Best Camera For Four Grand

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by X-JRO, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. X-JRO macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Victoria, Melbourne East
    #1
    I'm looking for the best video camera I can get my paws on for 4 thousand or under USD.

    I've been looking at the Sony FX1 and the Canon HX A1 but the Sony seems like the smarter choice.

    What can you guys recommend?
     
  2. idea_hamster macrumors 65816

    idea_hamster

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    NYC, or thereabouts
    #2
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    What kind of shooting are you going to be doing and do you already have the rest of the kit?


    Lethal
     
  4. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
  5. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a

    TH3D4RKKN1GH7

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #5
    Ever see Crank? ****** movie, didn't look too shabby considering it was shot on XHA1. I hear nothing but great things about that camera.
     
  6. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
  7. X-JRO thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Victoria, Melbourne East
    #7
    I don't have anything guys, I'm a total noob and am *just* starting out. I figure 4K is around good price for a 'pro-sumer' cam that I could do pseudo-pro work with.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Blindly dropping $4k on a camera isn't going to do much for you. My advice is to save the money and get a job or internship at a local post/post production company in your area, learn about this industry and then, if you still want to branch out on your own, you'll have a much better idea of what it takes to make a professional looking production.


    Lethal
     
  9. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #9
    you're dumping all of money on the cam and ignoring other expensive aspects of pro video work like microphones and lighting.
     
  10. X-JRO thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Victoria, Melbourne East
    #10
    Woah, I'm not "dumping all of money", I never said 4K was my entire budget.
     
  11. anthemus macrumors regular

    anthemus

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Location:
    Denver
    #11

    Don't hold your breath on the Red. Its been rumored to be released for the last 3 years.

    When considering a camera you need to think of a few things:

    Imager - 3CCD/3CMOS or DSLR Single CMOS/CCD Imager
    Audio - Balanced or Unbalanced (XLR or 1/8 stereo)
    Format - AVCHD/HDV/DVCProHD
    Storage - Tape or Tapeless
    Options - Accessories for the camera and is there a community that supports it.

    Currently I've been tapeless for almost a year. Its been good, however I have bought so many drives for archiving the footage. One advantage is having quick access to footage without have to scroll through hours or tapes. With tapes you can simply place on the shelf and forget it.

    Cameras I currently use for long-format events. Panasonic HVX200 and HMC150. Very nice image and tapeless workflow. The HVX200 does produce a better image over the HMC150.

    Commercials and shorts I use a Canon 7D. Not only can I shoot awesome HD footage but it also allows for great stills and time-lapses. With $4K you can not only get the camera but some great lenses as well.

    Here's a link to a DLSR HD filmmaker: http://philipbloom.co.uk/

    He uses all sorts of cameras. You might find some answers on his site.
     
  12. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #12
    Back in fall 2008 I bought a used XH A1 for $2700 after hearing a lot of good things about it. But I had a fire in my house shortly after and the camera was exposed to it pretty bad so I ended up just claiming it. Once everything is settled I'm planning on buying a pro camera again and building everything around it. Sort of wondering the same thing as you, but would like to keep my cost under $3k

    On a related note, I bought an HV20 recently to replace my Sony HC1 which was also affected by fire.
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    So you are a self-professed noob w/a budget in excess of $4k for gear that you are not sure what you are going to do with? You are going about this the wrong way. You need to nail down what it is you want to do first and base everything else off that.

    Scarlet was first announced at NAB in '08 and rumored to be out in '09. Now it looks like mid-to-late 2010 before a non-Red One owning person could get their hands on one so while I agree no one needing a camera now should wait for anything from Red there's no need to exaggerate. ;)


    Lethal
     
  14. arri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #14
    range of products

    ive been looking to upgrade too. not sure when i can pull it off.

    for $3250 with rebate there is the new record to sd card in native fcpro .mov files jvc cam

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=workaround.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=597842&is=REG

    briefly. its small, has full auto, with manual settings with a small iris/shutter control everyone hates. in sunlught it can almost match the pro 1/2 sensor sony pmw ex1. is ok in low light, but not great.

