Hey Crafters, I dig your ‘


Hey Crafters,

I dig your ‘revised angle of view’.

I currently use 2 models of cameras for DV work and 1 for HD. On the smallest end of DV I use the Canon Elura 100. These are great little cameras despite them only having 1 CCD. The get really good color, have pretty sharp focus for a consumer rig and because they were under $500 they make great ‘crash cams’. Also, they can record to mini-dv tape or SD flash cards (the cards are limited to 1GB so clips have to be really short.) They also are small enough to fit in a coat pocket and make great surveillance video recorders. Sound wise the onboard mic produces usable audio, but mercifully there is a mic input so with an adapter you can plug in a powered pro mic if needed. Last they have both USB (never use it) and Firewire inputs so the cam can serve as a field editing deck when needed.

On the higher DV end there’s the tried and true Canon XL1s. Probably one of Canon’s all-time best cameras as it has features not available to the XL1, but in my opinion is far more flexible for customization than any camera Canon has made since. Though you cannot do 24p, HD or a number of the new features of later models, where the XL1s shines is both in it’s imagery and it’s potential for configuration. Canon makes great pro cameras but they all suck for one reason; front heaviness. Bad front heaviness. No matter what lens you put on an XL or XH series camera it’s going to droop like an old man’s…. The XL1s had some wonderful items to balance out the camera and turn it from a prosumer rig into a full-on pro rig. On the front end you could remove the weenie viewfinder and put on an FU-100 Monochrome viewfinder and on the back end an MA-200 audio adapter with 4 XLR inputs. With those two add-ons suddenly the old ‘Buzzsaw’ got transformed into a professional shoulder mountable camera. For some unknown and asinine reason Canon reconfigured the later models to no be compatible with the MA-200. Bye-bye shoulder mountableness. Despite it not being able to do progressive scan (that really hurts) the XL1s is still a tip top rig after all these years. Tricked out the way we have ours (Monochrome viewfinder, audio adapter, all compatible lenses and an NVG kit) it’s still a viable workhorse. And with all the customization, it still cost less than $16k (for a pro rig in ’02 for that you could buy a lens or a body, not both.)

On our highest end I use the JVC GYHD200UB. Great camera. Though its HDV and the max format size is 720p, have you seen 720p? In many respects it was ‘cheaper’ than our initial purchase of the XL1s rig. For less than $12k we got the camera and enough support gear to build a kit portable enough and versatile enough to roll out at a moment’s notice. Just like the XL1s, the 200 has interchangable lens capability, but can do progressive scan. It’s tape based and you don’t hear any ‘tape noise’ during recording. Great controls for video and audio and you can customize your imagery ’til the cows come home’. No doubt, it’s a pro rig from front to back. Unlike the smaller cameras made by Canon, Panasonic and Sony though excellent rigs, visually they don’t inspire customer confidence. You the cameraman knows how good your gear is and what it can do, but all clients see is some ‘dinky’ little camera and they start wondering why they’re paying so much money. The cool thing about the 200 is despite it’s pro appearance, it doesn’t weigh as much a typical pro camera. Last and most important, is it too is a fully customizable camera. With an adapter you can use 35mm Cine lenses, broadcast HD lenses and if you want to shoot 1080i format or go tapeless an HD-100 100GB portable harddrive will fill the bill. Last time I checked, 100GB harddrive out weights a 32GB P2 card (and is cheaper) any day.

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