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Best Camera for wildlife filming


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#1 Shivang

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 05:43 AM

Hi,

Just joined this forum and thought of posting a query that has been bothering me for some time

I film wildlife and have been hiring cameras like D35 and PD cameras for my shoots. However, the nature of my work requires being equipped at all times. So am making up my mind to buy a camera that I can keep with me during all my safari trips.

I would be glad if someone can help me in taking a decission. Would Canon XL2 serve my purpose? What are the other reasonable options I can consider? I am based in India and its very difficult to buy high-end equipments here... we do get them from the grey market. Should I opt for this option? Or ... would Amazon or eBay be a better option? I came to know that getting stuff from Thailand or Hongkong would be a cheaper option. Please advice.

regards,
Shivang
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#2 Robert Glenn

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 09:48 AM

an xl1 should be pretty good I imagine as it would be quiet.. Lenses are the biggest factor I guess. I guess you'll need something telephoto and wide.. and maybe a periscope lens.. somebody with more experience can help you wiht this i'm sure
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#3 Shivang

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the response... I look forward to more tips and repsonses regarding my query. Please help
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#4 Michael Shubitz

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 03:21 AM

The best experience on my wild life shoots I made with the Sony DVW 700. The price has gone down since it is an old camera. But the digital quality and the colours are great. Maybe you can find a cheap one over there.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 03:29 AM

Nature always looks best on celluloid :) he he

But anyway, have you considered the XLH1 or any other HD camera with some lens interchangeability? I think you should keep in mind that you'll probably be using zooms & telephotos quite a bit if you're shooting a lot of wildlife, and it would be nice to have various lens options.
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#6 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 11:57 PM

"Nature always looks best on celluloid"

Agreed!

"...an xl1 should be pretty good I imagine as it would be quiet."

The XL1 body may be a good choice but I'm not so sure about the XL1 lens! Ive heard some strange things about that lens. Apparently, when you zoom in and focus and then zoom out, the focus shifts! I can only imagine how frustrating this would be for professional applications. Canon admitted this 'fault'. However since the lenses are interchangeable, you could easily mount a lens from one of the later XL models or some Canon EF still photography lenses via an adaptor.
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#7 NormNelson

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 02:24 PM

By far the best is l6mm film with long lenses exceeding 385mm. You have no choice but the Canon
digital as it's the only camera you put a long (film) lens on, however you have a difficult situation in
that the view finder extends out from the camera body so you can't sight the wildlife down the lens
and find your subject without considerable practice and it changes with whatever lens you put on.
If you have a professional market go film, if you are enjoying wildlife shooting go with the Canon
and a few solid telephoto lenses.
l6mm film...go for an Arri with 80fps motor, old or SR series cameras at the minimum.
You have a fabulous environment in which to shoot, so shoot, that's the most important
thing of all.
Norman Nelson
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#8 Adam Thompson

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 03:33 PM

I'd think knowing what your final output needs are is where to start. Should it be HD? Is it only for regional SD TV docs or specialty DVD/promotional material?
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#9 jan von krogh

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 03:26 PM

for ergonomics and handling, a good wildlife camera should have the following attributes
- silent. many critters can become shy/aggressive when they notice the sound
- long runtime of recording material. animals and kids, for whatver reason, seem to dislike first takes and usually improve their performance beginning with take 1237
- buffered recording - that means if you press record, you record as example 7 seconds -before- you press record. important to get that moment when the animal decides to come out the hole/water etc
- long (really long!) lens can be extremly helpful, and wildlife shooting is one of the reasons extenders can be godsend.
- a not to shallow DOF -can- make things easier. especially if you have to shoot wideopen at ~250mm and up some creature moving at 30-50mph+ in an unpredictable manner.
- a good dynamic range (oceans, jungle, snow, deserts etc can have pretty impressive shadows and highlights)
- a high asa (many creatures begin their schedule at night or dusk)
- HD resolution or film, in my humble opinion, is mandatory - many of the stations wont accept sd (also hdv isn´t accepted by several broadcasters) -and- often there is that ultrarare specimen in the image, and even with 450mm you just don´t get it close enough, and you want to scale it up in post.

p.s.
We did some wildlife in 2003 (series), and for us (being in Europe) the Sony 750 was the logical choice, Angenieux 7.8-208F2 (extender 416mm).
In the USA, or any NTSC area, i wouldn´t recommend the 750 (790 meanwhile) however, but the 900R, as in the EU 25P is 100% ok for cinematic, while in the US 24P is a must have.
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#10 Matthew Buick

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 06:20 PM

Nature always looks best on celluloid :) he he


Indeed!! I was watching a BBC Documentary a couple of months ago about Tigers in India. There was an Indian cameraman there with a ARRI 16SR3. Boy! His footage wiped the floor with the HD poop owned by the Beeb. :lol:

Go Kodak!! ;)
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