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post #1 of 16 Old 02-03-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to buy a professional camcorder. My price range is $1500-3000. I've only looked into the Canon XF100 and it seems decent. Can someone recommend any Sony cameras in that price range? (or other companies). I want to record sporting events/ commercials/ music vids. I'm worried if I spend too little, ill be limited as a learn all the features. Any help?
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-03-2013, 07:11 PM
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Hi dbayliff- the $2795 XF100 is a great small sensor camcorder with 4:2:2 color space and a great high bit rate codec. Many weddings, documentaries and what we used to call "industrial films" are shot with XF100s. It is a solid professional non-shoulder mount camcorder. The equivalent cameras from Sony and Panasonic are the $2700 NX70 and the $3395 AC130, respectively. These are good cameras too with attractive features (e.g., weatherproofing on the NX70), but their slower bit rates and consumer codecs are limiting factors. Here is a useful comparison from slashcam:

http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/compare-db8fe7940c9300d0c638cd5cb4b55365.html

Not as many commercials and music videos are made with this type of small sensor camcorder as in the past. Many commercials and music videos have migrated to the more cinematic large sensor camcorders and DSL-type hybrid still/video cameras.

That said, there are a couple of larger sensor camcorders with pro in-camera sound that you may want to look at:

The Panasonic AG-AF100 is $2700 used on eBay. It has a large sensor, interchangeable lenses, XLR in and HD-SDI out - but it is not very good in low light. Here is what this camera can do:

Commercial:

Music video:


If you are willing to go a little over budget, you can get a camera with a larger sensor that is terrific in low light - the Sony FS100 (body only) for $3460 used on eBay.

Here is what this camera can do:

Music video:

Narrative:

Wedding film promo:

The $2995 Blackmagic Cinema Camera (body only) may also be an option. Its big selling point is that it shoots 2.5K cinematic RAW (as opposed to 1080p, which is about 1.9K). It also has better depth of field control than small sensor camcorders. The BMCC produces images like these:

Narrative:

Narrative:

Travel/mood piece:

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello, thanks for the response!

I am interested in the AG-AF100.

What do you think about the SONY NEX-EA50UH?

does it make a big difference if a camera is 2 years old, or 6 months?
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 05:43 AM
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My work just ordered the Sony NEX-EA50U for event and corporate production. I believe this camera will be a really nice production tool. I’ve been shooting with DSLRs since 2008 and I’m looking forward in shooting with this camera. It’s a shoulder mounted ENG style camera which means you don’t need additional rigs to hold it. Just take it, with a good set of sticks, and off you go. Here’s a great review showing how versatile and sharp the picture is. It’s not in the same class as the Canon C100 or Sony FS700, but for $3500, you get XLR Pro audio inputs, a nice 18-200mm motorized zoom lens, auto focus, facial recognition, auto iris, zebras, peaking and much much more.
http://www.twolightfilms.com/sony-nex-ea50h-review-and-footage-by-alister-chapman/



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post #5 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbayliff View Post

Hello, thanks for the response!

I am interested in the AG-AF100.

What do you think about the SONY NEX-EA50UH?

does it make a big difference if a camera is 2 years old, or 6 months?

Two good choices, dbayliff. With modern cameras, age is not as important as:

- sensor (size, sensitivity),

- signal processing (speed, throughput, codec, downscaling, etc.),

- lens choices (servo zoom, powered adapters for Canon/Nikon lenses, etc.)

- connectivity (HD-SDI, HDMI, XLR, wi-fi, etc).

- ergonomics (shoulder mount vs palmcorder vs brick, etc)

In just about all of these categories (except downscaling and susceptibility to moire), the NEX-EA50 is the clear winner over the AG-AF100.

The only reason I didn't suggest it earlier is that it is $600 above your price range and it's so new, you're not likely to find one used.

I shoot micro 4/3 and I am a Panasonic guy, but I have also shot with Sony NEX camcorders, and they produce great images.

Here is a music video shot with the Sony:

Low light travel/mood piece:

If you can afford it, I recommend you get the APS-C Sony EA50 for $3525 at Electronics Basket via Amazon (2 left at this price as of this post).

If you prefer, you can get the camera for $3512 from Big Value via eBay (3 left at this price as of this post).

Good luck with your decision!

