New camera

Posted by Xander05 
New camera
October 20, 2010 01:20AM
Hi guys,
i'm going to invest 6-8k for new camcorder, but don't know what to look for? this camera primarily would be use for video music and indoor green screen..i was thinking Panasonic HVX200A or JVC-HM790U..any idea?
Re: New camera
October 20, 2010 02:37AM
Forget the HVX... HPX-170. Lighter, no tape. 1/4 stop better in the dark. Or the HMC-150...AVCHD.

Avoid XDCAM and HDV if you can. GOP is a bag of hurt.

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Re: New camera
October 20, 2010 10:21AM
Buy a Scarlet. Oops, forgot, dang. They've been making us wait forever for that one.

Then get into the EOS loop. But it's garbage for green screen. And although the camera body is inexpensive, you'll spend at least as much again on rig and accesories plus glass to be able to use it well.

Ok, then there's Sony F35. Stunningly good-looking video. Records straight to ProRes too. Dang again. Costs well into 6 figures...

XDCam? HDV? Agree with Shane, don't go there. The image looks ok at first, but try to apply a grade and a few filters and it collapses. Atrocious for any ambitious keying or compositing.

DVCProHD or AVCHD? Certainly much better than XDCam or HDV, somewhat better for keying and fast action, but limited too when it comes to giving it a look. It starts to get blocky and grainy-looking pretty quickly.

Point is, there isn't a perfect camera system in the 8k range. Yet. Game-changers are potentially the Scarlet if they ever get it out there or the DSLR's if they can come up with some kind of progressive RAW codec as currently rumored. For the DSLR's you could buy in now because the glass and rig should be usable down the road even if -worst case- you do need a new body at some future date. But again, it's a bet.

Looking at the developments over the past 2-3 years, there certainly have been a lot of suprises. There will be more winners, losers and interim comprimises. Maybe meantime just rent on a project-specific basis, which is what most dp's and producers are doing, until things become clearer. I don't think that it's a good time to buy into any particular camera system just now, because in most cases you're looking at an entire workflow solution that may or may not win out in the long run.

My 2 cents.

Re: New camera
October 20, 2010 08:07PM
I agree with Shane. If you are doing a lot of green screen, you want a 4:2:2 codec like the HPX170 uses.

However, the new AG-AF100 is hitting at the end of December, a 4/3 Micro Sensor with removable lenses, AVCHD, XLRs, timecode and all of the other goodness that DSLR users wish that they had. You would want to rent a 4:2:2 recorder when shooting green screen though, but the body is selling for under $4,800.00. You still need lenses, SDXC cards, a few spare batteries, case and tripod but it is looking like it is the spiritual successor to the HVX200A/HPX170 crossed with all of the shallow DOF goodness that make us accept the compromises of shooting HD with a still camera.

There are some hot SDI 4:2:2 external recorders hitting like the Atomos Ninja that sell for under $1,000.00 too as well as the new Aja KiPro Mini for double the price. The AF100 with some great glass, an external recorder, cards and everything you need will still be under $10k total and will represent an amazing tool for the money, if you care about large sensor and shallow DOF. If not, HPX170 is the ticket.

Dan Brockett
Re: New camera
October 22, 2010 09:16AM
With due respect to the others, Clay's answer is the one you should pay the most attention to. Now is a terrible time to purchase a camera. The technology is in flux, even more so than it usually is. Between the DSLRs with their incumbent ecstasies and nightmares, the last generation of HDV and XDCAM cameras, and the current-but-already-unsatisfying generation of AVCHD cameras, right now is the worst possible moment in my professional memory to pick a horse.

For $8,000, you can get anywhere from 15 to 40 days with a rented camera package, depending on what exactly you rent. That's 15 to 40 shooting days, days of actually having the camera in your hands. Consider that it's not unusual for every day of shooting to translate into a week or more of post-production, you could rent for a year or more for less money than what you're planning to spend on buying, and that's if you're working full-time.

Rent. Sink a little money up front to rent a couple different camera packages and try them out. Find the one that gives you the pictures you want with the workflow you need for the money you can afford to spend per day.

Then reevaluate as time goes by.

Re: New camera
October 22, 2010 09:45AM
I don't know Jeff. A valid case can be made that the rental recommendation is both ALWAYS the right answer and NEVER the right answer. The camera industry is always in a state of flux and always "almost there", but not quite.

Renting is a PITA and you have to factor all of the phone calls, gas, hassle, insurance and yes, more hassle to pickup, prep, load up, return, go through all of the cases again to make sure you didn't leave pieces on set, etc. Not saying don't rent, I do it quite a bit, but Xander sounds as if his mind is made up that he is buying a camera. If you are shooting a feature or tv show and are going to rent and keep for a few weeks, not a big deal. If you are shooting one and two day events like music video shoots, etc. renting is a pain and will keep certain shoots from being scheduled possibly, because it is a such a hassle, as compared to knowing you have your gear ready to go for the next shoot, all you have to do is grab it.

I agree with you about the deals. I was on a project a few months ago that had rented two full Red One packages, loaded, with everything you could imagine for $2,500.00 for the entire month, it worked out to roughly $90.00 per day, a ridiculously good deal. There are a LOT of RED One owners in LA who are desperate to make their lease payments.

Most people's opinions are these days, if you have paying work lined up and can pay off the camera quickly and need a camera, buy a camera and make the money. If you are a hobbyist, goofing around and are not rich, I would agree, renting is better.

