In need of a solid compact multi-purpose video camera

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    • #47232

      I tried to find the best category to fit this in, but here goes!

      Currently I have 2 Sony HVR-Z5Us, and 1 HVR-HD1000u that I use for my wedding shoots. The Z5U’s are incredible – the HD1000u, not quite so much (but fine for a static wide shot).

      In January we will be taking a family trip – and none of the above cameras are really all that travel friendly – they would probably run up their own airfare – and really would not be that great for being “out and about” with the family.

      At first I thought I might have to stoop to the level of a “Flip” camera, or similar – but I just don’t think I would be all that happy. I even cringe at the footage the 1000u gives at times, and it is suppose to be a prosumer camera. I am sure that is just me being picky and annoyed when I can’t possibly get the same quality images the Z5U has to offer. ANYWAY – less rambling….

      My next idea would be to get a camera that not only would be a great vacation casual camera, but also something I could incorporate into my videography business. This brings me into possibly getting into the world of DSLR – which I am thinking is my best option at the moment. But I could be wrong!

      I ran down to the local Best Buy last night just to start looking around and getting ideas. I really do not want to spend $1000s on a camera that will have such limited use. I really would like to stay under $1000 or so unless there is something of a gem out there I may go a bit higher. (I know there are always accessories to worry about – but I will deal with that later).

      One of theassociates there seemed to bequite well informed on DSLRs – but then again I am quite challenged at the moment in that area. I was about sold on the Canon T2i there until he brought up a camera Sony just announced- the Alpha 55. It has a translucent mirror allowing the auto-focus to lock on and track moving subjects. Apparenly this is something new (at least to lower end DSLRs)? I came home and looked up some of the videos from that camera, and I am quite impressed! Does anyone else know much about this camera? It still hasn’t officially been released yet – but will be in the coming weeks.

      Is there another route I should go? I really don’t think a consumer HD camera will benefit me much as I would just be adding another video camera to my redundant mix and would never use it outside of adestination vacation. Not to mention the video quality I doubt will be any better than my 1000u has to offer. At least with a DSLR I may learn something new! I would love to learn a little more on the photography side of things at the same time.

    • #194490

      look at the sony vex mirrorless cams..

      they have a apsc sensor ike d-slrs, compact size, do vieo and stills but most of all…

      they have a af adaptor that lets you stick on many Sony and minolta slr lenses… as well as lensbabies.

      failing that there’s gopro waterproof fisheye cams great value..

      then lastly the d-slrs… look for the lenses you want first THEN decide which d-slr, the bodies are all fairly close in quality and features….. the glass on the other hand…. may force you to buy a specific body esp with canon or sony….

    • #194491

      Thanks D0n I will look at the vex here in a minute.

      As for the DSLR route, is there any great place of information I can get about what each type of lense can do? I am clueless in the DSLR area, but am willing to learn.

    • #194492

      the main ones to consider:

      any lenses you might buy adaptors for use on your video cams..

      eg: ultra wide angles, fisheye, super telephotos, 35mm lens adaptors for video with fast aperture primes like 50 mm 1.4’s

      so D-slr speak, I have 50 mm 1.4’s, 85 mm 2.2, 400mm, 10-17 mm fisheye zoom, 16-45mm zoom, all of which will do tricks on a video d-slr that my camcorders can’t do, without expensive adaptors…. plus they take stills…

    • #194493


      Well I am leaning towards the DSLR area still I think, but what you just stated completely confused me – but I will learn. I know I will have to add lenses, but beyond the wide angle, fisheye, and telephoto, I really don’t know what you are talking about, especially the numbers(yet). I mean what are the main porposes?

      The NEX5 looks okay, but for something close to the same price as a DSLR, I am thinking more manualcontrol is a better thing.

      The gopro has its niche, and would be kind of fun, but quality, and control look a little lacking for my videography uses.

      Again all the little “tricks” you talk about really need a DSLR to pull off due to the many lenses needed. The NEX5 is still pretty limited, and I don’t see that really going as diverse as a DSLR if it is meant more for the consumer to begin with.

    • #194494

      dirty secret pro photographers don’t like to admit….

      Most of the radical improvements in camera design start in the consumer market and trickle up to the pro cameras.

      Auto exposure, auto focus, built-in flash, and even HD Video made thier way onto pro cameras LAST.

      Google is your friend, do some searching.

      But when you are understanding what the numbers mean about lenses, you’ll find that you are better off looking for the types of lenses you’ll want for video FIRST then shop for the brand that has what you need and get the body that works with the lenses you want.

      For example:

      Wide angle, Fisheye and 50 1.4, if you look at the cost of a canon ff fisheye lens, you’ll find the lens alone costs more than a Pentax d-slr, 10-17 fisheye zoom, 50 1.4 and kit 18-55 lens combined…. and when you factor in the resolution of HD video, you’ll see the Pentax system I use will match the canon ff video quality easily for a fraction of the cost…

      Learn about and look for your lenses first BEFORE buying a d-slr body to find the system that meets your needs and budget.

      Most photo pros are committed to a system and wind up eventually paying more for a lens or body to avoid the cost of switching brands and having to sell off a dozen lenses to get one new camera body.

    • #194495

      For starters, I would probably skip a hefty zoom lense. I am guessing the higher the mm the higher the zoom? And the fisheye could probably wait as well.

      What kind of lense would I be looking for that has a decent close range, and give the stunning depth of field shots? I think that would be my first stop. Again the first reason for getting a smaller camera to begin with was for use on a vacation, and then expand its use in my wedding shoots later down the road.

      The camera in question is here : <span style=”color: #00477a;”></span&gt; and appears to have plenty of lenses to choose from – but I have little idea what they all mean.

