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Old 06-24-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been into amateur movie production toward the end of high school and through college with a buddy of mine. He had a GL2 for a while, then upgraded to HD with a smaller Canon Vixia HV40 and a JAG35 adapter and simple shotgun mic mount. Those were the cameras we both worked with to make some movies for fun and shoot snowboarding a little. Having worked with that camera for a couple of years now, I've noticed some downsides to the lack of manual control.

Anyway, I graduated from college and now I'd like to invest in my own camera, and switch over to flash memory instead of tapes. I want something that I can use to shoot home movies (like my kids eventually), vacations, and also have a chance to still play around with making some movies. I may also want to use it to shoot some weddings (since I'm at an age where my friends will start getting married I figured I might be able to earn some cash to offset some of the costs of this).

Here are the features I'm looking for:
1080/24p,30p, and maybe even 60p.
Full manual control (aperture, shutter, gain, white balance). Don't care about other things that can easily be done in post.
Either interchangeable lenses, or a nice built in lens that will work well for close shots in tight areas, as well as a bit of zoom.
I have been a fan of the shallow DOF, but I don't need it all the time. However, a larger sensor would be nice.
I can live with CMOS, but a CCD cam would be nice to avoid the "jello effect" for handheld footage.
I expect beautiful footage in natural light, but I'd like to be able to shoot inside without setting up lights and still minimize the grain. Good low light performance is kind of important
It would be nice if the auto settings still work well for those times when you just want to get some quick shots without much thought, but this doesn't matter

I'm thinking of getting this in the next couple of months. Here are some of the models I've seen that looked good to me. Please let me know if I should pick one of these or just suggest some others.

Canon VIXIA HF G10 ($1500)
Canon XA10 ($2000) - this is just the G10 with a handle/XLR mic connections, right? I might want this just to easily add a mic
Sony NEX-VG20H ($2200) - I like the removable lens, but I've read reviews that this is pretty crippled in terms of control. However shooting in 1080/60p is a nice option
Sony HDR-AX2000 ($3500) - a bit over my price range, but the reviews I browsed were overwhelmingly positive.
JVC GY-HM150U ($2500) - Seems to have what I want with CCD sensors which is nice
Canon XF100 ($3000) - sounds like a really nice sensor, but maybe more than I need
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:39 PM
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You might try the videomaker.com forum for that kind of price range. It's much more geared towards the professional videographer.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:07 PM
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Canon VIXIA HF G10 ($1500) - no handle, no XLR input.
Canon XA10 ($2000) - this is just the G10 with a handle/XLR mic connections, right? I might want this just to easily add a mic. -- handle and XLR, but pretty lame position of AF/MF button.
Sony NEX-VG20H ($2200) - I like the removable lens, but I've read reviews that this is pretty crippled in terms of control. However shooting in 1080/60p is a nice option -- Can't say much about it, but 1080p60 is common now.
Sony HDR-AX2000 ($3500) - a bit over my price range, but the reviews I browsed were overwhelmingly positive. -- The first Sony's foray into professional AVCHD. I would not bother.
JVC GY-HM150U ($2500) - Seems to have what I want with CCD sensors which is nice. -- Crappy in low light, crappy image stabilizer. Good codec, easy format if you are an FCP user.
Canon XF100 ($3000) - sounds like a really nice sensor, but maybe more than I need -- 4:2:2 @ 50 Mbit/s is nice, but I am not sure how they can get all this color from 2Mpix sensor.

The HMC40 is ~ $1500 without XLR. Add ~$300 for XLR. If you are considering the XA10 I would consider the HMC40 as well.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:22 PM
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Matt - My vote is for a camera that is not on your list. With your list of requirements, and at your price point, I would recommend the pro Panasonic AG-AF100 interchangeable lens, large sensor camcorder. $3283 right now at Amazon body-only.

It meets all of your requirements except for the CCD (which is almost impossible to find at this price point, except for the JVC).