Re: New camera
October 22, 2010 10:08AM
I agree with Dan. You can also consider that a camera purchase is an investment -- if you buy an $8000 camera, you can probably sell it at a later date for at least 50 per cent of the original price, depending on how long you wait. Even practically obsolete cameras like the Canon GL2, released in 2002, hovers between $600 and $1000 for a used one on eBay -- and I'd bought mine around 2004 for $1800. That's $1200 for a six-year "rental", when you think about it. If you rent a camera, that's cash down the drain. Aside from the value of the footage and the project, you get nothing back.

If you don't shoot a lot, owning a very expensive camera may not be a worthy investment. But in my experience, hobbyists often shoot more than professionals, because they're not trying to make every aspect of the shoot perfect, they're not shooting with full crews. Also, owning a camera makes you shoot a lot more, and novices (I consider myself one, in the camera department) can use that experience. To get that experience, you need to be able to shoot whenever you want, and play around, rather than have to schedule everything around rentals. The buy-versus-rent comparison skews even more towards buying if you're talking about a lower-budget camera, and if you shoot documentary projects.

For pros, owning a camera comes in handy for lower-budget or personal-interest projects, and in some cases they can charge extra for providing the equipment. Or help a production save money by using their own camera.

It's practically never a good time to buy a camera anymore. So you might as well pick a good one (especially one with a workflow that's accessible) and use it. And if newer toys come out, you can always rent one for a day or two to see if it suits your needs.
Re: New camera
October 22, 2010 01:57PM
Thanks for the responses. well, i don't mind to spend 6-8k for camera. i feel that HPX 170 is a better camera..what do u think?
Re: New camera
October 22, 2010 03:09PM
At least Xander isn't as demanding as the guy at the LAST LAFCPUG meeting. He asked the same question...but was pretty belligerent. I recommended the same camera to him...the HPX-170. If you must buy NOW, that's the one I recommend. If you can wait...wait. But for now...yeah. Some people might recommend the EX cameras from Sony. Nice lenses, but a BITCH to hand hold. And that XDCAM codec is so difficult.

Listen to THE EDIT BAY Podcast on iTunes
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 10:58AM
Hi Xander,

mix Derek and Shane, buy a used Pana 170. It´s a work horse! P2 is a reliable system. I had two bad cards in three years, both user fuckups. But we send the cards to Pana and they recovered the footage within 48 hrs.
I would buy a used one, since the camera is in the market for some years now and some people will sell their gear like Derek mentioned.
Codecwise trust Shane xdcam is not nice to handle.
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 11:21AM
stop waiting for the Scarlet. Last week the company announced they are dropping development and staying with their "Pro" line of products.
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 11:27AM
don't loose sight of the cost of the P2 cards. If your doing long shoots, it's going to cost you a couple of thousand dollars more on top of the purchase price. This is one of the factors that swayed me toward XDCAM. The EX1r is quite a camera, I'd say way "more" camera than the Panasonic 170, and uses Express 34 cards. One half the size (newer technology) and the new "E" series cards are half the price of P2.
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 11:44AM

Last week the company announced they are dropping development and staying with their "Pro" line of products.

Any links to back this up? RED still have Scarlet "Coming Soon" on their website.

For instant answers to more than one hundred common FCP questions, check out the LAFCPUG FAQ Wiki here : []
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 11:49AM
Yes I do. I can't get to it until tomorrow. If you can navigate to CEA Smartbriefs, which is the consumer electronics daily brief email/newsletter, there is a multi-paragraph statement from the president of the company explaining their decision.

edited for name description
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 12:20PM
The EX1 is good no doubt. SxS is good we use them too, but the codec is not good. DVCPRO HD is iframe and has more bandwith.
For me in a production value / total cost comparison the 170 is a better deal. I absolutely share the view of Shane.
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 12:31PM
No, we're not stopping development of Scarlet! Indeed, I was just shooting with a prototype last week and it's coming along nicely, although trailing Epic a little in it's development. The fixed lens is an absolute joy to use, and the recording quality was great. I was shooting in a dark studio at some outrageous ISO setting and still getting rather nice images.

Yes, RED is focussing on professional products, and also working on bringing HDR to Scarlet, which I'm sure you'll enjoy too.


[] - Plugins for FCP-X
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 12:39PM
Ok, I will dig up the post tomorrow and copy/paste. Since it's a daily brief, I delete it after reading. However, I think I can find it and just copy it. Sounds like I might be wrong but I'll check what the article says...
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 12:41PM
yep, I get the difference. However, most people seem to transcode to ProRes anyway. I guess you could save a step by editing in native DVCPRO HD
Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 12:56PM
Not that I think you need a more authoritative response than Graeme's, DM, but this bit of misinformation has been circulating for several weeks now, and I for one want to see it nipped in the bud.

Jim Jannard, Red's founder, is kind of the anti-Steve Jobs. He speaks publicly a lot, especially on the Red User forum. A couple weeks ago, some things he said were taken out of context and badly misconstrued by a writer on another Web site. I won't link to that site here because they don't deserve the attention ? and besides, the article in question appears to have been taken down now anyway. But suffice to say that the story made the rounds, and the misinformation lingers.

The sentiment that Jannard actually expressed is that for a while Red was considering getting into the consumer camera market; "the 'volume' business" is the phrase he used. That strategy has changed. Red is now positioning itself exclusively as a high-end manufacturer. And that includes Scarlet, which is being revised to get the new HDRx technology and has had its base target price increased by a US$1000 accordingly.

So what you said, DM ? that Red has canceled Scarlet ? is absolutely, utterly untrue, and the product of a pure, ugly, unsubstantiated rumor.

Re: New camera
October 24, 2010 01:13PM
Well I hope so too. As I said, I will do my best to dig up the statement and post it. I don't have a dog in this race. I don't think the original post is really directed at this sort of camera anyway.
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