Best Semi Pro Camera to Buy

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    • #48832
      Gregory
      Participant

      Hello; New here

      I may be buying a new semi-pro camera soon and have been reading up on some. I have been a fan of Sony camera products for some time and currently use a Sony DCR-SR47. I have been looking at

      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16830179065&nm_mc=OTC-C173T&cm_mmc=OTC-C173T-_-Camcorders+-+Analog/Digital-_-Sony-_-30179065

      I know my budget will not allow me to exceed $2,500.00 so anything over that I am not able to consider. I am very comfortable using Sony products, however if something is better and has the same and/or more features I am not opposed to switching brands.

      I know many here must have used different cameras and would not mind some suggestions.

      Thanks

      Greg

    • #200196
      Luis Maymi Lopez
      Participant

      Hello Greg

      I recently upgraded to a professional camcorder and I also had the DCR SR47. One time I use the HVR A1U for a cinema project and I didn’t like it. It does a good job recording, the shotgun mic does an excellent job, but the image quality was not what I was expecting (much better quality than the DCR SR47, I can assure you that)

      The A1U is a tape base camera and tape base camcorders are dying my friend. You should consider a hardrive, flash or memory card camcorder. The JVC GY-HM100U seems to be a good camera for the price. Members here use the Canon VIXIA models, check them out also. No matter what camera you purchase it must have a mic connection (XLR or 1/8″) a headphone connection and Focus Ring (I hated not having those on the SR47).

    • #200197
      XTR-91
      Participant

      Though I think it’s a good product for semi-pro videography and has a decent number of manual controls, I’d shy away from tapes if I was buying a new camcorder (decent manual control), it’s still a camcorder that takes tapes. Not calling it a shock or horror, but the dependability is pretty low, especially if the camcorder is an older one. A good, handy, professional flash camcorder is the way you want to go for starting business.

      If you don’t mind something compact, then I’d take a serious look at the Panasonic TM700($800). I know it’s a consumer camcorder, but the video performance is simplyamazing for the price – even in low light. I’ve even heard people say that the image quality is better than that of the Sony EX-1 ($60,000), but I’d have to see a comparison before I’ll believe them. Get the TM700, a Juicedlink preamp (turn the camcorder’s down), and a decent shotgun mic (about $250), and you’re good to go.

    • #200198
      doublehamm
      Participant

      For comparison:

      I use Sony HVR-Z5Us for my main 2 cameras in my business. (recording to CF) and last week I picked up a Panasonic HDC-SDT750K which is practically the same body as the camera XTR posted. I will tell you from experience so far that if both cameras were set to automatic mode, the consumer Panasonic would be pretty close to the quality of my Z5U – in fact to be completely truthful, if both were FULL automatic, I might like the Panasonic a little better.

      For something under $800, it is definitely a nice little gem!

      The downside is the manual control of the Panasonic is a PIA to use over the control you would have over a pro camera with all the bells and whistles easily tweaked on the camera body.

      Also to use XLR equipment on the Panasonic would require an adapter, however those are relatively inexpensice.

      If you look at theHVR A1U you will notice the minimum illumination is 7 lux. This is pretty horrid if you plan to do ANY kind of indoor shooting without strong lighting. You will get a lot of grain/noise. My first “pro” camera was an HVR-HD1000u with a minimum lux of 4, and I hated it. Even using it for a static wide shot in wedding ceremonies would start to get pretty noisy. Every tiny bit of min lux rating makes a huge difference.

      The Z5U has min lux rating of 1.5, and the Panasonic min lux rating of 1.6 (this does not count night shot modes – infra red would be cheating for this stat!) therefore they are pretty similar on that end. Also the CONSUMER Panasonic has 3MOS (which is kind of a budget 3 CMOS set up – but still very nice) compared to the A1U that only has 1 CMOS censor. This will also give you a world of difference in the quality and picture color.

      Yes I know the Z5u is over your budget, but I was comparing what you can get for a lot less here!

