Deciding on a camera. Can you help?

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    • #42683

      I am going to be doing some filming of instruction in elementary school classrooms as well as doing interviews, etc. The video "product" will be displayed on the web, in the form of a podcast (apple TV size) and also sold as DVDs. I have been researching cameras and am stuck.

      My budget for a camera is between $2000-3000. I know that pretty much any camera at this price level will be excellent, but am stuck in trying to find what would be a good value at this level in terms of quality and "future proofing." This camera will be used a lot for the few years and I know that everyone is going HD and 16:9. At the same time I know it doesn’t matter (to some extent) in terms of web quality, though podcast quality with the advent of things like AppleTV is seeming to reach for a higher quality. I have looked at Canon GL2, Sony VX2100, Sony HDR-FX7, Sony DSR-PD170, Sony HVR-A1U.

      I want a solid camera that will create broadcast quality (for the DVDs and possible broadcast) and I don’t want to get hyped on all the things that won’t really matter in reality but sound/look good when reading reviews. It is a time of transitions (4:3 or 16:9, SD or HDV) and I don’t want to get caught up in what I don’t need, though I don’t want my product to look "dated" a year from now.

      Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • #178977


      It sounds like you don’t really need high definition. Most current standard definition camcorders can do some form of 16:9 recording. Things to think about are:
      — Are there going to be a lot of hand-held shots? If so, a shoulder-mount camcorder would make things easier. (Panasonic makes the DVC60, a sturdy camcorder which is within your price range. They also make the much less expensive DVC20 and DVC7.)
      — Will you be shooting under very low light conditions, without the aid of movie liights? The Sony VX2100 or Sony PD170 would be a good choice for that.
      — None of the above? If you’ll be on a tripod most of the time, and there will be plenty of light, then save a little money and get either the Panasonic DVC30 or the Canon GL-2.
      — If you really think you need high definition, then models to look at would include Sony HDR-FX1 Sony HDR-FX7, Sony HVR-A1U, Canon HV20, and Canon XH-A1. (I think someone said the FX1 was good in low light conditions.)

      Hope this helped! 🙂
      Ken Hull

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