Help finding inexpensive, professional quality video cameras.
February 28, 2004 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Video Camera help. I'm trying to help pick out some low end professional quality video cameras for a local low budget cable station and was looking for some recommendations. [more inside]

Currently, we mostly have Sony DCR-VX1000s, but are looking to buy two more cameras that are better quality than the VX1000... So far, it seems like the Sony DCR-VX2000 or Canon XL1s might work, especially since our price range is between about 2000 and 5000. The camera needs to shoot both indoors and outdoors well, and have a built in monitor.
posted by drezdn to Shopping (3 answers total)
I haven't used too many of the little ones, but the XL1Ss are highly recommended by some shooter friends of mine. I've played a little with them, and they look great.

Also, you may want to consider the Sony PD-150. They run around $3K and are essentially a higher-end version of the VX2000 (the successor to the VX1000.) The network where I work has a slew of them and uses them all the time as second cameras on shoots, videophone cameras, in situations where a bigger camera would be a hindrance, and in remote locations. The footage, if properly shot, looks great, and we can often intercut PD150 material with material shot on $35K+ Beta SX camcorders without it looking funny or otherwise raising eyebrows.

Unlike the VX1000 or 2000, the PD150 has user-settable timecode, built-in XLR audio adapter, switchable aspect ratio, switchable mini-DV/DVCam format, and switchable 12/16-bit audio format, as well as some other goodies.

If it were my money, I'd get a PD-150, an external battery charger, a good shotgun mic, and a decent tripod. That'd be a pretty nice setup, I'd think.
posted by Vidiot at 11:58 AM on February 28, 2004

Ideally, of course, you can go to a dealer and play with 'em yourself to get a good idea of their relative features and capabilities.
posted by Vidiot at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2004

I'll second vidiots PD150 recommendation - I use it all the time and it's totally reliable. It has, however, recently been updated by Sony to the PD170. The differences aren't enormous but the PD170 should sell for the same price as the PD150. Or, you can probably get a good price on end of line PD150s at the moment.
posted by gravelshoes at 12:46 PM on February 28, 2004

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