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Need a tough, battle-tank ENG cam...

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    Need a tough, battle-tank ENG cam...

    I've started a local TV station here, and would like to get a large-ish ENG cam that can handle field work. Last night we shot a parade, and it was awful. People did NOT take us seriously with our DSLRs and Canon G20s. The resulting footage turned out great, but it would've been a much better experience with onboard XLR, VF and a few other niceties. When shopping for ENGs tho, they're either way out of our budget ($5k+) or so cheap they're scary.

    The last broadcast cams I used were Sony DigiBetas back in the 90s for Charter cable -- those things were tough and could shoot in the dark with ease. But I'm not up on the vernacular anymore, or what certain specs mean -- and finding refs for older gear is difficult these days, even online.

    Anything that can shoot to Premiere-friendly codecs would work fine. And large. Gotta have room to put that big station logo on it :-)

    Only camera I can think of that is large, looks professional and is cheap is the Sony HXR-MC2500. I don't own one but I bet it's good for the money.
    SONY F3 / F5 / FS700 / Odyssey 7Q+ / a6300 / Zeiss CP.2 & Sigma lenses


      XDCams like this could fit the bill?
      That's 850 for full-size ENG camera with lens! There are a fair few PDWs about, great cameras, XDCam disc workflow is nice.
      Another option may be Panasonic HPX500?


        Good thought about the look you need for the access you need.... Maybe look for used HD ENG cameras? Googling around it looks like there are some that fit the look and price you want. I'd say if you stick to a camera that records to solid-state media (so fewer working parts to wear out), lower-hour units, and a (hopefully) reliable dealer, you might be able to find something.

        For example, Google points me to this camera with lens and presumably (but confirm) viewfinder:
        Panasonic AG-HPX370 Series P2 HD Camcorder with 17x Lens, 1/3" 2.2MP 3-MOS Sensors, 1920x1080 Resolution, 2/3" Lens Compatibility (648 Hours)

        So just 1/3-inch sensors. Maybe not as great in low light as larger sensors (duh), but modern-ish small sensors aren't so bad. Though I bet with some looking, you could find probably find something with 1/2-inch or bigger sensors.

        You'll need batteries, but I think some of the second-tier battery companies offer decent products now. For example, I and some friends have had good experiences with batteries4broadcast. Others use course, more still use IDX, Anton-Bauer, etc.

        P2 media isn't very cheap, but it lasts a while. So factor in media costs...perhaps other low-cost ENG-ish cameras record to SD cards now (I really haven't kept up with that world).

        So bottom line: A not-so old used HD ENG camera from Sony or Panasonic could get you both the images and respect/access/attitude you need.

        Good luck with your quest! Let us know what you decide to do and how it works out!
        Last edited by Jim Feeley; 12-14-2016, 07:55 AM.
        Jim Feeley
        POV Media


          Originally posted by tedbragg View Post
          .... People did NOT take us seriously with our DSLRs and Canon G20s. ..... And large. Gotta have room to put that big station logo on it :-)
          I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean about being taken seriously. As long as you get the cooperation of the event producer, your good to go. At a PBS station, we've done public event shows using everything from iPhones to ENGs. We don't put logos on our cameras. We try to be as incognito as possible at the events, especially musical events as to not interfere with the audience experience. There are so many advantages to using small equipment. I'd not want to go back to using large ENGs (unless needed). Our mainstay for field work is camcorders in the $3500 class. But I would happily use DSLRs, GoPros, and phones to get the shots we need.

          Since you are getting good results, I'd say you are taking a step backwards to acquire large equipment for the sake of television station presence. If you want that, then save a pile of money and make some really nice hats, jackets and shirts with embroidered logos on them. Simple long sleeve T-shirts in your stations colors with [STATION NAME] TV CREW printed in large letters on the back and/or sleeves are cheap and highly visible.
          Last edited by Paul F; 12-13-2016, 10:46 AM.
          Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television


            What are you footage requirements? 1080p 720p SD etc...? As you go down the price ladder some of these will slip. ENG + lens has always been expensive. From your post you mention $5,000 as being expensive. That is usually the cost of a very cheap ENG lens.

            Maybe a used Panasonic HPX-300 1/3" chipper might be budget friendly. Or as stated, an early XDCAM that is sold with lens.