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Which of these three cameras would you recommend?

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Cale SwitzerWhich of these three cameras would you recommend?
by on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:44:20 pm

Hello, I am currently interning at a production company in Buffalo, NY. We primarily make corporate and promotional videos, but also branch off into commercial production. We are looking into purchasing a new camera with broadcast quality in the 9-11k range. Through research I have singled out these three cameras:

Sony HVR-S270U
Panasonic AG-HPX300

Currently we are leaning towards the Sony for its compatibility with compact flash cards and MiniDV tapes. From most people it seems the Panasonic is preferred for its P2 technology, however the price of those cards takes the camera out of our preferred price range. I'd love some input on which camera you would recommend out of those 3, or if you strongly believe a camera not listed is a better choice, please recommend it and explain why you chose it. Thanks everyone.


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Ryan PratzelRe: Which of these three cameras would you recommend?
by on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:08:16 pm


My production company completed a major HD equipment purchase in the first quarter of 2009. We spent nearly a year researching and demoing gear before we made a final decision. We ended up deciding on the HPX500 from Panasonic and the P2 workflow.

Now with that said, for your price range I would recommend the Sony EX1 or EX3. We worked with both cameras and loved them. The EX3 even gives you the option to change out lenses. Both cameras fit into your price range. I would recommend the XDCam codec over HDV any day.
There is also the HPX170 and HVX200 from Panasonic. Those are also good options. Both record in the DVCPRO HD Codec.

HDV does what it is designed to do, but if you need to raise the bar a bit, I would look at XDCam or P2. The newer P2 cards make P2 more less expensive. Also, remember with an HDV camera you're going to want to get an HDV deck that will play/record all of the same formats. This is another 3-5k. (Some of the cheaper decks don't play 24p)

The EX1 & EX3 shoot on SxS cards and work well with AVID, FCP and Adobe. Just keep the entire workflow in mind when making a camera purchase. (ie: camera --> editing/post --> output)

Hope this helps.

Ryan Pratzel
Executive Producer
Creative Liquid Productions

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Bill DavisRe: Which of these three cameras would you recommend?
by on Jun 7, 2009 at 5:38:54 am

Actually, a month ago I would have agreed that the Panasonic solution was very attractive.

However, this industry is moving INCREDIBLY fast.

Not just in camera hardware, but in workflow options.

SxS and PII are fine technologies. But the cost of media is troublesome to me. (I've got 400 DVCAM tapes in my tape library - (At $35-$40 each, do the math!) , and while I fully expect to continue to grow my new wall of 10 1-2 TB plus drives over the next few years with tapeless acquired footage dumps, I'm concerned about having no fixed media backups.

Then JVC 700 chose to use standard CHEAP CF cards for acquisition. That caught my attention. Usable video media for $8 available at any WALMART? Wow. Next, they announced their drag and drop FCP integration - which I saw demonstrated last week. VERY impressive, VERY productive.

So I was about to pull the trigger on a pair of the 700s when dammed if Canon didn't announce the new Manual mode software upgrades for the D5 Mk II DSLR. Then yesterday an announcement of direct to ProRes transcoding software.

Moving from a 1/2" or smaller sensor to a full frame 35mm sensor with progressive capture and Decades of professional level glass floating around is going to potentially change the way video looks. And the D5 costs less than HALF the next cheapest option starter lenses included. Yeah, we've got to go back to double system. But that's easy with my long-established workflow.

So I'm afraid I may have purchased my last dedicated video camera. And my free time is now devoted to the 5D Mk ii Manual and trying to decide if still lens issues like bokah (specular highlight shape outside the focus field) is going to have the same effect for a picture "in motion" that it had in the still world.

Time marches on. So fast our heads spin!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Which of these three cameras would you recommend?
by on Jun 8, 2009 at 9:35:15 pm

Dennis, for someone like you, the D5 camera may make a good deal of sense, but for the original poster, my opinion is, it would probably be overly complicated for their needs and workflow.

While we dropped almost all our Sony stuff over the years and now use lots of Panasonic gear, I'm not a P2 fan, but mostly because I work in both long form and short form, in newss, PSA/spots and documentary work... and the P2 economics for documentary work and ENG did not suit our way of doing things or budget. Teh cards, even though now cheaper and deeper, are still not cheap enoguh that we coudla fford to just throw them on a shelf.

Yes, you say, you re-cycle your media cards, fine, but again, our situation is such that there is not time or staff to muck about swapping and wrangling cards and drives all the time, just to free up recording space. We would miss too much action.

We shoot DVCpro 25SD and DVCproHD; same tape for both, pretty inexpensive, it's a stand-alone shelf archive, and it fits with our in-house FCP workflow. The HD cams also use a firestore as backup and for fast transfer to editing, while still shooting tape at the same time gives us a drive that can be immediately reformatted and sent back out, while the tape backup is the archive.

But every shop is different, with different needs. I would never mess with the DSLR-as-HD video thing myself, partly because I'm not a skilled stills guy, but also because it smacks too much of a not-quite-perfected, complicated lab curiosity to someone who shoots run-and-gun ENG, EFP, and Spot productions, all on the same camera, sometimes the same day, with minimal crew support. But for someone with the time and money and crew to support shooting film-like styles with all the attendant grip gear (and actual grips), hey, have a ball.

My concern, which the previous post alluded to, is the delivery end of the chain. I'm very disappointed that Apple has not come forth with BluRay support yet; we were counting on hard-copy dubs off our Final Cut suites being shipped on BD, for those clients that won't take delivery by internet file transfer. While we're still planning to do BD as hard copy dubs and shelf-archives, Apple is driving us back towards Sony and Adobe products, just to get the bluray thing done. We have a little time yet to wait this out, but not forever. C'mon, Steve Jobs: wake up the lawyers and get r done already.

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Tim RobinsonRe: Which of these three cameras would you recommend?
by on Jun 15, 2009 at 2:32:17 pm

For me the JVC-GY110U has been a great camera. It's in the same family as the JVC you listed above. If I was buying a camera now, I'd buy that one in a heartbeat!!

From the cameras you listed, yes the Panasonic is nice, but P2 is a waste of money.

The Sony looks like a wedding videographer camera to me. Also I don't like Sony's because they're HDV is interlaced! 1080i! While it's "1080" it's only shooting 540 lines at a time, unlike the JVC that shoots progressive!

Also the JVC and it's cheap SD card usage is amazing.

I have a HDV deck but I never use it.

Copying media files (instead of digitizing tape) is a real time saver. It's also CHEAPER than tape for the amount of storage you get!

I love JVC's full size detectable lenses are a BIG plus!

Tim Robinson


Corporate Video Editor

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