Hi guys, recently myself and a group of like minded individuals have decided we would like to invest in a high quality video camera, for the sake of shooting festival worthy shorts, as well as potentially a feature length film. We're working with a budget of give or take 4,000 to 6,000 dollars, so we really want to make sure we make the right purchasing choice and don't get burned. I figured I might as well put out the feelers here for some suggestions, as well as to see if anyone has had any experience with the cameras we're investigating right now.
First off, we're looking at the Panasonic AGHVX200
Featuring the ability to shoot in 24p, Variable frame rate options (So from anywhere from 12p to 60p) , a supposedly excellent lens ( I don't know too much about lenses, yet) and a 1/3'' CCD, the Panasonic seems to be a pretty popular and consistent choice. It *is* an older camera however, so I feel like there is probably something newer out there that we can get our hands on (though it's age is also reflected in it's relatively cheap price tag). The downsides that I can see is that the lens is not interchangeable, which ultimately affects my ability to define the look of our shots. It also produces a less detailed image than its competitors (Featuring roughly 500,000 pixels as opposed to the 1 million plus offered by Sony and Canon).
The next camera we're considering is the much more recent Canon XL-H1A
The XL-H1A is Canon's little brother to their more complete XL-H1. Released in 2008, the camera has a lot of cool features, including an interchangeable lens, which can be difficult to find in that price range. With by far the most detailed image of the three cameras I mention, the XL-H1A offers 1.67 million pixels (more than three times as detailed as the AGHVX200). The downsides as far as I can tell to this camera is that (like all Canon cameras), it doesn't offer true 24p. It uses Canon's 24f, which according to a few articles I've read, generally produces a less detailed image when compared to 24p. However, I don't know if it's something most people would notice or not.
Finally, we're considering one of Sony's latest offerings, the Sony HVR-Z7U.
This is Sony's direct competitor to the Canon XL series, and it brings some interesting toys to the table. The recently released Ink
was shot entirely on this camera. While it doesn't quite top the detail offered by the Canon images, (With only 1 million pixels offered as opposed to 1.6 million with the Canon),It does offer true 24p. On top of this, it also features an interchangeable lens, which makes it an attractive choice over the Panasonic. The biggest downside to this camera is it's supposedly complex interface. I've worked with Sony camera's in the past, and I never was really that excited by them. However, the camera I used was their first released AVCHD camera, so there was a significant amount of problems related to it mainly being a new technology. I would consider buying Sony again if the camera was solid enough.
So does anyone have any input or experience with any of these cameras? It would help us out a ton.