      Thanks D0n and I appreciate all of your help.

    • #194496

      Sony has a 50mm 1.8 and 100mm macro.

      But you’ll want to keep your clips to 10 mins or so, or your sensor will overheat.

      a better deal if you’re primarily a video shooter is the nex vg10 and the af nex to alpha lens adapter and the 50 mm 1.8, the camcorder comes with a decent 18-250 lens.

      this has the same sensor as the slr you mentioned but geared for video…..

      with the af adapter you can use all the Sony d-slr lenses…

      The sony nex 5 has the same sensor, but geared for video and stills I don’t know of any heat limitations with it…

    • #194497

      10 mins? That is actually longer than impressions I was given.In any case I would just need it more for clips, and not reallyrecording anything of length, I havemy Z5Us for that.

      I remember looking at the Nex VG 10 a few weeks ago (before I was really in the market), but I didn’t realize it had a “DSLR” sensor in it. I see it on BHphoto for about $2000 and that is a tad steep I think for my needs. I do appreciate all your input, and there are a lot of valid points. Maybe I am not doing the math correctly in my head and the Nex-10 would be the way to go, but I think having the flexibility of nice looking stills would be a great addition as well. I love taking video, but I am trying to justify this as more than just another video camera around the house.

      As for the lenses you mentioned, what is the difference between the 2?

      I know I have a lot to think about, and thanks again!

    • #194498

      the nex 10 will take nice stills. (you also get a decent mic with that)….

      I say ten mins because 24 mins is about the max (with pentax) most are less than that, and the hotter it gets, the longer it takes to cool off… then there are memory cards… video uses alot of space.

      a fifty 1.8 will give you shallow dof and is a nice portrait length for aps-c sensors.

      the 100 macro will also give nice shallow dof and also good for portraits and macro shots.

      both are excellent low light lenses that on a decent camera body will allow you to shoot video by a single lit candle.

      Do some googling, sony issued a warning about heat on it’s dslr’s last week I think…

      Panasonic Lumix has some decent all rounders for photo and video…..

      you want cheap… look at the pentax kx.

    • #194499

      I wouldn’tdo tapesat all – for me, it’s well worth it, especially in times of high humidity. In the situation you’re in, you should be able to afford a system that handles AVCHD or is at least enough power to convert it. If record time’s a real problem, then get the 128 GB pack if you’re buying the Sony camcorder. AVCHD has also matured as far as looks. They say there’s still artifiacts, but you hardly every notice them. I would definitely notice more problems with dropouts and failures on tapes than I would artifacting on AVCHD camcorders if I were using them.

      Many people balked at the MPEG-2 format when it came out, but I haven’t noticed much of a speed difference at all when editing both MPEG-2 (720×480) and DV-AVI formats.

    • #194500

      XTR – I do not use tapes now for the most part. My Z5Us run entirely on CF, and I intend to go tapeless on any other camera I would use as I have never hadone single issue with CF recording alone. I have 5x32GB cards I use for my 2 Z5Us, which is pretty much all the storage I would need in a day unless I had a shooter happy assistant with me! I have no issues at all editing my AVCHD footage on my computer, but it is also a very high end rig.

      The point I was getting at wasto findnice travel camera that would also produce high enough quality to possibly incorporate into my event shoots.


      D0n, I will look for the warning you say was posted. And I am open to other brands as well – nothing will be finalized for a while. I just like the translucent mirror (the alpha 55 boasts) allowing auto-focus tracking of moving subjects which has been a DSLR issue in the past. But I have only been looking into this area for a couple days now and there is a lot of information to absorb!

    • #194501

      Lets enter a new arena here – While I REALLY like the idea of the DSLR or “fake” DSLR’s mentioned above – and are still seriously considering them – how about a dive into something completely different?

      Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder – While it may not have much of a use in professional videography at this point – which was something I was leaning toward – it definitely has its niche. And with an 8 year old at home that is starting to really take interest in to what I am doing, I think this would be really fun for some father-son bonding as well. This also seems to be reasonably priced for what it is.

      What is the 3MOS though? Is it a budget 3 CMOS setup or is it just Panasonics own name for a 3 CMOS camera?

      Who knows? Maybe I will even find a Bride one day that would want something to do with this if the overall quality of video is nice!

    • #194502

      Well – I guess the the decision was more or less accidentally made for me. I was piecing together the camera and some accessories into my Amazon cart just to get an idea of the price range I was looking at. (the camerais not available at B&H yet).

      This morning the door bell rang, and to my surprise UPS delivered the PanasonicHDC-SDT7503D camera. Apparently when I got up from the computer, my 7 year old sat down and hit the confirm order button. I know from the past it is WAY too easy to order from them and I have meant to remove my stored payment option from them – now I know I should procrastinate no longer. And with Amazon Prime, I had dirt cheap next day delivery (thankfully!)

      Anyhow – I decided to play around with it. The 2D video looks decent – I will not complain. I do not own a 3D television or any other 3D equipment yet, but I did a test upload to YouTube and theyprocessed it just fine (you just need to add the correct tag)and I was able to turn on the Green/Magenta glasses option in the 3D tab. I put on my 3D glasses that came with Monsters Vs Aliens last year to use with the special feature (Bobs big break?). Everything looked pretty darn good if I must say so. I changed it to B&W as well just because the color can get a bit annoying with the tinted glasses, but it worked either way none the less.

      I would post the video here right now, but it was video of a very messy desk, and I think that is best kept private for now – but it really helped the effect! I need to get moving to work here and my testing was limited today, but I hope to get some more thorough testing in the next couple days and share some samples!

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