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Travel & Documentary camcorder help

spencerwynn's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/20/2012 - 10:19am

I am new to video cameras. Though, I am very used to my 5DMKII and love it for all the obvious reasons. I shoot with an external recorder (H4N) and edit in FCPX.

I will be heading to a job where I will need to be nimble, lightweight and often unobtrusive. I will be in a country where I will stand out a LOT, so my gear needs to be of good quality, easy to use, and quick to pack in case I need to act quickly.

My requirements are very good video, low-light sensitive and of course, HD. It would be a total bonus if this mythic device also had the capability of shooting with short depth of fields.

I am totally in the dark about this and need to make a decision within the next few days, as I need to fly out of the country mid September.

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to any suggestions.

Oh yes, since this is my own dime, price is also an issue!


Ian Kirkpatrick's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/06/2008 - 1:38am

I think that the Canon XA10 would be a good camera to meet your needs. It is a reasonably small, light weightprofessional camera withis capable of manualor automatic operation. It is full HD and produces excellent pictures even in quite low light conditions. Has built in microphones or will accept an on board external microphoneor can be used with external microphones (orat line level witha mixer) via XLR connectors.

If real shallow depth of field is required, the Sony NEX-VG10 would be a good choice but it does not produce quite the same quality picturesand does not have as good a low light performance. It operates more like an DSLR camera than a conventional video camera. Nice camera all the same.

Cheers Ian


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

I think you might be looking into the 4/3' system cams or other mirrorless cameras.

another option would be Pentax d-slrs as they come weathersealed and are very small compared to yoour canon.
a pentax k-5 with weathersealed lens and a hotshoe mount mic might just be what you need.


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

" . . this mythic device also had the capability of shooting with short depth of fields. "

Just curious . . . . . why?

Rick Crampton


voodeux's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/25/2012 - 7:29pm

I'm confused why you're not shooting the with 5DII. Other than having to use dual-system sound, you've got an unobtrusive camera with good sensitivity and shallow DOF capability. Get a smaller audio recorder (Zoom H1 or similar) and/or wireless lav and you're good to go. It's not a great run&gun camera, but it could work for 80% of the situations you probably face.

Barring that, get the Arri Alexa ;-)


mark1620media's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/06/2012 - 3:39am

The 5dmarkii, in my opinion, is not great for much documentary style shooting. I used one when I went to Haiti and it was ok but it was a little limiting. I do not see why you would want shallow depth of field when shooting on the go. It would be more for interviews or action you can shoot on a tripod. Also, I find the whole zoom audio syncing process a huge waste of time, especially if you are on a tight dead line. I ended up only using the interview audio from the zoom. Trying to sync all of the NAT sound was way too time consuming. If you have a three months dead line, it might ok; but not a week. Also, the battery situation is tedious, especially if you arein a foreign country andonly have a generator. I have been testing out this new Sony camera. We have done several short story shoots with this camera and the quality is nearly as good as the 5d markii. We tested the Beachtek box with it and it sounded good. You just have to use the old techniques to get a really shallow depth of field. However, the depth is shallower than the CCD cameras. The optical image stabilizer is amazing. Andyou almost do not need a steady cam. The link to the camera is below. I hope this helps. Again, this is a great solution especially if youre doing guerrilla style shooting or run and gun shooting. I have done many tests and own a 5dmarkii. If you do have to use the Markii, I would recommend a shoulder Mount. There is a great tutorial on how to make a PVC one. I know PVC is not the most professional but I find it to work better than professional ones I have used.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/838329-REG/Sony_HDR_CX760V_B_HDR_CX760V_High_Definition_Handycam.html


timcarlielle's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 07/05/2012 - 10:03pm

I just got back from 5 weeks abroad with my Sony FS100. It is a large camera, but not bad for what it offers, and you can really build it down to make it less obtrusive. If you take off the handle and mic and use a small prime it almost looks like an older vhs camera. I'd suggest you look into it. I was backpacking with this camera for 5 weeks throughout Bosnia, Croatia, Italy and Czech, and it wasn't too bad to haul around.


Cinebasics's picture
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/19/2011 - 3:49pm

I second the XA10 recommendation but I would also add the Canon xf100 to the list. I've used almost every small video camera there is and the xf100 was the best image out of the bunch. It's also the only one tht can shoot 4.2.2 straight out of te box for broadcast. Bit more pricey though. For a cheap alternative I'd also go with the HMC40, it's an oldie but goodie.


andygray's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/23/2012 - 11:21am

Travel may be local, regional, national or international. In some countries, non-local internal travel may require an internal passport, while international travel typically requires a passport and visa. But any how i love travel with camera to scene the moments. Mostly due to visa problem i only travel where i can acess my easily. I have a great collection of documentry records because of my travelling hobby.