View Full Version : Purchase Advise

03-01-2006, 05:49 AM
Hello all,

If this post is in the wrong place, I appologize. I couldn't find a better heading to put it under.

I'm looking for some help in determining which camera to pick up. I've been doing my homework and, as it stands, the DVX100B is topping the list. However, the pricetag involved in a prosumer cam requires me to be catious and completely certain before making my decision.

First off, I am an extreme novice. I have some still photography background, and love manual options. As for video, I have never owned anything close to "prosumer". However, I want to start producing indie films and am not put off by a steep learning curve. It is also of the utmost importance that whichever camera I choose is able to grow with me as my skills progress. I figure if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it right. For my needs, the "Bee" seems to fall short of pure perfection in only two respects:

No true 16:9

From what I can tell, the widescreen ratio isn't really that much of an issue as the "squeeze" mode seems to be quite effective for quality widescreen production. However, this opinion is based soley on the various submitted clips I have had a chance to watch. If I'm not seeing this issue clearly please let me know.

Now, I really have no idea if the lack of HD is even an issue here. Obviously the technology for writable media and monitoring/editing needs some time before this even plays a factor. The conversion from 1080i down to 24p also seems like quite a chore. This wasn't even an issue to me until I noticed that I could buy a Sony HDR-FX1 for just a few hundred clams over the Bee.

So, my question is what other cameras should I seriously consider in the same ($3000-$4000) price range? So far I've come up with the following:

HDR-FX1 (HD, but lacks 24p!)
Canon XL2 (Seems overpriced)
DSR-PD170 (once again, no 24p)

If I've overlooked some prize-winning underdog please let me know. Now, it may seem silly asking for this advise on a DVX forum, but from the posts I've been reading here for the last few days there seems to be a good number of unbiased and objective folks hanging around this place.

Okay, this post is already longer than I intended, but I've really got to ask one more question. It's in reference to making the actual purchase (when I inevitablly decide to go with the DVX). I have read the stickies about buying, and the warnings about grey market cams, and so forth. I have also extensively searched for the best value... okay okay, yes I mean the cheapest deal. Although I can afford what I need to spend on this, I'd still like to get the best deal possible. The thing is, I found a package deal from one vendor that no one else on the web even matches. I hate to admit it, but I suppose it is probably too good to be true.

It may be a shot in the dark, but I just wanted to know if anyone has had any dealings with the offering company, as this package deal for the Bee includes everthing from; a case, tripod, filters, lenses, bells, and whistles, to a third party 4 year warranty. Oh, and get this, the kit also inludes an additional 10 hour (???) battery. Is there even such a thing for the DVX? So anyways, the kit price is the same amount as EVSOnline's price for just the camera, $3600.

The company's name is ZoomMania. If anyone knows anything about them, first-hand or otherwise, please drop a line.

Well, I guess that about wraps up my first post to this forum. Thanks in advance for any assisntance you can offer. Toodles.

Mike Parker
03-01-2006, 06:14 AM
I just checked Zoommania at resellerratings.com and I would avoid them at all costs. As a rule, camera packages from discounters include a bunch of overpriced junk that you'll want to replace with quality stuff asap. Spend the extra money and buy from a reputable dealer such as EVS or B&H.

High quality video production is relatively expensive. Trying to do it on the cheap is an exercise in frustration. If you can't afford to get good equipment, do yourself a favor and take up knitting or something. (g)

Mike Parker

03-01-2006, 07:15 AM
I guess it kind of depends on what do you plan to use the camera for. If Hd is not a big deal to you I would buy the ag-dvx100 in the blink of an eye. For me it is without any doubt the best SD camera around. But if you need HD I would go with the FX1 (it's basicly a High Definition version of the DSR-PD170 without the pro audio). If you plan to do professional work I would go with HD...most clients demand it today (even though many of them have no idea what it means) and you can over charge for IT. I was about to buy a ag-dvx100b (I love this camera to death) but then many clients started asking "Can it be shot in HD?". Another thing is that small production companies that preffer to rent equipment instead of owning a camera will look at you as an investment if you own an HD. I know the fact that it's not progressive is a bummer but you can always use Magic Bullet or something like that to do the trick (the other TRUE progressive HD solutions are WAY more expensive). Just my opinion.

03-01-2006, 07:41 AM
The (half-baked) plan is to become as familiar with whatever cam I end up with as is possible, with the intent of one day being able to shoot small, serious, films to take to festivals/contests. I'm not in a rush, can afford to take my time, and want to learn all I can about filmmaking. Not particularly concerned with production for money, yet. Although this is probably because I know I won't be up to snuff for anything but "artistic" or indie production for quite some time... possibly years from now.

03-01-2006, 08:02 AM
If you're going to aim for doing indie movie production, I'd find something with 24p. If HD(V) is not an issue for you, the DVX100b is the top choice out there for indie films shooting on minidv. If HD(V) is something that you want to consider, then the Panasonic HDX, the Canon and the JVC (which I selected) are the ones in that area.

I was in your exact same boat and went with the JVC.

03-01-2006, 08:50 AM
Oh, only now I've realized you're from Germany. The FX1 Pal has a nice and usable CF25. I would go with it the FX1 and buy a 35mm adapter with the remaining money. It's amazing what you can do with this combo. Visit www.cinemek.com and check out the demos shot by Macgregor (he shot with the Fx1 on CF25 with a 35mm adapter). You'll be amazed by the quality.

03-01-2006, 08:59 AM
Well, from US, working in Germany. But I suppose the advise still applies. :)

03-01-2006, 09:19 AM
Especially when you can go to the VAT office, spend $3 and get a piece of paper that will knock 16% off whatever price the vendor has the cam at. (And they *may* be able to get you an NTSC version, if you don't mind waiting.)(But don't ask me for the names of any German pro video shops. I can't find any...they have to be here, but they are apparently purposely hiding from me.)

I'd not go PAL at all. But that's just me.

Also...I saw a film done with a PD-170 this past Summer, projected in a theater. Looked AWFUL. Well, looked like 80's porn. (Not in subject matter, in image quality. :grin: )

Right now...I'd also not bother with HD unless I was going for a filmout. For DVD/TV/Web viewing, SD is more than adequate. And by the time HD is more "practical" for you and the viewer, you'll have made enough working with the SD to pay for the new equipment. Right? ;)

Again: really really really be careful who you buy from.


03-03-2006, 10:33 AM
Anyone else have two cents? Please?

03-03-2006, 10:56 AM
AG-DXV100B - the supreme king of SD

HDR-FX1 (HD, but lacks 24p!) if you NEED HD and you work with PAL the CF25 is very nice (buy a 35mm adapter and it'll rock your world)

Canon XL2 (Seems overpriced) it IS overpriced and you can do better with the AG-DXV100B (read the 3 way shootout here at the forum)

DSR-PD170 (once again, no 24p) with the AG-DXV100B around I would neve on my life even consider buying it

In my opinion (considering your budget) the choice should be AG-DXV100B or HDR-FX1 . All you have to do is decide if you need HD for your projects or not.