Video Cameras - What Cameras Have You Used and Are Currently Using?

MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 3:14 AM

INTRODUCTION

Hey guys,

I am not sure if a thread like this has started, but if it has then the Mods or MAGIX staff can merge it. But I wanted to start a thread like this because I’m always interested in the kinds cameras people have used to film with and how they go about getting the video they’ve filmed into VEGAS Pro. Because I know we have to sometimes convert our videos or deinterlace our videos in programs like HandBrake (which I currently use) and then possibly convert it into another format, then import into VEGAS Pro to commence our editing.


CAMERAS USED

I have used various cameras in my lifetime. The first camera I ever used to film video was an Olympus digit camera that was more geared towards taking photos. But it could film video but only at 320 x 240 (4:3) @ 15fps (frames per second). I then moved onto a rather interesting camera that was made by Sony. I cannot remember the exact make and model but I actually thought it could film in ‘FullHD’ - 1920 x 1080 - because it had the ‘FullHD’ logo on it. But, unfortunately, it said ‘FullHD’ photos. Well, I was quite disappointed but decided to keep the camera anyway. It filmed video at a way lower resolution than the 1080p I thought it did @ 640 x 480 but at 30fps (at least I got a somewhat decent upgrade in resolution and frame rate from my previous Olympus camera.
 

MY FIRST EVER PROPER VIDEO CAMERA AND FILMING IN 16:9 WIDESCREEN

It was back in 2008 when I bought my very first proper video camera that was made by Sony. It was a Sony DCR-DVD810E and it filmed with rectangular pixels when filming in 16:9 widescreen and so it was true widescreen. When I played back the video, after importing any video that I had filmed, the video was filmed 720 x 576 (576i) resolution and interlaced and would the player would stretch out the video to the resolution of 1024 x 576 (16:9) so, when I imported into VEGAS Pro, I would setup the project with a resolution of 1024 x 576 and run all my videos through VEGAS Pro in this resolution and deinterlacing them then export them out to the 1024 x 576 resolution.

 

FINALLY, A TRUE ‘FULLHD’ VIDEO CAMERA

After 4 years, in 2012, I finally got myself a genuine ‘FullHD’ 1080 video camera that didn’t try to deceive me with a label that just looked like it filmed in ‘FullHD’ but didn’t actually. This was quite an upgrade for me. Going from filming in SD (720 x 576 > 1024 x 576) to a resolution of 1920 x 1080 was awesome! It filmed in 1080-50i and I didn’t know that you had to convert it down to 25p when deinterlacing and so I just deinterlaced to 50p and it played back quite smoothly. So, I effectively was working with 1080-50p video and edited it in VEGAS Pro without any problems. This 1080i video camera was none other than the Canon Legria HF G10.

The reason I went with Canon for this camera was that it was the only camera, within my budget, that allowed full manual control over everything, of which I wanted. It was considered a prosumer camera (or something like that) and Sony’s video cameras at this time didn’t allow full manual control. They did produce good quality but I really wanted that full manual control. So, the Canon HF G10 was my pick and choice (and it’s still going strong today).

 

SWITCHING GEARS TO 4K

Having an iPhone that filmed in 4K30 and a video camera that filmed 1080i, I felt the need to upgrade. This wasn’t like a “I must have it” upgrade, but I felt my camera gear was lacking in the resolution department and I wanted to upgrade. Now, in 2018 4K cameras were saturating the market and I knew there were several options and cameras to choose from. Because of having a Canon video camera, I looked at their options. But they were quite expensive for the 4K cameras they had. I saw a video on YouTube comparing the Canon video camera that I was looking at (and almost considered buying) with one of Sony’s 4K cameras.

To my surprise the Sony camera performed way better than the Canon did in almost every situation, especially when it came to low light situations. I came to realise, amongst the many great other reasons, the main reason was because of the 1” CMOS sensor, whereas this Canon camera had a, if I recall correctly, 1/23” CMOS sensor. I didn’t know how to read 1/23” correctly until I came across a site that explained it and that’s when I discovered that the sensor size of this Canon 4K camera was only 0.3” and that settled it for me. I was going for the Sony and I did. And that Sony 4K camera is none other than the Sony FDR-AX700 (I had looked at its predecessor, the FDR-AX100, but it had a rolling shutter issue that the newer FDR-AX700 didn’t have).

