Help buying an HD Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by SMM, May 11, 2007.

  1. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #1
    I am finally making to move to HD. Right now I am researching cameras.

    I have been shooting SD with Panasonic AG-DVC30 and AG-DVX100B. I like the cameras, so my inclination was to buy the AG-HVX200. But, there are strong competitors from Sony, Canon and JVC. This is an entry-lvel purchase, so I want to keep the price under $6000.

    I have read many reviews. It seems like each camera has a following. I am hoping someone at MR would have some personal experience to share. I would appreciate it.

    BTW: I mostly shoot indoor sporting events. Post production is all Apple.
     
  2. 4God macrumors 68020

    4God

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Location:
    My Mac
    #2
    Hmmmmmmm... I have a couple of Canon SD cameras (an XL1 & XL2) and I've
    also been looking into moving to HD. I've been checking this model out and this one
    as well. The difference being the Genlock and timecode connections.
    I'd like the latter of the two, but dang it is pricey. Yes, I'm partial to Canon.
     
  3. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #3
    Yes, the G1 was one of the ones I am considering. It has good reviews. The problem is, they all do. I guess it is only a problem for making a decision. It is actually nice when most of the choices are good.
     
  4. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #4
    I've seen footage of the Canon XH-A1 on some other forums (i think it was dvinfo or whatever) and it was very nice. If I was in your position, that would be the camera that I would get. You'll also have plenty of money left over if you want to buy some new accessories/equipment. (You might even have enough to get yourself an HDV edit deck)
     
  5. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo
    #5
    Well, for sporting events and fast action, I would not recomend any HDV camera for best results, since pretty much any model on the market suffers from pretty bad motion artifacting due to the HDV compression, but your results may vary, I don't know what type of action you will be shooting.

    I know the HVX200 is little pricy and might be out of your price range, but it is the king of pro-sumer HD production right now, which might be why they are completely sold out at B&H. Honestly HDV is great for low end HD cameras like the HC7 or hv20, or shots that are less motion intesive, but if you are going to invest multiple thousands of dollars on equipment that will last you years, the HVX200 is the way to go. No HDV cameras on the market even compare to the HVX200
     
  6. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    California
    #6
    I'm with Laslo, I have an HVX200 and love it. If you are primarily shooting sports, HDV will be a nightmare. Not to mention the sluggish performance you get with HDV when editing due to the long GOP compression. You mentioned that you currently shoot with a DVX100, this being the case the HVX200 will be a breeze to get up to speed with. The menu layout is very similar as is the physical button layout. And with the price of P2 cards dropping all the time, it is getting cheaper to put together an HVX200 setup.

    For a little over you budget you should be able to get an HVX200 as well as a 16gig P2 card when the cards are released toward the end of the month.:)

    (also, the HVX can shoot 60fps which is awsome when shooting sports.)
     
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    Paging Multimedia...

    There is a largish thread on the Sony HD camera in the Digital Video sub forum that you should probably read through. It has some fervent supporters here.
     
  8. willybNL macrumors 6502

    #8
    $6000?... well... you get 5 Sony HDR-HC7E's for that... which are pretty good according to a just-published test here (i bought the 5E and works perfect).
     
  9. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #9
    The sport I film is amature wrestling. I had read about HD and fast action issues. That is one reason I have been slow to move to HD. Wrestling takes place in a smallish area. My nephew has a JVC GY-HD110U. I experimented with it back in February at the State Championships. The results were very good.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    All of the sub $10k prosumer cameras are all pretty much in the same ballpark. They all have pros and cons and no one camera is head and shoulders above, or below, the rest of the pack. It basically comes down to prioritizing your specific needs and finding the camera that is the closest match. For indoor sports my primary concerns would probably be optical zoom, low light performance (through the whole zoom range), and recording time.

    The day-to-day differences between the DVCPro HD and HDV at this price range is negligible, and neither codec is as good, or as bad, as it sounds on paper. To get around editing HDV you can get the Blackmagic Intensity card ($249) which can transcode the HDV footage into DVCPro HD on import (assuming the camera you buy has HDMI).

    Does the 6k just include a camera or camera plus accessories?


    Lethal
     
  11. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #11
    My budget looks like this:

    Camera: $6000
    Accessories: $2000
    Fiber Channel: $1000
    External Raid: $6000
    Trouble: $5000

    Total: $20,000

    My current set-up works great for SD. But, it looks like HD is really going to stress the system. So, I am going to move to a dedicated array. I would like to stay all Apple. But, what I am not sure of is whether I can attach as XServe Raid to my MP Quad (through Fiber), or if I also need to buy an XServe as well. Hitherto, I have not had any compelling reason to investigate what options are available for NAS/SAN. So I have the 'trouble' entry until I get that figured out.

    If I am able to keep the SAN/NAS in budget, then I can spend ~11,000 for the camera. However, there seems to be a big hole between ~$6000 and ~15,000. It looks like I would have to spend the entire budget to move up in camera quality.

