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HD Camcorder or HD DSLR


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#1 Magali Pettier

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:56 AM

I currently own a JVC HD-GY201E with a fujinon standard lens and a wide angle converter. I have been filming with it for nearly 2 years and I like it, however, I find that when I have to be really fast there are too many things to do on the camera before I can get the shots that I want. It’s really nice when I am ready and it is quite static but if I am on the move and don’t have the time to set-up then it is quite a stressful experience and heavy on the top of that.

I am currently filming farmers in France and England and will be shooting a docu/drama in The Phillipines, so I am looking for a camera that allows me to get the shots that I want without being too much in the face of people specially in the case of farmers where I am meant to film over a year following them around, so preferably not slowing them down.

Ok, enough for the description. I have been looking at HD DSLRS which as a photographer I have used a lot before but never for video so I am sceptical. I have jsut tried the 550d this weekend. My fear is that although you can shoot in low conditions which I will need to, I will also need to shoot in very bright conditions so not having an in-built ND filter might be an issue. Also, despite the great shallow depth-of-field, I wonder if using the zoom in a shot actually gives you a smooth shot or not. Also, from looking on the internet, I have seen that you have to put it on a rig or shoulder mount, then have a viewfinder, then a field recorder and radio-mics attached as I work a lot on my own so I will end up looking like robocop and having a lot of setting-up to do before I actually can start filming.

So, would anyone have any advice on all my dilemnas?

I have been wondering if I should go for the canon 5D Mark II or for a camcorder like a sony pmw ex1r or canon xh-a1s or something similar. I wonder if it is going to be much faster and much lighter than my jvc and will it be great for low light and fast focusing.

To finish, I have a budget of £6000 or 9200 DOLLARS.

I am really confused and really wonder what I should go for, could somebody advise me please?

Many many thanks
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#2 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:38 AM

Stick to what you got. Simply put. HDSLR's are great, but limiting just the same. Image can be shaky or jello like with DSLR's. and they will present new challenges. Learn to make your own process to make it all smoother, No camera ever came out of the box with all the tools for the job. If you can afford so, buy a HDSLR and play with it, but I wouldn't shoot your kind of work with one. Times Are a Changin, so since you'd own one, you can learn a process to make it work. But Don't push the testing etc onto clients.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:17 AM

Seconded. I've always liked the JVC stuff, and I'm not sure why you think a DSLR would not have "too many things to do on the camera", since it has much the same controls as a manual-lens video camera. The depth of field will be greater on the JVC, which will be much easier in documentary shooting.


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#4 Magali Pettier

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:49 AM

Hi, that's great, thank you for the reply. I am now convinced that the HDDSlr is not for the kind of work I am doing. I am now thinking of going for a sony EX1 r as they are much lighter and smaller than the JVC I have and compared in low light and seem to be the same. However much I love the JVC, its bulkiness causes me stress in small environments and to try people make me forget. If you think of something similar that is great in low light, please let me know.

Many thanks
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