Best HD Camera Under $5K

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Bill, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Bill

    Bill Guest

    I've just been informed that there may be budget in my department for an
    HD camera, but I have to make a quick decision about model-- like today.
    Quick recommendations anyone?

    - under $5K
    - XLR phantom powered microphone inputs
    - manual white balance, focus, aperture
    - good optical zoom
    - good image stabilization
    - MiniDV preferred
    - outputs HD or DV
    - NTSC (I'm in Canada)
    - excellent lense
    - good view screen for focus

    Offhand, considering my previous experience with high end Sony products,
    I like the Sony HVR-ZIU, even if the audio is compressed. Is there a
    similar model in the same price range that doesn't compress audio?

    Is the Canon XH A1 as good?

    Yes, I have been browsing reviews on the web. Just wonder if I've
    missed anything I'll be sorry about later.
    Bill, Feb 13, 2007
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  2. Bill

    Frank Guest

    Excellent lens on an under $5K camcorder?
    Pardon my language, but they all tend to suck. An external monitor is
    what's really needed.
    Not if you're talking HDV. Standard HDV audio is 2-channel stereo
    MPEG-1 Layer II 16-bit 48 kHz lossy compressed at a 4:1 ratio at 192
    kbps per channel (384 kbps total).
    PQ is probably slightly better on the Canon (1440 by 1080 pixel CCDs
    versus 960 by 1080 CCDs on the HVR-Z1U and maybe slightly better glass
    on the XH A1 contribute to this), but I developed a silly personal
    preference a few months ago. I decided that all high-def video
    products must have either an HD-SDI and/or an HDMI jack, and neither
    the Sony HVR-Z1U nor the Canon XH A1 offers this, although both have
    analog component video out. Therefore, my personal under $5K 1080i HDV
    camcorder choice today would be the Sony HVR-V1U (has HDMI - and 24p
    if needed).

    If I *had* to buy either the HVR-Z1U or the XH A1 today, it would be
    the HVR-Z1U if primarily for field/location use and the XH A1 if
    primarily for studio use (optional U.S. $600 Canon Console software
    available). You gave no hint as to how the camcorder would be used.

    50/60 Hz switchability, if needed, would be a non-issue since it's a
    standard feature on the HVR-Z1U and is a U.S. $500 firmware upgrade
    option on the XH A1.
    That's my two cents. Got to go meet a deadline now.
    Frank, Feb 13, 2007
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  3. Bill

    Bill Guest

    Being a small sub-unit within a large organization, the camera will be
    used everywhere, in "studio" and "outdoors", but probably not for
    overseas travel.

    The Sony HVR-V1U looks very intriguing, as does the Panasonic AG-HVX200.
    So, quickly narrowed down to four:

    Sony HVR-V1U
    Panasonic AG-HVX200
    Canon XH-A1
    Sony HVR-Z1U

    There's a lot to be said, apparently, for the Panasonic. Aside from the
    issue of expensive P2 cards (which will probably decline in price), any
    "gotcha's" with this camera?

    I also take it that all of these are heavier than SD cameras. One
    reviewer said he could only take about 10 minutes of handheld work. Has
    anyone else experienced that?

    Bill, Feb 13, 2007
  4. Bill

    mv Guest

    Oh dear, once again my own quarter century in TV production including
    ten with most DV/DVCAM/HDV types, my own experience differs from the
    advice presented here. .

    Personally I'm not impressed with the degree of benefits over absolute
    bloody hassle of P2 or 720p. For the money you are talking one will
    certainly need to compromise. My own choice remains the old and
    ubiquitous Z1, with all its imperfections. The LCD screen is very usable
    and I no longer require an external monitor when using it. As for the
    MPEG 2 Audio in HDV mode (PCM in DV/DVCAM) it's clean as a whistle and
    only the most pedagogue-istic excite themselves up to hear problems with
    mv, Feb 13, 2007
  5. Bill


    Apr 30, 2009
    Likes Received:
    XH A1 is a pretty good choice

    We have the Canon XH A1. We've shot industrials with it, studio work, etc. Very very intuitive camera. About the only thing I could say against it is it doesn't have interchangeable lenses. You need to get an XL H1 to have that option.

    If you're looking for actual professional or prosumer video cameras, try looking at

    It's pretty much the source for this stuff - and it's complete.
    xha1fan, Apr 30, 2009
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