    You have correctly identified the two biggest challenges I have; lighting and recording length. I can mitigate some of the lighting issues by shooting at matside. I am fairly well-known in the wrestling community. So, I usually get special permission to film there. The minimum amount of recording time for me is about 2 hours. However, I usually shoot 3-4 hours per day in large tournaments. Most tournaments run 2 days.
     
  12. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #12
    1. I'm jealous of your budget.

    2.We run 2 or 3 Canon A1s depending on the shoot and have had NO negative issues whatsoever with them.

    3.Given your budget, I would definitely recommend getting more than 1 camera (preferably 3) and some assistants. Having more footage and angles to edit from is more important than 1 angle/camera.

    4.If you want to just try HD, I would highly recommend the HV20. It's a surprisingly capable littel camera. Left on the tripod relatively close to the source, the audio is actually pretty decent. We use it as a 4th close-up camera sometimes for shoots. More storage is definitely needed

    5.If you need to be matside for the shot you want, understandable. Be aware that the A1s & HV20 do not have very wide angles and it may be easier (and safer) to zoom in from a bit of a distance.

    6.If you get "down & dirty" with the subjects, you might want to consider something like the Fig Rig. It's the dorkiest thing, but after borrowing one from a friend that swore by it, I converted. It allows for some really great shots from awesome angles that you'd otherwise need a dolly or crane for (which is not always possible). For closeups in wrestling, rent one and see if it is appropriate for your needs.

    7.Don't forget to budget for audio (crystal-clear grunting?).

    good luck
     
  13. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #13
    See above.

    Small milestone reached just now - My 1000th post!
     
  14. gokuu macrumors member

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    May 12, 2007
  15. crazytom macrumors 6502a

    crazytom

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    IL
    #15
    THIS is what you want....just not necessarily what you need!
     
  16. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #16
    WOW! :cool:
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    Fiber channel and the fast, expensive storage to go w/it is way, way, way, way, way, way overkill for your needs. FW400 drives would adequate, but if you wanted more take a look at something like the CalDigit S2VRDuo. Also, you probably want a way to accurately monitor your HD footage. Probably the most straightforward w/o breaking the bank is a pair of 23" Apple ACD's and the Matrox MXO. I suggest 2 monitors so 1 can be playing HD full screen while you edit in the other one.

    Lens control is probably something else to consider. The DVX had the best servo lens in it's class (in terms of accurate control) and I think the HVX has followed suit. The JDV HD100 actually has a true manual lens so it would be the most responsive in it's class, but IIRC it sometimes had issues in low light. The biggest down sides for the HVX are recording time and footage backup/archival. W/a tape based camera you can just put the master on a shelf and be done w/it. But w/tapeless cameras there isn't as easy, inexpensive, or tried and true method to back-up and archive your footage.

    Are all of the tournaments local, or do you sometimes go out of town for the night?


    Lethal
     
  18. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #18
    The tournaments are about 50/50, local and out of town. However, we drive to the out of town tournaments, so hauling gear to download, and reuse the storage is possible (if that is what you are getting at).

    As far as the monitors go, I have 2 30" ACDs attached to my MP. The PMs each have a 23" ACD. I have attached a layout of my network. It is a little dated, but not by too much.

    I was surprised to learn I do not need high-speed data transfer (> FW-800 anyway). The MP has 4 internal drives (250 + 3x500) and 11GB of RAM). It also has the 1900X, an external 1TB LaCie FW-800, and is attached to 2 LaCie GB Ethernet NAS Appliances (3TB total). So, it seems like the DTR to my external storage is the least efficient part of the system. I am glad you do not see an issue with it. That certainly frees up some of my budget money.

    View attachment 74265
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #19
    Yeah, that's what I was getting at, even though hauling a desktop system would be no fun. W/your budget though you could probably swing a laptop for the road. Of course this is only if you decide to go w/the HVX200. If you use one of the HDV cameras then it's a non-issuse. I'd try to hit a hi-end camera store to feel out the cameras for yourself. Or, if you wanted to go one step further (again because of your budget) I'd rent the cameras you are interested in for a weekend to kick the tires. Especially since the format you choose (HDV camera or HVX200) will impact what additional gear/upgrades you'll need.


    Lethal
     
  20. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #20
    Thanks for all of the good advise, Lethal. That is exactly what I will do.
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #21
    My pleasure, I try to help out as best I can. As you have a chance to play w/the cameras it would be great if you could post w/you likes/dislikes of each and how you ultimately chose the camera you are going to buy.


    Lethal
     
  22. SMM thread starter macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #22
    Phase II

    Based on Lethal's sound advice, I have been reading and visiting some pro outlets. I have noticed that it is sometimes difficult to find cameras in stock. I now have a list of videocams I want to try out. I am going to try an entry-level and next tier up offering from 4 different vendors. Here is my list:

    Canon - XH-G1, XH-H1

    JVC - GY-HD200U, GY-HD250U (maybe)

    Panasonic - AG-HVX200, AJ-SDC615, AG-HPX500

    Sony - HVR V1U, HVR Z1U

    I am going to rent many of these for a weekend and just try them out. Does anyone see something they would not consider, or something not on my list I should be considering? Thanks in advance.
     

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