      So, if you want a camera that simply gives great video with ease, go the Panasonic consumer route. If you really like or NEED control over what the camera is doing then you need to look at something a little more pricy – but be careful of what you are looking for – and personally I look at the min lux rating first and foremost, 3 Chip cameras will also soar over 1 chip cameras for picture quality.

      As far as tape based – yes they are on their way out, but they still are not completely useless. Many many many videographers still swear by them as they offer the most dependable backup available. HDs fail. Flash cards fail. If they fail you pretty much lose EVERYTHING that is on them, or spend a fortune recovering the data. If a tape fails or jams, you will likely lose very little of what was captured. If you are looking for a camera for a good price, you may find one a bit cheaper with more features that uses a tape over other media.

    • #200199
      Gregory
      Participant

      A great deal more than I could ask for as far as excellent suggestions. I read the reviews on all the cameras suggested and I overlooked the part about the tape on the AU1. I thought it was a memory card based system, but at the time I was reading it a few days ago I had several tabs open on several cameras so I was most likely getting it mixed up.

      doublehamm I liked the Sony you posted, and yes way over my current budget. I know the camera I buy this time is just another “step” and I will replace it as well. I have a lot to consider, and will look back over the suggestions many times. Thanks.

    • #200200
      doublehamm
      Participant

      I was posting the Sony for comparison. If you are looking simply for quality on a budget, that Panasonic will blow you away. If you want something you can learn with and operate as ahigher level machine, then you mayhave to sacrifice a bit of quality to get something that accomodates the professional at a lower price. If it is just an intermediate camerathat you will be using as a step up, don’t be chased away by tape based. It is still very viable, and will give you amore securebackup than HDs or flash cards can offer.

      Take a look at the HDR-FX7. Yes it is tape based. But on your budget you really need to ask yourself what is most important. Is it quality, manual control, or what media the camera will use? Personally the media choice comes last in my book. In the end no one but you will probably know what the camera recorded to. The other options will greatly change the outcome of your recorded footage.

    • #200201
      doublehamm
      Participant

      Lets get into some dependability issues with flash media while I am at it:

      My first CF card I purchased was 32GB. When I first put it into the camera, it showed as 150 minutes which is a fair amount of recording time. I used it for about 30 minutes thinking this was the greatest thing in the world. I plugged it into my CF reader for the computer, and everything looked great! When I put it back into the camera the morning of that weekends wedding shoot – I went to format it through the camera (which is recommended over simply deleting if you want a blank card). To my surprise the card showed 92 minutes remaining. I thought there was some mistake so I went to format it again to make sure I cleared it. After that I was down to 62 minutes. I was getting a bit nervous by that point, so I loaded it back into my computer. My computer didn’t even recognize it so it asked if I wanted to format it. I clicked yes, and after taking longer than it really should, it showed as less than 8GB remaining on the card. I put the card back in my camera, and my camera did not like it and wanted to reformat it. With nothing to lose I tried to format once again and this time it sent the CF card to a permanent grave. THANKFULLY my Z5U also accepted MiniDV tapes, so I was still able to use my camera for the day’s shoot.

      After those issues I went with what was highly recommended for reliabilty – a SanDisk 32GB 400x speed card. SanDisk cards I had been told are of very high quality, and will be very dependable. I have purchased 5 of those cards for my needs that I carry with me at all time. I had shot 22 weddings with these cards with no issue, and they worked flawlessly – well worth the higher price over “budget” brands.

      Then 2 weeks ago I was doing another wedding. After recording some pre ceremony footage, the ceremony and a bit of after ceremony footage, suddenly I was given the message “FORMAT ERROR”. I turned the camera off and on and this was of no help. I removed and re-inserted the card, and was given the same message. I tried other cards and they were working just fine. I was terrified! At least I had4 cameras running at the ceremony when I guaranteed2 of them in my contract right? LUCKILY, when I arrived home that evening and loaded the card into my computer, EVERYTHING was still accessable by Windows. All my footage was safe! But that still didn’t help the fact that the card DID fail me in the middle of a paid shoot and luckily I did have back up cards and cameras. I put it back in my camera and it STILL gave me a format error – I could not even get to the screen to format it through the camera. So, I put it back into my computer and formatted it through Windows as a last resort THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO DO, YOU SHOULD USE YOUR CAMERA TO DO THIS. But this did the trick and my camera accepted the card once again – and gave me full capacity. I have used that particular card a few times since then and it seems to be fully functional again, but that still does not fix the fact that a non-tape format failed on me when I was dependant on it most. What would have happened if I was unable to recover the footage? The non-ceremony stuff especially? I would have one angry bridezilla returning from her honeymoon!