    for $4010 there is the new sony hdv tape cam hvr z5u. has bigger 1/3 sensors, better in low light, beautiful picture and sound. can use with adobe onlocation on a laptop to record to hard drive, use scopes, or as calibrated shoot monitor.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...nd.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=582905&is=REG#reviews

    both of these cams have xlr audio with a short shotgun on cam mic.

    taking the big leap you can get the now discontinued sony pmx ex1 for $6100 at some dealers. it has 1/2 chips so gives depth of field similar to 16mm film for the film look. these 3 cams can do 24P too in various ways. this cam here is used on independent features, and some broadcast shows, sometimes as a B roll cam. it is used for low budget features, and blown up to 35mm film. i would consider it a full pro camera, if at the entry level point, and the other two cams here as more prosumer - not meaning to insult anyones kit.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/520761-REG/Sony_PMWEX1UC_PMW_EX1_XDCAM_EX_SxS.html

    the ex1 is $2000 more if you can find it, but i would like to own one. it does not come with a shotgun mic, but has xlr inputs. also accessories are far more expensive than on the other two cameras. there is a $1500 accesory pack at b and h that would come in very handy. its an expensive system to me, but i like the depth of field, very good in low light, full hd with over, and undercrank options, and independent features is always a good target for those buying this type of equipment.

    you can read features, specs, and reviews on the tabbed webages at thses links. these are the 3 cameras my search has lead me to. there is a new model of the pmw coming out in dec, but lists at $7790.
     
  15. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #15
    ^^ wow incredible post, and thank you for all the options. As I moved lower down your list, your options became further out of range, but still good to know about them to move up. I'm hoping for something under $3k soon that I can work with and start recording better quality stand-up (I'm a comedian) and also start working on some short films. I'm hoping to work w/ others who can bring other important pieces - mics & lighting for example- to the table)

    I'd love to hear from others in the same boat and, even better, people who took advice from this thread and their thoughts down the road. I'm not ready for buying my sub-$3k cam til later this year.

    (one reason I would like to go w/ something along the lines of an XH-A1 is because I believe I could use my HV20 then as a B cam)
     
  16. X-JRO thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Victoria, Melbourne East
    #16
    You're probably right...

    But buying it now give me something to learn with. I've spoken to a lot of self-taught video-graphers who told me to 'learn by doing'.

    Thanks *so* much everyone for the advice and recommendations.

    This one seems right up my ally. Are these recommended over the Sony HDR-FX1000?

    Thanks a lot guys :)
     
  17. arri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #17
  18. arri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #18
    clarification

    the sony hvr z5u is the pro version of the fx1000. ive never bought a camera without xlr ports for good shotgun mics like a sennheiser. there are work-arounds if you just get an audio minijack, but they cost too. why not get the pro featues up front if your budget allows.
     
  19. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #19
    "I don't have anything guys, I'm a total noob and am *just* starting out. I figure 4K is around good price for a 'pro-sumer' cam that I could do pseudo-pro work with."

    XJR-O....What is your total budget?

    As a "total noob", you should definitely listen to what Lethal and others have mentioned about learning before leaping.

    Your body (camera) is about 20-30% of the total video package. Sound is paramount to good video. It is mandatory and can ruin your picture quicker than crappy video. Support is fundamental. Just like you need a foundation on your home, you'll need sticks/head or a body support system (Zacuto/Redrock, etc) to take decent shots. High Definition is about as unforgiving as it gets when it comes to focus and a stable shooting platform. External monitors can be necessary....microphone/XLR cable/field mixer OR a secondary sound system (Zoom h4n, Tascam, etc)...

    Then you gotta budget for media....If you stick with the HMC-150/z5u and other "prosumer" cams, this isn't as bit an issue (SDHC cards)....but, if you step up to the next level; EX-1/3, HVX200a/HPX170...you'll have to budget for SxS or P2 cards....(up to 10x the price per gig compared to standard memory formats; CF/SD/Memory Stick, etc).

