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Tapeless cameras from reputable LA rental house


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#1 Mike Williamson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:18 PM

I've got a one week show coming up that's going to need two HD cameras with a tapeless workflow. Currently I'm considering the HPX-3000 and the Red One. I'm hoping to do some tests soon to compare them and then make a decision.

The problem I'm finding is that very few rental companies that I'm familiar with are going to be able to supply two full camera packages for either the Red or HPX (not interested in mixing cameras) and still have a backup if one goes down. So if anyone has a recommendation for a good rental house in LA that could meet those needs, please let me know, all help is appreciated. Currently I'm looking at Abel Cine, HD Camera Rentals and Indie Rentals.
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#2 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 12:14 AM

Hey Mike - try Birns & Sawyer; I just wrapped a 2 camera feature with the HPX3000 and it worked amazingly well. Birns was also very helpful in making it work within our budget.
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#3 Mike Williamson

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 12:45 AM

Thanks Jayson, what kind of lenses did you get from them?
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 01:37 AM

Keslow Camera currently has six Red's. I was over there yesterday and they were prepping one of them. Not sure if they have any HPX300's.
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#5 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:08 AM

Mike - the lenses were the part I wasn't thrilled with - one camera was on loan to us from Panasonic, and they provided an ENG lens. To avoid any mis-matching, the choice was made to also use an ENG lens on the package from Birns & Sawyer. You can imagine how excited I wasn't with the lenses, but the cameras still rendered some amazing images - we did a lot of night exterior/available light shooting with the shutter turned off and I was blown away by what we were getting - the 5 32G cards give you a running time of 200+ minutes - a huge bonus if you're moving really fast.

I'm prepping another feature and I was looking at the HPX-3000 with a Canon Cinestyle zoom (although I was pleased with what we were seeing, the production is pushing to go with the Red); I've always been a fan of the Canon Cinestyle zooms and think they're quite sharp with minimal breathing (I've shot three HD features with them).
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 10:17 AM

Abel would be happy to work with you on this. The HPX3000 is an excellent camera as are the Canon Cine-style lenses. We have depth of inventory on both. If anyone saw the JC Penny American Apparel commercials on the Oscar telecast, those were shot using a pair of our HPX3000 cameras. Lovely, lovely machines.
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#7 Mike Williamson

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:26 AM

Thanks guys, I appreciate all the help with this. Mitch, I'm going to get in touch with Abel and see if I can go in to look at the HPX-3000 and maybe shoot a little test with it.

Jayson and Mitch, it sounds like you're both fans of the Canon zooms, how do you feel they hold up compared to the Zeiss Digi lenses? How are the Canon primes? I've been thinking about trying to get Zeiss glass so far, though I'm not sure how that would fly if it has to come from a different rental house.
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#8 Mitch Gross

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:27 PM

The Zeiss lenses are excellent and I have nothing bad to say about them, but the Canon glass doesn't get its due. The zooms are excellent and the primes are top notch. We have them all at Abel and I really can't say enough about them. There are two generations of the Canon primes and the newer ones (FJs series as opposed to the FJ series, aka the "red line" set for a distinct marking ring) are beautiful glass. There are six lenses in the set and they all have 95mm fronts and similar sized gearings and markings. There's no drop off in the corners or chromatic abberation, and absolutely no color shift as you open to full aperture (that's a lot bigger deal than you might think).

Anyone interested in these lenses should let me know. Gorgeous glass and as much as I try, no one seems to know about them.
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#9 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:15 PM

I've never shot the Canon Primes, so I couldn't say.

I love the Digi-Primes, but I think whether you go with those or the Canon Cinestyle zooms would depend on your end exhibition and your production.

I shot a HD feature a few years ago (F900/3) and the production company was contractually bound to deliver a film-out of it. We tested both the Zeiss Digi-Primes, Canon Cinestyle Zooms, and the Pro-35. The Digi-Primes looked stellar, but the Zooms also looked very sharp and looked great - since the movie featured a lot of kids, we elected to go with the zooms to allow for faster changes that happened on set.

If your destination is DVD or TV only, I might suggest the zooms only for the sake of speed on set. They're great wide open and the breathing is virtually non-existant.
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#10 Mike Williamson

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:15 PM

Thank you guys for the additional responses, this is very helpful info.

Jayson, the end product is for TV and web distribution so I'm not sure that we need primes for that reason. We do, however, have a lot of handheld including running with cameras so I'm thinking that primes may be easier to handle in those situations. The package I'm putting together in my head is two cameras, two mid to long range zooms and one set of primes. Based on Mitch's comments, I'll definitely take a look at the Canon primes, hopefully Abel in LA has the more recent FJs series. Thank you again, I'll post some more once the details firm up a little.
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#11 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:30 PM

The last feature I shot with the Canon Cinestyle zooms was almost entirely handheld with an F900R - the lenses are very lightweight and I had no complaints at all.
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 08:59 PM

The package I'm putting together in my head is two cameras, two mid to long range zooms and one set of primes. Based on Mitch's comments, I'll definitely take a look at the Canon primes, hopefully Abel in LA has the more recent FJs series.

Our FJs set normally lives in NY, but that doesn't mean we can't get it to LA for you. Talk to Seana in our LA office and feel free to contact me directly if there are any questions.
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