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Good First Camera...


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#1 Michael Ott

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 11:36 PM

Hello, I'm looking for a good camera to start off with. I want the camera to be reliable and as durable as possible, just in case I fu** up, which I'm sure I will.

I am looking to pursue film and shooting film in college, so a camera that I will be able to grow with and that will be able to adapt to my experience as I go along would be great.

And actually, I'm just looking for something other than your soccer mom's handheld from Radioshack. Something respectable, yet not too expensive (Possibly under 3 grand.)

Edited by Michael Ott, 05 February 2006 - 11:38 PM.

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#2 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 11:43 PM

Hello, I'm looking for a good camera to start off with. I want the camera to be reliable and as durable as possible, just in case I fu** up, which I'm sure I will.

I am looking to pursue film and shooting film in college, so a camera that I will be able to grow with and that will be able to adapt to my experience as I go along would be great.

And actually, I'm just looking for something other than your soccer mom's handheld from Radioshack. Something respectable, yet not too expensive (Possibly under 3 grand.)


I assume you want video? For under 3 grand you should look at a GL2, it's a 3 chip camera and it's quite nice. My roommate has one and I have seen some pretty good results from it. Course if you go a bit higher than $3,000 then you could get a DVX-100A. I have one and I love it, great for filmmakers, especially if you want something that gives you 24p and is affordable.

Kev
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#3 Michael Ott

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 12:16 AM

I assume you want video? For under 3 grand you should look at a GL2, it's a 3 chip camera and it's quite nice. My roommate has one and I have seen some pretty good results from it. Course if you go a bit higher than $3,000 then you could get a DVX-100A. I have one and I love it, great for filmmakers, especially if you want something that gives you 24p and is affordable.

Kev


Yeah, I've had the 100A recommended to me before, but the 4 grand that most places and people are asking for is a bit much for me. I make about 150 a week and the money just never seems to get near there, mainly because I manage my capitol horribly, like most high school kids.

I'm an intermediate photographer, going on my 3rd year of snapping photos, but I feel the transition from still picture to moving is a lot harder than I thought and even more expensive.

Maybe I should just start off with a top notch Super 8?
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#4 Robert Hughes

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 11:22 AM

Modern video cameras, even cheap "soccer mom" MiniDV ones, are really good if you use them intelligently, and will certainly be good enough to make student videos with. When you're ready for pro gear, you'll know the reasons why you need it; meanwhile learn to shoot cheap.

As for film: even a medium notch Super 8 will teach you a lot, and - it's real film, not that fake video shite (no editorials here, nope :P ). Look for a Nikon / Elmo / Bauer / Nizo / Beaulieu / Canon in your price range ($100 will get you a pretty good S8 camera). Shoot lots of Plus-X and Tri-X b&w or E64T color reversal film. You will soon wind up with little pieces of film all over your apartment and a bit more knowledge in your head. If you got the nerve, get some Vision 2 200T negative stock and try that; when you move to negative the character of your footage changes from "home movie" to "indie filmmaker" in a hurry. You can buy a lot of Super 8 footage for the cost of a good DV camera; and by the time you're tired of it you'll have an idea of which way you should go; 16/35 film or over to SD/HD video.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 07 February 2006 - 11:31 AM.

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#5 Michael Ott

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 04:19 PM

Modern video cameras, even cheap "soccer mom" MiniDV ones, are really good if you use them intelligently, and will certainly be good enough to make student videos with. When you're ready for pro gear, you'll know the reasons why you need it; meanwhile learn to shoot cheap.

As for film: even a medium notch Super 8 will teach you a lot, and - it's real film, not that fake video shite (no editorials here, nope :P ). Look for a Nikon / Elmo / Bauer / Nizo / Beaulieu / Canon in your price range ($100 will get you a pretty good S8 camera). Shoot lots of Plus-X and Tri-X b&w or E64T color reversal film. You will soon wind up with little pieces of film all over your apartment and a bit more knowledge in your head. If you got the nerve, get some Vision 2 200T negative stock and try that; when you move to negative the character of your footage changes from "home movie" to "indie filmmaker" in a hurry. You can buy a lot of Super 8 footage for the cost of a good DV camera; and by the time you're tired of it you'll have an idea of which way you should go; 16/35 film or over to SD/HD video.


