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Camcorders


mercer
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On my never-ending quest to find the right camera, for me, I came across some of the consumer/prosumer camcorders that have hit the market recently and i must say I am pretty impressed. For instance the Canon G40, although over priced at $1200, that line is well on its way to having a nice feature set.

Even though it maxes out at 1080p, the G40 has full manual controls, with zebras, peaking and focus assist. It shoots in 24p and 60p. And has a fast 1.8 to 2.8 lens with a 35mm equivalent of 28mm on the wide end and 576mm on the long end when the 5-Axis IBIS is implemented... oh yeah and it has 5-Axis IBIS!!! They've also implemented the Wide DR profile commonly found in Canon's professional C series cameras... Plus Highlight Priority.

Obviously, the small sensor is the major downside of this camcorder and makes the camera have zero interest to most readers and members of this forum. But it is pretty interesting to see high end features filter down the chain. It's also proof that Canon has little interest in too much intermingling between their video and camera divisions, since their consumer camcorders are getting high end picture profiles and IBIS before their Rebel line is.

But if you're a beginning filmmaker with a story to tell, this camera could be perfect... HELL... if it had a 1" sensor, or was 5 or 600 dollars cheaper, I may have considered it... it seems like a great run & gun camera for people who are more interested in telling stories than the technical specifications used to tell those stories.

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To be fair, both Sony and Panasonic each have equivocally priced models that offer similar feature sets. The Sony CX900 has a larger 1" sensor and offers a lot of the same features as the Canon, minus the 5-Axis IBIS and instead has their optical steady shot function. The Panasonic model, the 991K comes in $400 cheaper, and has a smaller sensor but offers 4K resolution. All 3 have microphone and headphone inputs.

I know this topic is probably not too interesting to the majority of readers, but I find it exciting and would have drooled over half these feature 10 or 15 years ago.

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11 minutes ago, AaronChicago said:

What about the XC10?

That's the camera I ultimately went with... am sitting here attempting to write while I wait for it to arrive. But I didn't mention that one because I think the XC10 has enough features to be considered high end prosumer/low end pro. Whereas these cams seem to be more high end consumer/low end prosumer. So, probably more in line with a young filmmaker who has no interest in lenses or tech and just wants to record an image with a tad bit more flexibility.

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Just the other day, I stumbled upon my mini-DV Panasonic GS400 in the cupboard, which was my first video camera, and man nothing that has followed has come close to the ease of use/focal length range in a small handheld form factor.  I thought the G40 looked pretty sweet, if you aren't fixated on shallow DOF.

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I've been trying to offload a Canon HFS100 camcorder for a few years now and only had one real offer. Should have take right there even if it was damn low. Not a lot of interest for a dedicated camcorder these days. Probably a good idea trying to get a good deal on a used one.

However, they still have their uses, just not for me (anymore). I would seriously consider a 1" bridge camera in you position. However, a camcorder could be a better choice - study the feature set and decide depending on what you cannot live without. Also, give these bridge cameras a try, since the workflow could be less smooth than with a camcorder. The benefits are obvious - you get an awesome stills cams, whereas a camcorder is shit for stills.

It sucks that you can now choose 1080p60 vs 4K30p ... smooth playback vs nice resolution ... wonder if the form factor will even survive until 4K60p prosumer models become available.

XC10 is hardly a camcorder - no power zoom. Isn't that one of the major benefits of owning a camcorder?

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23 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Just the other day, I stumbled upon my mini-DV Panasonic GS400 in the cupboard, which was my first video camera, and man nothing that has followed has come close to the ease of use/focal length range in a small handheld form factor.  I thought the G40 looked pretty sweet, if you aren't fixated on shallow DOF.

Yeah, there's absolutely no reason why someone cannot make a good short film with that G40. Like I said, if it was a one inch sensor or $500 cheaper, I would probably pick it up. Talk about run & gun... even with a microphone, nobody would expect you to be anything but a tourist.

23 minutes ago, AaronChicago said:

I really like the images from the XC10. It's crazy how some cameras look like a misfire on paper but fully deliver with the image.

I really liked everything about the camera ever since it came out, but it was way out of my price range last year. Over time, as more images emerged, I fell in love with the thing. Luckily I can afford it now, just when I need a simple run and gun cam.

