Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Which camera for $3000?
November 3, 2011 at 4:58 AM #49300
ok, i’m going to buy 2 or 3 of these, most probably 3 … the question is what is the best camera for the buck in the $2000 to $3000 range, and why? i’d like to spend no more than 8k on my cameras, which might mean two in the $3000 range, and one in the $2000 range. and what accessories would be mandatory?
my use will be in a studio environment, never outdoors. i’ve got one good teleprompter from prompterpeople.com. i’m using florescent lights, and plenty of them… so low light isn’t a concern.
my video will be mostly internet video, maybe some distribution on cd rom.
currently i’ve got 3 little consumer panasonics with 3ccd sensors, and for sound i’m using a wireless lapel mic recorded separately, not using audio from any of the cameras, since there is no external jack on them. these are sd cameras with mini dv tapes. i’m hoping to make *acceptable* video with these for a few months until i get the others. editing with vegas pro 11.0.
as we all know, crack cocaine quickly becomes a cheaper hobby :). i’ve probably gotaround 30k in my studio building, and i’m just getting to the point where i can start production. the building is 24 x 36 with 12 feet high ceilings on the ends rising to 16 feet at the peak of the roof. getting ready to insulate for sound with green goo and a second layer of drywall.
recommendations on cameras or any discussion of my setup welcome!
November 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM #201840MediaFishParticipant
Canon XF100, XF105 or XF300 series cameras.
November 3, 2011 at 6:08 PM #201841mfish653Participant
I really like my Canon XH-A1 but it records on mini dv and you might find that a problem. I am considering a Sony NEX VG-20 as a backup cam because of the interchangeable lens but I dont have the money yet besides id like to see if Canon releases something like it. Looks to be a good cam you can pick up for under $1000 without any lens’s. Till you buy those your cost could be around $2000
November 3, 2011 at 6:30 PM #201842
the more i read, the deeper i’m falling in love with the panasonic ag hm-c150.
November 3, 2011 at 7:31 PM #201843
also, where to buy, other than b&h? i’m a little worried about grey market quality issues, but of course i’d like to save a buck if it can be done :).
November 4, 2011 at 1:19 AM #201844CharlesParticipant
Papayamon, trust me you will love the HMC150 I have one and do not have any regrets. I am now saving up for another one. B&H Photo also has the HMC150 for just under $3,000 and they are a great company to work with.By the way, B&H Photo is having a sale on the SD cards, the one I paid $180 for about 6 months ago are going for a little over $50, can’t beat the price for a 32 gig Sandisk extremehttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/757925-REG/SanDisk_SDSDRX3_032G_A21_Extreme_SDHC_Class_10.html
November 6, 2011 at 3:34 AM #201845
well, i bit the bullet! found a used one on ebay for a little over 2100.00. it’s only got 40 hours on it :). hmc150, come to daddy!
looking for anotherhmc150, i’m seriously thinking ofgetting a hmc40 for athird camera. i think 3 cameras will do it :).
November 6, 2011 at 5:27 AM #201846
heh, bought the card from bhphoto too. now i’m just a couple of cameras away :).
November 6, 2011 at 1:35 PM #201847D0nParticipant
papayaman…. look at the other cameras in panasonics 4/3 lineup for a second body…
November 6, 2011 at 6:10 PM #201848
don, which are the 4/3 lineup?
i’m figuring on another hcm150, so i got two of the exact same camera. the third, and possibly a 4th? i’d like to save $$ there, for sure.
November 6, 2011 at 6:25 PM #201849
Experience speaking: After that second camera, especially in the quality range of HMC 150s and with a pair of them, there’s plenty of other stuff to invest into. It’s nice, sure, to have extra cameras sitting around for POVs and stuff, but there are most definitely a lot of other things that will increase returns. IMHO, spending money for more than two GREAT and matched units is yielding to a law of diminishing returns. Of course, depending on what kind of production you really want to focus on, I guess a box full of POV units and throwaways could come in handy.
November 6, 2011 at 7:09 PM #201850
earl the reason i’m thinking of 3 to 4 is because i’m a one man show with my studio setup. it’s mostly going to be a classroom type environment, and i’d like to position the cameras in their best spots and not touch them after that. just film, have 3 or 4 simultaneous shots, and edit with that. as far as help to do anything, there won’t be. just me. the beauty of the setup is just that.. i go out film, lock the door when i’m done. i go back in another week if i want, and it’s all just sitting there exactly like i left it. i film for 2 hours and lock it up again, and so on.
i was really thinking of a used hmc40 for the 3rd camera. you get those for about 1200 used if you really look. it’s not like i’ll need the xlr inputs on that unit. i’ve got one good teleprompter, and obviously, the hmc150 with that will get by far the lion’s share of footage.
let’s say the worst case is i get two more hmc40’s for 1500 each new (these are actually hmc45’s – same camera, no warranty). for an extra $3k, that would really give me an incredible amount to pick and choose from.
i’m more experienced as a programmer plus i have intimate expert knowledge in my field (health care). with the video stuff, i’m definitely a fish out of water… but for argument’s sake if i have an extra 3k in cameras with two of the 40’s… as much of a beating as i’ve taken in real estate these last few years, this is a drop in the bucket…
where is the next place i need to spend money? i’ve got flourescent lights from flolight, i think i’ve easily got enough… and i could pick up more if needed and i might even go led if i think they make too much heat. i’ve got butt kicking computer power with sony vegas 11. if i need to upgrade from there, i will.
as i see it my next big investment is going to be soundproofing the studio with green glue. this is going to be a nightmare hope i don’t break my back fiasco. i dread it! it’s going to take 4 k to do that if i do all the labor with one helper.
i guess the bottom line is we all try to save everything we can but if i get a really nice setup and i’ve got 10k more in it than i need to, i’ve certainly done dumber things in my life :).
seriously, i do appreciate your insight here, and i know you are infinitely more knowledgeable than i am. what other equipment do i need?
