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#1 basic

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 11:07 PM

I want to buy a 3CCD camera thats profesional looking and is just great in every department, i.e. video and sound. I want the XL2, but there are other things out there, and I'm just really confused about what to get. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 11:45 PM

I want to buy a 3CCD camera thats profesional looking and is just great in every department, i.e. video and sound. I want the XL2, but there are other things out there, and I'm just really confused about what to get. Does anyone have any suggestions?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I assume you mean a consumer DV camera and not a professional 2/3" CCD camera. Otherwise I'd suggest a Thomson Viper with a Sony SRW1 deck...

Excluding consumer HD for a moment, your choices if you want progressive scan for a film look really come down to the Panasonic DVX100A and the Canon XL2. The Canon allows interchangeable lenses and does 16x9 better, but the DVX100A is a great DV camera too.
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#3 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 11:47 PM

Hi "basic": It's difficult to make a recommendation for what equipment you might rent or buy unless you give us more information.

For example, what will you primarily shoot? Skateboard documentaries? Wedding videos? Feature films? No-budget shorts? Underwater action? Mountain climbing? Civil war epic? Etc. ...

What production budgets? How will the results be primarily distributed/viewed? Which cameras have you used previously? Are you a student, self-taught, or a working professional? Etc.

This sort of information may allow others to answer your question.

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#4 basic

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 12:52 PM

Well, I like making movies. I would use the camera for no-budget movies (friends who can act are a good thing. friends who act for free are even better.) or low, low, low budget movies. It all depends on the project. The XL2 was my primary choice, but so many people say different things, I just want to be recommened what has the best quality, and isn't too confusing, and looks good in any kind of lighting. (Or suggestions on what to do with what camera.)
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#5 drew_town

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 11:22 PM

There's really no such thing as a camera that shoots good footage under just any kind of lighting. However, there are lighting designs that look good shot with most any camera.

If you want a good consumer SD camera, I'd say your choices fall between an XL2 or DVX100A like David mentioned. Both cameras have their strengths and weaknesses. What you have to do is compare the two and decide which fits your needs more. At best, try each camera out and see how you like it.

Quality is a subjective term. Compared to a 35mm setup both cameras are rather poor quality. Compared to WalMart's stock of digital cameras both are rather high quality. Both are pretty good cameras and you should be happy with whichever you choose.

I personally would choose the XL2 because IMPO it's the best consumer SD camera in regards to how and what I shoot and the look I'm going for.
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#6 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:39 AM

Hi "basic": Both of the Panasonic DVX-100a and Canon XL2 miniDV camcorders are capable of producing fairly good-looking SD video, including 24 fps progressive frame rates, "film-like" gamma settings, and quite a bit of control over the image. I believe the DVX-100a costs considerably less than the XL2.

As you probably know, there are two main physical differences between them, which probably accounts for the difference in their price: The DVX100 is native 4:3 and has a built-in zoom lens, whereas the XL2 is native 16:9 & has a removable lens. Of course, you can crop or squeeze the video from a DVX-100a to produce 16:9, and put lens adapters & converters on it, so the differences between these cams can be diminished depending on what you want to do & how much you want to spend.

There are thousands of folks working with both cameras. For example, if you haven't already seen them, take a look at Kevin Zanit's recent production diaries here on cinematography.com (he's using a DVX-100a on this particualr film):
http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=7061
http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=7700
http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=7823

Given that both camcorders are capable of producing "pro" results when used properly, you might choose the DVX-100a because its lower price allows you to have money left over to spend on other important items like a decent tripod, microphone, camera accessories, and basic lighting & grip gear.

If possible, try to do a in-depth test using both camcorders before you make a final decision; perhaps renting them for a day or so. You might even decide you like renting -- instead of buying -- all or some of your gear.

Have fun!

- Peter DeCrescenzo

P.S.: Note I haven't mentioned the new "low cost" HD or HDV camcorders. The current shipping HDV models from Sony & JVC don't record true 24p, and HDV requires considerably more computer horsepower to edit compared to DV. The forthcoming JVC HD100 HDV cam looks promising (24p and removable lens), but most recent reports now indicate it won't ship until at least Sept. of this year. The announced Panasonic HVX200 DVCPRO-HD handycam promises to be very flexible and possibly produce better quality video than HDV cams, but it won't be available until late this year and its P2 memory card media is relatively expensive. All of these cameras -- DV, HDV & DVCPRO-HD -- can already or will be able to be used with optional harddisk-drive recorders, but of course options add cost. By comparison, a DVX-100a is hard to beat for the price, which is why it's so popular.

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 19 July 2005 - 12:42 AM.

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#7 Rik Andino

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 12:50 AM

I just want to be recommened what has the best quality,
and isn't too confusing, and looks good in any kind of lighting.
(Or suggestions on what to do with what camera.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Oh you're looking for THAT miracle camera...
The one that every indie filmmaker keeps asking about...

You know the under 5-grand camera
That can make every first-time-filmmaker look like Kurosawa...
And blows away anything shot on film...& looks good in any kind of lighting :)

Just get an XL2 they're pretty good for what it is...
And it doesn't have a confusing postproduction path like HDV.

Just make sure you've got a good cinematographer to use the camera...
Just because you got the latest camera doesn't mean you'll get great footage...

It's just like a bad driver who gets a Ferrari
And now he/she thinks it automatically makes him a better driver.
You need skill to shoot great footage...it's not just the camera.

