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June 2, 2011 at 4:05 PM #49066
So I am off to college this fall and will be needing my own personal camera since I cannot use my highschool’s cameras anymore. That being said I am a college student on a very very strict budget and really need the best bang for my buck. My absolute max budget is $2,000 dollars and that is pushing it quite a bit. I am aware that a lot the users here have higher-end cameras but your advice will still be appreciated. That being said here are some general things I like on my cameras.
- Shallow depth of field, Manual Focus
- HD at least 24mbps
- Tapeless – onto SD card or similar
- Ability to add at least some sort of lense.
- A viewfinder of some sort would be nice.
- I dump my footage quite often, so memory size is not too crucial.
- Nice still pictures, I’ve always wanted a DSLR quality still camera, but if I need to buy that seperate some other time that is fine.
- I create short videos, I’ve never shot at a Wedding or anything like that.
So the devices I am looking at currently are the Canon Vixia HF G10 (I was considering the XA10 but don’t really need the XLR inputs, especially for +$500), and the Sony NEX-VG10. I was really hoping to get the NEX VG10 but it has not dropped in price too much and that is just for the body. Other than those I have been considering just buying one of the nicer DSLR cameras capable of HD video. Unless the price-quality ratio was very nice, I think I want to stay away from that for a multitude of reasons.
1.) I’ve never owned a DSLR and am not very comfortable with the plethora of menus and settings. 2.) The form factor may be annoying. 3.) I’ve heard bad things considering recording time and autofocus. 4.) I don’t know the market of DSLRs at all and have no idea which are the best. Though if most of those cons have been worked out by now I will definitely consider them.
So if anybody has any recommendations on what I should be looking at and maybe has experience with any of those cameras, your input will be appreciated. If I wasn’t clear on any of the points above, just ask me to clarify (I have a tendency of doing that). And remember, I have a strict, poor college kid budget.
Also if anybody knows of any places I could get a student discount, that would be nice!
June 2, 2011 at 4:18 PM #201032
in your shoes I’d go shopping for :
A Pentax kx or kr (I’m a fanboy, there are other brands) with 35mm 2.4 lens.
A Go Pro 950.
And a cheaper video camera that has manual controls and mic input like a used Sony sr10,11 or 12 (the sr 12 does record to memory card or internal hd…
or the nex vg10
June 2, 2011 at 9:55 PM #201033
PJ, you might take a look at the specs on the Sony Nex 5. Same imager as the Nex 10, same lenses and lower price,I believe. The formfactor is not like avideo camerabut like a rangefinder camera. Good stills and HD video. I don’t have experience with it but have seen good video shot with it. As Don suggested the SR11, 12, I shoot with the Sony SR11(same as SR12 but with smaller hard drive)presently and am satisfied with it. It has a lot of what you are seeking, check the specs. Keep shooting.
June 3, 2011 at 7:51 PM #201034
Just ordered up a Nex5 yesterday for a filler camera. Now waiting for UPS to ring my doorbell (I love Amazon Prime!).
I hope to get some test footage this weekend at a wedding and mix it in with my Z5s. I was in the same boat last year looking for a nice high DOF creative camera, but I could not justify spending the $2000 on just another video camera (nex 10), especially if it were not my main. Now there is the NEX 100 coming, but that is a different story…
Anyhow took me almost a year to finally get up and settle on the NEX5 , and I am sure I am in for a long learning experience, but am confident that by the time I wear out the camera I will get it to do what I want it to do. By then, maybe, just maybe I will have enough saved for the NEX100 (or future generation of that type).
June 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM #201035
And VOILA! I guess I just needed to type out that post to get UPS to
show up… now for some testing – probably around my messy desk.
June 3, 2011 at 11:07 PM #201036
I still have tons of testing to do, but so far the video seems to be mostly automatic and might not be quite what you are looking for, though the video still looks pretty nice and had limited grain from shooting in my dark room.
The battery came completely dead and my half hour of charging it didn’t give me much experimentation time. The still pictures I captured from it I think are fantastic for the price you pay for this camera. I will still be looking through the manual to see if there is anything to be done about the video mode as at least some form of manual focusing would be nice. Other than that so far I like it and should be a great “B” roll camera to play with at tomorrows wedding.
I didn’t know of the 3D panoramic sweep until I got it today. I haven’t been able to connect it to my 3D television due to no battery, but I am wondering if there is a way to make this into a movie so it does not have to be played from the camera?
June 4, 2011 at 3:17 AM #201037
Double, I almost pulled the trigger on the Nex5 a few months ago but just couldn’t justify it at the time. I for one would look forward to examples of yourwork with this camcorder. I also would like to know if it experiences the overheating issue that Dslrs seem to encounter after 15-20 minutes. Keep shooting and if you have the time, some feedback on the Nex5 would be appreciated.