    Then your work flow....the latest AVC/XD-Cam/Pro Rez/DVC-Pro HD, etc, etc. Can be VERY taxing on your computer system...are you up to date with your hardware? How about storage? You can burn through Terrabyte drives after a good weekend of shooting these days!!! Software? Which direction? Mac/PC? Final Cut Pro is a cool thousand bucks! FC xpress has limitations, especially with the level of camera you're looking at.

    I totally spaced lighting! How could I be so short sighted!!!! ALL, I repeat...ALL of today's video capture devices...whether it's your iPhone 3gs, your FLIP HD, Panasonic HVX 200a, or the latest Arri/Panavision/Sony/Red/Fill in the blank High Def cams.....the biggest handicap is LIGHT! Gotta Have it. Some have better low light performance (less video noise) than others, generally as you go up in price....However, there is a new crop of V-DSLRs on the market that give you incredible low light performance (but they have a load of OTHER short comings and at this point make a better complimentary device than A cam, IMO)....while the price of admission is getting lower (under 2k for the Canon 7d kit)....there are a ton of "peripherals" necesary for shooting comfortable with the new DSLRs...media, lenses, tripod or stablization rig...etc. adds up quick.

    Then...as you already know and have been humble enough to admit...you are a noobie, so you've got to learn how to put the whole thing together. Make your lighting, cameras, mics and sound gear, XLR cords, Gaf tape, reflectors, assistants, etc....work together as a system.

    It doesn't happen overnight....there's a lot to learn and jumping into a $4k kit is NOT going to make it any easier to learn than picking up a 12-1500 used camera rig (DVX100 comes to mind, great SD/16x9 camera)....and learn the craft. See if you have the patience....that's 95% of it. You gotta shoot, shoot, and shoot....then edit in post and see what you do and don't like...then go shoot and shoot some more. There is no substitute for burning through film (SD cards) and experience behind your camera.

    I've been shooting with Panasonic for the last 5 years or so...so it's an easy recommendation for me....DVX100 OR, look for a low hour HVX200. They're everywhere (ebay, Craigslist). The operation hours are logged in the menu system....and lots of folks bought them and didn't use them:) The 200a is a newer model with same sensor block (and hense, lower light sensitivity about a stop lower), and a newer, maybe bit wider lens (same guts as HPX170, which is tapeless and has extra goodies...SDI out, scope, and a couple of ergonomic improvements). The 200 and 200a keep the mini DV deck (for SD recording only...P2 or Firewire to computer/drive for HD) I also shoot with the EX-1 and love it....but it, the 170, and 200a are a bit out your price range.

    If I haven't talked you out of it yet, I would look around for a used HVX200, couple of 16g "E" series cards....maybe a 32gig as well....and instead of a 35mm adaptor, pick up the Canon 7d with a 17-55. This will give you the best of both worlds....Low light/shallow DOF shots....and an excellent camcorder with many different framerates, pro audio capture, and the ability to make some excellent pictures!

    Good Luck....it is a never ending process, if you decide to jump in head first. It's a blast though...I'd rather make my living and pay my mortgage in NO OTHER WAY! I've been shooting stills and video for almost 2 decades and I learn something at every gig I do:) Find a local mentor...if you can get on at a local news station, volunteer with local film festivals, attend a class or two. Pick up a couple books, scour the internet. It's not brain surgery...but it's not nearly as easy as it looks;)

    PS...Forgot to mention....stay away from the HDV cams (Canon). It's a dead format. We've seen the end of it and the future is solid state. I love Canon. Shoot solely Canon for stills, but I've steered away from their pro cam offerings (The HG/HF/Vixia 10,20,30,40 or great consumer cams), including the XHa1
    J
     
  20. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #20
    You can end your search. As another poster stated, the camera you are looking for is the Panasonic HMC150. That will run you about $3,500 add extra batteries, cards and a hard case, and you're pushing up against $4K. That said, it's just the beginning: you'll need a good tripod with a good head, a couple of mikes, some lights and so on, and soon you're pushing up against $10K.

    So, the real question you should ask is can you afford a camera package? Only buying a camera is like only buying a car engine. To make it go, you need the works. And that means, you're looking at a budget of $10K.
     
