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- August 26, 2006 at 1:26 PM #42556
I am looking to buy a Pro grade camcorder, for independent films. I already own a Canon Optura Xi, which is a canon’s only true prosumer comcorder, and although it is very good, it does not offer everything that I want. So now I am at odds as to which pro camcorder I should buy.
Hopefully someone here can give me some good advice:
I am looking at 3 camcorders: The Sony HD, any Sony MiniDV, or the Canon XL-2
I am lookiong at price points among other things, I want to spend less then
I like Canon, alot. I hate Sony, as a company, alot. But I don’t know which will be a better buy.
I need the highest resolution progressive 16:9 video as I can get, although I see HD as being overkill, I do not need HD. I want full manual control, hence why my prosumer camcorder is not good enough. It needs to be heavy, the weight is helpful in terms of free hand shooting without the use of stabalizers, one reason I lean toward the XL2. I want a good film look, with good aperture, etc. Once again the XL2. I want to have the ability to slow down action, the XL2 gives 60i fps, which can (in theory) give you 120 frames extracted info, or 60 frames progressive, when processed. more then enough room for semi slow shots in 24fps.
What it really comes down to is that the XL2 seems perfect, but I cannot find decent reviews of any of the Sony brands.
So I leave this up to you guys to give me some advice. I want the control, and image quality of film, but on a DV camcorder.
and if it helps I am currently using Sony Vegas 6.0 as an editor, in my opinion the best out there (even though Sony owns the rights, it was made by Sonic Foundary).
Please don’t just say "either is good" Tell me which one you think I SHOULD get and why. And Tell me if I should buy a different brand. I know a lot about filmmaking, techniques, terminology, technology, etc. so don;t glaze over anything, let me know as much as you can. Although all my "research" leans me towards Canon XL2, I want candid opinions, especially form anyone who owns said XL2 and/or Sony (any type).
Thanks in advance. 😀
You didn’t mention Panasonic – The Panasonic DVX100b supposedly has the best 24p, and two 16:9 modes (letterbox, and squeeze) and an option for an anamorphic adapter. With the anamorphic adapter, you get the highest resolution 16:9 because it essentially turns the DVX into a native 16:9 camera.
The camera and adapter will set you back just about 4K.
So does the Panasonic have a good lens system?
I also noticed it is small, probably not much bigger than the GL2, which is honestly too small to be independent of stabalizers. One frustration about all camcorders available to the public, more or less, is that the sizes tend to be, shall we say, "compact" fittingh in with the oh-so-modern views of the small the better. Canons XL2 approach is what I would like to see on most pro level camcorders, but for some reason we don’t. Mind you most of my shots will be done, on tripods, dollies, or cranes, but the added weight helps stabalize.
My understanding is that the DVX100b also does not use native 16:9, it uses the squeeze or letterbox, both of which lose resolution, the XL2 has 960 x 480 resolution true wide screen. Which is a huge step up from 720 x 480. Why use anamorphic when you can use true resolution 😀 It is kinda explained here:
It is details such as this that once again lead me toward Canon XL2 or am I wrong on any of these points?
Well I just found an extremely awsome article tackling this discussion:
and it looks as if the Sony HD can go to hell… becaue apparently it really sucks.
This toss up is between the Panasonic and the Canon and both gain edges on each other in certain places. I find that they are basically tied based on the above article, but I alos note that the above aeticle is biased towards the DVX, as it is a DVX website, the article does a good job being reasonable and fair and unbiased, but having read the entire thing they do tend to shift to the DVX, usually with the interface (no surprise there as that is what they are used to).
When it comes down to what is important; film look. It seems that the Canon XL2 has the edge, it does a better job with depth of field, it has the highest resolution 16:9. and although the DVX offers these thing vey well, it does lack a few things. Namely that is is designed for 4:3 use. I intend to only use 16:9 and seeing as how the XL2 apparently captures action much better than the other two it will allow me to make better action shots. To anyone else who is looking at this thread, adn at this article it would appear that the article is correct: Choose based on what you intedn to do.
Both the XL2 and the DVX100B go for the same price, but it seems that the XL2 allows for expansion of equipment, adding lenes etc…
I think my choice will go where I was leaning: the XL2
No one has mentioned the PD170, but that’s the one I’m getting for many of the features it has, including the low lux, and XLR ports.
Howdy, and welcome to the site.
You asked for advice, and here it is. 😀
The XL-2 is a phenomenal camera. Simply put, it will have anything you do need, and a lot of stuff you don’t. It’s as close to a news station ENG camera on our side of the fence as you can ever get.
But, just because it’s, as Canon puts it, intentionally overengineered doesn’t mean it’s the best camera ever, period.
Cameras are like shoes. They make certain styles for certain things. With Shoes, you can buy a good all-purpose shoe and use it just about everywhere, but sometimes these shoes cost more, and they’re not as comfortable as the "right" shoe. The same goes for cameras.
So the first question before you even think about going window shopping in camera land is "what are your needs?" What are you doing? Events? Corporate videos? Independent films? Podcasts/Internet broadcasting? Everything has it’s own need. You said you’re looking at doing independant filmmaking, so we’ll focus on that.
You also need to ask "What do I really need?" If you only have a total budget of $4000, DO NOT spend it all on a camera. You’re going to need a good tripod, which will cost $600-1000. You’ll want a mic or two, there goes $250. If you’re making films, you’re going to need lighting. There’s another $700. Plus, all the little crap that kills you. Tapes, extension cords office supplies, etc. The dumb little stuff will sink you if you don’t plan for it early on. Don’t forget that you’ll need batteries!
Even if you’ve already planned for this, and you really can afford to spend $4000 on a camera, will one camera be enough? If you don’t want to do takes all day long, it would make sense to have at least two cameras. I have four, personally. You’re starting out. I think best bet would be to buy two $2000 cameras, and when you’re more experienced and people are watching your films, then make the big step into the $4000+ range on a camera.
I’ll be honest, the cameras I use are the GL-2 and the VX-2100 (by Sony). Yeah, they’re not huge cameras, but they carry themselves very nicely. Besides, you should be concerned about the image quality, as opposed to how beefy the camera is.
The VX-2100 has the same size CCD setup as the XL-2. In video quality, it’s very comparable. The GL-2 is also very close, though the CCD setup is slightly smaller, casuing it to work less than perfectly in low light. But again, what are your needs? A filmmaker will use stage lighting, so a low light performer isn’t needed.
Yeah, the XL-2 is incredible. BUT if I were you, starting out in the field, I’d go with the more economic cameras for now, and let the quality cameras come up as youdevelop your productions.