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The right Pro DV camera? HELP

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by darklight, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. darklight

    darklight
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    I'm an independent filmmaker and I'd like to switch camera to a more professional type. Currently I use a basic Panasonic NSdv28b.
    I'll hopefully have a budget of around £2000-£2500 and have heard good reports about the Canon XL series and VX2100. Any suggestions...? :)
     
  2. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    both the xl1s and the vx2100 are good cams, I prefer the XL1s because of the superior audio control and lens quality (though the resolution is a bit lower than the vx2k).

    The XL1s is laid out more like a full pro camera, using an EVF rather than an LCD, most of the controls you use lie under the finger on the outside of the body, the sony requires the use of menus more often.

    The mic quality ont he XL!s is better, it's isolated from the body and is of a more cardiod type than the sony.

    All in, my money is definately on the XL1s.

    Also budget for a decent tripod and a case (manfrotto 055 with 128 lp head at very least, most probably a portabrace kit bag ) this will bring to the £2500 mark.

    You may be advised to hold off for 6 months (if you can) and see what happens with HDV, the sony FX1 might drop in price (it's a great DV camera, HD is lossy, they may fix this) or other manufacturers may enter the arena.
     
  3. klr10

    klr10
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    Should be able to get a good price on an XL1s now that the XL2 is out.
     
  4. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    yep. £2000 on the high street, a good buy
     
  5. darklight

    darklight
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    Thanks for your advice guys. What's the difference between the XL1 and XL2. Apart from price that is.

    www.midnightpictures.co.uk
     
  6. darklight

    darklight
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    Forgot to ask. Does either of the Canon models have I-Link capibilites?
     
  7. Roy Mallard

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    XL2 delivers 576 lines of video (XL1s is about 520)

    XL2 offers full resolution progressive scan, for a filimic feel (XL1s offered around 75% of its -lower- maximum resolution)

    XL2 has a full resolution widescreen image block (XL1s was 4:3 with various 16:9 pseudo modes such as 4:3 with 16:9 safe margins, or a cropping system which dropped resolution further) and can be switched for 4:3 recording.

    XL2 has XLR audio inputs (professional ballanced audio, you can connect either ballanced mics, or switch to line mode and take a signal direct from a sound mixer) the XL1s required the purchase of a cumbersome accessorry unit.

    The XL2 has various engineering settings that you would only really use in a multi camera set up, it has a knee circuit, which prevents burn out in very very bright white areas.

    The XL2 is a nice bit of kit, but it's also a grand and a half more.

    If this was the money you were going to spend I would hold off for a second generation HDV camera, say in 6 months time (or maybe even take the plunge and go for a sony HDV-Z1).

    For 2 grand the XL1s is a great camera. That said, 6 months isn't a long time to wait, is it?.
     
  8. Gromit

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    If you really are a serious independent filmmaker there is no other option than to buy a 3CCD DV Camera.

    The best choices in priority are:

    Panasonic AG-DVX 100A
    Sony DSR-PD170
    Sony DSR-PD150

    .. or if you can afford it:

    Sony HDR-FX1E HDV (prosumer model)
    Sony DSR-Z1E HDV (Professional model)
     
  9. Roy Mallard

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    Canon XL1s/2 is a 3ccd cam

    (which does have DVin/out)

    The FX-1 & Z-1 are good cams purely for DV recording, the HDV is ropey, thats why I'd recommend holding off until sony sort the bugs.

    Besides, unless you intend to buy Final Cut Pro HD or Premiere Pro 1.5 with an HD plug in you won't be able to edit your HDV footage.
     
  10. Gromit

    Gromit
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    Of course you can.

    Sony Vegas 5 + DVD Architect can manage HDV editing. One of the best editing software around according to the professionals. Beats Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro easily.
     
  11. Duncan Craig

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    Or you can edit using iMovie HD or Final Cut Express HD. FCP will be HDV compliant in a few months. Waiting for Tiger OSX release. hmmm. More and more large facilities around the country are installing FCP, I've never seen Vegas.

    As regards cameras I would recommend Sony over Canon. I know 5 people with XL1's and 4 have had major faults, one with power problems, another with total audio loss and two with lens twitching problems.

    You could get a S/H PD150 for a lot less than 2k and they are very well built. I'm just back tonight from Spain after fiming a commercial on my early edition VX2000 (same optics and build as PD150) with Optex 16:9 convertor, and the pictures are great, I'm surprised myself. I still wish I had a PD150 instead but I bought the 2000 months before the 150 was available. Also the VX2000/2100, PD150/170 are smaller than the XL1/2.

    I can't decide what to buy next, I have the money, but HDV may drive down the price of low end pro kit. Perhaps...
     
  12. Roy Mallard

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  13. Gromit

    Gromit
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    Presently, the Panasonic DVX-100A is the best 3 CCD Mini-DV around.

    The DVX-100A DV is also reffered to as the PD buster... meaning it blows both the PD-150/170 away. Every review praises this cam as simply outstanding. However, this might be out of your price range. Just Google around and read the reviews.
     
  14. Boy Lex

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    Not tried that panasonic, but working in telly - we just bought a Sony PDX10 (around £1100+vat). Teeny tiny 3ccd with true 16:9 (unlike 150 and 170), absolutely awsome pictures, doddle to use, really versitile with xlr inputs (removeable). Used it for a couple of days and the results were incredible. Simply cannot go wrong for the money.

    As for HD - comeon?! I seriously doubt any of this cheap HD kit is going to produce pictures that look anything like what HD is capable of; and all the extra fannying around to preserve your HD through the edit? One step at a time - HD is a fair few years off being useful in the low end market.
     
  15. Roy Mallard

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    Dead right about consumer HD, it's great that things are moving that way, but a) there is presently very little HD broadcast in Europe (the BBC are concentrating on getting things 16:9 and digital, HD, for them is way way down the list) and b) unless you are spending thousands and thousands on a HD telly, you ain't going to see the benefit.

    I'll say again, the Sony HDV's need a bit of tweaking. As a true full res 16:9 miniDV AVI camera they are pretty damn good, the HDV side, pretty ropey.
    Camera pans and tilts suffer staggering, moving subjects suffer staggering, similar shades and hues tend to merge and look quite blocky, horrendous jaggies on diagonal lines...

    I never mentioned the PDX10 because I don't get along with it.

    I found it works reasonably well in 16:9 mode, but switched to 4:3, it wasn't that great. I opted for a 4:3 cam and anOptex 16:9 converter instead, giving me the best of both worlds.

    I also found the CCD's very prone to smear and streak on highlights, and didn't like the fact that the exposure is measured in terms of only '+' or '-'.
    There was no indication of aperture setting, and more importantly, no indication of when gain was kicking in, to me, a critical failing.
     

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