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29 minutes ago, JurijTurnsek said:

I've been trying to offload a Canon HFS100 camcorder for a few years now and only had one real offer. Should have take right there even if it was damn low. Not a lot of interest for a dedicated camcorder these days. Probably a good idea trying to get a good deal on a used one.

However, they still have their uses, just not for me (anymore). I would seriously consider a 1" bridge camera in you position. However, a camcorder could be a better choice - study the feature set and decide depending on what you cannot live without. Also, give these bridge cameras a try, since the workflow could be less smooth than with a camcorder. The benefits are obvious - you get an awesome stills cams, whereas a camcorder is shit for stills.

It sucks that you can now choose 1080p60 vs 4K30p ... smooth playback vs nice resolution ... wonder if the form factor will even survive until 4K60p prosumer models become available.

XC10 is hardly a camcorder - no power zoom. Isn't that one of the major benefits of owning a camcorder?

To me it almost seems like the XC10 is a bridge camera... but it's a bridge between a camcorder and a cinema camera. I think it is cool how far these camcorders have matured, especially since I haven't even looked at them for 5 years, but I am not really a buyer. If I could get an insane deal on the G40 refurbished or something, I might pick it up as a B-cam to my XC10, but let me see how I get along with that first. It was kinda hard pushing "purchase" on the XC10 due to my small but adored lens collection. I still have the BMMCC. but I am probably going to sell it and pick up a small mirrorless or dslr, just to get my lens fix. The BMMCC is an amazing cam, with an absolutely beautiful image, I just couldn't stand the form factor. If anybody reads this, I may be selling it soon if anyone is interested.

40 minutes ago, AaronChicago said:

I really like the images from the XC10. It's crazy how some cameras look like a misfire on paper but fully deliver with the image.

Actually, Aaron I have a question for you... you had a c100, so I'm sure you're familiar with the profiles, I am working on a short that has a section that is supposed to be POV camcorder footage. I am planning on shooting the regular narrative in c-log, and then maybe using one of the other profiles for the "camcorder" look? I was going to use Wide DR, since I have noticed that a lot of found footage movies, that Hollywood makes, usually film it with a high end camera and then dumb down the image to give it a more camcorder look. Does that make sense to you, or should I keep it simple and shoot in standard or cinema eos, instead?

51 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Just the other day, I stumbled upon my mini-DV Panasonic GS400 in the cupboard, which was my first video camera, and man nothing that has followed has come close to the ease of use/focal length range in a small handheld form factor.  I thought the G40 looked pretty sweet, if you aren't fixated on shallow DOF.

This reminds me, last year I had to use some footage I shot 15 years ago on a little ZR60. It was so weird getting out the firewire and rewinding the tapes... I almost forgot how to work it... but I do remember how fun and simple it was to shoot with it. Throw her in Shutter Priority mode, +/- your exposure a few notches and hit record... hell even the audio I was getting back then with my cheap Azden microphone was better than I was getting when I got my t2i... Simpler days.

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18 minutes ago, mercer said:

This reminds me, last year I had to use some footage I shot 15 years ago on a little ZR60. It was so weird getting out the firewire and rewinding the tapes... I almost forgot how to work it... but I do remember how fun and simple it was to shoot with it. Throw her in Shutter Priority mode, +/- your exposure a few notches and hit record... hell even the audio I was getting back then with my cheap Azden microphone was better than I was getting when I got my t2i... Simpler days.

Ah, the good old days...there's nothing like the smell of miniDV tape rolling at the end of a long day :-)  I have been seriously thinking about the XC10 as well, in NZ I can get it for ~$1500 USD so very very tempting.  While I love my lens collection, I think it would be refreshing to have something similar to a camcorder experience, that is 'self contained' and just works without various paraphernalia. 

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6 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Ah, the good old days...there's nothing like the smell of miniDV tape rolling at the end of a long day :-)  I have been seriously thinking about the XC10 as well, in NZ I can get it for ~$1500 USD so very very tempting.  While I love my lens collection, I think it would be refreshing to have something similar to a camcorder experience, that is 'self contained' and just works without various paraphernalia. 

Shoot, $1500 is that barrier where I'd probably get it now too.