The Sony FDR-AX700 has been a joy to use. But there was one unexpected thing that I noticed. Having filmed in interlaced rather than progressive for so long, I noticed some noticeable flickering when filming in 4K25. I researched this and found out that this was normal for filming progressively instead of interlaced, and to get less flickering and more smoothness I needed to film in 50p. Well, I knew this meant that I’d have to drop the resolution to 1080p because the AX700 didn’t film in 4K50. I then suddenly realised why some people were complaining about this camera only filming in 4K25/30 instead of 4K50/60. Nevertheless, I didn’t let myself get disappointed. The camera was still great, it’s 1080p video quality I found to still be a heap better than my Canon HF G10’s 1080i quality, due to the Sony AX700 obviously having a 4K sensor.

But, through doing some more research, and with it being mentioned on the Sony site, it was recommended to use this camera on a tripod when filming a 4K to reduce the flickering (caused by handheld filming I guess). So, I bought myself a fluid head tripod made by Manfrotto and I have no buyers remorse at all with camera or the tripod. One great thing I realised is that video that comes out of the Sony FDR-AX700 is so clean, even in low light and on dark or black objects. I was quite impressed by that. So, yeah, a great camera that I’d highly recommend to anyone if you’re in the market for good and proper video camera.
 

NOW ONTO CAMERAS YOU GUYS HAVE USED AND CURRENTLY USE

Now, I’m interested in other people’s cameras that they use and have used in the past and what you liked and didn’t like about each camera that you’ve used as well as any troubles you’ve had with them along the way.

Cheers,

Matt

 

 

Comments

bryan-quarrie wrote on 5/20/2020, 4:01 AM

Hi MH7,

In my 10+ years of video experience I've been through several cameras too.

My first ever video camera was the Panasonic SD9. I think it was one of their first HD camcorders. I'm not sure of its specs now, but if memory serves me it could record 1920 x 1080i @ 17 Mbs. SD card up to 32GB. Still staying with panasonic 2 years later, I then bought a TM900, which I held onto for a further two years. I then sold them both on ebay.

I then switched brands to Sony, with the NEX VG20 with the interchangeable lenses. This was a very well-built machine, and for its time I loved the design of it. Max video quality was 1080p50 (PAL model) @ 28Mbps. I had this one for about 3 years mainly because I was investing in a few lenses that stretched its longevity for me personally. I had two of these, and once again I sold them, but kept some of the lenses.

After that, I bought the FDR-AX100 - my first 4k camera. I Had it when it first came out (without the 4k 100Mbps firmware upgrade), and still use to this day as a "b" cam. I also bought an FDR-AX700 which I use as a primary camera.

I also bought action cams to use as "c" cams - Yi 4K+ (x2), Sony X1000V (x2), Sony RX0, RX0m2 and X3000R.

Finally I saved the lenses I bought for the NEX-VG20 for another camera for stills - Sony A6500 which I bought about 2 years ago and still use today :)

 

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PS - regarding the flickering issue on the AX700, I don't record 4k unless I use a tripod (because of the 25p frame rate), or if I'm recording interview shots that don't need much panning etc. My primary use for 4k would be in a multi-camera production where I would change the composition of some of the the shots while editing on Vegas to add variety to the finished video.

 

 

fr0sty wrote on 5/20/2020, 5:14 AM

I started using Sony VX-2000's. From there, I got a Sony HDV camera (can't remember the model), quickly lost it to Hurricane Katrina, then got some Panasonic HMC-40's. Then Panasonic GH2's, then a GH4...

Our current kit is:

3x (soon to be 4) Panasonic S1's

1x Panasonic EVA1

2x Panasonic GH5s

1x Panasonic GH5

1x Sony FS7

1x Sony FS5

Also have several GH4s and a Sony A7sII we clamp around onstage sometimes.

Dexcon wrote on 5/20/2020, 5:29 AM

I've been using a Sony FDR-AX100 for many years and have been quite happy with it, but ...

the FDR-AX100, but it had a rolling shutter issue that the newer FDR-AX700 didn’t have

… that explains a few things.

One great thing I realised is that video that comes out of the Sony FDR-AX700 is so clean, even in low light and on dark or black objects.

Sounds like its better than the AX100, which is not awful but lowlight images from my GoPro Hero Black 8 are better than the AX100.

