What's the difference in picture quality between 3 camcorders from 1200 to 3500 Euros?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Crow, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Crow

    Crow Guest

    What's the difference in picture quality between 3 camcorders from
    1200 to 3500 Euros?

    I intend shooting my first documentary this summer and I'm in the
    process of selecting a camera. I'm feeling bullish, so I want a
    camera that will give me best quality, so that I have the most options
    when it comes to finding an audience for the finished product.
    I have an initial shortlist of 3 cameras at 3 price points, although
    other cameras might be added later. The 3 are as follows, with prices
    in Euros:

    Canon MVX3i 1200
    Canon XM2 2300
    Canon XL1S 3500

    As a first time film maker, I'm wondering whether the XL1S might be
    too technically demanding? I'm assuming that the MVX3i would be more
    user friendly for a novice.

    My bottom line question is this. Will the XM2 and XL1S, if used
    correctly, provide a finished product that will be of broadcast
    quality, whereas the MVX3i will not be up to this task?
    I'm assuming that the XM2 is capable of producing footage good enough
    for commercial DVD release. Is the XL1S capable of producing
    cinematic release grade footage? Or can this be achieved with both
    the higher end Canons?

    Any help appreciated.


    Crow, Jun 5, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Crow

    Prof Marvel Guest

    I think all three-chip cameras are basically the same. Also, you'll be
    able to figure everything out in a week.

    Prof Marvel, Jun 8, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Crow

    Snooz Guest

    Hi Crow -
    I faced a similar decision myself 6 mths ago, without much technical
    background. I opted for the Canon MVX3i and have been pretty happy
    with it. I particularly like the portability and price for the quality
    of image. You can also do a lot with the money left over to contribute
    to other aspects of production!

    I agree with the previous comment - you'll learn how to use whatever
    you've got pretty quickly.

    No black and white sorry. Depends on the expectations of the
    brodcaster (who your target audience is), and how much range you want
    out of the camera. My understanding is that in Australia 3i is
    sufficient for our independant broadcaster, but not our commercial
    ones. This assumes you aren't doing too much that's technically
    demanding for the camera, like low light and lots of hand held action
    (for eg I do mostly interview based stuff, which is easy to light
    well). In the end the advice I was given was that the question of
    technical aesthetics was considered to be secondary to the content of
    the doco, but this was a broadcaster based policy. If you want to
    compete with commercial producers, you need the high end.

    As for the 3 chip question - not all 3 chips are equal. There are
    other variables in what boosts picture quality aside from the number
    of chips. When I bought the 3i, I was advised it was better than
    low-end 3 chips because of the technology Cannon use to scan an image.
    Instead of 3 chips scanning for a colour each, or a regular 1 chip
    scanning once for all three colours, the 3i scans 3 times, once for
    each colour. In theory this gives better colour saturation and image
    quality, though no one claims it is as good as higher end 3.
    Snooz, Jun 10, 2004
  4. Crow

    Crow Guest

    Thanks for the input. The portability of the MVX3i is very appealing
    to me, as well as the price. Are there things about the Canon that
    you aren't so happy with?
    I'm not sure what you're saying here, as the sentence seems to
    contradict itself!
    I'm slowly beginning to accept that this is a grey area. I sure wish
    it wasn't, but hey, it is what it is. I got accommodation in
    Amsterdam yesterday, so once I've moved in over the weekend, I'll have
    better access to getting my hands on cameras and making a decision.
    I've learnt from experiences in other fields that the raw
    specifications don't nearly tell you the whole picture.
    It's an exciting project for me, but there's so much to learn that I
    find it overwhelming at times. I'm really grateful for all the help
    that I've received via these newsgroups. It's made a big difference.


    Crow, Jun 10, 2004
  5. Crow

    someone Guest

    Just an aside about the camera choice.

    The image is only part of the whole package. The usability of the camera
    and especially the accommodations for audio are just if not more important.
    The ability to handle pro-audio accessories without XLR adapters, an ability
    to quickly control the camera (sometimes just Control the camera) are all
    very important.

    I also think it is very important to spend some time with the cameras in
    someone, Jun 11, 2004
  6. Crow

    Crow Guest


    Someone else suggested hiring or borrowing a camera before buying one,
    which makes a lot of sense. I'm trying to get as clued up as I can on
    what I should be looking for in a camera, before doing that.

    You mentioned the need to accommodate pro-audio without XLR adaptors.
    I don't think the cameras that I'm looking at have XLR adaptors, which
    is why I guess you bring this point up. What specifically should I be
    looking for in the pro-audio accessories area?

    I've just looked at a Sony DSR-PDX10 because its 16:9 quality is meant
    to be good for its class and the spec states, 'Twin XLR audio input
    adaptor & 48v 'phantom' mic powering (supplied)'. That sounds good to
    my naïve ears. Does having the twin XLRs means you can have two mics
    recording simultaneously? i.e. one for the interviewer and another
    for the interviewee.


    Crow, Jun 11, 2004
  7. Crow

    Snooz Guest

    Can't think of anything substantial. Getting in and out of menus to
    control the camera's functions/settings isn't fast (but all the others
    I looked at seemed as bad!) Of course you always wonder if the
    pictures wouldn't be that much better on one of the pro models...
    Sorry, was referring to the comment from the other person who posted,
    rather than your last comment. Bottom line - I guess all cameras have
    their peculiarities and you will learn your way round any of them
    quickley. On the learning curve for film making, operating the camera
    is a mere blip.
    So what's the project??
    Snooz, Jun 19, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.