Should I get a camcorder or is everyone switching to DSLR? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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So I have about £400 to spend on a new or used video recording device. Maybe bumping it up in the near future to £500.

But can anyone recommend something that I'd be able to shoot short films on just to chuck up on youtube?

It just seems a lot of filmmakers nowdays are using DSLRs rather than camcorders. I do remember being told camcorders have more colour depth? As in they shoot 4:2:2:2 while DSLRS shoot 4:2:2:1? But I have no idea.

So can anyone recommend anything?
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post #2 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 09:25 AM
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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-V700-1080p-Ready-Camcorder/dp/B006T9JHZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359307436&sr=1-1
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Any reason why for the Panasonic V700? Also I wouldn't mind having a lens ring. It'd be nice to pull in and out of focus. That's why I was kind of thinking of going for a Canon 600D or something similar.
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 10:17 AM
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What will you be shooting?

If artistic/narrative, like short films or nature scenes where aesthetics are a concern, a DSLR can give you characteristics like shallow depth of field (blurred background) and will typically have full manual control over the exposure, aperture, ISO.

Camcorders typically have less control/more auto functions, although there are some exceptions to both DSLR's and camcorders in that regard.

If for things like comedy, vlogs or general purpose, a camcorder is a better choice as it doesn't require detachable lens, will have built-in stabilization without the need for a tripod, larger battery capacities. In general, a camcorder will be simpler to use than a DSLR.

Camcorders can shoot continuously for long events, while DSLR's typically have a time limit or may overheat after a long period of time, although there are exceptions such as the Panasonic GH2/GH3, (actually "micro four-thirds" cameras).
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenakaGinge View Post

I do remember being told camcorders have more colour depth?
Technogeek specs don't tell you everything. Take a look at the actual video output. As is shown in this thread, camcorder footage, though sometimes sharper, is generally less bright and duller looking than still camera footage:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1453083/video-comparison-the-panasonic-tm900-and-lx7
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 11:52 AM
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Cost?

With current DSLRs are you really paying more for the still photo capabilities?

For equivalent video quality how do you think camcorders compare to DSLRs?
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

Technogeek specs don't tell you everything. Take a look at the actual video output. As is shown in this thread, camcorder footage, though sometimes sharper, is generally less bright and duller looking than still camera footage:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1453083/video-comparison-the-panasonic-tm900-and-lx7

So what do you suggest I get then?

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Cost?

With current DSLRs are you really paying more for the still photo capabilities?

For equivalent video quality how do you think camcorders compare to DSLRs?

Cost? Well as I said above £400 preferably. New or preowned.

I have no idea if I'm paying more.

And again, I don't really have an idea but I imagine similar.
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post #8 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 02:33 PM
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It would be helpful if you stated what you would be using it for. Short films? Vacations?

Somewhat of a middle ground is the Panasonic X900:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-1080p-Camcorder-Built-In-Viewfinder/dp/B006U98G56/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359325561&sr=1-7

You can control the iris and exposure, it has a focus ring, viewfinder, 16 megapixel photos.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 03:09 PM
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So what do you suggest I get then?
Panasonic FZ200 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz200
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post #10 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by xfws View Post

It would be helpful if you stated what you would be using it for. Short films? Vacations?

Somewhat of a middle ground is the Panasonic X900:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-1080p-Camcorder-Built-In-Viewfinder/dp/B006U98G56/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359325561&sr=1-7

You can control the iris and exposure, it has a focus ring, viewfinder, 16 megapixel photos.

I did say short films. But in general use for video. But I am again low on funds. And panasonic x900 is out of my reach. Plus I would have to buy memory cards for it adding extra money into the equation. But I was looking at maybe getting the Canon 600D, it seems relatively good with a starter lens and stuff. Body goes for around £300 ish.

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Panasonic FZ200 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz200

Any reason why?
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BenakaGinge View Post

I did say short films. But in general use for video. But I am again low on funds. And panasonic x900 is out of my reach. Plus I would have to buy memory cards for it adding extra money into the equation. But I was looking at maybe getting the Canon 600D, it seems relatively good with a starter lens and stuff. Body goes for around £300 ish.
Any reason why?
Better video image quality than the Canon 600D plus silent focusing and much quicker focus tracking, plus built in 24x zoom lens, plus brighter, less dull images than the Panasonic X900 camcorder. The 600D has a nice bright image, but makes noise when focusing (I used to own one) and has poorer image stabilization. Here's a video I shot when I first got my 600D - you can see how shaky the hand held footage is because the image stabilization is not good: https://vimeo.com/57124988
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post #12 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 08:50 PM
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"short films. But in general use for video"

The question is nearly impossible to answer because there are a lot of cameras that do that well.