      Now with the Panasonic the first thing I put into it was a class 4 4GB SDcard taken from my H2 audio recorder to test the camera out. It recorded fine and loaded into my computer fine, but I had issues having the camera recognize it again without reformatting it. That evening I picked up a Class 10 32GB SDHC card and have been using it ever since then with no issue, although I have only had the camera a little over a week.

      With tape, it might jam and all you have to do is spool it past the bad part of the tape (or splice it out) and that is all you will likely lose. Flash media could go bad at any moment and you could lose everything.

      Now – I do not use tapes anymore in my cameras during my shoots, but I still am aware of the risks I am taking. I still have a few blank Mini-DV that I carry around with me “just in case”. That is the good side of having a hybrid camera.

      There is no such thing as infallible media!

    • #200202
      Gregory
      Participant

      I have been looking over the JVC GY-HM100U a lot, (http://pro.jvc.com/pro/hm100/index.jsp) still will do more research, but I can pick it up for under $2,600.00. A little out of the budget, but still within acceptability range. Thus far I like what I am seeing with it. I have seen some video shot with it as well. I like the idea that the Shotgun mic can be detached and used overhead or as a stand alone. this feature would come in handy for “live action” location shots. Thus far this is a contender for what I might pick up.

    • #200203
      Gregory
      Participant

      @doublehamm, like you I know the feeling one gets with failed media. We do a yearly trip to the Smokies, last years trip went south, the media went with it. Also I do not buy cheep SD cards, but even the nice ones can be bad. I had a 4 gig one from my 720p camera and was recording on it when I kept getting the camera shutting off, then all kinds of freakness. When I got home the media was “there” but only bits and pieces of the files were viewable, although the entire file size was showing. I did determine that the card was bad. I thought I sat the card aside and one day picked it up by mistake. Same problem. Well when I got home I took the sizzors to that card to ensure I would never use it again. I have a wedding to shoot in March in Wisconsin I am hoping things work out that I can get this before then. Thanks to all the great suggestions.

    • #200204
      Cville
      Participant

      Considering you are a Sony fan as am I. I suggest you look at the new sony NEX-VG10 $2000 at B and H. Uses interchangeable lenses. You could use the other 500 to buy a beachtek audio dapter and a mic or two.

      As mentioned above the sony FX7 is also a good camera with a lot of manual control also right at 2000. It is tape based but you could add a third party memeory card unit for around 500.

      There are several cameras in the price range that you are considering. You really need to consider the workflow (memory card or tape) format HDV full HD and other options/controls you need and start to narrow down the list.

      FYI under 2600 for the JVC you mentioned seems like a very good price. Make sure you are using a reputable dealer. Just my 2 cents.

      It is lot of fun researching and purchasing a new camera.

    • #200205
      Gregory
      Participant

      After you consider shipping this looks like the best place to pick this up (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/597842-REG/JVC_GY_HM100U_GY_HM100U_ProHD_Camcorder.html) they are offering free shipping. I do not know for how long though.

      I am also going to pick up a new TV for the livingroom and bring the 32″ back into my office. I have editing video on 20″.

      I was going to buy some better video editing software, I currently use Videostudio X3. But after reading the reviews on the two I had in mind, Sony Vegas Pro 10 and Adobe. I just do not have the hardware to push that. I built my computer and it has a duel core AMD Black Kuma 7850, and Nividia 8800GT Video Card and 4 GB RAM. And from the reviews of the above two software programs I would be at the lower limit of hardware.

