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Thread: Help on buying a camera

  1. #1

    Smile Help on buying a camera

    Hi there,

    I want to buy a my first serious camera. i have used quite a few, but i think its time i got my own now.
    I want a camera that films ok inside without the use of extra lights and is also pretty good quality. i will mainly be usin it to teach kids video production & also maybe branch into the wedding video / corporate video market, buit mainly using it to make my own short films and docs!

    I dont really understand how the whole 'pro' camera thing works. I am looking at the Sony HVR A1 at the mo... its about 1500... what is the difference between this and say the canon XL2 thats around 2500? or the Sony Z1 thats about 3500???

    i have read a few reviews that say footage from the Z1 and A1 could be cut together, with a little work... so why not just buy the A1 for 2000 cheaper?

    I dont really have a budget... i just want a good camera that does what i need it to and costs as little as possible, so i can spend more money on accessories.

    Any help or advice is great cos i really dont understand the difference really, and i just wanna know if me watching my tv or the film put on a projector will actually make much difference if i get the A1 or the XL2 or the Z1!!!

  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert on the wedding video/corporate end but everyone I know who is into wedding videos and corporates uses a 3 CCD shoulder mounted ENG style camcorder plus a tripod resembling the Eiffel tower. DVCAM seems to be the name of the game, and as far as I know this is what a lot of freelance tv cameramen and women use aswell, correct me if I'm wrong. That means you could choose from Panasonic, JVC (the wedding and corporate guys I know seem to prefer the JVC models, I think they are generally cheaper than the Panny's and Sonys). Would High Definition video be a priority for you or would you settle for SD?

  3. #3
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    A1 or Z1?

    Many reasons - Z1 will have better handling qualities due to being bigger, less fiddly - easier to hand hold cos it's a bit heavier, better lens, better imaging system (3ccd), xlr inputs for sound, a proper microphone (on the expensive version), looks more pro to impress the clients.

    I am sure the a1 is a great cam and would do weddings very well but it does look like a domestic camera to many and that may not impress the clients.

    As Niko. says many wedding people use eng type cameras - good lenses, nice to use, very steasy on the shoulder, look impressive, ultra low drop out rate with dvcam.

    The bigger the camera the bigger the impression you make when filming, you can actually change what you film by the camera you use - I like doing vox pops - when i use a small camera I get nowhere, so now I go out with a big shoulder camera, a friend with a clip board, and ideally someone holding my shot gun mic. A lot of fuss but people flock to the camera to give thier opinions because you 'look' pro.

    Having said that i would love an a1 to replace my crap small cameras for filming oppertuinites where you dont want to be noticed or manipulate your subject.
    Last edited by Mark W; 10-08-2006 at 09:48 AM.

  4. #4

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    thanks. a lot of websites i have looked at that do wedding videos seem to use the canon xl2. is it really that good?

    hi-def is kind of important cos i dont wanna have to buy a new camera in a couple of years cos everything has gone hi-def.

    could u reccomend any particular models that you think i should consider.

    cheers

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    I tend to disagree with you there Mark. 'Looking the part' doesn't always get the best results. When shooting wedding videos with an XL2 as my main camera, I'd frequently wish I had a smaller, light weight model to throw around. It was a real pain to lug around and was one of the reasons I always needed another person (one of many reasons though to be honest). In fact all my glidecam work was done with an XM2 and I ended up using this for a lot of the footage. I admit the quality simply isn't as good, but the overall product was better for it.

    I'm looking at buying a few new cameras and there's no way I'd go for something the weight and size of an XL2 again. You really need a few cameras you can throw around and carry all day long - you can do this with one, but it gets tiresome with the weight of large cams, a few tripods, a glidecam, a big box etc etc.

    I think a camcorder the size of an XM2 is perfect. You get a handle for the low shots, they fit in almost any bag and you can be so much more discreet.

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    Well, you are the expert on this I think Marc, I defer to your greater expirience in this area. I guess I wasnt really thinknig sooo much of weddings but more of my own expiriences with a big camera, the impression made has often got me access when wanting to film - but I have to say lugging the thing about all day is a bit of a workout, surely something you have to considor on something like a wedding shoot.

  7. #7

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    So as u recon size is not an issue, and i have to say the idea of lugging around a huge camera all day must be exhausting. as the canon xm2 and the sony hvr-a1 are similar sizes and prices... which is a better buy and why?

    any advice about makes or models would be a great help.

  8. #8
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    Well, I suggest having a go with both and see how they feel to you. I am sure the sd output from both is very good and if you are not tempted by the hdv possibilities of the a1 maybe you should get a good look (or read reviews) at the differences in the quality off tape.

    The canon has a great lens and can use other canon still camera lens, would that make a difference ?

    I hesitate to reccomend either as I have only a little expirience of the canon and none of the sony.

    I defer to those more expirienced in covering weddings.

  9. #9

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    i cant find anywhere online that is based in the south where i can go try a sony a1 or z1 or any other pro camera. i live in chichester, which is near brighton and portsmouth. anyone got any suggestions of where to go... or is it a trip up to london?

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