35 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2012 9:17 AM by Darren Kelly

    Camera Advice

    Pacey4321 Level 1

      We are looking to buy a new profession camera instead of the Sony handycam we have.
      The only professional camera i have used is a Sony Ex1 and i love it. Nice size, easy to use and everything you could want.... But my boss has only given me a budget of £1000 for a camera and i have no idea what to go for. Any ideas?

      Requirements:

      HD
      Memory Cards
      External Mic

        • 1. Re: Camera Advice
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          We are looking to buy a new profession camera instead of the Sony handycam we have.

           

          Nothing. You can forget it with that kind of budget. If you multiply it by at least a factor 5 - 10 you can get by.

           

          The least expensive professional camera at this moment (approved by the BBC for HD) is the Canon XF300, which goes for around £ 5800 and is way better than the EX1R or EX3, that are not approved by the BBC for HD in the standard configurations.

          • 2. Re: Camera Advice
            Pacey4321 Level 1

            I used the EX1 for 3 years while at uni and loved it. Produced some stunning things and never had any issues.

             

            I have found an EX1 for £2000 so surely i can find a cheaper alternative.

             

            We dont mind going second hand

            • 3. Re: Camera Advice
              Stephen_Spider Level 3

              That's like $7,000 U.S., right?     :-)

               

              If that's about the range I think it is, higher end consumer market, I would go with a Cannon vixia with the larger cmos chip ( 1\3 inch ),

              or the Sony   HDR-CX760, or lastly the Panasonic   HC-X900M. Sorry, don't know the PAL equivalents.

               

              Whatever you choose, you want the biggest cmos chip(s), a microphone jack, and headset jack.

              In that market, the only format available is AVCHD, or each brand's new flavor of it. It is a very demanding codec for editing, and you'll need a proper spec'd machine to play nice with it.

              • 4. Re: Camera Advice
                Stephen_Spider Level 3

                Jump on the EX1..... really. You can't beat it for the money you're talking.

                • 5. Re: Camera Advice
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Let me profess that the EX1 is not professional but prosumer. It is a nice camera, but no match for the XF300.

                   

                  @ Stephen: today $100 = € 76 = £ 64, so the XF300 amounts to £ 5800 = € 6900 = $ 9000 or thereabouts, based on UK prices.

                  • 6. Re: Camera Advice
                    Pacey4321 Level 1

                    Wish i could but my boss has said £1000 and that will be that lol

                    • 7. Re: Camera Advice
                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                      That leaves you with a simple consumer camera. EOS.

                      • 8. Re: Camera Advice
                        Stephen_Spider Level 3

                        When tasked to choose a sub $1,000 camcorder for work I chose the Cannon Vixia HF S series.

                        For sub $4,000 I chose the Cannon XF100 because it uses the best codec in the sub $6k range.

                        Been happy with both.

                         

                        I bought a Cannon vixia HF M series at $345 for home use, It records a great picture, bout the controls are goofy and amateurish.

                        • 9. Re: Camera Advice
                          Stephen_Spider Level 3

                          End of Story . . . . you had me wondering who made the EOS for a few, and I was pretty sure it was JVC.

                          • 10. Re: Camera Advice
                            Pacey4321 Level 1

                            Is the Canon Vixia HF R20 any good?
                            I see you use external mics on this which was the main issue of the one we use (sound quality)

                            But what is the picture quality like? The Sony handycam we use although HD leaves a lot to be desired, don't want to end up with something similar

                            • 11. Re: Camera Advice
                              Pacey4321 Level 1

                              Actually change that to
                              Canon LEGRIA Vixia HF S100 (PAL) lol

                              • 12. Re: Camera Advice
                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                Suggest to change that to:

                                 

                                Canon Legria HF G10.

                                • 13. Re: Camera Advice
                                  Jim_Simon Level 9

                                  XF100...uses the best codec in the sub $6k range.

                                   

                                  I disagree.  The Panasonic AG-HPX250 goes for under $6K and uses AVC-I.

                                  • 14. Re: Camera Advice
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                    I disagree with that blanket statement, Jim. First of all, the BBC has not approved the AVC-I codec as suitable for HD. Second, consider David Heath's comments:

                                     

                                    The XF300 uses fundamentally the XDCAM 422 50Mbs codec and that is anything but "weak". The EBU gave it the same status as AVC-Intra 100 - "quasitransparent" and suitable for unrestricted broadcast acquisition. It seems to be becoming the HD acquisiton codec of choice for the BBC, who have bought XF300s at the lower end, and Sony PMW500s at the higher end. That's good enough for me.

