High Def Cameras

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    • #43867

      I am an event videographer and have been using the SONY VX2100 for several years and have been very happy with the resulting video. I have yet to lose a job due to not providing high def video but I’massuming that in the near future I’ll need to begin providing that service.I’m wondering if other event videographers are using high def cameras and if so which ones. What are the items you like about the camera and what are the items you wish the cameras had.

    • #183820

      I’m not an event videographer, but if I was going to buy into HD here it was I would be thinking about:

      1. The Format – There’s a whole bunch — AVCHD, HDV, DVCPro HD, and XDCam HD, to name a few. Those are the formats I see most often. What’s the difference between all of them? AVCHD and HDV are very compressed; AVCHD is more compressed than HDV. That causes problems if you are going to be doing any wild effects and/or compositing. DVCProHD and XDCam HD are less compressed. DVCPro HD is made by Panasonic and XDCam HD is made by Sony, although I’ve read that JVC will also be supporting that codec soon.

      2. Frame rates / resolution – The resolutions are 1920X1080 and 1280X720. They can both record in 24p, 30p, 60i, and 60p, but not all cameras record all the resolutions and frame rates. 108060p is harder to find in the less costly prosumer models.

      Also, some cameras record 1440X1080 and stretch the images to cover 1920X1080. Others record true 1920X1080.

      3. Media – When I go HD, I want toimplementa tapeless workflow. Tape is nice because you know your footage is there and initially it’s cheaper; however, P2 cards are proven to be very stable and cut capture time down by a lot. Actually, if you decide to record to tape, then you need an HD deck too, unless you want to wear out your camera. So going tapeless may actually be cheaper depending on how many cards you get.

      4. What is being shot – If you shoot events, chances are your days will be long and you won’t have a chance to offload footage from a P2 card or SxS card to a laptop as your day progresses. So the more compressed formats like AVCHD and HDV may be the formats you want to record if you know you aren’t going to be doing any compositing. If you shoot in controlled environtments and you have time to offload footage from cards to laptops, DVCPro HD and XDCam HD may be the way to go.

      5. Input/output – I always want XLR connections. If I wanted to record uncompressed video, I would want HD-SDI outputs too.

    • #183821

      Since you are familiar with the VX2100, why not look into the prosumer models Sony has – Z1U, V1U, V7U, PD170, EX1, EX3, etc….

    • #183822


      I am in exactly the same situation as you are. I use a Sony VX 2100 and my customers are happy with the work I give them. Also, I have yet to lose a job because of not providing High Def. And I myself am thinking of soon making the plunge into High Def, in fact, as early as next summer.

      The camera I am going to buy is the Sony HDR-FX 1000 (HDV tape-based format). The main reason for choosing this camera is the same reason I chose the VX 2100: the ability to shoot in low light situations. This camera can shoot in a light level of 1.5 lux, which is better than other High Def cameras in the same price range. The only con (for me) is the lack of XLR audio input. I already own a Sony deck (GV-HD 700) which plays Standard Def as well as HDV.

      I hope I have influenced you in some way. But remember the camera is not the only expense in going into High Def. You need compatible editing and also a Blu Ray burner.

    • #183823


      Thanks for the info. I’ll look into the FX 1000. I’maware of the editing compatiblity issue. For me it will mean a new PC and new editing equipment. When combined with new cameras, we’re talking of quite an expensive investment. Everything hinges on the demand, or lackof, for HD video. Things change so fast in this industry. By the middle of this year we may very well have newer cameras to consider.

    • #183824


      I checked out the FX 1000. Do you still get 1 hour of video recording in high def on each tape?

    • #183825

      Yes you do get one hour of recording time at least I do on my FX-1 when shooting high def

    • #183826

      Is that on a regular digital tape or ona tape specifically designed for high def or doesn’t it matter?

    • #183827


      My outfit has worked with Canon XL series cameras since `02. We did a good deal of research on the different HD formats and models before deciding on the JVC GYHD-200UB. With the 200 we can still use tape or an external harddrive or in more controlled situations, a laptop with On-location installed. Now, I’ve worked with pro digital formats like DigiBeta, DVCAM, DVCPRO, HDCAM and so on and had a good feel for the cameras that supported the formats.

      Things you want to look out for when making your decision is: how long a life will the camera/format have before going obsolete? Though nobody has a ‘crystal ball’ to see the future, you can look at a company’s record on how they support their models as the technology changes. I’m a big fan of Sony cameras (Started working with ‘handycams’ through Betacam-SP), but I noticed while Sony pushes forward to innovate they’ll abandon a format altogether in the process (remember Pro-Hi-8?) Which is sad, because most of the gear they make is quite solid. So when I saw they only have one tape/card camera, two card-based cameras and one based on a proprietary recording cartridge (XDCAM) I could see they plan to abandon tape altogether and I didn’t want to get stuck with a rig they no longer supported.

