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Author Topic: what is the best camcorder for under $10K  (Read 3588 times)
brettham
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« on: January 19, 2013, 07:16:09 PM »
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I have been shooting film for decades but am am fairly new to the video business and am looking for a camcorder under $10,000 to use for filming a nature documentary for TV. Must have about 20x or more zoom, have great HD 1080 colors and clarity, and I don't want to lug around a bunch of external recording devices. Most filming will be done in bright daylight with a shotgun or parabolic mic and tripod.

I am familiar with Canon equipment and so was thinking of buying a Canon XF300 because it comes with a nice zoom lens and does well at capturing color data for post production. I like the picture to be a little bit saturated and contrasty so it pops off the screen.

The new large format Cinama cameras have me concerned about being able find a lens to zoom in for wildlife closeups, so I am thinking a traditional video camera with smaller sensor would be better for this documentary. The subject of my film is an island, so there will be lots of wide shots of scenery with great depth of field, zoom shots, as well as closeups of distant wildlife.

Have any new cameras come out recently to revial or exceed the Canon XF300 for nature documentaries? I spent several days researching this and am having a hard time figuring out what cameras are new and which are near end of life. All the reviews compare the camera to others that were out at the same time (2 years ago) and the XF300 fairs well. Any other advise would be appreciated too!

Thanks!
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bcooter
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 03:26:49 AM »
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Michael did a good job of reviewing this camera.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/camcorders/canon-xf300.shtml

Early on I bought two and today things have changed and they sit on the shelf.

First the build quality is fragile.  It's onboard Mike on both broke off and we pack carefully.

Second, the menu, switches, and combination of both must be learned from to back and you have to be carful when setting up.  It takes menu and hard button functions to operate the camera successfully.

Be careful with the hard buttons as anywhere you put your hands you'll move one and moving any one of the side buttons can be a disaster.

Next there are small chips.  for studio work, or if you don't want a lot of background separation this camera won't do it.  

The biggest issue is it doesn't work in low light and doesn't like high gain.  It will snowstorm in the blacks if you push it too hard.

The upside is the color is very good, it's a great interview camera, excellent sound recording, good approx. 10 stop of latitude file.

For sound sampling the small male jack for headphones is very, very fragile.  Both of ours has pulled out and had to be fixed.

The imagery can be made film like with some expert transcoding and the files hold up well in mild colorgrading.

Autofocus is excellent as long as you use the supplemental autofocus thing besides the lens and you don't add a large mattebox to block it.

Outside you must, repeat this must, play around with shutter speed frame rate, to get the proper look.  I did a walk and talk scene where the subject was walking through a woods.  The color was stunning,
the highlights held, the sound through wired lavs was broadcast quality, but we had to redo the scene after we noticed strobing coming from the light bouncing through the trees.  I think we lowered the shutter speed and taped on an ND filter.

It's a good camera, but I wouldn't consider it for professional use.  We used it for that but bought two because I just couldn't trust something breaking.

Here it is mounted on a dolly with a riser and the old Letus extender, using an old nikon 50mm f 1.2 manual lens.



Personally the newer Sony FS100 is a better system.  The FS100 doesn't have as robust a file, but goes much higher iso.  The sony has better autofocus, is smaller and easier to work though the color is more challanged.  You can make the fs100 look more like film easier, due to the sensor size.  

Actually if I had to go this route (we now own three RED's) I'd go for the fs700 which isn't cheap.  The fs700 is about 9 grand all kitted out, but offers more expandiblity with the future 4k raw module which is not out yet.



IMO

Bc
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 03:44:58 AM by bcooter » Logged
Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 11:35:53 PM »
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I dont think you are going to get a 20X zoom, or even lots of telephoto with a large chipped camera like the FS700 easily

the biggest zoom you will get is something like the 18-200 lens (pretty horrible) or at the long end a 400 or 600 2.8

those 'super telephotos' are extremely large/heavy to use and do not give that much magnification

I would say my Ex1 fully zoomed is about the same as a 400mm fully zoomed and the whole camera+lens is smaller than just a 400mm lens

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
www.sammorganmoore.com -photography
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 04:30:20 AM »
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Must have about 20x or more zoom, have great HD 1080 colors and clarity, and I don't want to lug around a bunch of external recording devices. ...

The new large format Cinama cameras have me concerned about being able find a lens to zoom in for wildlife closeups, so I am thinking a traditional video camera with smaller sensor would be better for this documentary. The subject of my film is an island, so there will be lots of wide shots of scenery with great depth of field, zoom shots, as well as closeups of distant wildlife.

Have any new cameras come out recently to revial or exceed the Canon XF300 for nature documentaries? I spent several days researching this and am having a hard time figuring out what cameras are new and which are near end of life. All the reviews compare the camera to others that were out at the same time (2 years ago) and the XF300 fairs well. Any other advise would be appreciated too!

Thanks!

Take a look at the JVC GY-HM750U. Instead of the stock 14x lens, the 17x Fujinon zoom will be closer to what you seek. Both will run you just under $10K.

You could also look at the cheaper 710U. 18x zooms or more are expensive, even for 1/3" sensors. You could always use extenders either way.

Love the proHD form factor. Everybody else has abandoned that kind of design. But it's not as small as the XF300. If you don't expect a lot of handheld use, forget the JVC.

I wouldn't say the XF is EOL, but a lot of people are looking at the C300 for nature work, with access to Canon's glass at a crop factor of 1.5 or so. The C100 will fall within your budget, coupled with a 100-400 zoom, a 17-55mm and a 11-16mm Tokina. For wides you can always stop down in daylight for more DOF.

Hope this helps.
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