Also if you're willing to wait
I hear Panasonic is coming out with a new consumer HD camera...
Some folks think it'll revolutionize the indie film world but...who knows...

Eitherways remember that the camera isn't as important
As the cinematographer using that uses the camera.



GOOD LUCK
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#8 Tina Coggins

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 06:09 PM

Rik, that is exactly the camera I'm looking for -- how did you know? Where can I find it?! :lol:

So much good info here. I have a question, though:

I've read that the focus controls on the XL2 are sketchy and difficult to use; has anyone had that experience, and is that comment valid?
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#9 Greg Gross

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:57 AM

Coming November 2005

PANASONIC AG-HVX 200
1/3 3-ccd 16:9 HD/DVCPRO/DV
1080i,1080/24p,1080/30p,720/60p,720/24p,720/30p,480/60i,480/24p,480/30p
Some variable frame rates in 720p mode
DVCPRO HD/50/25 and DV recording
1/3 16:9 native progressive 3-CCD Imager
Wide angle Leica Dicomar HD lens with motorized/manual mode image stabilizer
(SWITCHABLE)
ND filters
Cam-driven manual zoom
Cine Gamma and News Gamma software
Two P2 slots
Mini-DV tape transport for DV recording
3.5" LCD display
48kHz 16 bit 4-channel pcm audio
2XLRs
Composite Input/Output
S-video Input/Output
Standard IEEE 1394 interface
USB 2.0


Greg Gross
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#10 David Sweetman

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:49 PM

I've always wanted to pick up a Hi-8 canon L1. My buddy uses one and I love the look...so much cooler than miniDV. Anyway I'm freakin' pumped because I just bought an arri 16BL for about 1,500 and I can't wait to shoot on film. It made much more sense to me than purchasing an XL2 or an XL1, when if I need one of these cameras, I can borrow one or rent one for fairly cheap.

Now I just need to learn how to use this sucker...it seems fairly straightforward, but it's daunting nonetheless -- especially things that are supposed to "come with experience," like setting exposure.
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#11 Tina Coggins

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 03:56 PM

Peter, the links are great; I might not have seen them otherwise. The more research I do, the more I'm leaning towards the DVX-100a.
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#12 rik carter

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 11:46 PM

I really like my JVC GY-DV5000. It's not mentioned in this thread at all, these boards don't have a thread for it and I find it's not mentioned much at all.

I've done several DTV features with it and just love the final product.
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#13 basic

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 10:36 AM

Is the XL2 good in low light, though?
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#14 jeremy edge

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 02:02 PM

Is the XL2 good in low light, though?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes.

Although you have to be prepare do do some ligfhting to get a good image no matter what.Just because you have a camera that does well in low light doesnt mean if you shoot at night in available light that it will look great...just like a night scene from a professionally lit movie.

The camera has more noise in low light.which I imagine is true for just about any camera.we did some dark club shots and even with the stage and dancefloor lights it still looks slightly noisy.but the xl2 is better than some other cameras in that regard.
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#15 basic

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 08:20 PM

Yeah for my next movie I've adressed the light issue in the 'lighting' forum. I'm just hoping the money is well-spent so I don't get the XL2 and am not satisfied. (but I'm not completly sure) what I would like yet.)
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#16 Tina Coggins

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 08:43 PM

It can be hard to decide. I was thinking of the Canon, too, but just decided on the Panasonic, DVX-100a, figuring that the difference in money can help me to buy accessories. As I go along I can buy the anamorphic lens adaptor and lenses, etc.

Whatever you decide, good luck with your new camera, and have fun with it. :)
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#17 basic

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 10:40 PM

Man this is hard. Is there anything that matches the XL2's quality, but is at a lower price? (And thanks for the luck, I need it!)
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:27 AM

I really like my JVC GY-DV5000. It's not mentioned in this thread at all, these boards don't have a thread for it and I find it's not mentioned much at all.

I've done several DTV features with it and just love the final product.

FINALLY a kindrid spirt!!! I am so sick of XL-1 (2 ), XL-1 (2), XL-1 (2), XL-1 (2)!!! There's nothing WRONG with Canons except that they have 1/3in ccds and smaller glass than a JVC. In my opion the JVC is FAR superior to the Canon, Sony and Panisonic. It is the best Mini DV camera ever made. It looks and feels like a much higher end camera and with 3- 1/2in chips and better glass I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would choose the lesser camera, advertising I suppose. The picture quality is 800 lines of resolution and the lowlux is the best out there in this catigory! Go with a GY-500, 5000 or 7000 you will not regret it.
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#19 Robert Hughes

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 04:28 PM

Go with a Pixelvision 2000 camera. It's got character, it puts all those boring, lame JVC/Panasonic/Sony cameras to shame, and it's got a built-in cassette recorder. And you can get one for a lot less. I'll bet none of those XL1 operators can match your footage. :P
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#20 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 09:30 PM

Go with a Pixelvision 2000 camera. It's got character, it puts all those boring, lame JVC/Panasonic/Sony cameras to shame, and it's got a built-in cassette recorder. And you can get one for a lot less. I'll bet none of those XL1 operators can match your footage. :P

I love it. Is that the new version of that playschool camera they used in that Peter Fonda vampire movie, the one that no matter what you shoot it looks like a horror film? I heard they were becoming increably rare because noone can fix them, no parts are availible. I wish I could remeber the name of that film. The little playschool camera was used very effectively for the Vampire's P.O.V. It was really cool
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