompt response. It is definitely good and motivational to see a self taught videography like yourself grow in the business. It only influences others to follow behind. I will try not to kill you with too many questions, but you definitely have yourself a part-time student. :-) lol! I have also narrowed down to the Sony Line and happy to have come to that conclusion.
Aware that I will also get weddings to shoot SD, which I know the Z5 and 7 are capable of, I will like a cheaper camera for such events to prevent depreciation on the Z5/7 since the SD will be cheaper to shoot. And will also use such a camera for B-Roll at events where we will need a 2nd camera. My budget for this will be not over $3,000 if that is possible, else do not want to go over $3,500.
And also, what is your take on cool lights and kino Flo lights?
I haven't had any experience with the kino lights or Cool lights so I can't give an opinion. I did by the canon Vixia 40 for about 700 and it has been a great little work horse third camera and also my digitizing/Capture camera. It shoots HD and SD and the picture is really nice for a one chip. It does shoot native 30/24 progressive which is unusual for a camera in that price range. Great bang for the buck. Again, no capability to go tapeless, but for weddings, most videographers I know are still going that route out of necessity. I do also have the sony FX 1000 which is almost identical to the Z5U except there are no XLR inputs, no second she whole at top and it does not shoot native Progressive. Otherwise it is a fabulous second camera. Is 3500 your total budget for all the cameras or just the second camera. I still would go with an HD camera that shoots SD. This way you can use it as an extra HD camera on a multi cam shoot. I always get my cameras from B&H Photo and buy the 5 year extended warranty. That also covers damage. I think Sony has that warranty too but I think B& H is the best. I know they cost, but by year three, digital cameras just seem to need work. Especially the tape mechanism can go. The warranty has paid for itself many times over on most of my cameras. Once I didn't by it, and I probably dished out over 1500 on repairs over a 4 year period with my panasonic.
As usual, your information has been so helpful to a rookie like myself. :) The $3500 is for one camera (2nd cam on a multi-cam shoot) or could be used for another same day shoot my partner might have to cover. Just want something that has close to same picture quality so there is no obvious variation in pic. I checked out the FX 1000 and it looks pretty cool besides the XLR absence. Do you have any other suggestions for 2nd cam in the Sony brand within that budget or even lower. Cause seems I am kicking my budget already. :(
Are you looking for an HDV camera or AVCHD? If you are looking for HDV at a low cost, I would say the Sony FX7. Now this is a 3 chip CMOS camera but they are 1/4 not 1/3. I know this camera is a 20X lens which is nice if you are looking for a second camera. http://www.videomaker.com/article/13066/
I have done a three camera shoot using this as my third camera along with the FX 1000 and the Z5U. they integrated together very nicely. Had to do a little color correction (usually do for weddings) because the light sources were varied at each angle. But I was not disappointed one bit. Important not to go automatic on one or a few or the cameras. Better to manually adjust them all and white balance, as the auto balance on all can very greatly. Of course, you can handle much in post but better to try to match. That camera I have seen for as little as $1500 new. OF course the FX 1000 would be my next choice but you're talking more bucks there. Hope this helps I know many hmmmm and Hawwww about how we should go tapeless, but that is easier said than done when you are in the wedding business especially shooting for others. I love my Z5U because I have a choice. I think you can attach the sony hard drive via firewire on the FX7 if you ever want to go tapeless as you can for both the FX1000 and the Z5U. Where there is a will there is a way. Hope this helps
Thanks, it's great to read your posts. I have been shooting with two PD 170's for years and am also looking at going HD as South Africa is going HD crazy at the moment. Wanted to know if you are still using the Sony Z5's or could anyone suggest Panasonic or Canon cameras in the $ 4000 range.
We edit on Final Cut Pro and also need to investigate workflow etc using digital.
We shoot around 100 weddings per year, sometimes four over a weekend, and I have always preferred having the tape backup copies, so not sure how recording to CF or SD cards will affect my postproduction workflow.