Bill
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 09:08 AM
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For sports, you're going to want a high-framerate recording option at least 1080p60 for slow motion and a small sensor to avoid focus problems. If you use a large sensor camera like the EA50 or AF100, you are going to get many out of focus images because the depth of field is small and the autofocus is unable to track moving subjects. Those cameras are good for interviews but not for moving subjects. Plus both of them have relatively low measured resolution so when you take a wide shot it will look soft. The XF100 is good in low light but it cannot do 1080p60 - it can only do 1080p30 or 720p60. So you might be better served by the new Panasonic AG-AC90, which has received many favorable reviews, has higher measured resolution than either the EA50 or the AF100, and can record 1080p60 at 28Mbps AVCHD.
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by hatchback View Post

For sports, you're going to want a high-framerate recording option at least 1080p60 for slow motion and a small sensor to avoid focus problems. If you use a large sensor camera like the EA50 or AF100, you are going to get many out of focus images because the depth of field is small and the autofocus is unable to track moving subjects. Those cameras are good for interviews but not for moving subjects. Plus both of them have relatively low measured resolution so when you take a wide shot it will look soft. The XF100 is good in low light but it cannot do 1080p60 - it can only do 1080p30 or 720p60. So you might be better served by the new Panasonic AG-AC90, which has received many favorable reviews, has higher measured resolution than either the EA50 or the AF100, and can record 1080p60 at 28Mbps AVCHD.

The AC90 is a great camera, but the EA50 has a very nice implementation of 1080/60p - and it has a camcorder servo zoom that holds focus on action very well, even at long focal lengths.

Here is an example:
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 11:06 PM
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Camcorder servo zoom doesn't help with autofocus, it only helps with smooth zooms. The "Surfing in Montalvo Beach" video you posted isn't really a general test of the camera's ability to shoot sports.The surfers are so far away that it's more like a test of the camera's ability to shoot a static scene with no need to change focus or focal length. It's more like a landscape shot. The low quality vimeo upload makes it difficult to see how much resolution the camera provides natively, but there's not a lot of detail in that clip. Anyway, I'd be surprised if the AC90 wouldn't outperform the EA50 with that kind of bright light. Take a look at the AC90 footage in Barry Green's review, which was shot in similarly bright light and also uploaded to vimeo.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?297200-AG-AC90-Review-in-the-Dominican-Republic
https://vimeo.com/54060066
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 PM
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The AC90 will also have better image stabilization than the EA50, if you plan to shoot without a tripod. The AC90 comes with ND filters so you can easily transition from low light to bright light with no hassle. And the AC90 ($1850) costs half as much as the EA50 ($3600).
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-08-2013, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate you guys getting into it, its been helpful.

I've continued to do research and I've come to the conclusion that i wont be able to get top quality sports videos and cinema style video with the same camera at my price range. I'm leaning towards a large sensor cam. Do you guys know anything about the Sony NEX VG30? It seems to take some awesome videos, i'm just not sure about stabilizer - it seemed choppy in some videos and it having only one choice for frame rate (24p). I realize sports wont work well with this camera. I've also had the Sony HXR-NX30 recommended - but im leaning towards teh VG-30.

thoughts?
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post #11 of 16 Old 02-09-2013, 04:04 AM
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Hi dbayliff, I have shot with the VG20, it is almost exactly the same camera as the VG30 (except the VG30 has a power zoom). Both of these cameras shoot 1080/24p and 1080/60p, and produce great cinematic images like these:

Blonde Ambition (VG20)
Date (VG20)
There aren't many VG30 examples out there yet, but here is an early test video. Note the moire on the shingled roof and some of the brickwork:
If you are careful to avoid patterned objects, the NEX-VG and EA cameras will give you good results. If you don't mind its susceptibility to moire, don't need pro XLR mic inputs and can live without customizable color profiles in-camera, the VG30 may be for you.

If you want a moire-resistant large sensor Sony, your least expensive option may be a used FS100.

Again, good luck with your decision,

Bill
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post #12 of 16 Old 02-28-2013, 05:15 PM
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Bill, I'd love to see more of your NEX-VG30 footage.


There's a real dearth of high-quality clips on Youtube & Vimeo for both the VG30 and the VG900 thus far.

The VG30 Looks very promising for low-maintenance filmic run-and-gun shooting.

I'm very happy with my GH2, but know 2 director clients who want filmic pics without having to use manual adjustments.
Pairing the 18-200 zoom-lens kit with the very affordable 35mm F1.8 stabilised Alpha E-mount Prime should be a TERRIFIC one-stop solution for them!

I guess a Tiffen variable ND filter would complete the package, and shouldn't be a stretch for them to use with shutter set to Manual (around a 50th) and focus & exposure set to Auto.
Would this be doable?
Also, can Manual quickly be switched on and off once the subject has been set to stop the camera hunting during, say, an interview?

Glad there's an XLR adaptor available. (Pity audio is compressed Dolby Digital. I wonder what the audio bitrate is?)

I wonder if there's ANY chance of a high-bitrate hack for the VG30 and VG900?
Shooting 1080p50 or 60p with only 24Mbps must surely be stretching those bits out awfully thin...