    • #200206
      Cville
      Participant

      B and H is my gotoplace for resonabe pricing and what I checkall offers against. It is always a great feeling to come home to a porch with boxes deliverd from B &H.

      Let us know what you end up with and give us a review of what you like and don’t likewhen you get your new camera.

      FYI I was running Sony Vegas Pro 8 on a single core AMD until early this year. I would think a duel core would be resonable. I will say that since I moved up to a quad core and 64 bitthings run a lot faster.

    • #200207

      Hello I am shopping for a new camcorder, currently Iam using A sony DSR 300A, put I want to upgrade to HD and tapeless, it is down to two (2) camcorders, Canon Xf305 and Sony EX3. Which one

      of these camcorder gives the better picture? can any one tell me

    • #200208
      XTR-91
      Participant

      Come to think of it, I neverchangeanything on my TM700 while recording, other than white balance and occasionally focus. I adjust the audio levels on my Juicedlink.

      “Canon Xf305 and Sony EX3.”

      I really like both of them.But just because of Sony’s reputation, I’d buy the EX3.Sony’s good for some things – just not pro-like durability on consumer cams.

    • #200209
      Eugene
      Participant

      The Sony EX3 uses 1/2″ sensors, whereas the Canon XF305 uses only 1/3″ sensors. The sensor size impacts greatly the picture quality and lowlight capability. On spec the Sony EX3 is superior to the CanonXF305 in all aspects. However, the Sony EX3 costs much more. My suggestion is to rather look at the Sony EX1. The Sony EX series are tried and tested, proven cameras.

      Sigh! If only I could afford one…

    • #200210
      Moya
      Participant

      hello. i would like to ask you if you could give me some advice to buy a professional video camera. i am a little bit confused with this news DSLR cameras.what is the best option quality/price? an DSLR camera or a Professional video camera like a EX1? i want a camera to make weddings and Eng jobs, but also to make some short movies. can you help me with this? thanks

    • #200211
      Moya
      Participant

      <p style=”color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;”>
      <p lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: x-small;”>`hello.</span></span></span></p>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: small;”>i would like to ask you if you could give me some advice to buy a professional video camera.</span></p>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: x-small;”>i am a little bit confused with this news DSLR cameras.what is the best option quality/price? an DSLR camera or a Professional video camera like a EX1?</span></span></span></p>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: x-small;”>i want a camera to make weddings and Eng jobs, but also to make some short movies.</span></span></span></p>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: x-small;”>can you help me with this?</span></span></span></p>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: x-small;”>thanks`</span></span></span>
      <p align=”LEFT” lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0.35cm;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: small;”></span></span>
      <p lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”>

    • #200212
      Moya
      Participant

      <li>`<span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 17.5px;”>hello.</span><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 17.5px;”>i
      would like to ask you if you could give me some advice to buy a
      professional video camera.</span></p>
      <p style=”margin-bottom: 0.46cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: small;”>i
      am a little bit confused with this news DSLR cameras.what is the
      best option quality/price? an DSLR camera or a Professional video
      camera like a EX1?</span></span></span></p>
      <p style=”margin-bottom: 0.46cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: small;”>i
      want a camera to make weddings and Eng jobs, but also to make some
      short movies.</span></span></span></p>
      <p style=”margin-bottom: 0.46cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: small;”>can
      you help me with this?</span></span></span></p>
      <p style=”margin-bottom: 0.46cm;”><span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif;”><span style=”font-size: small;”>thanks`</li></span></span></span>

    • #200213
      Moya
      Participant

      <p lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: large;”><span style=”font-size: 17px;”>NEED HELP TO WRITE MESSAGES IN THE FORUM.</span></span>
      <p lang=”en-US” style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: large;”><span style=”font-size: 17px;”>WHAT SHOULD I DO?`</span></span>

    • #200214
      XTR-91
      Participant

      “… Sony EX-1 ($60,000)”

      My apologies. The EX1 doesn’t cost $60,000. It costs $6,700-7000

      “WHAT SHOULD I DO?`</”

      You can paste it from Notepad

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