      Another set of considerations are: Cost of camera and recording media. The new card-based cameras are somewhat affordable, but the cards they use are expensive! Fortunately, external harddrives aren’t plus you get more recording space and you don’t have to carry as many. When the price of cards eventually fall, then they will be a viable option for the budget conscious. Personally, I like tape/card hybrids. I’ve mentioned it on other posts, but if it becomes necessary during a documentary or surveillance shoot I’d rather cough up a 4.50 mini-dv tape than a SxS card, external harddrive or a harddrive based camera!

      Last, what do you plan to do with the footage? Like robgrauert mentioned, do you see any greenscreen projects down the line? Are you going to be shooting sports? Do you plan on shooting any short/feature narrative productions? As also was mentioned, getting a new camera capable of doing many types of productions in HD with a professional look can be an expensive proposition. All cameras (despite people who swear by the type they own) have limitations. People swear by the Panasonic P2 rig, but I’ve talked to pro’s that didn’t like it for various reasons (technical and preferential.)

      Really it all depends on what you want to do and then figure out which camera system you can afford and best suits the majority of the projects you plan to work on.

    • #183828
      Grinner Hester

      I have been very pleased with the FX-1.

      It’s tough as hell and has everything I really need.

    • #183829

      this is a totally a noob question but i have to ask. Cameras like the Sony SR-12, records in 1080P, 120 gig hard drive and can be had for under $500 dollars, if you’re starting out in the business of doing events why spend money on a bigger camera that doesn’t do HD or have a hard drive (to me having a hard drive is the best way in terms of getting all that info onto the PC).

      thanks for any input as i’m in a similar boat.

    • #183830


      I understand where you’re coming from witht hat question….

      I shoot with prosumer cameras. my reasons for that descision were as follows:

      keeping cost down while still meeting MY customers needs and I rent pro equipment when there is a specific need (sometimes that need is to look professional when dealing with certian clients.

      truth is every camcorder has it’s strengths and weaknesses, and there are some consumer cams, that it good hands will produce pro results, and any camcorder can make crap in the right hands also.

      But try to tell that to a Gear freak, and you’ll get a “Paid more so it must be better!!” mentality, and some customers are gear freaks…not mention the customer that doesn’t know much, but he knows he saw that prosumer camcorder at best buy for less than what you’re charging for the job……

    • #183831


      D0n’s on point with that. If you’re planning on getting paid for your video work, showing up with a consumer grade camera is a good way to lose customer confidence. One way to get around looking like an amateur is to ‘trick out’ your camera with stuff you were going to need anyway. If you’re serious about your work, you’ll need things like; wide-angle/telephoto lens adapters, lens filters, microphones (shotgun & lavalier) a portable light kit and an on-camera light. A dependable tripod and sturdy camera bag to carry most of that stuff in. Fortunately, all those things are available to support a consumer grade camera. I’ve used ‘tricked out’ consumer rigs and many of those client’s ‘concerns’ were smoothed when they saw me assemble such a kit before a shoot. Of course, you have to be fully aware of your consumer cam’s multitude of limitations (and accept them) in order increase your footage’s production values.

      Concerning the ‘harddrive cameras’; I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea. A harddrive only is asking for trouble. Yet, for now these are what manufacturers are shoving out the door at us on the consumer level. I much prefer options. Let me have tape, solid-state cards and portable external harddrives all available for one camera! That way, if they all fail at the same time you’re probably toast as well.

      Concerning ‘renting vs. purchasing’ gear, both are viable options. Some gear you’re going to have to buy particularly as your clientele and projects become more advanced. Some gear you’re going to have to rent for the same reasons but won’t be able to afford or warrant the purchase of said gear. Don’t buy any gear until you have a recurring requirement for it. Don’t rent if the rental will comprise a significant portion of your project budget as to not make it profitable.

      Lastly concerning ‘gear heads’; despite what the client ‘thinks he or she may know’ your job as a professional is to supply expertise beyond the client’s capabilty (otherwise why are you there?) If you show up with a camera rig at the level the client can run out an purchase, why should they have confidence in you? Perception is a very pertinent aspect of this business and if you want potential client’s to part with their money for your ‘expertise’, you have to project it with your knowledge and your gear.

    • #183832

      Wakeislander, the most important reason to buy a professional or at least prosumer camera is that the quality of the lens, and the resulting pictures, will be far superior to the $500 camera

    • #183833

      Seems as though I’ve opened up quite a conversation. Prosumer and professionalcameras perform better, Wakeislander. They have better lenses andperform better in low light situations. You might be able to get away with a consumer camera for a few events as a novice. I did. But then you realize that there are limitations with those cameras andconsumers will ask what type of equipment you use.

      Has anyone seen any comparisons of the amount of compression used by cameras using tape vs hard drives vs different cards? That will make a huge difference when it comes to editing the captured footage.

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