What would be the best cameras to invest in ?
I did a South african documentary a few years back with Northwestern Kellogg University GIM Program. Fell in love with the country. What part do you live in?
In regard to your post, yes I still shoot with the Z5U and love love love it. Flash (M2T) files as well as shoot tape at the same time. Best of both worlds. I still like tape as archive and need it for weddings I shoot for others. The camera is rock solid, absolutely fabulous in low light. Up there close to the PD170 and 2100. the all time best low light cameras. I also am a huge fan of the Sony 970 battery (the real sony still in package not the knock offs) This battery lasts forever and out lasts every other battery on the planet bar none. I have had them all. I love the fact that the camera also shoots native 24/30. Great for Docs and Music videos. I Edit with FCP 7 (still some kinks after doing a clean instal with snow leopard) But there are alot of improvements as well, I shoot HDV or M2T and Edit Pro Res. Pro res is a dream and render times are a fraction of HDV. (Never ever edit an HDV timeline unless doing straight cuts or simple transitions. useful if printing back to video, but that's about it) Definitely less hard drive space needed but the rendering times for effect heavy timeline is unbearable. It's worth the money to by some 2 terabyte external firewire drives or Raid. Editing in ProRes gives better color space and green screen is alot easier. If you are not interested in going to tape at all, you still can shoot flash M2T. The new AVCHD tapeless HXR-NX5U might be a good choice for you. The camera is almost identical outside of being tapeless. Call me old fashioned. but I still like tape for archiving as well as shoot flash. Whats not to love by being able to do both at the same time. Hope this helps
Thank you so much, I am based in Johannesburg, but shoot all over the country and 90% of our work is weddings and we also shoot music videos and conferencing etc. I really enjoy my trusty old PD170's and you're 100 % correct about the NP-F970 batteries being so fantastic. I need all the help I can get re HD - We were in Egypt over Christmas and New Year and I recorded 3 hours of HD on my small Rollei HD cam which uses H264 compression, dumped the clips on my Mac Quad Pro - took 12 hours of rendering, so this has me a bit worried ito post production, although I believe capturing in pro res is a lot quicker. I spoke to one of the local Panasonic guys re their AG HMC 150P which is a lot cheaper than the Sony Z5 and the NX5 - the Z5 uses MPeg 2 compression whereas the NX5 uses the new AVCHD Mpeg4 as does the Panasonic range of cameras, and hence much better quality. He tells me that AVCHD is definately the way to go and that the Sony Z5 is old technology. Is the Z5 quality also much better than the PD170 ?
I would really prefer to remain with tape as we often shoot 3-4 weddings in a week and end up with around 14 hours of tape and at 12gigs per hour would require 168 gigs of storage per week if I go tapeless, so would have to look at a Raid system. Many thanks really appreciate your input and will read through all the posts to try and gain more insight.
Definitely capturing directly to prores is the way to go with the Z5U. When editing MP2 footage captured to prores, there is a negligible difference to that of AVCHD. Both have pros and cons. I do a lot more weddings than commercials, infomercials, documentaries and music videos. But I do enough of these to tell you that shooting M2T and tape at the same time is great. Editing is a breeze. I guess the only time I would really think about the minimal quality difference is if my video were shot 24P and transferred to film
For theatrical distribution. Otherwise I would definitely go with the Z5U if weddings is your mainstay. You can always output your final to quicktime and print back to video for a hard tape copy for archiving. As I said before, AVCHD, M2T, and tape all have their place in the wedding business. I shoot a lot for other companies and have to send in the tapes. Sending flash cards is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too expensive. So I have the best camera (Z5U) to serve all those purposes. Those people giving opinions and advise, unless they understand the wedding business and the huge volume of footage, they would understandably vote for AVCHD tapeless. Old technology isn't always the worse.
