Help! Another ‘What camera to buy’ question!

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    • #54513

      Hi guys,

      New to this site. Came across it looking for help and decided I'd sign up as I've seen so much useful info.

      Anyway, enough shinfo, here's my problem. I'm looking to get back into filming again but it's been a few years and i'm totally been out of the game! I have no idea what I'm looking for.

      I've seen the VG20/30 as well as the VG900 and that intrigued me but have seen a lot of negative reviews.

      Also the JVC HMU100 looks decent but don't really know the reputation of JVC cameras.

      Some of the things I'm looking at are:
      Interchangeable lenses
      Ability to shoot a wide range of HD and frame rates
      Something that I can work with in Final Cut Pro 7

      Budget somewhere in the range of £1500-2000. Yes, that is english pounds.


    • #206185

      I forgot to mention that I'm using the camera in a primarily narrative/short film type way.

    • #206186

      " What should I buy ?"


      The number of times I see this question posted in these forums is disheartening. It's as if nobody takes the time to really do research! The answer is almost always  related to personal preferences with very little justification as to how the opinion was arrived at! Why not stand on a street corner and ask strangers what brand of appliances or what kind of car they own? Their response would most likely be a one word answer; and if asked ' why ', they might have trouble explaining ' why '.


      I'm not trying to be a hard-ass here. Jacob has a legitimate question, as do many who ask it, but without an opportunity to probe deeper into a Q & A exchange, the answers forthcoming will likely be based upon experience and applications not necessarily aligned with Jacob's needs.


      There's an enormous amount of video capture devices on the market, some specialized but I'm guessin there's a lot of duplication of features. A Consumers Report approach might lean heavily toward reliability. An individual's response might include " It looks cool ", or " I wanted the very highest resolution ", or " I could only afford ( fill in the blank ) ".


      My advice would be for Jacob and others like him wanting to purchase a video capture device to go to a specialist retailer ( more than one ) and enter into a conversation with an expert sales person. Tell them specifically your application and budget requirements and let them explain the strengths and weaknesses ofthe various models which lie within your needs. Perhaps their price will be a bit more than eBay or discount houses, but their assistance will be worth it!


      Rick Crampton

    • #206199

      Hi Jacob – welcome back to the world of filmmaking.  If you want to make narrative/short films, today's standard is the large-sensor, shallow depth of field cinematic "look".  Of the cameras you've listed, the VG20/30 (APS-C sensor) and the VG900 (Full frame sensor) meet that requirement.  The JVC does not.


      At the £1500-2000 price point, that limits your choices to the VG 20/30 camcorders or a large sensor DSL camera such as the Panasonic GH2/3 (I don't recommend Nikon or Canon DSLRs for video – amongst other reasons, they have no working viewfinder in video mode).


      Here is what each camera type can do:


      VG20, Blonde Ambition:



      GH2, Mandorla trailer:



      GH3: Clash:



      GH3: Genesis:



      The £1619 VG20 is a great large sensor camcorder, but it lacks a power zoom. You will have to step up to the £2255 VG30 for compatibility with the new Sony interchangeable18-200 power zoom.


      The £822 GH2 and £1279 GH3 cameras are the best still/video hybrid cameras on the market.  Less moire than the VG20/30, better in-camera control of color profiles – and the GH3 records at 1080/50p 50mbps – twice the rate of the Sonys.  I have shot with the VG20, GH2 and GH3 and the GH3 produces the best results of the three.


      One caveat – in the EU zone (to include the UK), the Panasonics are limited to a 30 minute continuous video clip recording limit (you can modify the GH2 with free firmware to get around this challenge).  If you plan to shoot events, sermons, weddings, concerts, plays, etc. this could be a problem.


      Hope this is helpful – please let us know where we can see your films!



      Hybrid Camera Revolution




    • #206205

      @ gldnears


       Depending on the area you live in it can be hard to find a specialist retailer with the cameras you want to look at. I am a Sony fan an live in the St Louis area and could not find a local retailer with the products I wanted to look at. 


      I don't disagree just saying it can be a challenge sometimes. 

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