November 6, 2011 at 8:40 PM #201851
i’d also like to discuss the hmc40, in terms of the quality of video it produces and considerations of using this alongside the hmc150. all i’ll need from the extra camera is quality hd video stored in sd card format for easy access. sound isn’t a consideration, since i’ll run my wireless lapel through hmc150. is there a less expensive camera that will give acceptable hd video?
thanks to all who have given input here. i’m not actually going to do anything until i get the camera i bought last night and go over it with a fine tooth comb. i figure to start actual production in march or so of 2012, and i’ll be lurking for another hmc150. in the meantime, there’s so much profitable work in my field that i’m just going to buckle down and work 72 hour weeks, so i’ve got plenty of $$ for all of this :).
November 6, 2011 at 10:12 PM #201852
well, after a further bit of research, i don’t think there’s a thing in the world to fear with using an hmc40 in a well lit studio environment. some of the footage shot with these is very impressive, especially in a well lit environment. so…. i’m going to buy one online in the next few days :). this way, i can play with both before deciding to buy othercameras.
November 6, 2011 at 10:36 PM #201853
Good thinking, so far as I can see, based on the direction you’re taking. Plus, upside is you can offer use of your production studio to others on a lease or rental basis and offset some of the costs.
Sounds like you plan to preset everything, then sit in front of the cameras and get your angles, then “fix it in post” and that’s OK, but you will have a LOT of editing to do with all that footage, I suspect.
In times past two friends and I put together a similar studio in one our garages using 3 Canon XL1 units and another guy’s Panasonic Thundercam (can’t remember the model number of that heavy, huge, 3-chip S-Video monster). One guy had an audio mixer and we had a pair of Panasonic MX12 mixers, using SVHS feed to high end Panasonic recording decks and an old Casablanca classic, recording direct to hard drive. So, we had tape backup and the hard drive … no tapes in the units.
What we DID have, however, were the three of us, usually one on one of the cameras and the others stationary; one on the audio mixer (if one of us wasn’t in front of the lenses, and one on the mixers and monitors. That was really helpful, and as word got out about our operation in this quaint little beach-side town we were operating in, we had all the volunteers and wannabes we could ask for to gofer and assist, monitor cameras, ride audio, etc. It was fun but often frustrating.
I can tell you from THAT experience, however, that a one-man show is going to really be tough. Of course once you get your levels and POVs the way you want, your teleprompter (monitor) setup, so long as you work on avoiding those occasional glances at the monitor to “make sure” you could be good to go. I just keep seeing those times when something weird happened with a unit, the audio, or whatever and I lost time having to redo … and THAT was with help.
Would be to your benefit to come up with a mixer and at least one assistant and/or trainee or volunteer or whomever, to help throw some of those cuts live so you’d have less editing to do in post, IMHO.
That and some wired units or additional wireless units, or even some standalone digital recorders to back up your primary audio … never know for sure WHEN your single wireless might act up on you and you’ll NEVER be pleased with the on-camera mic systems for this kind of production work.
All-in-all, you make me VERY jealous! 😉
November 6, 2011 at 11:06 PM #201854
earl thanks for that advice. i live out in the sticks, and it’s going to be hard to get help, especially since the material i’m filming is going to be untold hours of classroom lecture. so i am figuring on spending more on equipment to avoid using help.
i’m not sure what you mean by glancing at the monitor? my camera fits in my teleprompter, behind a one way glass, so i’d actually be reading the teleprompter looking dead on at the camera. i was figuring on using the other angles to break the monotony of having people look at only one or two angles for a 20 minute lecture. basically, i’ll have lectures, and people will log online at my sites for exam prep questions, lectures, etc. so they’ll be prepared for nursing license exams, etc.
i’m sure that the first few things i produce will take incredibly long times with bumbling and fumbling, but i would think after a few months of this i’ll find a sweet spot so i can pretty well zip through creating additional courses. it doesn’t have to be perfect. i have a great passion for teaching, and i think that will overcome some of the rough spots. not to mention that i can always do another take if i truly don’t like the way it looks.
currently i’m writing my website test engine, and i’m mired horribly in that. what i’m doing with the video isn’t high art, that’s certain, but i want it to be very presentable and professional.
i’ve been working on this project for 3 years, and it’s finally coming to fruition. do i really know what i’m doing? heck no! :). but at least i can say i gave it a shot. otherwise, i’m studying to become a nurse practitioner, so if this biz doesn’t prove profitable, i can put it to good use making teaching material for patients, etc. it’s exciting to live out something you’ve dreamed of doing for so long. :).
November 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM #201855
November 7, 2011 at 10:09 PM #201856
bit the bullet again and bought a very lightly used hmc40 off ebay, got the wide angle lens adapter and some other goodies for $1,350. all in all, a great deal. now, it’s time to play!!! :).
i much like the idea of matched equipment, so i’ll be buying the next couple of cameras based on which i see as the better camera for my purposes. surprisingly, there are those who think the hmc40 makes better video under optimal lighting.
the last few weeks have been brutal for my wallet :). i’ve dropped over 7k on lights, teleprompter, cameras… and i’m only halfway done. when i consider that my competition is well funded corporations who spend more than this on one camera, it makes me realize that i’ve really got my work cut out for me :).
the advantage for the little guy? no overhead, and this business has a very low cost of goods after production, especially if you’re doing online distribution.
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