                                     

                                    I would choose any camera primarily on the basis of the front end and other features, secondarily on codec - important though that may be. I'd expect overal performance to be primarily influenced by the front end, and if codec choice is particularly important for whatever reason you can always add an external recorder.

                                     

                                    As far as the XF300 v HPX250 goes, then I'd consider the main negative to the HPX250 in this category to be that the lens is servo in relation to the operation of the focus and iris. I'd expect that as inevitable for cost reasons in something in the AVCCAM/NXCAM ranges - but not for the market the XF300/HPX250 are aimed at.

                                     

                                    Yes, you're right that it is less than the XF300 in terms of cost - but when a reasonable amount of memory is factored in, the last I looked the difference becomes much smaller. (Don't forget that for the HPX250 you need twice as many GB for the same running time.)

                                     

                                    As far as 10 bit goes, then at this price point it's irrelevant. The noise level of all cameras at this price point swamps any advantage that 10 bit recording may give.

                                     

                                    I think David got it right. Also, the XF100 is in the below $ 4K price range, which compares quite favorably with the $ 6K for the Panny, even more so when considering the absurd prices of P2 cards.

                                    • 15. Re: Camera Advice
                                      Stephen_Spider Level 3

                                      P2 was a factor in our choice, we wouldn't ever get a camera that used it. I also speculated that the 35 - 50 Mbs Mpeg 2 MXF performs better in Premiere than AVC-1. I'm not certain of the fact, but things have worked great so far.

                                      • 16. Re: Camera Advice
                                        Jim_Simon Level 9

                                        the BBC has not approved the AVC-I codec

                                         

                                        I wasn't aware the BBC approved codecs, only cameras.

                                         

                                        But what they approve is neither here nor there.  AVC-I is a Master Quality codec.

                                         

                                        Now if you want to argue about glass and electronics and storage costs, that a different issue.  Stephen made a claim about the quality of the codec (not the camera, image or anything else), so I countered with a different opinion.

                                        • 17. Re: Camera Advice
                                          Jim_Simon Level 9

                                          absurd prices of P2 cards.

                                           

                                          Well that part I can't argue with.

                                          • 18. Re: Camera Advice
                                            Zoop studio Level 1

                                            I have a Canon HF G10, a consumer camera with the same Cmos chip and lens as the prosumer XA10 (has the XLR audio input handle) or the same chip & lens as the pro version XF100 or XF 105 (XF100/105 is not AVCHD but 50mb/sec ? codec, the BBC approved)

                                            I think, when you through in a Blackmagic intencity, you can record the full 4.2.2 picture, BBC approved footage direct into your PC.

                                            (the HF g10 HDMI output into the BM card, into PC HDD)

                                            So a HF G 10, € 1200,- and a € 200,- Blackmagic card should give you XF100 (€ 3000,-?) quality, is it?

                                             

                                            I forgot to say: I'm very very happy with the HF G10!

                                            • 19. Re: Camera Advice
                                              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                              Luc, I am no expert in this sort of thing but I do not think that you can recreate 4:2:2 information once it has been encoded to AVCHD.  Now if that camera had for instance an HD-SDI output direct from the sensor (ahead of the AVCHD encoding) you would be able to capture 4:2:2 video.  For instance I have a Sony HXR-NX5U camera that records AVCHD.  It happens to have the HD-SDI output which I then record uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 with the Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle.

                                              • 20. Re: Camera Advice
                                                Zoop studio Level 1

                                                I'm not an expert on this as well but I think the most if not all HDMI camera output is non compressed.

                                                http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

                                                • 21. Re: Camera Advice
                                                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                  What you have to do is find out from the camera vendor is the HDMI output from ahead of the AVCHD encoding.  And if it is then only if you use a live feed to the BM Intensity will you get the 4:2:2 data.  You cannot playback of the recorded memory which is 4:2:0 AVCHD and regain the full data.

                                                  • 22. Re: Camera Advice
                                                    Toomany3 Level 1

                                                    For that budget, a Canon T2i with kit lens.

                                                    • 23. Re: Camera Advice
                                                      Zoop studio Level 1

                                                      Obviously when footage is recorded on camera, therefore compressed, you can't get it back to uncompressed.

                                                      The canon T2 (or in my case a Nikon D7000) is a great picture but a totally different approche.

                                                      One of my workflows is: 2 camera's, one band man set up: I set up the canon HF G 10 on a tripod and record medium or wide shots and put the Nikon D7000

                                                      on a schoulder rig so I can control picture and focus all the time (the HFG10 on auto focus, face detection and just let it record) so I have 2 camera's rolling by

                                                      myself so, when edditing, I can use some nice close shots of the Nikon.

