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Thread: Looking for my first profesional camera

  1. #1

    Question Looking for my first profesional camera

    As the title says I'm looking for my first professional camera. My budget is around 1000. It will mainly be used for shooting short films and a few interviews I have planned with a local business. Id like to go HD but I also know that with my price range I don't have the option to be picky. The short films would have various settings so I'm looking for a camera that would do well in low light. The interviews would just be the subject interacting a host behind the camera but round table meetings may also need to be documented. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    It's a low budget, but kit suitable for yr needs is available - in the top-Consumer market.

    Can you tell us yr experience in making films and any ancillary kit you already have? (Like mics, tripod/lights, etc.)
    I'm not sure that non-HD is saleable . . . your competitors will have that and so may some "hobbyists". What do you mean by low-light? (Wherever you are invited-in, ligting is a cheap option that will improve everything; provided you know how to use it).

    Can your Budget go up a bit?

  3. #3


    Realistically my budget can't improve. I've just come out of my university course where we had free reign over a news studio for the majority of the day but all the cameras were studio cameras that were in the tens of thousands of pounds upwards. As for competitors that's not really a factor as I'm mainly planning to be filming my own stuff and stuff from writers I personally know to build up a showreel before I even consider putting my services up for any sort of work. If it'd be better to wait until I have 2-3000 to put toward a camera then I'd rather do that then going out and buying one for the sake of buying it though. As for low light I don't mean anything like pitch black, more like a darkened room or corridor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I've been keeping an eye on eBay recently and it seems to me that there are many genuinely pro HDV cameras available (ie Sony Z1E's going for < 1000) - after people ditching standard definition, it seems any tape is following. If you've been used to studio cameras you'll feel a lot more at home with something like that than you will with a good consumer camera. Good consumer cams are capable of excellent images, but the controls are typically hdden away in menus on the LCD. A second hand pro HDV camera is what it says - dedicated bittons and dials on the outside, XLRs for audio input, built to take the odd knock.

    EDIT: Of course, I've just had a look and there's nothing there at the moment. Typical!
    Last edited by TimStannard; 02-07-2013 at 06:58 PM.

  5. #5


    Don't forget the rest of the kit you'll need. Tripod, external mics, lights etc...

    Your budget is just too low. If you are going to be paid for your work, get a loan to buy the kit you really need. Do a proper business plan with cashflow to show yourself and the bank manager how your investment can be afforded.

    If this is not real then get something cheap to keep your hand in and save up until you have the right budget for the right kit. Some people may suggest hiring but this may not be right unless you can justify the expense.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    You could rent the stuff you need on a project-by-project basis -- just make sure you get paid more than you spend

  7. #7


    Purely for the camera, I'd go used.

    I'd go for a VG10 because it was upgraded to a VG20 quickly which means there are some excellent, barely used examples around. I'd also ditch the stock lens, go body only and buy the Sigma 30mm 2.8 which is 100.

    Beyond this, the ubiquituous Manfrotto video tripod (used), used fluid head - a 701 is fine for the VG10 and a monopod mean the whole package will cost less than 1,000 for full HD and a package which is loads better than an HDV solution. As a plus, it is part of the Sony range of camcorders meaning you are futureproofed if you make money because you just keep the lens and the rest of the kit and upgrade the body. The next level up is the FS100.

    As a note, I am purely answering the question 'which camera.' If you need mics, editing equipment etc..., this is a whole new ball game.
    "80% of success is turning up" - Woody Allen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    It must come as something like a shock to leave behind Pro-grear worth 10k's

    Yet in reality I think OP should keep muddling-on . . .so some own kit is a must and whilst a Z1 is an excellent camcorder, it suffers from three snags, IMHO.
    1) Slow to get filming with all those "options" (on a recent exercise it took me in excess of 1/2 hr to be sure it was ready . . something I'm not prowd of, but there is no point in using incorrect settings, by comparison my "stills" video take about 1-second to press the button.
    2) it's tape based - this introduces head-wear risks and adds to battery-drain.
    3) it's pricey - even at 1k I think I'd rather put that towards a modern camcorder.

    OP suggests he's doing local-business interviews, so I'm supposing he able to control the background noise . . so fancy mics are no essential - a separate SDHC audio recorder will give him another 2-tracks to play about with.
    My suggestion is to go with something like the NEX6 and a Zoom H1 recorder. The cost about 700 giving quite a bit for a "modest" lighting and a budget tripod. The NEX6 will also make excellent stills for a brochure, if the Customer needs additional publicity material, eg for training, promotion, etc.
    (That Manfrotto tripod is itself nearly half OP's budget, but may be available s/h or use something somewhat cheaper, at least for time-being.)..... for semi-static video recording the tripod can have a normal head . . . it's not ideal, but tigt budgets demand sacrifices.
    I think the VG10 is a "camcorder-style" NEX - but I don't believe the price hike is justified by the techy differences . . . it's the same sensor and recording standards. Although I'll agree an 11x Zoom looks like it might be useful, but for "interviews" a 3x is OK and has better low-light.
    From OP's answer I think he needs a couple of lights, budget about 120 (Amazon) includes two tall stands . . . should be good for raising the room-lighting, sorts out colour temperature. NEX range will take still-camera lenses - I use mine with an f/1.8, but for most instances the 3x zoom is perfectly acceptable and has silent AF. (it's a Manual zoom).

    Good luck.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 02-09-2013 at 12:21 AM.

  9. #9


    @ Vidmaners, I think your missing the point of having a good camera with your point number 1. All those knobs and options, give you the ease of control over the thing you are filming.

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