Need Advice for purchasing New Video Camera.

Hey FloridaSportsman Family,

Im in the market for a New Video Camera. I just graduated and looking for something nice to invest in. I want to go out and make professional videos (involving mostly nature and fishing), while at the same time not paying $5000 + for the equipment. Also , Maybe advice on some type of underwater housing and where to find good deals on that....

Im definitely looking for something that can shoot 1080p and has a 24fps option. Any advice on such a camcorder would be awesome and greatly appreciated. Picture quality is the key ingredient that I'm looking for, but everything else is important too .... suggestions on Packages, brand options, places to buy, etc would be very helpful.

Thankyou,
Jack
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Replies

  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Jack:

    I am far, far from having full understanding of the video camera game, even though I have been studying and shopping the market some.

    Further, you have given us little information to go on, albeit there is some information in the OP.

    First, I will say you need to study the broader market a while and consider the options available to you. Not to be rude but your statement about "professional" and "not" $5,000 and "underwater" all fight each other.

    More specifically, it is super easy to hit the $5K mark for a professional camera with out even considering the cost of an underwater housing. Frankly, if you believe choosing a still camera is tough choosing a quality video camera is easily an order of magnitude more difficult.

    Let me start by throwing out a few questions and points to consider.

    1. Do you want a compact camera, a DSLR or proper video camera form factor? Note I am not talking cost, features, etc. I am asking how do you want it to feel in your hand.

    2. The minimum I would look for is 1080 and 60p, not 24p. At some point you will want a slow motion scene so you will need 60p.

    3. How important is the underwater consideration?

    4. What are the typical scenes you will be shooting? Will you be shooting "B roll" type stuff, short videos of action, etc.

    5. Is shallow depth of field important for the"look" of the final video?

    6. Are you handy with color correction software?

    7. Will you expect on board excellent sound quality or will you use a second audio system? Will you use a shotgun mic and thus need a jack for plugging in an external mic?

    8. What video compression can you live with?

    9. Do you need the camera to have an interchangable lens mount?

    10. Do you want manual control or do you expect the camera to do all the work?

    I suggest hanging out at these webpages some and studying and asking a few questions on their forums.

    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/
    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/index.php
    http://reduser.net/forum/forum.php This is a hardcore pro board but it is possible to learn a ton.
    http://fstoppers.com/
    http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/

    Below are a few camera "packages" to consider.

    Compact Camera with a good look and high performance.

    Sony HV9x has 60p.

    4/3 set-up

    Panasonic Lumix GH2, with the hack

    Crop Frame DSLR

    Canon 7D

    Full Frame DSLR

    Canon 5D, or wait for Canon's new gun, rumored to be out this autumn

    Video Form Factor Camera (but starting to push the budget)

    Sony NEX VG-10 (the VG-20 is announced and will be delivered by Christmans.)
    Sony AF100
    Panasonic AS100

    I personally believe the best compromise, that will give the best look is the GH2 with an underwater housing. The compromise will be lens quality.

    Alternately, the Canon 5D and a couple of lenses would be sweet but by the time you get an underwater housing you shoot trough the $$$ limit.

    For any of the DSLR's or 4/3 systems the additional cost of a shoulder rig or something needs to be cranked in to the budget.

    One last thought. You should go to Vimeo and look at the quality of the camera's output while helping make your selection.

    Good Luck and tell us what you do.
  • Panfishangler1Panfishangler1 Posts: 885 Officer
    Hey WaterEngineer, Thankyou for your response. I will definitely check out those links! to answer your questions, I first want to show you this link to this camcorder product that seems to catch my eye and I have been looking at it for the last few weeks but far from making a decision. I guess you can say there are lots of questions i still need answered. heres the product link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16830179427

    1. Do you want a compact camera, a DSLR or proper video camera form factor? Note I am not talking cost, features, etc. I am asking how do you want it to feel in your hand.Its gotta be a proper video camera, and durable enough to take it anywhere

    2. The minimum I would look for is 1080 and 60p, not 24p. At some point you will want a slow motion scene so you will need 60p.

