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In the market for a new camcorder. Mostly need to film kids theater productions and other live performances. Big issues will be low light capablity, dynamic range, and sound. As we are between model years sort of speak, I can pick up a Pan tm700 for $750. I also have reviewed the Canon M41 that is coming out and that is approx $750. I have fairly new computer gear (I7-920, 12GB ram, plenty of HD) but in the end I will be down converting a lot of this to DVD. My original video I will keep as I can play it on my BluRay but since a lot of my work goes to parents, I will be at DVD levels.


I know nobody really knows how the Canon will behave but the larger sensor does intrigue me. Promise low noise at low light. Anyone got an opinion. Is a bird in hand (tm700) worth 2 in the bush? I have no worries about buying last years technology as I think it will last me for quite a while. Or, wait. I have some time.


I really did not want to spend more than 700-800 bucks on the camera as I will have to by an external mic and some other misc accessories and looking to stay under $1k for the whole package.

Opinions welcome.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by treiss
In the market for a new camcorder. Mostly need to film kids theater productions and other live performances. Big issues will be low light capablity, dynamic range, and sound. As we are between model years sort of speak, I can pick up a Pan tm700 for $750. I also have reviewed the Canon M41 that is coming out and that is approx $750. I have fairly new computer gear (I7-920, 12GB ram, plenty of HD) but in the end I will be down converting a lot of this to DVD. My original video I will keep as I can play it on my BluRay but since a lot of my work goes to parents, I will be at DVD levels.


I know nobody really knows how the Canon will behave but the larger sensor does intrigue me. Promise low noise at low light. Anyone got an opinion. Is a bird in hand (tm700) worth 2 in the bush? I have no worries about buying last years technology as I think it will last me for quite a while. Or, wait. I have some time.


I really did not want to spend more than 700-800 bucks on the camera as I will have to by an external mic and some other misc accessories and looking to stay under $1k for the whole package.

Opinions welcome.
I was in the same boat yesterday, but in the end I decided for the TM700. The TM700 is a proven camcorder and you're basically getting a $1000 camcorder for $750. The viewfinder on the TM700 is nothing to brag about, but LCDs are simply useless in the sun, so just having it there (even if it's a low-res one) is a useful feature for those times you absolutely can't see the display. I'm sure the Canon is more solid and that it has better low-light performance but you have to really think about how you are going to use this camcorder. I personally will be filming mostly in the daytime and in outdoor settings, and maybe a few times at night (the TM700 is still no slouch in low-light). The TM700 will be the sharper cam in daylight and I think I will be do quite a bit of slowmo, so having a 60p source will mean I can run the material at half-speed, plus still have a smoothe video.


It's a tough one, I'm sure the M41 will be great, but if you plan to take a pic here and there, along with a lot of outdoor footage, I'd lean towards the TM700.


I also believe the M41 has no manual controls...big bummer.


EDIT: Sorry, I'll be honest I only skimmed through your post. Seems like you will be doing a lot of indoor stuff and pics will probably not be a feature of much use to you. Have you looked into getting a DSLR like the T2i or T3i? For theater productions, the shallow depth of field a dslr can provide would really be beneficial to the quality of your video (give it a more "artsy" and professional look). I bought a t2i and returned it, cause my main issue with it was that it was hard to focus outdoor while I was moving around. But if you have it on a tripod, you have full manual control of the focus, and also spectacular low-light performance due to the immense sensor. Plus, over time you can always add a lower aperture lens like the $100 Canon 50mm f/1.8 for an even better shallow depth of field.


If I were you i'd look into getting something like a Canon T2i/T3i.


Here are some videos made with the T2i:
http://vimeo.com/groups/38034/videos


The T3i I believe has the same internals, but you will be paying $100 more for a swivel LCD and 3x-10x digital zoom (presumably with no quality loss).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by treiss /forum/post/20130163


In the market for a new camcorder. Mostly need to film kids theater productions and other live performances. Big issues will be low light capablity, dynamic range, and sound. As we are between model years sort of speak, I can pick up a Pan tm700 for $750. I also have reviewed the Canon M41 that is coming out and that is approx $750. I have fairly new computer gear (I7-920, 12GB ram, plenty of HD) but in the end I will be down converting a lot of this to DVD. My original video I will keep as I can play it on my BluRay but since a lot of my work goes to parents, I will be at DVD levels.


I know nobody really knows how the Canon will behave but the larger sensor does intrigue me. Promise low noise at low light. Anyone got an opinion. Is a bird in hand (tm700) worth 2 in the bush? I have no worries about buying last years technology as I think it will last me for quite a while. Or, wait. I have some time.


I really did not want to spend more than 700-800 bucks on the camera as I will have to by an external mic and some other misc accessories and looking to stay under $1k for the whole package.

Opinions welcome.

Considering that low light is important to you, there's no doubt that the M41 will be significantly better than the Panasonic. It's bigger brother, the HF-G10 was already described by CCI as having overall better PQ than the 700 and the M41 uses the same sensor as the G10. It's also very possible the Canon will display a greater dynamic range than the Panasonic since that's something Canon claims to have worked on. Time will tell.


It may also depend on how important 1080p is to you. At one point, I thought I'd never look at a camera that didn't have it, but having tested a Panasonic 750 next to a Canon S20, I felt the overall PQ on the S20 was a bit better than the 750. There have been a number of people complaining about the 700's rendering of blues. I had the 700 and rarely had an issue like that, but having seen numerous 700s displaying the issue, I think it's something that can't be ignored. The 750 I tried had some issues with its AWB and that seemed to underscore some of the color issues some have had.


The Panasonic will take better still pix than the Canon, but personally I can't recall ever using a camcorder for taking stills. My Iphone4 would probably do better than most cams.
 

