Wanting a good camera. 2-4k price range.

Diptheria's picture
Last seen: 8 years 1 month ago
Joined: 04/27/2009 - 2:40am

Hi. I'm new to the forums. I've been interested in film for many years now and since im at a point where i can save a lot of money to get a good film camera, i figured i would do some research. I've read a lot of different reviews on a lot of different cameras and now I'm just confused on what is best and what is not. I'm sure you all are tired of getting posts like this but any help would be much appreciated. Ive narrowed it down to these few cameras.

Canon XH A1

Sony Professional HVR-A1U CMOS

Panasonic Pro AG-DVX100B 3-CCD MiniDV

I've also thought about the new RED camera coming out that's under 3,000 dollars, and it shoots at nearly twice HD quality. The video clip i saw looked amazing, but the camera looked very basic. Also, maybe accessories would enhance the experience, i dunno.

If anyone has any better suggestions than these please feel free to tell me. These were just the best I saw at the time.

sirchrisbuckley's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 04/11/2009 - 10:53pm

i wouldnt go for the red camera's just yet.

their still under development and the technology is totally new, so many computers wont accept them. also if your interested in them, wait a few months, and a new improved version will come out.

in regards to the camera's you queted, i would say the XH A1.

hope this helps,

if it needs fixing, fix it.
if it does'nt, film it!

IAmThatHero's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 days ago
Joined: 06/22/2009 - 3:31am

Diptheria, can you show me a link where you saw the new Red Camera? I'm trying to look into it for about a year down the road

jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

I've always loved Canon optics, so I'd lean towards the A1.

Sony (And basically all cameras using a CMOS chip) use a "rolling shutter" to capture frames, and as such, are prone to some seriously nasty distortion if your shutter is too slow and you pan too fast. (Here's a great page on differences between CMOS and CCD)

The AG-DVX100B is a truly beautiful camera, but the downside is that it's not HD, and it natively shoots 4:3. Now keep in mind that the guy telling you this is still shooting in 4:3 SD video, but if you don't want to replace your investment for a long time, you should consider an HD model.

There are some nifty tapeless models out there, but I hate the compression that hard drive and dvd/blu-ray models inflict, and I don't totally trust solid-state memory yet.

So in short, based on the three you listed, I would personally pick the Canon. But that's based on what I do for a living. Different cameras for different jobs, so if we know what you'll be doing with it, that will help to.

Final word of advice, the longer you can wait to buy an HD camcorder, the better. Low light performace still pretty much stinks across the board. In theory, the longer you wait to buy, the more they imporve this. In practice....well, let's stick with theory for now...

NormanWillis's picture
Last seen: 8 years 6 months ago
Joined: 12/08/2008 - 5:56am

Hi Diptheria.

Which NLE software do you use? Are you sold on HDV tape? Or would you consider a tapeless workflow?

I would be sure to check the system requirements. I was looking at a P2 based camera, but Sony Vegas does not support it (or much of anything else, actually), so now I am writing to Sony to request better third party support, and am jumping through hoops I did not realize existed.

If your NLE handles P2, I would also consider the AG-HPX170, or if you want to go AVCHD, the AG-HPX150. Both of these got excellent reviews, and tapeless backup is about 3x as cheap as tape.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm


I love that Panny myself, but you do you really think that Standard def, 4:3 model is superior to a High Definition XH-A1? Again, keep in mind I still shoot in SD, so I'm not just being part of the frothy-mouthed HD crowd :-)

I think if you were going to stick with SD, you'd be better off to go with two cameras of a less expensive model, such as the VX-2100, with the plans of buying new HD gear once the business grows a bit.

But then, application is everything. If dip is starting a videography business that offers event services, I would definitely suggest getting two or three prosumer SD cameras with the plan to upgrade to HD in a while. In that circle, more cameras are better. But if for example he's shooting a documentary, it doesn't matter how many cameras you have, but you want the best possible camera you can get. In that case, one super high quality HD cam is the way to go. Application drives the need.

XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

The camcorders in the link that I posted above are HD (most of them are hard disk) camcorders. If you are starting to go pro and shoot commercially with a high price range, I would go with HD. Any way, after more review, it looks like some of these models are over $7,000 - so I would be sure and check the price and choose a slightly lower end model. Here is another model to consider:


The shooter's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 days ago
Joined: 06/22/2009 - 5:08pm

Canon all the way!