  21. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #21
    I like the sony. I was very closing to getting one myself if my work didn't give me a camera to work with. I liked the JVC because of the FCP compatibility but turned it down because of the lens longer lens. ( i shoot sports so having a longer lens is more important) plus sony makes an adapter that clips on and powered by the camera that allows you to use compact flash so you can record both on tape and CF cards)
    A very good tripod is a must with an adjustable head.
     
  22. arri macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    #22
    Cam vs Cam

    the jvc cam i mentioned that shoots native final cut .mov files is the gy hm100 now at $3250 with 250 rebate. i believe they give you a 3 year warranty just for registering with jvc. phillip bloom likes the cam and has a good video review of it.

    the particular reasons i want to upgrade my cam is for better depth of field, better low light capability, true 24P, and easier and full manual control to the level that a DIT tech would tweak. something like a RED, or a Cinealta if you know what i mean. for me that would mean the red scarlet, or the sony pmw ex1 cinealta.

    the point is, this jvc is a nice little camera with full auto, and manual controls with a 35 mbs bitrate that has stunning images for the cost. but alot of people mention the iris/shutter control is a small hard to adjust knob. that gives me pause, but if i did pick the cam in the end i could live with it. im still shooting for a scarlet perhaps, or more so, the ex1.

    here is an interesting comparison between the jvc hm100 and the panasonic hmc150. ive neither used nor handled either cam. both cams have gotten good reviews by owners, but more reviews, video reviews, and videos can be found for the jvc.

    because it had 2 sdhc card slots, and native or wrapped .mov files for final cut, and the enthusiastic reviews ive seen, i had the jvc on my list.

    next year sxc cards come out that will start at 64 gb and scale over years to 2 TB. firmware upgrades not possible on most devices.


    cam shootout link

    http://www.expandore.com/e_shop/GY_HM100VSAG_HMC150.htm

    take it with a grain of salt as another review source
     
  23. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #23
    wow, I would love this. A lot of times I record things to tape but just never get around to them. If I had them on CF too, then I could go through them right away and keep the tape for archive purposes. I wish I could do this with my personal camcorder (not just "pro cam") too
     
  24. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #24
    "the particular reasons i want to upgrade my cam is for better depth of field, better low light capability, true 24P, and easier and full manual control to the level that a DIT tech would tweak. something like a RED, or a Cinealta if you know what i mean. for me that would mean the red scarlet, or the sony pmw ex1 cinealta."

    The Sony is an excellent choice....Red? Scarlet? It doesn't exist. We don't even know when it'll exist. The Epic is first (as announced 10/30) and we should know more about Scarlett after the end of the this month. At this point though, it's not an option...maybe for your next camera? Aren't you looking now? Even with the Epic's release, it's a tiered program (which I agree with, as an effort to reward those that have used/tested/purchased the Red "One"). Those that currently own a camera will be first, and on down the line...to those of us that will be New Red owners. Maybe the Scarlett release will be different? Regardless, still plenty of waiting ahead...if you're looking now, even Jim at Red would tell you to buy from what's available now. For your needs, the EX-1 is an excellent choice.

    "the point is, this jvc is a nice little camera with full auto, and manual controls with a 35 mbs bitrate that has stunning images for the cost. but alot of people mention the iris/shutter control is a small hard to adjust knob. that gives me pause, but if i did pick the cam in the end i could live with it. im still shooting for a scarlet perhaps, or more so, the ex1."

    The other "pause" it should give you is the 1/4" sensors;) You NEED low light performance, right? Where the JVC and the HMC40 (Panny) will fall on their face is when light becomes an issue. These are NOT sensitive cameras. You gotta spend some money, still, for the bigger, more sensitive sensors (EX-1 has 1/2" sensors compared to the 1/4" in the JVC)....

    K
     
  25. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #25
    I'll 3rd for the Panasonic HMC 150. I have this cam and its awesome. But, if low light is not an issue, Take a look at the HMC 40. Am hearing very good reviews for daytime shooting but no very good at night. Its almost half the price. A couple of web sites to get more info is www.dvinfo.net and www.dvxuser.com .
     

Share This Page