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    Smart upgrade path? (From HVX200A)

    Hello guys, I'm sure this is a sore subject -- and one frequently brought up, so if it offends you... I apologize in advance


    I've had an HVX200A for a few years now - am looking to upgrade, potentially to the AF100 (or FS100).

    Work requirements these days:
    • Better low-light performance
    • More recording time (SDHC is a lot cheaper than P2, and renting is rarely in the budget for quick jobs)
    • Travel weight (Camera weight, the HVX200 with audio tends to get heavy for my weak body)


    Recent work type
    :
    • ENG/Event coverage, parties, red carpet, etc, etc
    • Web shows (2-3 subjects on lav's, studio or on-location)
    • Documentary, automotive (CMOS/rolling shutter may be an issue), food/kitchen stuff


    I'm really stuck in that common area of price vs performance, and would appreciate if anybody who has taken this route (HVX200 > AF100) would be willing to comment on how you've dealt with it, and how it's changed your workflow. Obviously taking into account the style of work being done is probably the biggest factor for anyone. I'd greatly appreciate the input regardless of that.

    Thanks!

    #2
    Originally posted by ianskate View Post
    Hello guys, I'm sure this is a sore subject -- and one frequently brought up, so if it offends you... I apologize in advance


    I've had an HVX200A for a few years now - am looking to upgrade, potentially to the AF100 (or FS100).

    Work requirements these days:
    • Better low-light performance
    • More recording time (SDHC is a lot cheaper than P2, and renting is rarely in the budget for quick jobs)
    • Travel weight (Camera weight, the HVX200 with audio tends to get heavy for my weak body)



    Recent work type
    :
    • ENG/Event coverage, parties, red carpet, etc, etc
    • Web shows (2-3 subjects on lav's, studio or on-location)
    • Documentary, automotive (CMOS/rolling shutter may be an issue), food/kitchen stuff


    I'm really stuck in that common area of price vs performance, and would appreciate if anybody who has taken this route (HVX200 > AF100) would be willing to comment on how you've dealt with it, and how it's changed your workflow. Obviously taking into account the style of work being done is probably the biggest factor for anyone. I'd greatly appreciate the input regardless of that.

    Thanks!
    How important is shallow depth of field to you?

    Comment


      #3
      As much as I love my AF100, for that kind of work I still pull out my partners HPX170 (though I often use my samurai instead of P2 cards for convience). The AF100 is geared more for cine-work, and though you can make it into an ENG camera, if you are mainly doing ENG style shooting, you may find it limiting. If you want to move up from the HVX, I would look at an EX1. You get HD-SDI out and a 1/2" sensor, and I see alot of work for them, especially with a recorder. If I was going for a small ENG camera, that would be my choice. If you NEED CCDs, then the HPX170/HVX200A is still the way to go unless you want to spend some serious money (It is still my favorite for concerts where there are alot of strobes, camera flashes, and other flashing lights).
      Panasonic AF100 w/ Adaptimax Plus Nikon Mount
      Atomos Samurai w/ 2x Intel 120gb SSDs
      Nikon Mount Lenses:
      - 11-16mm f/2.8 - 20mm f/3.5 - 24mm f/2.8 - 28mm f/2.8 - 35mm f/1.4 - 50mm f/1.4 - 50mm f/2 - 85mm f/1.4 - 135mm f/2.8 - 200mm f/4 -
      Other Lenses:
      - Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Fujia 35mm f/1.4

      sigpic

      Comment


        #4
        If ENG is a focus, look at the AC160 or HPX250. If you already have P2 cards, the HPX250 is the logical upgrade, but if you're wanting the lower cost recording media of SD cards, the AC160 is a very similar camera and is much much less expensive than an EX1.

        The real question is the one that was asked before: how important is cinematic shallow DOF for your work? The AC160 and AF100 are extremely similar cameras with the main difference being the AF100 is a shallow-DOF interchangeable lens, where the AC160 is a deep DOF built-in lens unit; obviously there are big advantages to both approaches.

        Either way, the imagery will be a big step up from the HVX.
        ..
        The AU-EVA1 Book - The DVX200 Book - The UX180 & UX90 Book - Lighting For Film & TV - Sound For Film & TV

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Mike Harvey View Post
          How important is shallow depth of field to you?
          Thanks guys. Shallow DoF is completely acceptable. My second/B-cam is a 5DMkII, so I'm used to it.

