I'm very new indeed not just to this forum but to more serious video production in general. Long story short the wife and I have decided to get started in this exciting area and will probably specialise in wildlife/environmental type films. To start with we have decided that we would cut our teeth on something a little easier and close to home, namely a look at the environment and wildlife in our garden through all the seasons of a year.
We didn't want to spend a lot of money on kit until we knew if we would take to it but knew that we needed more than the domestic video camera that we already have as the image/sound quality when shown of a large screen tv just isn't there. I really like the look and spec of the Panasonic AG - DVX100a and could buy a used one for around £500 which is in our budget. If we take to this we would probably move to a non tape based system over time. One of the things that drew me to this camera is oddly enough the same issue that is prompting this question. I love the Leica lens quality but the zoom range is a little short. Whilst we are not planning to tackle anything that requires long zoom subjects sticking to birds in the garden, squirrels etc never the less is the zoom too short generally for even basic wildlife work?
so to the further questions,
1) Is anyone using the DVX100a for wildlife work and if so is the zoom really an issue? Whilst I appreciate that for serious wildlife work this would not be the camera of choice will it be fine for type of project that I have described above or not? Is there actually a better or more suitable camera choice that would be better for a similar budget? it doesn't have to be HD or new at this point.
2) Is anyone using telephoto extenders? I was horrified when I saw a lens test involving a 2X extender on a DVX100a that despite costing almost double the value of the camera gave horrible vignetting as the zoom pulled out. I think it ran from 99 to just 90 before the effect started and ended looking like the view at the end of a long tube? I think I heard that a further test using a 1.6X converter was better allowing full zoom from 99 to around 60 before the effect started. Is this effect common to all extenders, even expensive and supposedly better quality ones such as the century Optics Pro range? Is there a better solution that I should consider for those few occasions when long zoom is required?
Sorry for the length of post but wanted to get specific concerns over and I look forward to any thoughts that you may have on this