                                                      • 24. Re: Camera Advice
                                                        Darren Kelly Level 1

                                                        COntrary to some of the opinions shared already.....

                                                         

                                                        First, the British pound is currently traiding at 1.57 US, so in US$ youhave $1570.00

                                                         

                                                        Visit B&H's web site. There are currently 7 used camcorders that are used by Pro's for under that price. THey area Panasonic and Sony.

                                                         

                                                        If you can get a little more money, check out the JVC HM100U. It's going for less than $2K, and is considered professional. CNN bought 200 of them a year ago.

                                                         

                                                        Harm, Come on. The BBC is not the world standard. Each broadcaster sets the standard they want. I would be really surprised if the BBC hasn't aired footage from the Sony EX1/EX3. They are one of the most popular cameras worldwide.. Given the world wide popularity of reality TV, just about anything is professional these days.

                                                         

                                                        DBK

                                                        • 25. Re: Camera Advice
                                                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                          Darren,

                                                           

                                                          The BBC is not the only broadcaster in the world, that is correct and CNN has quite different standards. I mean, CNN also regularly airs material from mobile phones, not as an endorsement of the quality, but because they perceive it as news-worthy. The difference however is that the BBC, Discovery and National Geographic are renowned around the world for the quality of their HD broadcasts and as such leading.

                                                           

                                                          Also true that the BBC has aired some EX1/EX3 material, but only for less than 10% of the total footage, unless it was recorded at 50 Mbps or more with a Nano Flash or similar, because that is the requirement for integral HD acceptance.

                                                           

                                                          In the handheld category only the XF300 and XF305 are accepted for full HD broadcast. The EX1/EX3 only if recording is done with a disk recorder at 50 Mbps or more.

                                                           

                                                          See http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/production/delivery/hd-production-delivery.shtml

                                                          • 26. Re: Camera Advice
                                                            Gazzaspi

                                                            Hi Harm

                                                             

                                                            I cant find the BBC approved list of HD cameras on that page link. Do you think its been replaced by document R118?

                                                            Maybe I am missing something?

                                                            Gaz

                                                            • 27. Re: Camera Advice
                                                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                              http://www.millcon.nl/BBC_Approved_HD_Cameras.pdf

                                                               

                                                              I downloaded it, because it is hard to find, but you can find it by Googling and you will find http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/site/BBC_Approved_HD_Cameras.pdf

                                                              • 28. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                Gazzaspi Level 1

                                                                Many Thanks Harm, got it now, your second link worked  ...Gaz

                                                                • 29. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                  My mistake, the link should have been http://www.millcon.nl/Harm/BBC_Approved_HD_Cameras.pdf

                                                                   

                                                                  Interesting  (though not for the OP) to see five cameras in comparison based on  today's prices at B&H and including 3 hours worth of storage at  maximum quality:

                                                                   

                                                                  CameraBase priceStorage 3 hours
                                                                  Total cost
                                                                  Panasonic HPX-250$ 5300$ 1950 (3 x 64 GB P2)$ 7250
                                                                  Sony PMW-EX1/R$ 6300$ 1350 (3 x 32 GB SxS) or a Nano Flash $ 3000*$ 7650 / $ 9300*
                                                                  Sony PMW-EX3$ 8320$ 1350 (3 x 32 GB SxS) or a Nano Flash $ 3000*$ 9670 / $ 11320*
                                                                  Canon XF300$ 6500$ 390 (3 x 32 GB CF Extreme)$ 6890
                                                                  Canon XF305$ 7500$ 390 (3 x 32 GB CF Extreme)$ 7890

                                                                   

                                                                  If you belong to the category that needs more than 3 hours of card storage (events, weddings, trainings, etc.) then the cost differences increase even more.

                                                                   

                                                                  * required to meet the BBC requirements. The further assumption is that the 250 will be approved shortly, as the 371 was last year.

                                                                  • 30. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                    Darren Kelly Level 1

                                                                    I understand what you are saying Harm, but frequently, when someone posts a question that says I have $X to spend on Y, you give them selections that are 6-10 times the amount they have to spend, rather than suggesting the best item that fits their budget. That's my only complaint. It come off rather snobish, which I know you don't mean.

                                                                     

                                                                    Professional is a term that is loosely thrown around. If all you are doing is producing clips that will end up on the web someplace, you don't need to hit it over the head with a Red - extreme example, but I think you know what I mean. A $1K camera will handle that job just fine. I wouldn't personally choose to use it, because I like my pro controls.