    3. How important is the underwater consideration? Very Important, I plan on doing atleast 50 - 60 % of the shoots under the surface, and plus what happens if im on a boat and i fall into the water tryin to get the perfect shot lol

    4. What are the typical scenes you will be shooting? Will you be shooting "B roll" type stuff, short videos of action, etc.
    Lots of B roll, but the action is kind of split 50/50 with b roll

    5. Is shallow depth of field important for the"look" of the final video? Yes!

    6. Are you handy with color correction software? Very handy!, Adobe CS4 premiere and photoshop, im familiar with

    7. Will you expect on board excellent sound quality or will you use a second audio system? Will you use a shotgun mic and thus need a jack for plugging in an external mic? I would need a regular 3.5mm mic input for my mic, but would like the sound recording on the camcorder to be very good

    8. What video compression can you live with? Most video camera's are recording straight to hard drives, once its on the web such as vimeo or youtube, I always shoot for the best settings, 1280x720HD, but WMV i can survive with

    9. Do you need the camera to have an interchangable lens mount? Yes, because i believe it will benefit in the long run.

    10. Do you want manual control or do you expect the camera to do all the work? (Manual control is important, but im 50/50 on this option)

    Thankyou!
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  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    8. What video compression can you live with? Most video camera's are recording straight to hard drives, once its on the web such as vimeo or youtube, I always shoot for the best settings, 1280x720HD, but WMV i can survive with

    You are confused about this point you need to study up. Almost all formats of camera output are a compressed format....that is unless we are talking RAW as an output format.

    The camera, at the link you provide, counters many of your answers to the points/questions I raised in my reply above.

    Further, your two replys: wanting interchangable lens mount and needing a proper video camera are doable in one camera but in a video camera you will likely need to modify your budget constraint upward a significant amount.

    Thus I will suggest taking a serious look at the Panasonic 4/3rds camera and the two Canon DSLRs I cite above. The Canon's have an output compression of *.mov, which is old and the industry is moving away from.

    You might also want to take a look at the newly announced Sony DSLR, that I know nothing about, but that I think outputs to 4:4:2. I think the Panasonic GH2 can also output to 4:4:0, both of these formats give better post-processing control over color rendition.

    Commercials, TV and feature video are coming off all these cameras, at the moment.

    And, housings are available for all of them too.

    So maybe this: Canon 5D for $2400, Canon 24-70 for $1,400 and housing for $1,800 get you close.

    Or GH2 for $1,000, a good wide prime for $600 and a housing for $1,600 beats the budget.

    A couple of other quick points that I know just enough about to be dangerous, but that I will expect to learn from you are for underwater you will need lights and a filter system for color enhancement as the light spectrum falls off as you descend in the water column.

    How will you use the camera at your link underwater?

    Frankly, you are into a game where budget is secondary - having the right tool for the job is the primary concern. Or, stated another way: if you want the quality of your output to be as good or better than everyone elses, then you better be using equal or better tool, with better skills.
  • Panfishangler1Panfishangler1 Posts: 885 Officer
    So after much research, I ended up with purchasing this today: Panasonic HDC-TM900 High Definition Camcorder. and we shall go from there.
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  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Post up a video. We want to see the IQ.

    How is that camera going to work underwater?

    Thanks. Oh, and enjoy.
  • bmarkeybmarkey Posts: 319 Deckhand
    Out of curiosity, how/why to video shooters use the Canon (and perhaps other brand) DSLRs for video? They don't really offer an effective AF, so do the shooters manually focus their videos, or use them just for pre-focused shots using tripods? I tried the video function on our Rebel and was very unimpressed with focusing and exposure.

    Bob Markey
    United Realty Group
    www.WellingtonHomes.com
    Sport, Event & Real Estate Photography
    Palms West Photo
    www.MarkeySportsPhoto.com
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Stuart, FLAPosts: 9,780 Admiral
    bmarkey wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, how/why to video shooters use the Canon (and perhaps other brand) DSLRs for video? They don't really offer an effective AF, so do the shooters manually focus their videos, or use them just for pre-focused shots using tripods? I tried the video function on our Rebel and was very unimpressed with focusing and exposure.

    Much bigger sensor than most comparably priced video cameras. And, the ability to use camera lenses to achieve cinema-like shallow depth of field.

    It does take a lot of tweaking and practice. I havent had good luck trying to shoot video with a Cannon 60D, but I havent spent much time with it yet.

    The Cannon 5D MkII shoots very good video and its been used to shoot movies and TV shows. The downside is that the audio options are limited.
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