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Originally Posted by Ken Ross /forum/post/20131543


Considering that low light is important to you, there's no doubt that the M41 will be significantly better than the Panasonic. It's bigger brother, the HF-G10 was already described by CCI as having overall better PQ than the 700 and the M41 uses the same sensor as the G10. It's also very possible the Canon will display a greater dynamic range than the Panasonic since that's something Canon claims to have worked on. Time will tell.


It may also depend on how important 1080p is to you. At one point, I thought I'd never look at a camera that didn't have it, but having tested a Panasonic 750 next to a Canon S20, I felt the overall PQ on the S20 was a bit better than the 750. There have been a number of people complaining about the 700's rendering of blues. I had the 700 and rarely had an issue like that, but having seen numerous 700s displaying the issue, I think it's something that can't be ignored. The 750 I tried had some issues with its AWB and that seemed to underscore some of the color issues some have had.


The Panasonic will take better still pix than the Canon, but personally I can't recall ever using a camcorder for taking stills. My Iphone4 would probably do better than most cams.

I think most people would agree with most of what you said. Though I do have some qualms with the claim that the M41 will do SIGNIFICANTLY better in low light...a bit early for such big statements I think, given that there are important differences between the G10 and the M41, and even the G10 was not exactly a breathtaking difference, just better.


But, the real reason I am commenting here is to point out one important aspect to consider. If you are planning on filming the actual performances, then the lighting on stage will be more than sufficient to keep the db gain low enough to eliminate noise. Thus, you would end up with an image that has VERY vibrant well saturated colors, exceedingly sharp image, and you would have the 60p option to give a better source material, with improved manual functions, and some of the other obvious benefits of the 700. The 60p, improved sharpness, and better colors indoor in moderate light would be more than worth it to me, as long as I knew I would be focusing on a well lit stage. (I recommend using manual mode, and either setting gain yourself, or being ready to adjust it if needed)


The only real risk would be if you plan to shoot b roll footage of the audience, etc. Then you will probably get a lot more noise with the 700/900, and may well be worth the shift to M41.


In addition, the bondi blue issue is not huge, and would not be relevant for your (OP) primary shooting purpose, to be sure. I think in these settings the 3mos will render much better color, as long as you can keep the gain low enough to eliminate noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the various replies. To answer some items.


I will not be taking stills with this. I have a complete Nikon rig that I use for this purpose. I have been doing stills for years and this is my jump into video. I thought of buying another body for video but with the limited recording times, it just will not work as a main camera. I may expand to that in the future for closeups or other b-roll shots but right now I need a good camera to shoot the overall group. This is especially the case for a choir that I volunteer for.


1080p is not a must but definitely a nice to have. As I said the bulk of my output will probably be dvd format but I like to have the best source material to start with.


Workinghard is correct in that usually the subjects are well lit. But I work performances in churches and such that are always difficult as lighting is not stage lighting. When I am doing stills I am always bumping up to and ISO of 3200 or 6400 to get shutter speed up as I cannot use lights/flash so I am assuming a camcorder would have a difficult time as well.


Although I am not sure what all the manual controls for video are, I know I will miss having them. When shooting stills, I like having the control and never shoot in auto. I do not shoot 100% manual but I definitely like controlling the camera as every shoot is slightly different and I am always tweaking this or that for optimum exposure. I will have to look further at the claim the m41 has no manual control. I thought it did.


Thanks for the comments.
 

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I didnt mean to sound like I was confirming the missinformation provided by the fellow above.


The M41 certainly DOES have a manual mode. But, from looking at the pictures I understood you had to use the LCD to make adjustments...certainly a problem if you are serious about working with manual frequently, though good enough for my home video needs...


But, since I am made such claims, I am looking at the manual and Canon site now and will update in a moment when I have positive information.


EDIT: After looking at the manual for a moment, I can confirm that the only method of adjusting manual controls is via the LCD rather than a focus ring as on the 700/900. In addition, it appears from reading the manual that the only option is to set either the aperature or shutter, but that the camcorder will automatically make the secondary adjustments to force proper exposure. Whether adjustments can be made during filming, and what limitations are during specific settings...those will probably have to come from hands on experience.


There is also no mention in the manual of zebra stripes, histogram, etc. Thus, while it does have manual controls, they are limited in terms of practical application on an LCD screen.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...Specifications
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by workinghard /forum/post/20131953



In addition, the bondi blue issue is not huge, and would not be relevant for your (OP) primary shooting purpose, to be sure. I think in these settings the 3mos will render much better color, as long as you can keep the gain low enough to eliminate noise.

I think the major problem with the bondi blue issue is that often you don't know when it will pop up. It seems nobody can duplicate it with any degree of reliability and that concerns me as much as the issue itself. I'd like to know when and how an issue arises, otherwise it becomes more concerning when capturing important events. If you know when & how, you have a better idea how to avoid it.


Regarding the 3mos giving 'much better' color, I think that's a stretch. The Canon S20 (1 chip) gave every bit as good a color, and actually better color given its AWB performed better than the 750. I agree that all other things being equal, 3 chips will generally perform better (but not by that much) than a single chip. However the caveat is 'all things being equal'...they rarely are! So the design of the camcorder once again becomes the most important factor.


1080p is also no guarantee of the 'best sharpness or detail' just as 3 chips are no guarantee of the 'best color'. We are, as always, at the mercy of the guys that design and build these camcorders.


BTW, after having seen some of the footage from the new Sony on my Pioneer plasma, I would say if anyone is interested in superb quality, the Sony should be on the short list. I have been down on Sonys for the last few of their generations, but these new puppys are really showing their stuff.

These might be the best of the new units out there. I'm sure giving them a close look.
 
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