The reason is that so many now include AVCHD and its 1080p60 recording mode. You can pick any of them, do a YouTube or Vimeo search and find exquisite video samples. One regular here has demonstrated three (or more) camcorders here in the last couple years. One was a "classic" camcorder, one was a compact "travel" camcorder and one is pocket sized "point and shoot". He has posted many videos from each. All are were shot in 1080p60 and carefully edited. All demonstrated a consistent shooting style and first rate picture quality.

For short films and general use, you can buy anything that does AVCHD. It will be your skills at when, where and how to point it that will make the difference.

Once you accept that 1080p60 AVCHD nearly levels the playing field, it comes down to two things: the features list and the shape.

For shape, does it need to make you appear like a pro with a bulky form factor or do you want it small enough so that you can disappear in a street's shadows?

For features, how important is the opportunity for an external mic? How much stabilization do you want to pay for?

So far in this thread, three cameras have been suggested that are current models. All are Panasonic. They are the V700, the LX7 and the FZ200. They fit your price requirements and do AVCHD 1080p60. You could do great short films and general video with any of them.
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post #13 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 09:16 PM
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For short films and general use, you can buy anything that does AVCHD. It will be your skills at when, where and how to point it that will make the difference. Once you accept that 1080p60 AVCHD nearly levels the playing field, it comes down to two things: the features list and the shape
I'm not sold on the 1080p60 AVCHD deal. My Olympus OMD (as well as the less expensive Olympus E-PM2 and E-PL5) records in easy to use mp4 and it's video footage is sharper (when played on Vimeo) than either my Panasonic TM900 or LX7 and its audio quality much more refined. The video image of the LX7 is a little brighter, however, and so I often use it despite the slightly less sharp image and worse audio. Plus the tiny size of the LX7 makes it easy to carry around anywhere. But when I need the best sharpness and image detail or refined audio, or the ultimate in hand held image stabilization, I reach for the OMD.
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post #14 of 31 Old 01-27-2013, 11:37 PM
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So can anyone recommend anything?
Have you already reached the limits of your cameraphone?
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post #15 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 02:11 AM
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I would highly recommend DSLR for short films over a camcorder. Just like most cinema cameras DSLRs are equipped with large chips and interchangeable lenses. Say you use a Canon T3i there is a very simple SD card hack that gives you tons of very high end features found on very expensive cinema cameras that really help. This includes manual audio gain (great for good audio recording without that auto grain crap), focus peaking, more ISO options, more frame rate options (record as low as fps for creative effects), hdr video mode, more shutter speed options (down to 1/24th, which is a huge advantage for low light), zebras for exposure and many more great features.

The large chip gives you better low light video with a fast lens as well as more ability to control the depth of field like in the movies where the background goes shallow. There was a time when people were paying $1,000+ for a silly 35mm Adapter that allowed camcorders to use 35mm lenses in order to achieve the shallow depth of field cinematic look of movies and DSLR stills. This adapter had light loss and often involved using spinning or vibrating ground glass. The light loss was from the camcorder having to film the projected image of the lens onto the ground glass. Yes, that used to be all the rave for indie filmmakers shooting with camcorders. Now looking back it's hard to imagine we went through so much trouble for "that look" now that it's readily available for a great price.

And for those people using the Sony Nex-5N or 5R, or other NEX APS-C Mirrorless cameras you can later upgrade it to nearly full frame with 1-stop faster sensitivity (already a great low light camera0 that for $600 that shoots 60p as well as 24p. The Metabones EF to Nex SpeedBooster adapter essentially turns these Sony's from APS-C sensors to a $1,000 or so very near Full Frame DLSR like the Canon 5D Mark III with 60p recording at 1 stop faster than without the adapter. Great way to upgrade the camera later on. No more 1.6x crop. A slow F4 lens becomes F2.8. F2.8 becomes F2.0. F2.0 becomes F1.4. F1.4 becomes F1.0. F1.2 becomes F0.9.

Anyway, I think the 600D is a great starter camera for indie filmmaking. It's not the sharpest 1080p around, but it looks movie like. I'd recommend trying out Technicolor Cinestyle or Marvel's Cine 2.4 profile.
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post #16 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

Have you already reached the limits of your cameraphone?