Good reviews from Videomaker and Studio Daily, nice hands on from Abel Cine here: https://vimeo.com/16617869

Here are a couple of snowboarding videos shot on the AF100:
Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0hh07VzP7U
Night: https://vimeo.com/36661094

Narrative shorts shot with AF100:
https://vimeo.com/26442144
https://vimeo.com/40485135

Trailer for feature film shot on AF100: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkULMOFpuCo

If you buy the camera by June 30th, you'll get a $500 American Express Rewards Card.

Hope this is helpful

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses so far! I'll check out that other forum as well but this is really helpful.

After eliminating some of the "no's", it looks like I'm down to:

Panasonic AG-AF100 $2800 or so with the rebate, plus lens
Canon VIXIA HF G10 $1500
Canon XA10 $2000
Sony NEX-VG20H $2200
Panasonic AG-HMC40 $1500-1800

So I am really liking the AF100, but I would have to decide to purchase it this week, because at that price plus getting a lens, it's a little more than I'd want to spend I think. Does it make sense to get this now at that price, or should I wait a couple of months? I don't need a camera right now, but I would use it as soon as I got it. So I can afford to wait if there are any cameras that are supposed to be coming out soon in this price range.

Bill, If I were to get the AF100, what are some entry level lenses I could get for it? Can I get something that will yield similar results to the videos you posted for a couple hundred bucks? My girlfriend has a Nikon D300s and she got a new lens so she has one she doesn't really use if I got the adapter for it (though it's nothing special, which is why she get an upgrade later).

Can anyone else comment on these cameras (or ones I haven't mentioned)? I'm mostly wondering what sets them apart.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:04 AM
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How about the HMC150? It has 3x 1/3" CCDs.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsnowboard View Post

Thanks for the responses so far! I'll check out that other forum as well but this is really helpful.
After eliminating some of the "no's", it looks like I'm down to:
Panasonic AG-AF100 $2800 or so with the rebate, plus lens
Canon VIXIA HF G10 $1500
Canon XA10 $2000
Sony NEX-VG20H $2200
Panasonic AG-HMC40 $1500-1800
So I am really liking the AF100, but I would have to decide to purchase it this week, because at that price plus getting a lens, it's a little more than I'd want to spend I think. Does it make sense to get this now at that price, or should I wait a couple of months? I don't need a camera right now, but I would use it as soon as I got it. So I can afford to wait if there are any cameras that are supposed to be coming out soon in this price range.
Bill, If I were to get the AF100, what are some entry level lenses I could get for it? Can I get something that will yield similar results to the videos you posted for a couple hundred bucks? My girlfriend has a Nikon D300s and she got a new lens so she has one she doesn't really use if I got the adapter for it (though it's nothing special, which is why she get an upgrade later).
Can anyone else comment on these cameras (or ones I haven't mentioned)? I'm mostly wondering what sets them apart.

Matt - what sets the Panasonic AF100 apart is its 1) pro connections, 2) pro controls, 3) large sensor and 4) interchangeable lenses. None of the other cameras on your list have all four. This camera is less a camcorder and more a "digital cinema camera" (like the much more expensive cameras that Hollywood uses such as the RED series, Sony F series, Arri Alexa, etc.).

I would buy a $24 adapter for your girlfriend's Nikon lens and borrow it until you get comfortable with the AF100. At that point, I'd decide whether I wanted to keep going with manual (adapted) lenses or switch to native Panasonic/Olympus/Sigma automatic system lenses.

If you absolutely must have an inexpensive autofocus lens, You can get the well-reviewed Sigma 19mm f2.8 for $199. I have a couple of Sigma lenses and I like them a lot.

Cheers and good luck with your decision! Please let us know how it turns out.

