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    Decent video camera
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    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    I know this might sound like the wrong place to ask this question but I think it might actually be the best.
    I do sound post and some production. But occasionally I get asked to film a talk or an interview. I figure other sound folks might have similar experiences and might have some good recommendations. There is usually close to zero$ for these things so I don't want a lot of camera. If I can have enough control I can use my T2i, but the time limit on video makes it very problematic for covering an interview etc. Don't need 4K (obviously) would really like something as close to point and shoot as possible. I don't shoot often and I don't want something I will need a day to relearn everytime I pick it up. 1080p is as high as I need, but I would like to be able to use an external mic.

    Anyway I did a quick search on Amazon and such and there are just a ton of super cheap cameras, that are probably total junk. We were figuring something in the couple of hundred dollar range should be doable.

    So what is a sound person recommended video camera?
    Cheers
    SK


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    Perhaps a used M50, and if needing longer record time record externally or to a laptop. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...s_digital.html

    Or a used Sony a6400. That’s about it on the low end with decent AF (possibly X-T30 if Fuji fixes firmware).

    80D also good but no clean HDMI for longer record time.

    Cheap camcorders don’t look so good compared to DSLR/Mirrorless.

    Canon and Sony can use preamps into camera to get ok sound if you don’t want/need separate sound.


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    What is the most you would like to spend?

    (One note about the Sonys is you can't turn off the automatic limiter in those cameras if it matters. I don't know if the Canons have one built-in.)


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    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    DSLR's are out because they all have a record limit. I don't really care about the sound quality because if I'm recording sound it will be to a seperate recorder. The desire for a mic in is to either slap something a bit better on the camera or to do a hop from the audio recorder. If it has decent audio in then great but not a show stopper.

    I also am not going to record out of the camera to a laptop. We did that to extend the usability of a creaky sony digital8 camcorder and it was a PITA. If the gigs Im looking at were able to be done in 15-20 hunks I would stick with the T2i, but these are like an hour or two of talking heads.

    We are either going for a decent camcorder, which looks like that would be in the under $500 range. Everything under $300 or so looks like real junk.

    Or if we can't find anything decent in the above range then I would skip over the mid range cameras and go to the BMD Pocket Cinema which is going for ~$1200. I figure spending much more than $500 and not going to a camera that has interchangeable lenses is stupid. It breaks my "point and shoot" rule but if we are spending than money then we will need to drum up some business to pay for it.
    Cheers
    SK


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    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    BTW thanks this is kind of what I was hoping for.
    Cheers
    SK


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    If you’re not recording audio to camera as a primary source, then I’m honestly not sure what a sound person’s recommendation has to do with it. A G3/G4 system with 1/8” out can provide a reliable hop from mixer/recorder to any cheap camera.

    The Canon VIXIA line could be a viable option within a couple hundred +/- of your $500 target for point-and-shoot. If they’re lit properly, they can provide perfectly workable images for ultra-low-budget head shots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noiz2 View Post
    Or if we can't find anything decent in the above range then I would skip over the mid range cameras and go to the BMD Pocket Cinema which is going for ~$1200.
    Sure, $1200 for the camera. Plus $650 for the speed booster to be able to use your EF-S lenses, unless you want to invest in all-new glass to fit M4/3. Plus a better power solution (battery life on the MBPCC4K is pretty lousy).

    You’re looking at up to $3k for a functional camera kit.

    For ~$1800 (as of today on B&H) you could get a Panasonic AG-UX90 and be ready to roll, aside from memory cards and extra batteries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noiz2 View Post
    I figure spending much more than $500 and not going to a camera that has interchangeable lenses is stupid. It breaks my "point and shoot" rule but if we are spending than money then we will need to drum up some business to pay for it.
    Which is always a quandry. If you build it, will they come? Or do you buy it only when incoming work demands it?

    If you have established clients that keep coming back, how long will it take for any one of these camera options to pay itself off? That’s something only you can answer, because everyone’s situation is different. There may be a niche market there that you’re pulling in a little but haven’t fully tapped. Or not.

    You say you don’t need 4K, but you’ll eventually get to that point. Plus, if you’re editing and delivering in 1080, the biggest advantage of shooting 4K is being able to crop in post. That means you have your wide and your CU in the same shot.
    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.

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    For your consideration...

    - Some mirrorless' don't have the recording limit anymore.
    - The best bang-for-buck camera on the planet for less than $500 (used) is a Sony a6300 or the original BM Pocket (if 4K is not necessary).
    - Any fixed-lens camera for less than $1000 will be garbage.

    The new Sony a6400 DOES NOT have a recording limit and is the best $900 4K camera available (IMO).

    And here's a small list of other cameras (probably missing some) with a mic input and no recording limit that are all under $1K used:

    Blackmagic BMCC
    BMPC
    Panasonic GH5 (maybe a bit over $1K used)

    If you can live without a mic input AND a recording limit, the Sony a5100/a6000 offer the best HD image on the planet for less than $300 (used).

    But I would agree with spending a bit more than a bit less for something MUCH BETTER. Will be better in the long run.


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    Agree with NorBro- +a6400 is a killer deal with top of the line AF.

    Sony’s also have market leading preamps for the price along with decent hotshoe mics for better post sync, nat sound, and even vlogging.

    Will take serious $$ to match the a6400 in a pro camera, and you’ll lose AF (unless going Canon).

    You can also stick the little guy on low cost gimbals.


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    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    The reason to ask other sound people is that I figure they may have had similar things come up and asking in the camera section would be like coming here and asking for the cheapest recorder that does great sound. I figure more people here would understand what I was looking for.

    Great insight all. The Sony a6400 was not even on my radar. The BMPC and such, yes I would need adapters and or new lenses, and I had heard about the battery life issues. I have a slew of lenses for the T2i and a bunch of those are really Nikon lenses with adapter plates. Many years ago I did a lot of still portrait work (with actual film!). Anything other than a cheap camcorder I would be also getting lenses for.

    A friend who was doing well as a still photographer and was all Cannon, switch a couple of years ago to all Sony and swears by them. He is also doing a lot of short films with them. Is body is like $4,000 so not quite apples to apples. But he had decided against the BM cameras for a number of reasons.

    If we decide to go Sony then I would offset the cost by selling off the Canon stuff. And be back with just one camera to think about.

    I'll resist adding it to the camera museum we have upstairs... If actual film ever comes back we are ready!
    Cheers
    SK


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    Senior Member GaryNattrass's Avatar
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    I have a little cannon HF11 as well as a full sized P2 ENG camera.

    The HF11 is great as it is small and compact but can record good quality HD pictures, it also has the added bonus of an external mic input and the ability to adjust the levels.
    Over 15 minutes in broadcast film and tv production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352
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