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February 9, 2009 at 1:19 AM #40231AnonymousInactive
i have a chance to be a freelance videographer and i was told i needed a 3 chip camera — i am a newbie and confused abut all the different formats in choosing a camera —
what is a 3 chip camera?
i currently shoot with a mini-dv camera and have been looking to upgrade anyway but unsure on which way to go — please advise-
February 9, 2009 at 1:50 AM #172928EarlCMember
Do a Google search and take a look, to start, at the recently released Panasonic AG-HMC150 SD recording pro AVCHD camcorder. It is going to make a LOT of difference in the independent video services provider arena so far as quality, ease of use and editing, and HD production.
Most consumer camcorders under $1.5K are single chip or cmos units, having one “sensor” if you will to capture images, color and light. A 3-chip/cmos unit has three that each carry a color and other imaging information that usually can result in higher quality imaging on whatever medium is being recorded upon. This is rather simplistic, it can become quite complex in the full techno explanation, but in a nutshell….
Combined with the glass (lens) quality, and other technology, usually resulting in higher prices (the camera I mentioned above is the one I “lust” after) carries a suggested retail price of about $4K. There are other options, both in standard definition and high definition, and many single-chip camcorders are quite capable of generating a really decent image quality, given the proper lighting and other elements, but you are looking at a LOT of technological information, brand yada yada, and user preference, as well as a wide range of hands on reviews, in order to make an educated decision for what YOU want and can afford.
Look at the Canon GL2, or XL2 (even a used XL1), as well as a host of Sony and JVC brands in the standard (SD) range, some even offering wide aspect ratio recording 16×9, or standard 4:3. These can go for between $2K and $4K. If I were, however, to spend more than $3K on a new camera I’d feel inclined to move into HD and get all the camera I could afford based on my production needs and editing platform capabilities.
February 9, 2009 at 7:36 AM #172929CoreeceParticipant
>>>Panasonic AG-HMC150 SD recording pro AVCHD camcorder….is the one I “lust” after
I got my eye on this sony camera…Here’s a detailed video of it features.
it’ll be awhile before I get that camera, but in the mean time, I’d much rather spend $1800-2000 on an HD FX7 or or something similar, than spend over $2000 an SD GL2 or XL2.
I’m reluctant to spend over $1000 on an SD camera…$1200 the most.
Even single chip HD cameras are good for some things…Surviorman on Discovery uses them all the time, and it looks good!
The only thing that would keep me from substituting a consumer HD camera for an Prosumer SD camera is that the 3 chip SD cameras still have professional functions that are absent on the comsumer HD cameras.
I just can’t see how you could go wrong with getting a good deal on a decent 3 chip HD camera….many also record in SD if you need it and are less expensivethan an SD camcorder….its a no-brainer.
Plus…when I finally get that shoulder mount XDCAM (or similar), I’ll have a nice 2nd HD camera to compliment it…
It’s time to bury the over-priced SD dinosaur.
$2000-$4000 on an SD prosumer camera??? Ridiculous….they might as well try selling a black n white TV for 500 bucks…lol….
February 9, 2009 at 4:44 PM #172930composite1Member
EarlC gave an excellent breakdown of the CCD (Charged Coupled Device for the techo geeks) so I won’t elaborate on that. He also gave a good overview about the differences between a 1 and 3 chip camera. The quality of your image and the amount of control over said image are the most important aspects concerning any rig you’re looking to get.
Depending on which rig you buy, a single chip camera may give you a very good image, cost less and be versatile to use because of its small size. However, you will have limited control over your image. Not knocking one chips as I have used them as primary and supplementary cameras on shoots (their small size and low cost make them great ‘crash cams’.) In fact Les Stroud of the ‘Survivor Man’ series used 1 chips exclusively on his show for the first few seasons (now he uses small 3 chips.) So they are a viable option. Back to the ‘however’, as a cameraman if you want your imagery to look professional you’d better know your camera’s limitations (and accept them) so you can compensate for them.
With a 3 chip you get much better imagery out of the box, and anexponential increase in control (white/black balance, contrast, knee, gamma just name a few!) Depending on what brand/model you get, there’s also an increase of output modes (firewire, hdmi, composite, y/c) that will give you more options to link your camera to other pro cameras andhigher-end editing gear.3 chip cameras are generally larger and are more robust in their construction (Idon’t recommend dropping any though!) Anothervery important item is 3 chips always have bettercapacity for audio capture than a 1 chip.Lastly, imagery shot with a 3 chip gives you much more information to work with when using non-linear editing software (3 chips = 3x the 1’s and 0’s) which makes it verygood for doing green/bluescreen composite work for example.
Now, you can augment your 1 chip rig like Earl mentioned by adding audio(xlr) adapters, wide and telephoto lenses, shotgun mic adapters and so on. These will definitely increase the overall quality of your image and sound, but you’ll still be following behind nearly all 3 chips. The major drawbacks for getting a 3 chip are trying to decide which brand/model/format and the cost of purchase. Just like you can augment your 1 chip, you can ‘trick out’ a 3 chip ‘to beat the band to death’ if you can afford it. These days, a good prosumer/pro3 chip (new HD/SD capable) will run you $3500 (on-sale) to just short of $10k. Accessories for cameras in this range get pretty pricey.
Though you’re a ‘newbie’, I mention these things so you’ll dial down any sweatfactor over how, when and where you’ll get any of this gear. Unless you’re getting bankrolled, your best bet is to start ‘small’ based on what your expected output is. If you have yet to assess what that is yet, it would be in your best interest to ask yourself what your goals are and what resources are currently available to you. Answering those questions will go a long way in helping you in researching what gear you’re going to need.
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