In regards to the quality in comparison to the pd170. It depends on what you mean by quality. The PD170 is an unbelievable camera, great low light and rock solid. Love it. But it doesn't shoot HD. Now if you are looking to go into the HD world but still want the choice to shoot SD which most HD cameras do, then the HVR-Z5U is every bit as wonderful as the PD170. In some ways much better. 20X lens, 3.23 inch led monitor (I think it's bigger) also the Z5U shoots true native 24/30 progressive. The Z5 will also give you far more options to adjust the image than you find on the PD-170.
Here is a link to my documentary page with my South African Gim scenes. One of my favorite docs to date. Loved working on the safari. http://web.me.com/gigih7/Spirit_of_Play_Video_Productions/Documentaries.htm...
Gim South Africa Langa part 1
I shot the american interviews but most of the footage was shot by the students in South Africa, alot using a camera for the first time, so the shots were not always the best. I learned so much about South Africa that I was never aware of. Especially apartheid. would absolutely love to visit. It has been a dream of mine. I would love to see some of your South african work.
[Mary Ann McClure] "Seems like HD might be overkill"
Most HDV cameras will actually shoot SD video also as well as give you the option of having the camera down-convert the HDV video to SD on playback. Most likely within a year or two you will be wanting HD anyway, so why not equip your self now, especially when the price of HDV and SD cameras is so close if not the same price.
Also most people will agree that DVD's that are created from video that was originally shot in HD actually look better then DVD's that where shot in SD.
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!
You may want to look at the new Sony Z7. From all the reports that I've heard, it has great low-light capabilities, especially for the prosumer-level HD(V) cameras. It records to tape (HDV/DV) and CF cards so it might be a good transition camera for the next couple of years.
What' is your budget? I'd get an EX1 before spending about the same amount of cash on a Sony Z7. The EX1 has ½" chips and likely the better picture all around. Your final output will be dvd anyway which you can kick out of the edit system so why do you need hdv, dvcam or dv? You'll be ready for bluray in the future.
If an EX1 is not in your budget you should look for something with widescreen so most the old dv cams are out.
You should get something with balanced audio inputs as well.
"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan
HD with the SD option sounds good & although they have that new sexy appeal, I am not really wanting a tapeless camera at this point in time. Call me paranoid and old school but after producing & editing for over 25 years I have seen too many drives break down & I don't like having my master be at risk, ever. I know, I know I can do a tape back up but I don't want to do that extra step just for wedding stuff.I need 2 cameras, great low light capability since brides are not going to let you light up the joint. XLR for audio and user friendly, not too much fiddling w/scrolling through menus. I want it all I guess. Oh yeah & under 5000 would be optimum. Also I am looking for some good training on the gear if you have any ideas on that it would be helpful as well.
Thanks for you time!
I don't trust dv tape either.
Last week I shot a wedding where the tape become drop.
The whole five minutes, was ruin! All the walking in ARE GONE, including the important Bride and her dad escort.
It was a disaster. I don't trust any of them anymore.
Now I'm wating for the Bride and Groom to got back from their honeymoon to tell them the good and bad news. This beyond my control.
What a choice we have to make for future investment? sony 170 has a bigger brother the dvcam DSR 250P. The P meaning pal format 1/3 chip.
Its still great for low end work low light etc and set to wide screen modern TVs like the LED from samsung make a great picture look better then the old analogue TVs.
We also use Ikegami HC500 with the DSR1P dockable recorder still DVCAM with a CANON High end lens. again it works perfect.
The problem with the modern HD camera is because a lot of the shoots are close up the picture has to knocked down to sd because the quality is so good it shows the brides imperfections under the make up! We are all set up for HD 1920 1080i full raster editing but will not get the Cameras till next year 2012 and thats only as our existing cameras are getting long in the tooth we will still use dvcam for low end use Weddings school plays etc the cameras that will replace existing will be Sony 500 and Ikegami gfcam Happy shooting Andy from Woodland Studios in Lowestoft
Didn't mean to unsubscribe. Hit wrong button. Hope this puts me back on this thread.
PLEASE....I'm in need of any suggestions or direction. I'm a new college video student looking to shoot weddings to help pay bills.