June 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM #201038
I believe your battery options and heat issues will limit how long you can record on the nex5 vs the nex vg10…
I suspect one reason for the vg10’s camcorder-like profile has to do with a heatsync on the sensor…
June 4, 2011 at 4:09 PM #201039
I am about to head to a wedding, though I am not sure how much I will get to test drive the NEX5. My first impressions playing with it though are definitely not giving me buyer’s remorse. I think I read somewhere that the video files can be 29 minutes?
Anyhow, my opinion so far is if you have some nice video gear, this camera will not disappoint as a nice filler camera to get shots full sized video cameras struggle at. I will not, and do not plan on using it as a main video camera and that was never my intention. If you do not have a decent video camera already, this is probably not what you want for a main video camera unless your shoots are all made up of smaller clips. In that case the NEX10 may well suit your needs. If your video load is light this camera is one heck of a bargain.
I am still poking around to see if there can be more adjustments other than exposure while in video mode (I am the type who digs in hands-on first before reading every detail in the manual). The video in a dark room with only one small shaded lamp in it was pretty clean though, I was expecting a lot more grain. When I get a chance I will compare it side by side with my Z5 in the same environment, but I have a feeling they Z5 might have a bit of competition. I think I better start saving now for a NEX-100 type camera in the future! Who needs 3 small sensors for video when all you need is one giant sensor?
June 4, 2011 at 4:24 PM #201040
My d-slr has some of the same limits with video.
Can I offer a little unsoliceted advice?
as your “B” roll cam here are the shots I like to get on my d-slr and why…..
Pre ceremony… a couple snaps of Bride getting ready, a snap or two of groom and groomsmen… then at the ceremonty, wide angle shots of the ceremony and close ups of rings, flowers and kiss, etc…. even though all of these shots are being taken with video cams and d-slrs simutanoiusly, I get then on my video d-slr as well…
When at the reception I know for sure I got a series of stills and videos that I can mash up into a teaser video to play during the reception when the lights go down and the dancing commences on my projector…
The same day edit was completely planned and shot on one camera, on one card making the edit (depending on your software) a ten minute drag and drop session that has the video clips and still beat synced to music and ready to play…. I just toss the dj (if not our company) a line out for the audio, and let it rip.
June 4, 2011 at 4:38 PM #201041
Thanks for the tips D0n. The package I am doing today has no pre-ceremony coverage included though I will still try to get some test shots. It is also a bit of an alternative wedding so I don’t know how many shots of this wedding I will share, as I know the wedding industry can be pretty religious and I don’t need that affecting my business. Is that selfish? I do have many weddings int he near future though and lots of time to play with the camera. I have been thinking about building a a template to do a SDE, but I keep procrastinating. The way you put it though makes it sound pretty simple.
I also see you mention here and there about GoPro cameras. Do you use them in any wedding environment? I am just not sure of the fisheye look that they give and no LCD screen or viewfinder so you have to guess at what you are capturing.
June 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM #201042
I will be using the go pro but only for outdoor/bright light scenerios….
My main interest in go-pros is my other obsessions…. my motorcycle and robotic camera platforms….
So a go-pro mounted to a rc helicopter buzzing a wedding party prolly won’t be too well recieved…
now if I can figure out a way to mount a go-pro into a flower boquet….
June 4, 2011 at 5:06 PM #201043
“now if I can figure out a way to mount a go-pro into a flower boquet….”
I love it!
June 5, 2011 at 7:36 AM #201044
Home from the wedding. Watched the NEX5 footage. I am ecstatic. While I absolutely sucked at using this NEX5 I see a ton of potential. I handed it to my brother for the ceremony and he has absolutely no video experience and he captured some video that I think will rival my Z5s (haven’t seen that footage yet). I learned I definitely need something to stabilize my shots. I know I could use a monopod but every time I do that with a camera I still get camera rolls. Does anyone know of a narrow based tripod out there that would be easy to run around with? Any other tips tricks I could use to stabilize?
June 6, 2011 at 2:21 AM #201045
double,as far as a tripod with narrow base, Manfrotto makes a monopod with three feet that stick out at the base- 682B self standing monopod.I don’t know if this fits your need. I have a tripod that has a center shaft that becomes a monopod and have gripped it just below the camcorder attachment head and it makes a passable poorman’s steadycam with some practice. I am working on a pivoting handle that I can clamp onto it to make it better at steading. Adjusting the length of the monopod and removing the pan handle helps with the steadiness. I hope this helps. keep shooting.
June 6, 2011 at 9:50 AM #201046
Thanks for the info on that monopod! that is exactly what I was envisioning in my head and was thinking of “inventing” something like that. Is that swivel and tilt head fluid do you know?
