Looking To purchase a professional Camcorder - AVS Forum
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello Everyone,

I'm looking to purchase a camcorder for short films. I have been looking at the Canon XLH1 because of the cost factor. I can get one for about $2600 with a 2 year warranty. Would this be a smart buy in this price range? I was also looking at a Canon XHA1s and it is around $1400. I know the XHA1 does not have all the options of the XLH1 but I'm looking at the best buy for the price range and wondering your opinion would I be able to make quality films with them?

I guess my reservation is that the XLH1 is an older model and not sure if there is something more timely in the same price range.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:03 PM
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MiniDV is old technology.

If you have at least $2600 to spend and want to make short films; a good choice is the (new) Panasonic GH3 + lenses, SD cards, tripod, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-GH3K-Digital-Single-Mirrorless/dp/B009B0WREM/ref=sr_1_1_ha?ie=UTF8&qid=1367719286&sr=8-1&keywords=GH3
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your prompt reply. I was hoping to stay more camcorder based as my wife is a professional photographer. We are broardening her business into videography and and short films. Do you really suggest a dslr over a professional camcorder? I guess I'm quite sheltered and have very little experience with what works best. I have the whole Adobe suite with Premiere and after effects and I did a very short 2 minute video and I found a new passion with videography along with editing as well. So I have been learning quite a bit in a shot span.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:15 PM
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The GH3 is technically a "micro four thirds" camera, with a form factor similar to a DSLR. Although it can take very good still pictures, it's also built as a serious video device.

Micro four thirds (and DSLR's) will have a large image sensor, giving you a more of a "film" look, the ability to get depth of field/blurred background shots and low light ability. Plus you will be able to change lenses (a camcorder typically can't/although there are exceptions).

Camcorders have much smaller image sensors and comparatively are not suited for film-making. Camcorders are good for filming events, sports, etc.

I mean, you can shooot films with a camcorder for YouTube as "good enough" if on a budget /just starting out... but if for any serious and you have the money, then a micro four thirds or DSLR is the way to go.

This was shot with a Panasonic GH3:

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Old 05-04-2013, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Good information, Thank you!
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome looking Vid!!
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:25 PM
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Aaron, I agree with xfws, the Panasonic GH3 may not look like a video camera, but it is the best large sensor, interchangeable lens video camera currently available below $3000.

Since you and your wife seem to be interested in starting a hybrid photography/cinematography business, you might want to check out discovermirrorless.com and shootsmarter.com. The guru there, Will Crockett, is an evangelist for providing hybrid still/video products to customers. He and his guest bloggers use the GH3 almost exclusively for stills and video. Will explains why here:

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:09 AM
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My XA10 camcorder has superior video and colour rendition and is far easy to use for video than my GH2 despite very good video films shot with them are online like this GH3 film http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?307114-Desert-Blooms,I think the forthcoming XA20 or even G30 could be better for video than the GH3.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:08 PM
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Aaron, I agree with flinty, the XA10 is a great camera. But there aren't a lot of folks use them for narrative films due to the difficulty of controlling depth of field. But it is possible to control DoF with a small sensor camera with wide apertures and long focal lengths. Here's at least one attempt at narrative filmmaking with the XA10:

Contrast that with this short GH3 narrative:

Here is a nice XA10 doc:

And here is a GH3 doc for comparison:

Discounting for filmmaking style and vimeo compression, I hope this is helpful in determining which "look" you prefer.

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:49 AM
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Totaly different locations,a very poor XA10 film imo,for that type of film a GH would probobly be better,but for filming https://vimeo.com/51651708 type films or even G10 footage https://vimeo.com/31512682 using a camcorder usualy out and about on the go is easier than my GH2.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Jones View Post

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking to purchase a camcorder for short films. I have been looking at the Canon XLH1 because of the cost factor. I can get one for about $2600 with a 2 year warranty. Would this be a smart buy in this price range? I was also looking at a Canon XHA1s and it is around $1400. I know the XHA1 does not have all the options of the XLH1 but I'm looking at the best buy for the price range and wondering your opinion would I be able to make quality films with them?

