Semi Pro Camcorder - Buying advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by polar-blair, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008

    I have been doing some odd filming now and again, but now money seems to be finally coming my way, and that I have access to the CS4 master suite, (looks to be far better than iMoive) I have been thinking of getting a better Camera.

    I currently use the video function on my casio Exilim EX-f1 which at the moment is fine. But I would prefer to have greater control over my footage.

    Can anyone suggest a semi Pro camcorder ranging in price from about £500 - £1000. From what I gather a tape based camcorder has higher quality video like HDV. What I am really interested in is a camcorder that can hook up to my MBP via firewire and I can use On Location with.

    Me and a friend have got some great ideas together for some films we would like to shoot and I want to be able to do the best Job I can.

    Any help would be great
  2. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    If you want a semi-pro camera you'll have to look at something in the £4,000+ price range.

    But a good consumer camcorder in your price range is the Canon HV30.
  3. polar-blair thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    £4000 :eek:

    OK mmmmm

    Ok so what would you class Camcorders in the range of the
    Sony DCR-VX(Series)? I thought they were semi Pro camcorders.

    I think I could stretch to a budget of £1400. Is the HDV format still used? I also heard about P2 (I think) I dont think I want to get a AVCHD Camcorder, is tape still the best way to go Quality wise?
  4. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Tape is the best option. P2 would be well out of your budget range. The cards themselves cost £500+ and the camera is about £3,500+.

    As for the DCR-VX series, I'm not familiar with them but I was under the impression they were SD cameras? I'd go for HD if I were you nowadays.
  5. polar-blair thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    Yeah P2 is not an option, I just heard it being thrown in whilst watching a tutorial for after effects, and wondering why I had never heard of it.

    Ok Im think Im going for a tape based Camcorder,

    Sorry I didnt mean the DCR (Amazon doesn't ever seem to get rid of outdated products)

    Im meant the Sony HDR-FX7E, Ive also seen the Canon DM-XM2 both roughly the same price on Amazon. Im think something like that will be good. Any thoughts?
  6. polar-blair thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    Ok, Just had a little look again, and realize if I spend £1500 I will have no money left for any other equipment, lights, external mic, possible green screen kit.

    So I looked at the Sony HDR-HC9E Has anyone used or own this camcorder, It has an audio input and also i.Link input, which as far as I understand will let me hook it up the My MBP via firewire and use adobe OnLocation to monitor the camcorder.

    So anyone used this camcorder at all? Or is there a better alternative?
  7. cpcarrot macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    You would be able to monitor via the firewire link but there is a bit of a delay in the signal so this tends to be not a very useful feature. If you want to monitor playback on an external monitor you are far better using the HDMI connection and hooking it up to a monitor / TV.

    If you looking at £1,500 budget including lights, mics etc then your probably best of looking at something like the Sony HDR-HC9E or the Canon HV20/30 (my personal choice in this price range). Pick one up for say £500-£600. You are then going to want:

    Tripod – Get a decent one say £150 but you can spend a lot more.
    External Mic – Rhode Video Mic or something similar is a good starting point £80. But you can easily go up from here depending on what you want to do with this. You might want a good boom mic or clip one mics depending on what you want to do.
    Lights – This can be as much as your willing to spend. Cheapest option is a few Halogen work lights and some improvised reflectors. You can cobble together something for under £100, but if your after professional lights then you are talking big money.
    Other standard accessories – Spare batteries, probably at least 3. Box of tapes. A wide angled adaptor is always very very useful.
  8. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I second the HV-20 or 30. The best camera in that prize range. It´s a good starting point, next step would be the A1
  9. pfrazao99 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2006
  10. polar-blair thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    Thanks for the reply's

    The Canon HV-30 looks really good, Ive seen some sample footage on the Net and it looks really good quality, great for the level I am at and in my price range.

    How big is the time lag when using adobe On Location when connected by firewire?

    I was wanting to use OnLocation to record straight to Disk on My MBP, Do you still record onto Tapes when doing this or is it only on the Drive and do you still maintain the quality.

    The Function in CS4 to setup your shoots before hand looked really use full.
  11. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    I bought a Sony HDR-HC9E in july and last weekend I had the chance to look at my vacation shoots on a hi res Sony Bravia television and the quality is very good. Sometimes it was a bit out of focus but that was in dark conditions. I once hooked it to my powerbook G4 to see if it was recognised but importing the movies in iMovie was not a good idea since my laptop is somewhat too old to use it for HD movie editing. Maybe I'll try to edit my tapes when I finally get a Mac Pro.
  12. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    I see a lot of votes here for the Canon HV20/HV30, but I believe those are regarded as consumer cameras. For something that's Semi-pro, I think the Canon XH-A1 could be a good option. That's tape based, and I bought one a couple months ago for $2750 used, and it came with a 4 year Mack Warranty which made me comfortable buying used. The OP in this thread is looking to spend 1400 British pounds, and using Google's currency converter, that should be 2 233.28 U.S. dollars so it's somewhat close. Otherwise, perhaps just start with an HV20 or HV30 and step up? I myself bought a Sony HC1 back in Spring 2006 before finally stepping up to my Canon XH-A1.

    I am actually in the market for a consumer cam myself for personal events use, and to use alongside my XH-A1 on occasion. I've heard the HV20 and HV30 would be good for working alongside the XH-A1. But what I really want is something that would record both to a hard drive or something flash/card based (so that I could work with my footage right away) AND tape (so that I could have something to archive). Anything like that out there that's small, in the consumer camera arena?
  13. polar-blair thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    I was looking at spending about £1500 on a Camcorder and the Canon HV-A1 looked very tempting, but then realized I needed more than just a camera, I needed lights, tripods, microphones, Green screen equipment to achieve what I wanted to create. I think I will go with getting the HV-30 for now, get my other equipment then later I can replace the Camcorder with something like the A1.

    I am blown away by how intuitive CS4's After effects and premiere Pro is, going through the tutorials on (would not have a clue what to do with out them) But Im really looking forward to starting my movie project at the start of the year, me and my friend are about to start writing it.
  14. AWalkerStudios macrumors member


    Nov 25, 2007

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