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brunerww View Post

Matt - My vote is for a camera that is not on your list. With your list of requirements, and at your price point, I would recommend the pro Panasonic AG-AF100 interchangeable lens, large sensor camcorder. $3283 right now at Amazon body-only.
It meets all of your requirements except for the CCD (which is almost impossible to find at this price point, except for the JVC).
Good reviews from Videomaker and Studio Daily, nice hands on from Abel Cine here: https://vimeo.com/16617869
Here are a couple of snowboarding videos shot on the AF100:
Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0hh07VzP7U
Night: https://vimeo.com/36661094
Narrative shorts shot with AF100:
https://vimeo.com/26442144
https://vimeo.com/40485135
Trailer for feature film shot on AF100: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkULMOFpuCo
If you buy the camera by June 30th, you'll get a $500 American Express Rewards Card.
Hope this is helpful
Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

I'm just curious, would I need to get something extra to protect this camera to shoot snowboarding? Like how bad is a little moisture from falling snow plus the cold? I guess this goes for any camera. I've never had a problem with the GL2 or HV40 I've used for snowboarding, but I'd be much more cautious with something that's worth like 4 times that much.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsnowboard View Post

I'm just curious, would I need to get something extra to protect this camera to shoot snowboarding? Like how bad is a little moisture from falling snow plus the cold? I guess this goes for any camera. I've never had a problem with the GL2 or HV40 I've used for snowboarding, but I'd be much more cautious with something that's worth like 4 times that much.

Hi Matt - the camera is built like a tank. A lot of folks are taking it out in the snow and bringing back great footage. I really haven't heard any concerns about moisture or the robustness of the camera:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoVcmeTbECY
https://vimeo.com/18620886
https://vimeo.com/20660390

Not to say that it's waterproof straight out of the box - but a little falling snow and cold weather won't hurt it. If you're concerned, though, you can always get a $100 rain cover or $140 wet suit.

Best,

Bill
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, last thing as I make my decision, is the AF100 overkill for me, or is it an affordable option that's really better than all of the other camcorders I listed.

I'm a software developer, not into film/movies professionally, but it's been a hobby of mine for a while. My girlfriend has a DSLR which I like to play with, and being an engineer, the whole professional settings thing really appeals to me as a new toy.

But I want to know if this camera still makes sense if I don't have any specific things to shoot and I won't be making money with it. Now that I've graduated from college the friends that I've made some movies with in the past will all be going separate ways. I'm sure we will find a way to get together in the future and shoot a short here and there, but I probably won't have the time to invest in a huge project like I've done in the past.

So I'm still considering it, but I'm still just wondering if something better is around the corner or if the price is going to drop in the next couple of months so it would make more sense to wait. On the other hand, it sounds like all of the things I've read about new cameras coming out to compete with this cost at least $9000, so this may just be the sweet spot of a good deal with pro features.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsnowboard View Post

Thanks, last thing as I make my decision, is the AF100 overkill for me, or is it an affordable option that's really better than all of the other camcorders I listed.
I'm a software developer, not into film/movies professionally, but it's been a hobby of mine for a while. My girlfriend has a DSLR which I like to play with, and being an engineer, the whole professional settings thing really appeals to me as a new toy.
But I want to know if this camera still makes sense if I don't have any specific things to shoot and I won't be making money with it. Now that I've graduated from college the friends that I've made some movies with in the past will all be going separate ways. I'm sure we will find a way to get together in the future and shoot a short here and there, but I probably won't have the time to invest in a huge project like I've done in the past.
So I'm still considering it, but I'm still just wondering if something better is around the corner or if the price is going to drop in the next couple of months so it would make more sense to wait. On the other hand, it sounds like all of the things I've read about new cameras coming out to compete with this cost at least $9000, so this may just be the sweet spot of a good deal with pro features.

Matt - I'm an amateur who makes videos for fun. I have a high-end video capable point and shoot (Panasonic FZ150), a couple of video capable DSL-type cameras (Panasonic GH1 and GH2), and a high end prosumer camcorder (Panasonic TM900) - total cost about the same as the AF100. So, for a serious amateur who can afford it, $3000 is not overkill, in my opinion. And yes, the AF100 is "better" than the other cameras on your list if your criteria is the number of professional settings and controls to 'play' with to create better images.

I can't make any guarantees on the price, but it has already come down a long way, and the $3283 Amazon price is the best price I've seen from a reputable seller, especially with the $500 rebate (the camera was introduced and still lists at $4995). And, as you say, the nearest competition (e.g., Sony FS100 and the upcoming FS700) costs significantly more.

Good luck with your decision!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:58 PM
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What's up with ghosting at 0:05 and 0:23 ?
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