Please comment on the following and please advise any other "must have" items for wedding coverage. Reminder I'm on a shoe string budget.
1. camera Panasonic AG HMC 40
2. software vegas or Powerdirector 9
thanking you in advance, chaz
You said "I'm a new college video student looking to shoot weddings to help pay bills."
Forgive me I don't know you but have you videoed any weddings before? I would be horrified to meet a video person covering my daughters wedding only to find that you were practicing and charging on such a momentous day with the attitude "I want to pay some bills?".
We all have to start somewhere once you have a few years under your belt you will answer your own question, its not the video camera its the person behind it, In other words you can shoot a wedding on a small hand held video camera using a tripod it will be fine on close ups with normal lights in the church etc but shooting the disco will be poor picture quality very grainy and if on automatic it will find it hard to focus on shoots over 15 feet indoors But any outside shoots are fine these small handheld video cameras need to be on a tripod and don't zoom in. If I was you I would use whatever video camera you have with a solid tripod find its limits once that is done then offer your services for free for the first ten or so so you know what is expected of you remember that a you will be videoing for about ten hours on the day then it will probably take about thirty two hours to edit the footage with menus and burn to DVD I started back in 1981 and I am self taught, be creative and enjoy videography you wont get rich quick?
Have fun Andy
Hi Andy, I have been reading some threads on here and wanted to get your opinion since you have posted most recently. Along with my sister, I am going to get into shooting wedding videos. I have always loved filming, and now with the ease of final cut pro, I have begun to love editing even more. I have a degree in audio engineering which is helping me, but, I am uncertain what camera I should buy. I am looking for something in the 4 thousand dollar range. I want to get the best HD camera I can for this budget, and I have been primarily researching the Sony line. I wanted to go with the EX1R, but I need to cut back on the initial investment until I have filmed enough weddings for free that I can use to build a better business on. I'm not looking to get rich quick. I'm looking to make a career out of shooting weddings. I want a camera that will give me the ability to get a professional business started. Any input you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, and thank you to anyone else who may respond to this.
Thank you for your email. I might have been in the trade for thirty years but I am still learning. The business modal has to be right from the start you said you and your sister you will have to have a good turnover to pay both of you.
The first thing is to enjoy your line of work and let your flare behind the camera come alive through your editing skills and final product to the customer.
Get to know what comes next and a typical wedding then add in extras like staying till the end or pre-wedding shoots of the bride getting ready.
The second thing is keep it simple us a tripod when videoing and when editing dont over do special effects, it might show off your ability or skill in editing but it becomes gimmicky and unprofessional swirling titles and to much slow motion.its not until you have cut your teeth on doing all this will you get to grips with what I mean.
Third don't spend yet?? on any cameras use what you have and let the Business grow naturally Dont walk before you can run!.
Fouth You wont make a living out purely out of shooting Wedding Videos unless you live in Wedding City.
A full all wedding shoot will take about ten hours on the day and about 30-32 hours to edit In other words a weeks work and your costings will have to reflect this plus the depreciation of the equipment like Camera and batteries etc.
In the UK the Sony ex1 or ex3 are hot favourites but with HD it also mean a 64bit editing machine and Blue Ray. But 99% of customers want standard def so HD might be good outside but its not good for disco scenes inside or low light shoots. The sony ex1 or ex3 will have a sharper picture when shot in standard def over a old standard def video camera.
Have a very simple web site. Your Business have to start somewhere don't borrow money use what you have and save hard and over two or three years you should have the money to purchase outright a SONY EX3 with a extra plate to support the camera on your shoulder get a Nano drive this will allow you to record in 100bps instead of 35bps as standard on the EX3 this setup will allow your company to grow into small ads for business and internet video transfer etc, give the whole project three years to get off the ground and only then it might pay for itself expanding into other areas is a must to keep the money coming in. purchasing expensive cameras dont always mean better videos its you who can make the video better.
Andy Woodland Studios from the UK