For narrative filmmaking the Canon XLH1/XHA1 cannot even touch a $500 Canon T2i. They will have a couple advantages, but they simply aren't even close to as cinematic as even a T2i with Cinestyle and Magic Lantern, much less a newer higher end dslr. Low light ability is awesome with a fast lens. One great thing about the Canon though, despite their flaws, magic lantern offers some extremely valuable professional features reserved for professional cinema cameras.

Here's some examples to show what even a $500 Canon DSLR can do (not saying it should be the top choice necessarily):

This video looks amazing.

Here's one with 152,329,000+ views (yes, 152 million) that used the Canon 7D (which has identical video to the T2i) and a 5D.

I can't think of any narrative filmmakers that would want to use a camcorder with a built on lens for making their movies. Not that the camcorder can't produce nice images, but almost never will you find professional DPs/filmmakers that would use a a Canon XLH1/XA10/etc over even a cheap DSLR like the Canon T2i for their film. They are actually filming Wilfred, the Showtime series starring Elijah Wood, with Nikon D800s and Showtime's longtime number one series, Dexter, uses the Nikon D800 as the B-camera for the Arri Alexa, and apparently they don't even shoot it uncompressed.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:04 AM
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Here's one with 524,061,000+ views (yes, 524 million) that used a standard definition camera ! wink.gif





The large sensor (larger than the 7D) Sony VG20 with E mount would be another choice in that price range.





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Old 05-06-2013, 06:47 AM
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Well Im doing action auto racing video for mainly youtube but will get into DVD soon. I liked the 1/3 inch sensor on the new HF G30 from Canon. But I haven't found to much response for this type of videoing. For high action video and under $2,000 what would you guys suggest?
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by HammerDownProd View Post

Well Im doing action auto racing video for mainly youtube but will get into DVD soon. I liked the 1/3 inch sensor on the new HF G30 from Canon. But I haven't found to much response for this type of videoing. For high action video and under $2,000 what would you guys suggest?
For YouTube no one will ever notice if you saved money and used a FZ200. For racing it has the zoom from wide to tele that will get some good footage in a variety of shooting positions. For eventual DVD, non of the "pro" cameras will give you much advantage. DVD is the old Standard Definition and lost of the High Definition picture quality will evaporate.

The cameras being discussed on this thread are not aimed at YouTubers or DVD makers. They are aimed at "indy" film producers that will enter their work at "Film Festivals", pro's shooting commercials or pros creating corporate work that will be presented on big screens.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HammerDownProd View Post

Well Im doing action auto racing video for mainly youtube but will get into DVD soon. I liked the 1/3 inch sensor on the new HF G30 from Canon. But I haven't found to much response for this type of videoing. For high action video and under $2,000 what would you guys suggest?
I shot some drag racing videos from the stands and in the pits about three years ago with my Panasonic TM700 3MOS 1080p60 camcorder.






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Old 05-06-2013, 01:49 PM
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For YouTube no one will ever notice if you saved money and used a FZ200. For racing it has the zoom from wide to tele that will get some good footage in a variety of shooting positions. For eventual DVD, non of the "pro" cameras will give you much advantage. DVD is the old Standard Definition and lost of the High Definition picture quality will evaporate.

The cameras being discussed on this thread are not aimed at YouTubers or DVD makers. They are aimed at "indy" film producers that will enter their work at "Film Festivals", pro's shooting commercials or pros creating corporate work that will be presented on big screens.
And I knew that was pretty much the case but I like having peoples opinion that have dealt with the situations so thanks anyway. But hey everyone has to start somewhere and Ive been doing this for a little while and may end up doing documentaries and some indy style films relating to racing. And now i will know where to come back to when i get that far along. Thanks

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I shot some drag racing videos from the stands and in the pits about three years ago with my Panasonic TM700 3MOS 1080p60 camcorder.

Thanks Those were really great. So I can see by the videos and looking at some of the events i have coming up to shoot that a camera with low light capabilities is definately going to be a must have. Your Panasonic seemed to do really well once it got dark and just the track lights were on.
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