          Originally posted by Oliver Rush View Post
          As much as I love my AF100, for that kind of work I still pull out my partners HPX170 (though I often use my samurai instead of P2 cards for convience). The AF100 is geared more for cine-work, and though you can make it into an ENG camera, if you are mainly doing ENG style shooting, you may find it limiting. If you want to move up from the HVX, I would look at an EX1. You get HD-SDI out and a 1/2" sensor, and I see alot of work for them, especially with a recorder. If I was going for a small ENG camera, that would be my choice. If you NEED CCDs, then the HPX170/HVX200A is still the way to go unless you want to spend some serious money (It is still my favorite for concerts where there are alot of strobes, camera flashes, and other flashing lights).
          Hm. In what ways do you feel limited? AF/Focus Assist, snap zooms and stuff like that? As for the EX1, I've worked with others who praise their EX's to death. Don't really need CCD, although it would be a benefit for anything automotive (and concerts as you mention, which I rarely do). It's more about the dark events that aren't lit and yet require video coverage.


          Originally posted by Barry_Green View Post
          If ENG is a focus, look at the AC160 or HPX250. If you already have P2 cards, the HPX250 is the logical upgrade, but if you're wanting the lower cost recording media of SD cards, the AC160 is a very similar camera and is much much less expensive than an EX1.

          The real question is the one that was asked before: how important is cinematic shallow DOF for your work? The AC160 and AF100 are extremely similar cameras with the main difference being the AF100 is a shallow-DOF interchangeable lens, where the AC160 is a deep DOF built-in lens unit; obviously there are big advantages to both approaches.

          Either way, the imagery will be a big step up from the HVX.
          I have some P2 cards, but not enough to justify keeping it as a medium. The cost and portability of SD seems like a huge benefit in itself. Looking at the features of the AC160, it seems like a definite possibility as well. Although I'm a sucker for being able to change lenses and achieve many looks through a single camera. That being said, I do a ton of rack focusing while shooting from subject to subject during certain shoots, and this will probably be a huge difficulty with the AF100, correct? Unless of course a simple follow focus ring would do the trick?

          To summarize the work that will probably be done over the next year, about 75% of it is documentary-style. Sit down, or following a subject around at an event or location walking+talking to the camera. I never use autofocus for any of these things. The other 25% is mixed, from events coverage to location shoots with a mostly fixed shot, and some b-roll thrown in.

          The straw that really broke the camels back - someone else was using an FS100, me with the HVX. Location: almost complete darkness, some mood lighting. Looking through the footage, it's as if we were at two completely different locations. The difference is literally night and day (pun intended) and these types of shoots are in my future, low-light capabilities are pretty important.

          I suppose a trip to B&H is in order to really get a feel for these cameras in-person.
          Last edited by ianskate; 06-12-2012, 07:20 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            I use my AF 100 for interviews,host stand ups, and slower paced beauty shots on a tripod. I'm not that comfortable using it for documentary and fast paced b roll. It really isn't an upgrade from a 200a, it just gives you nice shallow depth of field. I've done several projects where I shoot the interviews with a AF 100 and the broll with my hmc 150. I've shot with the 160 and the 250 and they are great all around cameras, but you don't get the shallow depth of field. I've also shot with the ex1 and ex3 and they are the 2 most uncomfortable cameras I have ever operated.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Bucknfl View Post
              I use my AF 100 for interviews,host stand ups, and slower paced beauty shots on a tripod. I'm not that comfortable using it for documentary and fast paced b roll. It really isn't an upgrade from a 200a, it just gives you nice shallow depth of field. I've done several projects where I shoot the interviews with a AF 100 and the broll with my hmc 150.
              This is why I kept my HMC150 when I bought the AF100. I have too many shoots where the AF100 is a wholey inappropriate tool for the job. Don't get me wrong, 85% of what I shoot is on the AF100 now, even a lot of B-roll for some live events. But the HMC150 (and by extension, the AC130/AC160/HPX170/HPX250) is such a nice jack-of-all-trades camera, and I still use it often enough that that I don't think I'm going to part with it for a long time. And when I finally do, it's going to be for a similar camera.

