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What HD cam for low light?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is my first post here, so be gentle!

I'm very close to making the decision to buy the Canon AX10 but want to get some more opinions about how it ill suit my needs.

I had a Sony handycam that was 10 years old and loved it, but it died a while ago and now its time to replace it for home use and also for some business possibilities.

I'm going to start shooting some weddings so I need something that works well in low light, is HD, easy to use and has good audio options.

My wife is a very successful (wedding) photographer and uses Canon 5D MKII's but I'm not keen to use one for video because of its audio limitations and battery problems, and to be honest being from a TV background I'm much more comfortable with a dedicated video camera.

So my biggest concerns are how well the AX10 works in low light and what directional mics and compatible radio mics are available for it, although I don't think that's camera dependent...I like Sony (mainly because I've had one) but nothing they offer seems to compete with the AX10 for price and features. The VG10 is a consideration but the interchangeable lenses might become more of a hassle compared to a 'fit all situations' fixed lens, and the mic looks good but I worry how good it realty is compared to a separate mic.

I'd like to find out how well this little camera works for shooting weddings (ie Low light) how well its audio options stack up and what other cameras I should/could consider?

post #2 of 9
The XA10 has the most features of all the camcorders in that series. But all in the series, M400, M40, M41, G10 and XA10 are capable of giving the same quality picture.

I would start with your budget first then cover as many of your needs as possible.
The wedding I shot this summer turned out much better than I expected but I sure wished I had two camcorders. That would have prevented me from missing the Ring Barrer drop kick the pillow. Imagine my frustration as people are coming up to me asking "did you get that?" But my camcorder was on the tripod in place for the march and vows. The action was blocked by a decoration. Also, a second camcorder would have made editing easier.

Sound is very important but by all means don't get carried away. Most audio tracks can be cleaned up in post. I use audacity, it's free. It's hard to fix extremely low audio. A $20 mic in the right place is better than a $400 mic not.

If you're going to shot weddings for hire, redundancy will be your friend. I guarantee you will be more critical of your work than your customers. When you find yourself rendering to DVD for most customers, you'll realize your equipment is overkill.

Good luck. A new venture is always exciting and the great thing is that money can make it all better.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Kevin...I appreciate the comments.

I don't really have a particular budget in mind but I suppose I want to keep it around the 3-4 grand to start with.

A second camera is definitely in my plans. As much as I'd love to have 2 identical cameras so the shots would match perfectly, the reality is that the second camera is likely to be a very simple low end (ie much cheaper) HD video camera...do you think that would be a problem or do you think the differences in quality wouldn't be that noticeable given that its a wide shot and not much detail?

post #4 of 9
With that much of a budget, you could easily get two camcorders. If you are going to make full use of xlr then the XA10 is the way to go. If not then a G10 could save you some coin. Either way a M40 would pair nice with either for the second cam.

As far as helping decide between XA10 and G10, pick your mic of choice and then you'll have your decision. It's going to feel like a pita keeping it all straight but approach it as a complete system and you'll be fine. Just remember it's a business not a hobby. Business is about making money not buying the coolest toys.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I do intend making use of the XLR's and the price difference isn't that much, so its worth it for me...

I assume that the pro sensor in the M40 means the pictures would be close or similar...would a cheaper low end HD Canon with CMOS ($400/500) work as well or not? The M40 seems to be around $1000 and I'd rather spend the money on audio...!
post #6 of 9
For a wedding, You'll be must better off with a G10 than M40. No view finder, no traditional focusing ring, you're not able to independently adjust the aperture and shutter during shooting. That's just a few of the things the M40 lacks. Here's a comparison:
The G10 also shoots in 24p without pull-down unlike the M40. Also the version with the viewfinder the M41 will cost you under $700.

Since you wife has a 5D Mark II, I'd strongly suggest making sure it has the latest firmware for 24p and request to use it when she doesn't need it or if she has more than 1. The 5D Mark II and the G10/XA10 would make a good combination. Their might be places in which the G10/XA10 wont be bright enough and if you increase the gain, it might get too noisy. With the 5D Mark II and a fast lens, the picture will be less noisy.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Paulo

The M40 was being considered purely as a second camera for a locked off wide. The G10 was being considered against the XA10 but I'm looking more between the XA10 and the XF100.

The 5d MKII option is something I want to explore but its unlikely I'd be able to use my wife's as we'd be shooting at the same wedding!

For me I think the perfect set up would be the 5D for mostly hand held and the XA10 for the tripod wide, but not sure I can stretch the budget that far when I have lenses and mics to consider! Its a juggling act right now and I'm considering hiring a second camera for the short term and just concentrating on my main camera!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have decided to stick with a dedicated video option and leave the DSLR until later on. To me it's limited despite the fab pictures. I might add one further down the line.

So it kind of leaves me deciding between the XA10 or stepping up to the XF100, unless theres something else to consider? Seems like there are lots of pros and cons for both and I'm not concerned about the price difference, so I guess it's down to making a decision.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I want to shoot slo mo quite regularly without losing any quality or having to mess around in post (with a less than impressive result)...is the XA10 capable of this or is it only something that can be done properly with the XF100?
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