Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase

Posted by hochstedler 
Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
December 14, 2010 10:53AM

Feeling swamped with all of the decisions and format limitations and need to buy a camera for my company. Here's my predicament

---Previously was using a Canon GL2, standard def and almost all of the content shot goes to web via mp4 or flv

---Would like to get a tapeless SD/HD camera with all the manual options (focus, iris, XLR audio inputs, shutter speed controls) similar to what the GL2 had

---Only have two iMacs with one having an Intel i5 with 8 GB and Radeon 4850 512 MB video) and other being older with Core 2 Duo and 3 GB, 256 VRam Radeon)

---Shoot a lot of seminar/sessions with talking heads and occasional trade show floor use

---Using at this time Final Cut Express 4 on both of them, with occasional work in iMovie.

---budget is under $3000 for camera, and would prefer not to go the P2 card route because of expense

---Really like the features of Panasonic AG-HMC80 and AG-HMC150 AVCHD cameras, but I've heard that there's a lot of space needed on the mac and processor power to decompress the files to get them ready for Final Cut.

So without the budget to upgrade to beefier Macs and still using FCE 4, is there a camera that anybody recommends that will suit the needs and situations I've listed above while speeding up my workflow from days of real-time tape capturing? Any formats besides AVCHD and HDV that would play nicer with Apple products?

Would appreciate any and all advice on this. Thanks!
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
December 14, 2010 11:53AM
i had an hmc150 for a little over a year. Loved it for what it does well. Cheap media, long recording times, all the other features you'd expect on a camera--XLR, LCD screen, all sorts of controls, etc. Sold it because I'm not doing as much freelance work anymore.

Image quality of the DSLR's is pretty amazing when compared with a traditional cam. But...there are definite drawbacks (no timecode, XLR audio, no long record times, etc) that you should keep in mind.

In the situation you describe, I'd recommend going with something like the hmc150. You do have to transcode in order to edit, but it's not like you have to keep those transcoded files after you're done with the project. Pretty much any High def cam that records on SD cards (or hard drive) is going to need to transcode to something bigger in order to edit in FCP.

good luck!
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
December 14, 2010 12:03PM
Thanks Clay! I did consider going the DSLR route, but like you said, for recording long sessions, they'll be issues. With the HMC150, did you find it was dependable and reliable? Meaning, when recording to SC cards, was footage usually error-free or were there occasional artifacts/digital blurps when you brought it into editing system? did you use on-board mic or one of external options?

Thanks for your advice!
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
December 14, 2010 12:30PM
I never had any issues with the HMC. Footage was always pristine, never had any glitches or errors. Just make sure you get decent SD cards (not the absolute cheapest, bottom of the barrel) that can handle the data rate (I think either class 4 or 6 is the minimum).

I used both onboard and external audio depending on the project. For talking heads, always an external. Occasionally for events, I'd use onboard. Quality of the audio is on par with what you'd expect with other similar cameras in the same price range.
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
December 19, 2010 08:50PM
I moved from a GL2 to a Sony AX 2000 I shoot all the LAFCPUG meetings with it and it takes great pictures it has XLR but the audio is AAC only and the camera tends to pick up noise from the camera even from bumping the handle on the tripod with a shotgun mic attached, I get around this by mounting an additional mic holder or I don't bump the camera. The noise is not so much a camera noise just things like closing a door or flicking a switch. I got my camera from for $3100.00 it retails for $3499.00. Fumfie sells it and tries to up sell you a bit. They charge a 6% insurance fee and they may not ship instantly which may make your heart race but I got what I ordered.


"When I see you floating down the gutter I'll give you a bottle of wine."
Captain Beefheart, Trout Mask Replica.
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
March 09, 2011 01:08PM

I just got the HMC80. I'm running FCP 6 on a Dual 2 GHz PowerPC G5. Ram is weak at 4.5 but it will be at 8 in the near future. The machine has an ATI Radeon X800 XT video card -on OSX 10.5.8. most of this is probably irrelevant to my question, but there you have it.

I know Log & Transfer is how I'll bring the files in. But how do you set up your Sequence? I see no Sequence Preset that matches up with AVCHD or MTS... my best guess is one of the DVCPRO HD settings.. depending on frame rate?

If you don't mind going through whatever your process was for getting a project set-up I would really appreciate it. I'm probably going to be shooting/dealing with 1080 30p footage mostly, if that makes a difference.

Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
March 09, 2011 01:36PM
No no. Not DvcproHD. ProRes, but you will need clipwrap and a lot of patience to transcode. PPCs are underpowered to work with AVCHD formats, and Apple does not support it in FCP.
Re: Advice Needed on Camera to Purchase
March 09, 2011 03:56PM
HMC150 all the way my friend.

They can talk about other cams but i have really yet to see an equivalent for many reasons. If technology move up in this area the HMC150 will still be relevant.

Once nano flash competitors start making slightly cheaper versions the hmc will be a very tough to beat even with lower-line P2 cameras.

I have used them on a 3 day hike with a laptop. Sports and theatric applications, On cranes, underwater, extreme cold and even as a movie player for movies on sd.

Its the best cam for the money. Since red never released the Scarlet at near the same pricing, i do not think that there is another cam that is significantly better than the HMC150.

Do a search and the only real complaint you will find is the low noise which i recently found out is more of an operators error.

""" What you do with what you have, is more important than what you could do, with what you don't have."

> > > Knowledge + Action = Wisdom - J. Corbett 1992
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