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Thread: Best camcorder for short films and documentary footage

  1. Default Best camcorder for short films and documentary footage

    My budget is around 800-2000$ for something new or used, I want something with enough range to do cinema like short films and detailed documentary footage. What are some camcorders you would suggest?

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    Does that budget include microphones. Sound is 50% (in many cases more) of a film. A decent mic will last you a lifetime. A good camera will be out of date in five years.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Does that budget include microphones. Sound is 50% (in many cases more) of a film. A decent mic will last you a lifetime. A good camera will be out of date in five years.
    I want to spend between 800-2000$ on the camera alone. The rest of the accessories I want to spend between 500-800. I have been saving up to buy something decent. I am really new to digital video cameras and it's hard to choose the right one. All of them have different sensors and some can shoot in 4k and others cannot. It's hard to decide which would best. I want something that can shoot detailed documentary footage in hd and 60 frames per second and also have enough range to shoot in low light and make cinematic films in 24p. I saw the sony fd4 ax-1000 got good reviews and it shoots 4k and the canon xa10 seems good too but it doesn't shoot 4k. I am just looking for the best bang for the buck new or used it doesn't matter.

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    The only "problem" with those cameras is that they do not accept "professional" mics. You may therefore need something like a Beachtek or JuicedLink XLR to 3.5mm jack adapter to use a decent mic.
    The Sony AX100 is a great camera apart from this limitation (as is its HD only little brother, the CX900). The advantage of 4K (realistically) is the ability to re-frame in post production. I've just been doing this with footage shot on a Panasonic GH4 of my daughter's wedding. The downside of shooting 4K is it kills your computer. Every render seems to take forever (I'm rendering in HD). I've just been doing this with footage shot on a Panasonic GH4 of my daughter's wedding. (Line repeated to emphasise real life experience)
    The AX100/CX900 has a 1" sensor which should be far better in low light than the XA10. I have a much older, but more up market Canon XF100. It's a great camera in many ways, but really needs treating carefully in low light. Second hand would fit your budget.
    Tim

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    Which would be better? A Camcorder like the FDR-AX100 or a Camera like a Panasonic Lumix GH4? I've heard cameras have supassed camcorders even when taking videos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrbeachballs View Post
    Which would be better? A Camcorder like the FDR-AX100 or a Camera like a Panasonic Lumix GH4? I've heard cameras have supassed camcorders even when taking videos.
    And you've heard correctly. Except in terms of usability. You mentioned documentary. Are you going to need to grab a quick shot - do you need you camera always at the ready or will you always be in a controlled environment, where you can take your time and swap lenses and delve into menus to change settings. Horses for courses.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    And you've heard correctly. Except in terms of usability. You mentioned documentary. Are you going to need to grab a quick shot - do you need you camera always at the ready or will you always be in a controlled environment, where you can take your time and swap lenses and delve into menus to change settings. Horses for courses.
    Probably both situations, I have been looking at the Sony NEX-VG30. It's under 1,000 used without the lens and it can take HD footage, swap lenses and can take decent still photo's. I figure I could use the extra money for lenses and etc. I know it's not as great as 4k but I think I can stick with HD until 4k becomes more affordable. It's like a DSLR Camera and camcorder fusioned together and has a sensor that can take good bokeh footage. I want something that can take good low light footage too because I plan on making short horror films. I just want something that can grow with me and I can learn on it. Is there any better camcorder than the NEX-VG30? Would it be better to go with with the FDR-AX100 or the NEX-VG30? I kind of want to stay away from camera's and go for a camcorder as my main purpose is to record video.

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    Type into Google NEX VG-30 vs AX-100
    I did this and immediately saw some comparison footage. you may well find comparisons about the handling etc.
    Tim

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    I gave been looking at the Panasonic G7 as well but I am worried about handling with a camera for taking video. Is using a Camera like the G7 comfortable to hold when taking video? Is there video stabilization built in?

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