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Which camera is right for me?


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#1 Andrew G.

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 02:52 PM

I'm a new film student, and I'm just about to purchase a camera. Months of research has left me desperately at a tough decision: which camera will work for me?

I've narrowed the selection to the Canon XL2 and the Sony HVR-Z1U. I know this is a popular subject, and support is strong on both sides, but I really want to know what is right FOR ME! What I want is a versitile camera that will last through college, film school, and into a professional career (the beginning of one, anyway). I guess my biggest concern is whether or not I'll be at a disadvantage by not having the HDV.

Please tell me, for a student who is still trying to find exactly where he wants to go in film, and needs a camera that'll get him there, which is the wiser option?
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#2 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 04:22 PM

Well it really all depends on what you want. Do you want 24p? Do you want HD? Or are you just looking for a camera to learn and practice on? XL2 or the Z1 would work fine but if you want true 24p then go with the XL2(although the Z1 has Cineframe 50 which would be fine for that "film look"). I actually prefer the DVX for 24p but it's up to you. Really this question you asked is only for yourself to answer, only you can know what works for you or not.


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#3 Andrew G.

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 05:47 PM

I really want the best film look I can get. I don't like the whole "soap opera" appearance from regular DV cameras. I'm most interested in having great versatility in how I can manipulate the picture, which is why I'm leaning toward the XL2, which is much more versitile with lenses, etc.

I guess my biggest question is whether or not I will, as a student, be at any disadvantage for not having HDV. Thoughts?
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#4 Thomas Tamura

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 12:30 AM

Just my opinion, but z1 all the way.

Okay, it has a fixed lens, but can you afford to rent lens? or buy them? you can add attachments on to the sony for much cheaper that look good if you need more telephoto or wide. All broadcasting is going HD eventually -- DVD are starting to offer HD DVD's, HD tv's are getting cheaper -- compressor is encoding Hd for DVD -- the world is going that way, you want to go with 'em. I just shot a music video with a DoP that insisted on making me B cam so he could get his own operator for his DVX-100A -- He was a horrible DoP - refused to shoot tests. I'm cutting it for the client -- I'm going to have to de-saturate my footage to meet his shitty color space. I shot in DVCAM too -- it's down converting an HD signal so even the NTSC looks better. It handles color amazingly well -- don't let 'em tell you it's not true HD, cause it is. It's a great camera. I've shot on the XL1, ounce, I'd go HDV -- maybe the cannon HDV? I'm sure that's a nice camera and you can change the lens -- if you've got the cash! Hope that helped.
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#5 Andrew G.

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:47 AM

Thanks for all the help!

I think, however, that the XL2 is right for me. It seems to have the best features for what I want.

Are there any final statements that I might consider (serious hinderances I should consider)?
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#6 Robert Goodrich

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:12 AM

I personally think you are going to be very happy with the XL-2.

The only disadvantage you will find is that it isn't HDV. Which, depending on your opinion of HDV, might not be that big a disadvantage at all. I have been remarkably underwhelmed by the HDV footage I've seen.
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