Well that seemed a bit rude considering I don't have a cameraphone.

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Originally Posted by MTyson View Post

And for those people using the Sony Nex-5N or 5R, or other NEX APS-C Mirrorless cameras you can later upgrade it to nearly full frame with 1-stop faster sensitivity (already a great low light camera0 that for $600 that shoots 60p as well as 24p. The Metabones EF to Nex SpeedBooster adapter essentially turns these Sony's from APS-C sensors to a $1,000 or so very near Full Frame DLSR like the Canon 5D Mark III with 60p recording at 1 stop faster than without the adapter. Great way to upgrade the camera later on. No more 1.6x crop. A slow F4 lens becomes F2.8. F2.8 becomes F2.0. F2.0 becomes F1.4. F1.4 becomes F1.0. F1.2 becomes F0.9.

Anyway, I think the 600D is a great starter camera for indie filmmaking. It's not the sharpest 1080p around, but it looks movie like. I'd recommend trying out Technicolor Cinestyle or Marvel's Cine 2.4 profile.

Thank you, it seems I've had many conflicting reports but I think you gave the most clear cut advice. So would getting something like this be ok? http://slrhut.co.uk/product/ID541C5/google?gclid=CIzbjuqIi7UCFW_KtAodMQ8A7g It comes with a kit lens but as a starter, is it ok? Can I go ahead and order it?
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post #17 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
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Thank you, it seems I've had many conflicting reports but I think you gave the most clear cut advice. So would getting something like this be ok? http://slrhut.co.uk/product/ID541C5/google?gclid=CIzbjuqIi7UCFW_KtAodMQ8A7g It comes with a kit lens but as a starter, is it ok? Can I go ahead and order it?

Just make sure the seller is legit.
In the US, there are a lot of scam sites. People usually check a site called resellerratings... maybe there is something like that in the UK.
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post #18 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 07:32 AM
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Re-reading the original post, it appears the OP was only fishing for someone to agree with him about DSLRs. I should have not wasted my time trying to write an answer. I should have not answered, or simply written, "Yes, DSLRS are the best solution and perfect for short films and general video use for video. Camcorders have become obsolete".

I try to provide answers for people with low post numbers because I assume they really are looking for advice or help. I may have learned my lesson.

Bill
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post #19 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 01:53 PM
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Re-reading the original post, it appears the OP was only fishing for someone to agree with him about DSLRs. I should have not wasted my time trying to write an answer. I should have not answered, or simply written, "Yes, DSLRS are the best solution and perfect for short films and general video use for video. Camcorders have become obsolete".

I try to provide answers for people with lost post numbers because I assume they really are looking for advice or help. I may have learned my lesson.

Bill

Hmm...I wonder if that link is OP's site? You can't just go on a board and post a link as it's considered SPAM.
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post #20 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsprague View Post

Re-reading the original post, it appears the OP was only fishing for someone to agree with him about DSLRs. I should have not wasted my time trying to write an answer. I should have not answered, or simply written, "Yes, DSLRS are the best solution and perfect for short films and general video use for video. Camcorders have become obsolete".

I try to provide answers for people with lost post numbers because I assume they really are looking for advice or help. I may have learned my lesson.

Bill

Well Bill, considering someone challenged you on your earlier post. I have yet to see you back it up. Especially about another user who demonstrates different camcorders all looking the same at 1080p60fps. And it's all well and nice you asking me questions on what I want and then suggesting cameras that people have already suggested after I said that I wanted something that has a focus ring when only one does. And I'm not really sold on that camera anyway.

Of course I'm going to agree with someone who also thinks I should get the 600D because I have yet to see anyone suggest something different or explain why I shouldn't get it. Until then Bill, I will stick with what I've read.
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post #21 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Which link were you talking about xfws? If it was the SLR Hut one? That was just the cheapest I saw via the google shopping search. Was only using it as an example.
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post #22 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 02:43 PM
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Which link were you talking about xfws? If it was the SLR Hut one? That was just the cheapest I saw via the google shopping search. Was only using it as an example.

Ok.

A search of SLR Hut produced a post questioning whether it was a "bait and switch" operation and that it's actually a company run out of the US with both .com and .uk web addresses:
http://blog.photo3.co.uk/2011/12/is-slrhut-scam-slrhutcouk-reviews.html

It claims that the advertised price on the product page does not reflect the actual price as duties are added once in cart.