Yeah, I believe I should get a Super 8. I have 100 bucks on me right now that I am thinking about going down to Beger Bros. and finding one.

And as for all the other things you said, thanks, you're probably right about not rushing into pro equipment, especially when I don't have the money for it right off the back. Developing skills with a cheap camera will show how much integrity I have in cinematography.
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#6 Peter Duggan

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 01:12 PM

I also suggest getting a super 8. It's actually film instead of video trying to be film, and the cams are selling for next to nothing these days. I started out on video and recently acquired a super 8 cam and I'll never go back. Super 8 has alot more room for experimentation than video.

Edited by repete86, 09 February 2006 - 01:12 PM.

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#7 Joe Lotuaco

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 05:26 PM

I third (or is it fourth) the recommendation to go S8. I'm a film student in college right now and I can tell you that starting out with film gives you a much better foundation for what it means to work with light. Plus, you get to learn first hand the general work flow involved with working with film. Something that becomes very important when you're out on your own productions and you have to make fast decisions that can cost thousands of dollars.

I wouldn't worry about buying any video camera any time soon. Any reputable school with a decent film program will have all the equipment you'll need for your projects and they'll rent it out to the students for FREE. Can't beat that. Plus with the current technologies changing so fast, it'd be hard to get a camera that won't be outdated in the near future. Just look at the video section of this forum and see how many threads there are of people trying to decide whether or not to buy ABC camera with X technology when ZYX camera is coming out with Q technology in a few months.

Actually I recommend going through those threads, they are an excellent way to learn about all the nitty gritty details of all these new technologies and real world applications from guys that need to make a living off of them.
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#8 Rik Andino

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 04:23 AM

If you really really want a decent video camera
And you just gotta gotta have it right now!

I recommend you wait a few months (probably three) and get the DVX100A
With the new Panasonic camera HVX200 coming out
The Panasonic DVX100 is sure to drop in price from $3,200 probably close to $2,500.

I'd also check the Canon XL2 which is dropping in price thanks to Canon's new XL-H1
It's around $4,000 right now but should go even lower in a few months as well.

check B&H Photo's webpage

http://www.bhphotovi...arch&Q=&ci=1881

Also check on ebay but beware of scammers and con artist.


And remember you don't need to owe a camera to be a filmmaker...
So don't be too anxious to spend your money on gear.



Good Luck
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#9 Adam White

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 07:04 AM

speaking only from my experience in college, but many people seem to look down on super8. There is often pressure to be seen filming on the best format, as if the skill of a lighting cameraman was wholly based on the format he uses. Experimenting with film stock is invaluable (yes, the mistakes are important too) and gaining extra time behind a viewfinder is never a bad thing.

As for buying a video camera, first see if you can borrow some models to get the feel of what you like. If you are joining the college soon then they will have a selection that you can test and compare before making a choice. I wouldnt rush to get one though, models and prices change constantly and you need to be sure its worth getting.

before I hit college, I bought a 16mm camera thinking it would make me a more successfull cameraman. Due to my lack of knowlege, I bought a broken model that was useless to me and, even if it had worked, I would not of chosen it to shoot on.

I have kept it ever since as a reminder

Edited by Ad8m, 27 March 2006 - 07:07 AM.

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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 10:58 AM

If you are just starting out then a S8 camera is a good recomendation. However make sure you get one that allows you to set manual exposure, as if the internal metering is broken, and there is no manual exposure then you are stuffed! :) Also if you go somewhere to buy a camera, then take a load of AA batteries with you (at least 6) and then you will be able to tell if the camera makes a noise when you pull the trigger and will maybe be even able to see the shutter working.

There is e-bay too of course. You can probably find a s8 camera for less than $100. They are lots of fun, so theres not a big reason not to get one except the cost of film! :)

As for camcorders, you could consider getting a really cheap and nasty DV camera. You could then still make black and white films, and you will have a camera that you can use at home for editing on. Then when you get a more fancy camera, you won't have to wear it down by using it for capture and editing etc.

I've learnt a lot from video, but I've also learnt a lot from experimenting with S8. I've probably learned different things from each and they are all useful! :)

love

Freya
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#11 Chrisley Tjiputra

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 09:28 AM

As for camcorders, you could consider getting a really cheap and nasty DV camera.