              Comment


                #8
                I bought the HPX250 for exactly this reason - However, I find that I prefer the AF100.. and not just because of the selective focus. When shooting a documentary (which is all I do) the AF forces me to rethink the way I shoot. Although I do miss a good light-weight zoom lens (as I've said here many times) working with primes makes you think ahead. And I have found that I can shoot almost all day with a 20mm Canon FD - like I used to with a 12mm Cooke in super16 - . Move back for wide shots and move in for close ups, making nice little focus changes that add texture to the image. And I have an FD mount 28-85 f2.8 Vivitar that I picked up for 60 bucks that I use a lot. For interviews and visuals I usually use Leica-R 35mm, 50mm, 90mm and 135mm lenses.

                But using the AF100 hand held does take practice - and some modification (I use a Z-Finder mounted off the handle) - and it's not as easy to dial in the look with the AF for some reason. But when I go back to the HPX250 it seems kind of dreary to me now...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ianskate View Post
                  Hm. In what ways do you feel limited? AF/Focus Assist, snap zooms and stuff like that? As for the EX1, I've worked with others who praise their EX's to death. Don't really need CCD, although it would be a benefit for anything automotive (and concerts as you mention, which I rarely do). It's more about the dark events that aren't lit and yet require video coverage.
                  I don't really do much ENG style work anymore (the ENG style stuff I do now is usually lower budget stuff or favors), but what you may find limiting on the AF100 vs a HVX/EX1/whatever for ENG work is that you will be hard pressed to find a lens with anywhere near the zoom range of a camcorder that is parfocal/constant aperture for use with the AF100 (especially at an affordable price), the lack of image stabilization on most lenses (and OIS is nice for ENG stuff), and the lack of a servo zoom. These were non-issues to me, but something you have to keep in mind. Granted you can get a b4 lens mount and adaptor and a bunch of accessories and power a 2/3 lens mounted to the AF100, but at that point if that is what you want, you would be better pressed spending that money on a real professional ENG camera, IMO. I do mainly film style narrative shooting, commercials, music videos, and corporate work, so I find the AF100 and my set of primes ideal for what I do (especially with the samurai), but when I have to do something ENG style, I usually prefer to use a different camera.

                  The AF100 is a great camera with the best feature set in its class/price bracket, IMHO, but I dont consider it to be the automatic upgrade from the HVX/HPX. It is an upgrade, but it is also a different kind of camera for a different kind of shooting style. You have to ask yourself what suits your style of shooting. If you want the best of both worlds of your 5D and HVX, you will love the AF100; If you are looking for an upgraded HVX/HPX, you will probably not like it so much.

                  Lastly, I would not worry too much about the CMOS chips in newer cameras. Most of the newer chips have gotten things pretty under control, and you can usually work around much of the limitations. The only thing that I find to really be a major issue still with CMOS sensors are strobes and flashes.




                  Originally posted by ianskate View Post
                  That being said, I do a ton of rack focusing while shooting from subject to subject during certain shoots, and this will probably be a huge difficulty with the AF100, correct? Unless of course a simple follow focus ring would do the trick?
                  Rack focusing is not an issue with the AF100, even without a follow focus, and I have no problem pulling focus off the lens, and in fact, I prefer to do so and dont use a follow focus (unless I have it on a jib or something with a whip or have an AC pulling focus for me). If you are able to pull focus fine off your 5D you will have no problem with the AF100.
                  Last edited by Oliver Rush; 06-12-2012, 07:36 PM.
                  Panasonic AF100 w/ Adaptimax Plus Nikon Mount
                  Atomos Samurai w/ 2x Intel 120gb SSDs
                  Nikon Mount Lenses:
                  - 11-16mm f/2.8 - 20mm f/3.5 - 24mm f/2.8 - 28mm f/2.8 - 35mm f/1.4 - 50mm f/1.4 - 50mm f/2 - 85mm f/1.4 - 135mm f/2.8 - 200mm f/4 -
                  Other Lenses:
                  - Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Fujia 35mm f/1.4

                  sigpic

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We have an HVX 200 and an AF100. I consider them two different cameras for two completely different job types. If your project is run and gun, a fixed lens camera like the HPX250 is more what you need as far as an upgrade. Shooting with the AF100 is a slower process...shots, in my opinion, need to be more thought out...you have to factor what lens is right for the shot you need etc. Having said that, we use our Af100 for 95% of what we do now, clients love the look and most of our stuff is commercial or high end corporate. The AF100 is a great camera, you just need to determine which camera you need based on your clientele.
                    --
                    Christopher Grosso
                    President | Executive Producer
                    Take Two Visual Media
                    http://www.take2vm.com
                    Facebook: http://bit.ly/KaGV6

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