Search:
https://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=slr+hut+scam&oq=slr+hut+scam&gs_l=hp.3...2226.13855.0.14188.16.12.2.2.2.0.197.1496.2j10.12.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.0JxlK_8suog&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41524429,d.dmg&fp=3e58ffd4bb6095f6&biw=1024&bih=485
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post #23 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BenakaGinge View Post

Well Bill, considering someone challenged you on your earlier post. I have yet to see you back it up. Especially about another user who demonstrates different camcorders all looking the same at 1080p60fps. And it's all well and nice you asking me questions on what I want and then suggesting cameras that people have already suggested after I said that I wanted something that has a focus ring when only one does. And I'm not really sold on that camera anyway.

Of course I'm going to agree with someone who also thinks I should get the 600D because I have yet to see anyone suggest something different or explain why I shouldn't get it. Until then Bill, I will stick with what I've read.
OK, you win.
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post #24 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 06:03 PM
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600D has good resale value. So if you end up not liking the lack of crisp sharpness or good image stabilization or good focus tracking then you can resell it for near what you paid.
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post #25 of 31 Old 01-28-2013, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
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Have you already reached the limits of your cameraphone?
Well that seemed a bit rude considering I don't have a cameraphone.
How come you thought it was rude? It was a legitimate question. So what do you shoot with presently?
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post #26 of 31 Old 01-29-2013, 01:08 AM
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Hi BenakaGinge - if you want to make cinematic short films and are starting with a £400 budget, I recommend you pick up this red Panasonic GH1 with the excellent 14-45 lens from camera solutions in Chester via eBay UK for £409.98 (postage paid). It is brand new with a 1 yr. warranty.

Here is what this camera can do:

Gravity (commercial):

Longshan's People (travel/mood piece)

I Didn't Come Here to Die (feature film trailer)

I recommend against Canon DSLR cameras for low budget filmmakers. Their viewfinders blank out in video mode, requiring expensive LCD viewfinders or external monitors in order to see what you're shooting. Panasonic GH cameras have an electronic viewfinder which is usable in both still and video modes. Panasonic GH cameras also have autofocus in video mode, which allows you to set your focus with ease either before or during the shot. With Canon DSLRs (except the 650D), autofocus is disabled in video mode.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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post #27 of 31 Old 01-29-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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How come you thought it was rude? It was a legitimate question. So what do you shoot with presently?

I saw it as rude because it assumed that I had the financial access to a camera phone whereas I don't. It has taken me a couple of months to save up this £400 for a camera. And I don't shoot with anything presently.

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Hi BenakaGinge - if you want to make cinematic short films and are starting with a £400 budget, I recommend you pick up this red Panasonic GH1 with the excellent 14-45 lens from camera solutions in Chester via eBay UK for £409.98 (postage paid). It is brand new with a 1 yr. warranty.

Here is what this camera can do:

Gravity (commercial):

Longshan's People (travel/mood piece)

I Didn't Come Here to Die (feature film trailer)

I recommend against Canon DSLR cameras for low budget filmmakers. Their viewfinders blank out in video mode, requiring expensive LCD viewfinders or external monitors in order to see what you're shooting. Panasonic GH cameras have an electronic viewfinder which is usable in both still and video modes. Panasonic GH cameras also have autofocus in video mode, which allows you to set your focus with ease either before or during the shot. With Canon DSLRs (except the 650D), autofocus is disabled in video mode.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


Wow cheers Bill. That's definitely some food for thought. I have been looking into it and just a quick question, is the lens with the camera on the ebay site all that good? I've seen it's not the original one you usually get with the GH1 however is it good though?
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post #28 of 31 Old 01-29-2013, 07:23 AM
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The 14-45 is better than the 14-42. Metal construction vs plastic construction - and slightly better optically. See this thread at dpreview: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/2907775#forum-post-36953519

Cheers,
Bill
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post #29 of 31 Old 01-29-2013, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm I am thinking of getting the GH1 now Bill, it seems to have taken my fancy. Thanks for that.

-Ben
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post #30 of 31 Old 01-29-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BenakaGinge View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

How come you thought it was rude? It was a legitimate question. So what do you shoot with presently?
I saw it as rude because it assumed that I had the financial access to a camera phone whereas I don't. It has taken me a couple of months to save up this £400 for a camera. And I don't shoot with anything presently.
I see. You want to make the right choice because trying different cameras is not an option.

£410 for the GH1 including the lens seems like a great deal, even converted into dollars. I assume that all GH1 cameras are hackable, I would not get the GH1 if it weren't.
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