Hey! Do you think with miniDV camcorder(high-end model off course) can't make a pleasing final result?

Mine is Canon XL-2, it was bought by my father one year ago, and it's not so bad to start off with this camcorder. My father then said:"You'll never regret this, because it's a broadcast-camcorder like quality, it has a lot of feature you could ask for, and it's perfect for the first time filmmaker like you."

See? I love this camcorder! It has so many manual control like: shutter speed, iris, gain, white balance, audio channel, audio gain, etc...(except 24fps <_< )

I'd recommend you to buy this camcorder IMHO :)
And if you have a big budget why don't get the better one! I'd like to have one if someday I can afford it :rolleyes:
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#12 Robert Skates

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:30 PM

Hello,
If you are in the market for a super 8 camera, check out my website: http://www.sk8scamera.com/
I have some reconditioned Nikon super 8 cameras in your price range. They come with a 30 day replacement guarantee, and free film to video transfer of up to 100'.

Regards,
Robert Skates
sk8scamera
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:13 AM

Hey! Do you think with miniDV camcorder(high-end model off course) can't make a pleasing final result?


No I think you can get a good final result with a cheap and nasty DV camera. You don't have to have really fancy cameras to make something good. It depends what you do with it. You will just be more limited.

I like mini-dv a lot it is very useful

Mine is Canon XL-2, it was bought by my father one year ago, and it's not so bad to start off with this camcorder. My father then said:"You'll never regret this, because it's a broadcast-camcorder like quality, it has a lot of feature you could ask for, and it's perfect for the first time filmmaker like you."


It's very good for a first time film maker in fact. Most first time film makers will spend ages saving for such a camera. You are very lucky.

I'd recommend you to buy this camcorder IMHO :)
And if you have a big budget why don't get the better one! I'd like to have one if someday I can afford it :rolleyes:


Well a lot of people can't afford even a canon XL-2. The other thing is that cameras get updated and change all the time. So maybe for the time being it is better to get a cheaper camera to get going with and then to get a more expensive camera later, when better models are available or you can afford one.

This was what I was suggesting in my mail, and that if you bought say an XL2 at a later date, you could still use the nastier DV camera as an edit machine so as not to wear down your XL2, or alternatively to edit footage shot on film.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya, 31 March 2006 - 10:19 AM.

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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:47 AM

Put both sides of this thread together - get a Super-8 AND an entry level miniDV. With the film camera you'll learn about creating beautiful pictures, workflow, effect of film type, grading, etc. With the miniDV you'll learn quickly about lighting, effect of camera movement, depth of field issues, etc. The film camera will capture your serious work and the miniDV will be your walkabout film school. And with some experience you'll know why a particular project will be best on video or why it needs film, you'll have a good personal feel for the differences.
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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:51 AM

Put both sides of this thread together - get a Super-8 AND an entry level miniDV. With the film camera you'll learn about creating beautiful pictures, workflow, effect of film type, grading, etc. With the miniDV you'll learn quickly about lighting, effect of camera movement, depth of field issues, etc. The film camera will capture your serious work and the miniDV will be your walkabout film school. And with some experience you'll know why a particular project will be best on video or why it needs film, you'll have a good personal feel for the differences.


Yes! That's what I was trying to suggest! You definitely pick up different skills more easily from each format, and they also work together really well too! :)

love

Freya
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#16 Robert Hughes

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:21 PM

Now that this thread's been around for awhile I'm going to change my vote; instead of a Super 8 OR DV camera, get an old 16mm springwound camera. I learned on a Bolex RX1 (though prefer the B&H Filmo nowadays). My Bolex could shoot in any climate, perform all sorts of in-camera trickery, and capture beautiful shots that would rival the best HD video - when I was careful and on-the-ball.

Aye, there's the rub, laddie - what are you trying to accomplish? If you want to shoot lots of pretty pictures with a minimum of fuss and technical expertise, DV has it all over film. But if you want to intimately familiarize yourself with the workings of light, exposure, and camera operation, get an older 16mm camera and you will learn the craft of filmmaking in a depth that video can never teach you.
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