20 year old looking to buy first HD pro cam, Sony/Panasonic

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    • #42749

      Hiya, I am looking at buying the SONY HVR-A1U – Price: $2,549.95 from http://www.evsonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=2A2 or anything anyone can recommend in the same price range, but am really not knowledgeable in this area, I know a fair bit about DSLR’s as I own a Nikon D70 and am a keen photographer, I used to use the manual FM10 and swan twin reflex camera. But this is a new field for me. I am a very amateur video maker and want to get into documentaries for hobby and real estate/hotel/tourism promotions as I live in Barbados – this will be the business side of it.

      I am traveling to Miami in Oct and will be aiming to get the camera then, I have a budget of about US$ 3,000 to US$ 4,000 for everything, if anyone can confirm what everything would consist of for a beginner, i.e. tripod, external mike/lighting etc, or do I just need the camera and move from there, basically, do I spend all my money on a good camera so I do not have to upgrade soon, or do I buy an alright camera with accessories.

      I have some video editing experience, but not on a professional scale and only really mucked around – i.e. output types etc, I used to use Ulead VideoStudio and Pinnacle 8….. Can anyone advise a good pro appearance editing software, I am very willing to learn to software and master the technique to achieve excellent results…..

      Quality is imperative as I hope to broadcast with the local visitor channel and local caribbean countries….


    • #179144

      Hi Daryl –

      Just realize the A1U really isn;t a pro camera – For starters, it’s a single chip model (pro and prosumer varieties are three chip cameras).

      There are other HDV cameras that might fit your budget – The Sony FX7 is available from B&H for about $2500 which does 1080i with three chips (the FX1 is about $3k).

      Good luck.


    • #179145

      Hi and welcome to the forums!

      I would suggest you look into getting some accessories also.

      Depending on what you are filming, you may want to get an external mic. Also, where you are filming (indoor, outdoor, far from your subject) will determine what kind of mic to get (shotgun vs. condenser vs. lav vs. etc). Along side this you’ll want to pick up mic cables, a shockmount, possibly an XLR adapter if your camera doesn’t have XLR inputs, and a pair of monitoring headphones.

      I personally feel a tripod is a must for any one with a camcorder. Look on websites like B&H to find a good one with fluid heads.

      Extra batteries are often essential. Consider buying at least one of the extended batteries (I know Sony made a 9 hour battery for my VX2000, so they might have a similar capacity battery for the HD cameras). If you will be more than a day in between charging, consider getting two of these, or several more smaller batteries.

      A good case. You’ll want to transport your camera, so a good case will keep it protected. A soft case protects against accidental droping and day-to-day banging around as you carry it, etc. A good hard case will also protect from moisture and keep it air tight.

      If your going to be making short films and such, consider lights as well. You could go with a pro 3-point lighting kit, or you could get hallogen work lights (though keep in mind these generally aren’t the best lights for film, but they are hundreds of dollars cheaper). If your doing mostly outdoor work in the daylight, you can probably skip this for now.

      Those are some accessories that you might want to look into. Of course, you don’t have to get those. For a while I filmed with just a tripod and my camera (VX2000). I can’t say the footage is all that good, but at least it gave me some practice until I could afford some more gear.

    • #179146

      Hi ralck & bruce

      many thanks for your responses…. much appreciated, you have given me food for thought.

      I looked up Sony FX7 on http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/sony-handycam-hdr-fx7/4505-6500_7-32065017.html?tag=prod.txt.1 to watch their video guide and it was not all positive. Negatives were the sound quality and controls and it does not really meet the professional standards, plus the improvements they made from the previous model made the camera operations more confusing for the standard user……

      I was in contact with Discover Channel production team to obtain their specifications (while I am living in this area, I might as well try to film some amazing footage) and they said to provide footage for them, the quality is most important. Therefore the camera has to be of a professional standard. Your recommendation was brilliant, do you tink it will be good enough?

      If not, can you recommend any others?

      Thanks again!!

    • #179147

      From what I can gather, the biggest problem with the FX7 is that it saves in MPEG-2 – not great if you’re going to be editing afterwards. If you can swing the $3K, I think the FX1 is a great choice.

      However, I do not use a pro or prosumer camera (I simply cannot afford one right now although the FX1 may come at some point – I really want a Z1U).

      I’m sure there are many folks on this board who could recommend other cameras – Why don’t you wait for their responses and then take a trip to a high end camera place (like B&H or J&R) and play with them to see what you like?

    • #179148

      In response to a question from the first post, buying an amazing camera now will only become outdated in just a few years. You definitely should purchase nice one, but you also want to invest a fair amount a good tripod and maybe a microphone, as those don’t become antiquated as quickly.
      What I’m trying to say is that it’s pointless to start off with a bad tripod, and that a nice fluid head tripod won’t grow outdated. You’ll probably want a good tripod for all the scenic pans and etc. in your area as well. Goodluck

    • #179149

      Daryl1 Wrote:

      I was in contact with Discover Channel production team to obtain their specifications…

      Several Discovery Channel shows use footage from Sony FX1/Z1U cameras (with some restrictions), so those are the minimum I would recommend for any serious HD work. They will also accept footage from the Panasonic HVX200 with the same restrictions, using the 100 Mbps recording mode. The Canon XL-A1 might also be a good option.

      For more details see this link: http://www.dvuser.co.uk/images/img/sony-hd-hdv/xdcam-workflow/discovery-hd-specs.pdf

      I wouldn’t recommend the A1U for professional work, as the image quality deteriorates significantly in poor lighting.

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