Now I will share some of the footage from this weekends wedding. I first ask you not to judge this wedding. This is for display footage comparing cameras ONLY! I don’t have many of my creative shots as I was too shaky for most of them. This is just video that it captured from the ceremony. I handed the NEX-5 to my brother, who has absolutely no video experience. I have never seen him near a video camera in my life. He was sitting near the front and 100% off the video footage is shot by him. I had 2 Sony HVR-Z5Us as the back center and front side cameras. I also had a Panasonic HDC-SDT750 as a camera static pointed at the guests.
This is a very rough edit, I have done absolutely NO color correction to these clips, and some of the transitions I know I need to fix. Then NEX-5 video was completely on full auto, The only thing I have done, and I wish I really hadn’t is added stabilization to a few of the NEX-5 clips so in some of the shots. It may look a tiny bit softer than the Z5 in a couple shots, but I assure you it is very crisp when in focus. After I stabilized a few clips I realized I better stop for demonstration purposes.
I promise I am not trying to hijack this thread. I am just trying to expand on some of the cameras of interest stated in the thread. If people start complaining or judging this video, I will remove it.
June 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM #201047
Thanks for the posts guys, though I am not interested in the NEX5 at all, nor do I care for any advice on shooting at Weddings. Video is my main game and should be the priority on the camera I am getting. I am still thinking that I will most likely go with the Canon Vixia HF G10. Does anybody know if this is truly the XA10 just without the xlr handle?
June 6, 2011 at 10:22 PM #201048
Fair enough. I was listing the NEX5 to give a bit of insight on how the NEX10 might handle, but the controls are all menu based. The 2 Canons you are showing I believe that is the difference, one is prosumer(or even consumer) and the other one is listed as Pro. This is pretty common between manufacturers. (Z5 vs FX100, NX5 vs AX2000, NEX10 vs NEX100 from Sony). Looking at the photos though there doesn’t seem to be much easy access manual control on those cameras outside the Audio on the “pro” model. In my opinion that would still be classified as prosumer. The NEX10 gives a couple more control options by the looks of it and the detachable lens can be a huge asset where the Canons that you mention are a fixed lens. I am not sure how the Canon handles low light situations, but I can tell you that the NEX cameras seem to do pretty well.
June 7, 2011 at 12:59 AM #201049
PJ, sorry if I contributed to the hijacking of your thread. I mentioned the NEX5like Double said because it might give some insight into the sensor of the NEX10. I’ll try to keep to the subject better. Keep shooting.
June 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM #201050
thread hijacks are a little bit of a mixed bag… a little more reading true, but also more info….
on the one hand the op did ask about d-slrs as well as two specific vid cams, so in the processes of sharing how, and when the d-slrs are being used DOES in fact help demonstrate where and how actual users fit these devices into thier workflows, and also thier limits and capabilities. So I see nothing to be apologizing for. In fact I think it is a bit of a slap in the face for providing the info the op actually asked for…
OK slap in the face is a bit too harsh… but really….
“1.) I’ve never owned a DSLR and am not very comfortable with the plethora of menus and settings. 2.) The form factor may be annoying. 3.) I’ve heard bad things considering recording time and autofocus. 4.) I don’t know the market of DSLRs at all and have no idea which are the best. Though if most of those cons have been worked out by now I will definitely consider them.”
So offering my advice and describing how they fit into actual use, was perhaps too generous?
June 7, 2011 at 6:30 PM #201051
Also, even though you say you do not plan to have anything to do with
weddings, in my opinion you can get some of the best tips and advice
from threads involving wedding shoots. Why? Wedding shoots are some of
the most diverse and stressful shooting environments you need to learn
to adapt to. You get it all in one day. Outdoor lighting, indoor
lighting, dim lighting, constantly changing lighting, audio issues etc.
Weddings can be a nightmare and no two are ever the same. I have
learned a LOT over the past couple of years doing weddings that
translate over to other shoots.
Sure shooting in a nice studio setup makes shooting a breeze, but by
the looks of your budget and wanting to put it all in the camera I am
guessing you don’t have a studio setup or equipment to aid in the end
That brings us back to the possibility of the NEX5 – it would give you some wiggle room in your budget for some support equipment. Just my 2 cents.
June 9, 2011 at 7:14 AM #201052
Hi PJ — I know you’re skeptical of DSLRs — but the only way you’re going to get the shallow depth of field that you listed as requirement #1 is with a DSLR or large sensor camcorder such as the VG10, AF100 or FS100 (none of which are affordable on most college students’ budgets).
There is oneaffordable large sensor interchangeable lens camera that meets all your criteria — unlimited recording time, autofocus in video mode, shallow DOF, manual focus with focus assist, 1080p/24fps/24mbps moire-free video, SDHC/SDXC card storage, a high quality EVF that is usable in video mode — and that is thePanasonic GH2.
See the video section on the Vimeo GH2 group for examples of the work that can be done with this camera.
