I upgraded from a Canon GL


I upgraded from a Canon GL1/GL2 to two Sony FX1s and have mostly been quite happy with the results. The main drawback with all current low-cost HD cameras is that they’re not particularly good in dim lighting, but this isn’t necessarily a big deal if you’re careful and learn your camera’s limits.

Regarding the Panasonic HVX200, note that the resolution of the sensors in this camera is only 960×540 pixels, and in real-world tests the discernible resolution of recorded footage was basically the same as good SD cameras. Recording inHD modeon the HVX200 also requires the use of memory cards which currently cost over $50 per MINUTE of recording capacity at full quality, compared to a few bucks per hour for HDV. (Or you can use a Firestore hard-disk recorder with the HVX200, which costs about $2000 for 100 minutes of recording.)

The Sony EX1 will be the hot camera of 2008 but costs $6500 with a memory card that only holds 25 minutes of footage, and extra cards cost about $18 per minute of recording capacity. This makes HDV the obvious choice for anyone of modest means, and the best cameras to consider for this format are as follows:

Sony FX1 and Z1U (same basic camera with different features)
Sony V1U (similar to above but with CMOS sensor instead of CCD and better zoom range)
Canon XH-A1 (better value than the Sonys but trickier to use in dim lighting)
JVC HD110U (shoulder-mount design with manual-focus-only lens and 720p recording)

Personally I’d recommend either the FX1 or the XH-A1, or the JVC if you like shoulder-mounted cameras and don’t care for autofocus. For HDVediting try Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas or Grass Valley Edius on PCs, or Final Cut Studio on Macs.

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