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31 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Ah, the good old days...there's nothing like the smell of miniDV tape rolling at the end of a long day :-)  I have been seriously thinking about the XC10 as well, in NZ I can get it for ~$1500 USD so very very tempting.  While I love my lens collection, I think it would be refreshing to have something similar to a camcorder experience, that is 'self contained' and just works without various paraphernalia. 

Yeah, 1500 bucks is a great price... now I'm pissed I paid 2 grand... The 5-Axis is what sold me on it. Sure it's only 5-Axis in 1080p, but my time with the BMMCC has taught me that I don't know how much I really need 4K... but I didn't want to spend that kind of money without having it... so it's a win, win. I just look forward to attaching my Rode to the top and shooting hand held again.

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8 minutes ago, mercer said:

Yeah, 1500 bucks is a great price... now I'm pissed I paid 2 grand... The 5-Axis is what sold me on it. Sure it's only 5-Axis in 1080p, but my time with the BMMCC has taught me that I don't know how much I really need 4K... but I didn't want to spend that kind of money without having it... so it's a win, win. I just look forward to attaching my Rode to the top and shooting hand held again.

Ah great, all this talk of sweet handheld, IBIS, 4K, c-log shooting goodness means I have to talk to the CFO again about why I really 'need' another video camera....

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52 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Ah great, all this talk of sweet handheld, IBIS, 4K, c-log shooting goodness means I have to talk to the CFO again about why I really 'need' another video camera....

I hear you, all this talk of camcorders makes me want the G40... of course i just watched a few videos from the AF100... so I kinda want one of them too... especially since they can be had for less than $800 used.

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42 minutes ago, mercer said:

I hear you, all this talk of camcorders makes me want the G40... of course i just watched a few videos from the AF100... so I kinda want one of them too... especially since they can be had for less than $800 used.

When I was checking out the G40 there were almost no reviews, and all the gear sites didn't even mention it when it was released at CES.  I think the issue with camcorders, and to a degree the XC10 when it came out, is that they aren't sexy 'cinema' cameras as it seems a lot of people want to be a 'cinematographer' and so end up having to shoot everything rigged up like they are shooting a narrative, when they are often doing work that is better described as 'videography' and would be better served with a small, handheld option which lets you forget the camera and just focus just capturing the moment.

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I only shoot narratives and the last thing I want is a fully rigged camera... but I'm obviously in the minority... but yeah I think you;re probably right. I just have a new feeling about a lot of this stuff... I just don't know how much some guy watching my short film on youtube will really care about depth of focus or shallow depth of field.

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But for really young filmmakers just starting out in video and they want to make short films with their friends, it seems like a camcorder is a no brainer. Of course, people are making feature films with iPhones nowadays, and they're getting released in theaters, so a small sensor camcorder must be a step up from that.

 

Btw, my XC10 finally showed up. I didn't have much tim to play with it, but I did go through the menus and fiddled with it a little... definitely the nicest camera I ever owned... well built and insanely ergonomic... the ibis is stellar... even on the long end.

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8 hours ago, mercer said:

Even though it maxes out at 1080p, the G40 has full manual controls, with zebras, peaking and focus assist. It shoots in 24p and 60p. And has a fast 1.8 to 2.8 lens with a 35mm equivalent of 28mm on the wide end and 576mm on the long end...Obviously, the small sensor is the major downside of this camcorder and makes the camera have zero interest to most readers and members of this forum. But it is pretty interesting to see high end features filter down the chain.

My group has a G30 and XA25. I will be shooting some instructional material with the G30 tomorrow, just because it's easy. We usually use larger-sensor cameras but cameras like these are very nice for certain things. They are straightforward to use, relatively inexpensive, and have superb stabilization. Battery life is good, they don't have a 29 min. recording limit and they don't overheat. An experienced operator can get good looking content.

When you consider how much material has been shot with the AG-DVX100 tape-based DV camcorder (including Oscar-nominated documentaries) and how superior modern HD camcorders like the G40 are, you might think why would anyone want anything else.

The answer is despite the advantages it doesn't have that lush cinematic look of a higher-end large sensor camera, and doesn't do well in low light. Unlike a decade ago when DV was a common doc format, today even a well-operated entry-level DSLR can produce cinematic-looking material. Viewers come to expect that, whether they can verbalize it or not.

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