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Camera choice for filming indoor/outdoor sports in 1080p59.94 at $1500-$3500?

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    Camera choice for filming indoor/outdoor sports in 1080p59.94 at $1500-$3500?

    Disclaimer: I tried to see if a post like this was discouraged and didn't see any indication in the site rules/info so if these posts are unwelcome I apologize.

    I record and stream Volleyball, Basketball, and Football for my school using a Panasonic V770K that has died. I also use it for filming school events. It's time for an upgrade.

    My V770 is a small $500 camcorder with a few key specs:
    1-Chip 1/2.3" MOS
    20x Optical
    Records and outputs over HDMI 1080p59.94

    Its low light capability has not been as great as I would like and the picture quality is just "okay." When playing back footage, small details like facial expressions are often a blurry mess.

    I've read about so many of the camcorders on here and considered stretching my budget for a 4K60 camcorder, but I'm very uncertain that a modern 4K camera is the route to go. It sounds like with 4K camcorders, you lose detail when trying to output 1080p or it can negatively increase noise. It also seems to be that modern cameras have a more shallow depth of field and really when filming sports I want more of the whole scene to be in focus. Gyms are often badly lit and I'd really like to get a better picture than my V770 has gotten me.

    Is there a modern camcorder you would recommend or is there an older model I could buy that might give me a phenomenally good 1080p59.94/60 picture? I'm not finding a lot of footage to compare camcorders in my price range.

    I'd really love to be able to record in 4K60 or UHD60 and stream in 1080p and am willing to slightly stretch my budget, but I'm very reluctant to hit the buy button without having seen any footage.

    Since 99% of camcorders offered have only as large as a 1" sensor, DOF isn't much of an issue, especially shooting wider scenes.

    You don't have many choices for 4K/60p, but the three most popular models for the lowest amount of money for these kind of fixed-lens zoom rocker cameras are:

    Sony Z190
    Panasonic CX350
    Canon XF400

    Panasonic also has the new CX10, and JVC released a couple of new options as well, including the HC500U.

    I've shot thousands of sports games in my life but mostly 60p in 1080p and 720p. When I changed to 4K, I continued to shoot all of them in 30p because 60p was just too much to process these 50 minute to 1 hour+ long files. (Maybe doable for you if you have a really powerful computer, but just something to consider if you're making files out of the footage.)

    The 1080p from the above will be OKAY with the right settings, but not as good as the 4K.

    To capture amazing HD these days, you really need a much more dedicated broadcast-like camera and/or a certain cinema camera.

    With that said, if you were happy with your previous camera's picture, you may find the HD from any of the above great.


      BTW, there are also a few more cheaper 4K/60p cameras that are priced lower than the above, but they are very old and I recommend looking at the more modern ones.


        Thank you for your information.

        In looking at the models you mentioned I see a common theme -- most of them have a 1" sensor. The sony has the 3CMOS 1/2.3 and the CX10 has a 1/2.5" 8.29M MOS Sensor, Venus Engine. I'm really thrown off sometimes by sensor sizes and camcorder price.

        The CX10 has a 1/2.5" which is actually smaller than my V770's 1/2.3" if I understand, yet it's $2500 vs my $500.

        How is it that these cameras with small sensors are in the same price range as the 1" sensor cameras???

        Is the idea that their image processing engines are just much more advanced? I guess I have to assume the CX10 will have a significantly better picture than my V770, despite the very similar sensor size?


          Prices are all over the place depending on the camera manufacture, the type of camera it is, and the company's business practices...along with which type of features the camera offers (resolution, AF, IBIS, 10-bit, RAW, ND filters, XLR inputs, etc).

          There are full-frame sensor cameras for less than $1000 which provide better visual quality than 99% of fixed-lens prosumer cameras (IMO), but they are mainly stills cameras that are missing a lot of features you're probably interested in, including a smooth zoom.

          Cameras like the V770 were made in a different time, world. Technology has drastically changed and prices really vary. The smaller sensor handy cameras are all but obsolete and on their way out, and most of the market now consists of only cinema cameras and stills cameras that shoot video, with the occasional fixed-lens zoom rocker system released here and there.

          So sensor sizes and pricing aren't always related. [Only if it's a high-end cinema camera that shoots higher resolutions and 8K/120p full-frame cinema hardware. And even then some companies like Blackmagic will offer similar options for much less money than their competitors.]

          BTW, Panasonic also has their new X1500 and X2000 I forgot to mention.


            You can search on BH for camcorders with 1" sensors (they're the defacto standard now). I own a Panasonic UX90 it's your best value @ $1,700
            Last edited by Peter C.; 09-30-2020, 05:46 PM.


              Panasonic UX90, UX180 or CX350 would be my recommendations. All are 4K cameras with a 1" sensor but produce decent 1080p. The UX180 has a longer lens than the UX90 (possibly valuable for sports) and adds SDI and time code. The CX350 enables 10 bit/4:2:2 modes (which could be overkill for your application) and allows the LCD and EVF to operate simultaneously, which might be a benefit.

              I don't know what other equipment you have, but a quality fluid head tripod really needs to be part of your kit. You might also appreciate an on camera 5" monitor and a Varizoom or similar remote lens controller.