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post #13 of 16 Old 02-28-2013, 05:36 PM
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"Shooting 1080p50 or 60p with only 24Mbps must surely be stretching those bits out awfully thin..." No.

1. It is 28 Mbps for 108060(50)p, not 24Mbps.

2. I have not seen any convincing evidence that upping the bitrate above 28Mbps makes any difference. AVCHD is a very efficient codec. We now can do exact tests because we have high-bitrate recorders that can take uncompressed video from camcorders and use high bitrates.

Here are videos I shot simultaneously using an AVCHD camorder shooting 108060p 28 Mbps and using, from the HDMI uncompressed HDMI stream, a Ninja 2 recorder using 145 Mbps Pro Res 422:

First the AVCHD, 28 Mbps video:

https://vimeo.com/47788836

Next the 145 Mbps video:

https://vimeo.com/47785992

You can download both clips and compare. No one has been able to see any difference.

And yes, this is a complex set of scenes - lots of detail where high bitrates are in principle needed.
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post #14 of 16 Old 02-28-2013, 05:48 PM
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"Bill, I'd love to see more of your NEX-VG30 footage."

Bill, I think you should make it very clear who the authors of the VG20/30 videos are that you link. None are ones made by you; is that correct?

In general, videos labeled as being shot by a particuar camera can be very misleading: they may be heaviliy edited (grading etc.) and all sorts of professional auxiliary equipment may have been used (special lights) etc. In the case of DSLRs, the lens used is also crucially important. Hardly any use kit lenses. With expert editing, any camera can be made to look good. Saying "Here is what the camera can do" when there is heavy editing is not appropriate.

Posting own videos by participants allows us to ask questions about how the videos are done (straight from the camera; edited; with what equipment, what lens,etc.). Not to mention how the audio was recorded - often these "music videos" have sound tracks not recorded using anything to do with the camera.

And it is a professional courtesy, at the very least, to credit authors of works (no permissions are being violated, of course). I am not saying it is not helpful to have these video links and examples, but they must be understood for what they are.
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post #15 of 16 Old 02-28-2013, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

You can download both clips and compare. No one has been able to see any difference.

Although that this is not the GH2 - the difference between unhacked/24mbps and hacked/35 to 100mbps GH2 footage is very noticeable to me in post production. Putting aside the hack's ability to correct inhernet flaws such as banding, the hacked footage holds up better with added coloring and fx where unhacked breaks up easier, especially in lower lighting conditions. Most notable are faces have more density and also take better to software enhancements such as smoothing.

Post production quality is why the GH2 hacks are so popular. If not grading, I agree not many are going to see differences. However, I can see in your camcorder/uncompressed comparisons a distinct quality to the DNxHD transcoded footage with more density and saturation to the image I think will help in post production versus the non-transcoded footage.
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post #16 of 16 Old 02-28-2013, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by xfws View Post

Although that this is not the GH2 - the difference between unhacked/24mbps and hacked/35 to 100mbps GH2 footage is very noticeable to me in post production. Putting aside the hack's ability to correct inhernet flaws such as banding, the hacked footage holds up better with added coloring and fx where unhacked breaks up easier, especially in lower lighting conditions. Most notable are faces have more density and also take better to software enhancements such as smoothing.

Post production quality is why the GH2 hacks are so popular. If not grading, I agree not many are going to see differences. However, I can see in your camcorder/uncompressed comparisons a distinct quality to the DNxHD transcoded footage with more density and saturation to the image I think will help in post production versus the non-transcoded footage.

Yes, for the GH2, which does NOT shoot AVCHD 108060p at 28 Mbps, people have reported seeing a difference when the high bitrate hack is used,. But this is about upping the bitrate from 108060p AVCHD at 28 Mbps; the GH2 is not capable of shooting that (108030p). I agree with you that an alledged benefit of the high bitrate codec is that there is less deterioration when there is editing. But that is NOT due to high bitrate but is due to the much weaker compression used by Pro Res compared to AVCHD, necessitating a high bitrate. It also comes from the 4:2:2 sampling, which is another issue entirely. The reason that 28 Mbps is just fine for AVCHD is that it is a very efficient (highly-compressed) codec, especially for high frame rates.

But, again, I performed a test in which I color graded the original footage posted above and then outputted the graded video using the same codec (AVCHD60i). And again, no one has claimed to see any appreciable difference between graded AVCHD and the graded Pro Res 145:

Here is the color graded original AVCHD 28 Mbps:

https://vimeo.com/47977029

And here is the color graded original Pro Res 145 Mbps video:

https://vimeo.com/47976353

Just not any significant difference.
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