I hope this has been helpful.
June 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM #201053zoopParticipant
Yes, the Vixia HF G10 is the same inside like the XA10 and the more expensive 100/105 (they have 4-2-2 color compression, the HF G10 and XA10 4-2-0) Aldo i’m very happy with my Nikon D7000 i’m aolso considering the Canon
June 9, 2011 at 4:38 PM #201054
Thanks Bill, I will definitely research that! I’m curious if you owned one yourself?
And Luc van Vliet, is there a particular reason why you might be switching over?
June 10, 2011 at 4:58 AM #201055
The GH2 has been in high demand since its release late last year and is really just starting to be available in the States. It’s a great camera for video and stills (if you can find one).
June 12, 2011 at 3:55 AM #201056Ryan3078Participant
Down at OU, DSLRs are the big thing. Most of the cinematographers on campus have invested in one since they can’t afford a standard form camera and want cinematic depth of field for the films we work on.
The vast majority go with Canons (T2i and 60D), which are under $1000 for the body only, but have a number of limiting factors. Like Bill said, the GH2 is a fantastic camera, and I’drecommendit. Personally I shoot with a hacked GH1 DSLR on campus, and it shoots great footage! But in order to get the best quality out of the camera you need to be comfortable with the hacking software and camera menus which may be daunting to people new to DSLRs.
I would suggest investing in a GH2 or GH1, and putting the rest of the money into lenses, tripod, and audio. In order to get good depth of field, you’ll want prime (nonzooming) lenses because they tend to have a larger aperture (f-stop) which means more background blur in simple terms). There are plenty of adapters on eBay which allow you to put affordable vintage lenses on your camera. For $200 you can buy an adapter and 2-3 good lenses for your camera – I use vintage Minolta lenses which create a beautiful look.
The audio on DSLRs is worthless – but the image is to die for. If you plan on making films only, grab a GH2 or GH1. You can spend $300 on an external audio recorder and another couple hundred on a shotgun mic, or check out gear from the school. Here’s an example of a film being shot on campus with DSLR –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d41WadW3ws4&feature=player_embedded
The people getting asked to work on projects either have a DSLR, or have a good standard HD camera like a Panasonic HMC150 or HVX200A – the Vixia is nice, but probably won’t cut it. I haven’t seen one used on any productions.
June 12, 2011 at 9:48 PM #201057
Great trailer, Ryan. Thanks for posting. Shot with the GH1?
FYI – the GH2’s audio is a little better than the GH1’s because you can turn the gain down (it doesn’t really have manual audio gain, it has a “4 step” auto gain, so you can pretty much turn the mic gain down to eliminate AGC hiss).
But you’re generally right, if you want absolutely clean audio, an external recorder is the best option. But I think $300 is a little steep. I use a $91 Zoom H1. Either the H1 or the new Tascam DR-05can produce great 24-bit/96kHz sound for less than $100. Mics and booms will add to the total, but you should be able to produce very high quality audio for not a lot of money.
See this video at “The Frugal Filmmaker” for a comparison between the two recorders.
June 13, 2011 at 1:06 AM #201058Ryan3078Participant
Thanks Bill! The trailer is about half GH1 and half T2i (but I think the GH1 looks better, especially when it’s running 100Mbps 1080P!)
Yes, that’s a good point about the audio, but in any professional setting you’ll want to invest in an external recorder, and just use the onboard mic for sync like you said. DSLRs are built first for photos, then video…audio’s just an afterthought.
Depending if he can find a deal, I’d grab a Zoom H4n or similar recorder with XLR imputs and an inexpensive Audio-Technica or similar shotgun. You may not want or need XLR now…but once you start producing content and working with students that have pro audio gear, you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t have the means to take advantage of it! Depending on the content you create, you could get away with just an external recorder. But especially for student films and other projects where good sound is crucial and your environment isn’t controllable, external mics are a must!
June 13, 2011 at 1:48 AM #201059
did you shoot that Ryan?
it does look great.
I hope to get into filmmaking.
here’s a teaser clip from a magazine I shot. About 3/4s of the clips in this video and all the stills were shot with a Pentax kr, and the remainder with an sr12 and hdr hc1.
But what gets turned over to the client is basically just the long shots, the actual interview which were shot on the video cams.
this is basicaly the same system I mentioned earlier (re weddings) about doing the “Same day edits” and “B roll” shots on a dslr, and the long takes on video cams.
June 13, 2011 at 2:30 AM #201060WoodyParticipant
PJ, the VG10 is my main camera for outdoor filming. Its a great camera but its not really a 2,000 rig. You would need additional lenses and a directional mic. Depending on your needs, that could be 3-4 g’s not 2. The 2, just get you in the door. I don’t regret going through the door but its cost me more than the 2 to do it.
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