                                                                     

                                                                    A year ago, when I was forced into bankruptcy by my evil, and now X wife, I lost my EX1. My remaining money only allowed me the JVC HMU100. You know, I produced 3 videos with it, 2 went to Blu-Ray, and nobody said Boo about it. Do I want to upgrade my camera? Yes, if I had the cash, I'd buy one of Sony's HDCAM-EX cameras with a great lens, but, with the economy where it is today, I'll continue using the JVC, until I can afford better. I still consider myself a pro.

                                                                     

                                                                    I see Go Pro's used all the time on television these days from everyone including CBS's 60 minutes. I don't think the BBC, National Geographic or Discovery want those cameras in their studio's, but I'll tell you I have seen the footage on all those channels - BBC excempt, I don't watch BBC Canada very frequently.

                                                                     

                                                                    Guys like you and I have spent our whole lives trying to make better looking images. Today's generation records it's memories on cell pohone cameras

                                                                     

                                                                    Cheers

                                                                     

                                                                    D

                                                                    • 31. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                      Darren,

                                                                       

                                                                      Look again at post #1 and #12.

                                                                       

                                                                      The essence is that the budget was too low, or forget about professional.

                                                                       

                                                                      That of course opens up another discussion, what is professional and IMO professional is what the BBC endorses. Anything less is prosumer or consumer. Whether you agree with this blanket statement, I don't know, but at least it makes it clear where the boundaries are and that is worth something. Another thing to consider is that whatever camera you have, it is the camera man/woman and the director that ultimately decide whether anything shot is worth watching. If you are in the league of Steven Spielberg, anything shot on a cheap $ 300 consumer camera will still look fabulous, if you have a $ 30K camera and don't know how to use it, it will look like crap.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                        Darren Kelly Level 1

                                                                        Yes, those are just 2 of the posts I'm referring to. We can also point to your widely known opinions on over-priced computer systems.

                                                                         

                                                                        I guess I am not a professional video producer. I've never had anything on the BBC.

                                                                         

                                                                        What B$ that is.

                                                                         

                                                                        I have made millions in the past 18 years producing over 200 commercials, 100's of corporate videos, and a line of DVD's that sold over 1.4 million copies. But because I've never had anything on the BBC, I'm not a pro?

                                                                         

                                                                        Christ, are you that full of yourself? I take it back, you are trying to be a snob.

                                                                         

                                                                        " If you are in the league of Steven Spielberg, anything shot on a cheap $ 300 consumer camera will still look fabulous, if you have a $ 30K camera and don't know how to use it, it will look like crap."

                                                                         

                                                                        I guess the BBC wouldn't run it because the camera doesn't qualify.

                                                                         

                                                                        Your Loss

                                                                        • 33. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                          I have made millions in the past 18 years producing over 200 commercials, 100's of corporate videos, and a line of DVD's that sold over 1.4 million copies. But because I've never had anything on the BBC, I'm not a pro?

                                                                           

                                                                          Where did I say that? I think you are turning this into a rather negative tone that does not help anybody.

                                                                           

                                                                          We can also point to your widely known opinions on over-priced computer systems.

                                                                           

                                                                          Like here: Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update...?

                                                                           

                                                                          Let's stop this negative and accusatory tone now. I've had it with this approach.

                                                                          • 34. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                            Islanders66 Level 1

                                                                            Some camcorders that have been popular with low budget Indie movies are: Canon HV40 (HDV tape based), Canon HF S100. These have been discontinued but still available.

                                                                             

                                                                            You can get good results with a $500-$600 camera but it helps to understand the limitatons and how to work around them.

                                                                             

                                                                            I spotted a HV40 being used on the show Intervention on A&E that was in HD.

                                                                             

                                                                            I think the advantages of HDV tape workflow outweigh the disadvantages.

                                                                             

                                                                            Edit: these might be too simular to the Sony you have now? If you need more manual controles, built in ND filter, I don't know of anything below $1000. I don't see much improvement over the one's I mentioned for most applications until you get over $2000.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Camera Advice
                                                                              Darren Kelly Level 1

                                                                              Harm Said:

                                                                              "Nothing. You can forget it with that kind of budget. If you multiply it by at least a factor 5 - 10 you can get by.

                                                                               

                                                                              The least expensive professional camera at this moment (approved by the BBC for HD) is the Canon XF300, which goes for around £ 5800 and is way better than the EX1R or EX3, that are not approved by the BBC for HD in the standard configurations."

                                                                               

                                                                              And this somehow helps?

                                                                               

                                                                              I'll step down from the soapbox now.