The thing I intensely hate is that 4k or 2.7k from my Samsung Galaxy 8 does not have 25 or 50fps as an option (apparently the same still applies to iPhones). It is beyond belief that Samsung and Apple assume that the whole world uses NTSC frame rates and ignore PAL frame rates for what surely must be a large segment of their market including a lot of Europe, the UK, a lot of Africa, a lot of Asia as well as Oceania/Australasia.

MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 6:51 AM

@Dexcon

I've been using a Sony FDR-AX100 for many years and have been quite happy with it, but ...

the FDR-AX100, but it had a rolling shutter issue that the newer FDR-AX700 didn’t have

… that explains a few things.

Well, I obviously wasn’t going off personal experience but off YouTube videos of it. But, yes, my AX700 definitely doesn’t have that problem.

Sounds like [the AX700] its better than the AX100, which is not awful but lowlight images from my GoPro Hero Black 8 are better than the AX100.
 

Well, coming from my Canon HF Legria (Vixia - US) G10 (which wasn’t too bad in low light, but the my Sony AX700 just is sooooo much better. But, that’s not hard, I guess, since the Canon is 6 years old (that went quick).

The thing I intensely hate is that 4k or 2.7k from my Samsung Galaxy 8 does not have 25 or 50fps as an option (apparently the same still applies to iPhones). It is beyond belief that Samsung and Apple assume that the whole world uses NTSC frame rates and ignore PAL frame rates for what surely must be a large segment of their market including a lot of Europe, the UK, a lot of Africa, a lot of Asia as well as Oceania/Australasia.

Well, you can get apps, like Filmic Pro (that I have), and it’ll give you more frame rate options for whatever your phone’s camera is capable of, from 24 - 60 (even odd frame rates like 27, 26, and 29). I believe it’s available for Android and iOS. It also has aspect ratio guides, and you choose to frame for, say, the 2.35:1 aspect or crop your video to that aspect ratio so that it saves in that wider aspect ratio.

MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 8:00 AM

@bryan-quarrie | Wow, you’ve at least used 13-14 cameras! You well and truly have beaten me, but I think @fr0sty​​​​​​ has beaten both of us. But who said that this was a competition? 😁

bryan-quarrie wrote on 5/20/2020, 8:24 AM

@bryan-quarrie | Wow, you’ve at least used 13-14 cameras! You well and truly have beaten, but I think @fr0sty​​​​​​ has beaten both of us. But who said that this was a competition? 😁

Lol! 😂😂. I've got more action cams that make up the total because of an event I shot that needed multiple smaller cameras, but I don't use all of them every time!! 😂😂

With that said, small action cams have not been changed much at all. They have paid for themselves several times over which is why I havent upgraded them as much as the "a" cams.

MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 8:28 AM

Not to ignore your above reply, but...

@bryan-quarrie | I will ask, though, as a fellow Sony FDR-AX700 owner, are there any tips you can offer me? I have used cameras for many years but the AX700 is my first real proper and more advanced professional camera. I often wonder what best settings are for, like, low light situations or if you’re outside at night and you haven’t got much lighting.

bryan-quarrie wrote on 5/20/2020, 8:48 AM

@MH7

 

Ok the AX700 has picture profile settings that the AX100 doesn't . if you don't do much colour correction (I'm assuming, correct me if I'm wrong) I would just not use them for now. Once you do use them the image quality will be recorded with the image, so unless you intend to do colour correction/enhancement in the edit, the image quality by default is good enough for most purposes.

In low light conditions, I tend to slow the shutter. I'm in PAL region so there's nothing wrong with recording at 1/25 instead of 1/50 as long as you don't pan or tilt too recklessly.

(This is also a legit 4k25p use case as well).

If you need to have the smooth motion of 50p or 60p in low light, invest in some lights 😁

Never compare the image quality of this camera to a DSLR. Both cams have pros and cons unique to them.

The sound quality is ok, but if you need better sound for interviews etc, you could either go for a Rode shotgun Mic, or (if you got some more spare change lol) get a sony XLR-A2M adapter which also comes with its own Mic. Your AX700 will look even more "pro" as well as sounding it.

Here is the last gig I shot with my arsenal 😁. I've used AX700 / AX100 as "a" cams at this gig:

john_dennis wrote on 5/20/2020, 9:35 AM

@MH7

On flickering...

Do you shoot Manual or Shutter Priority? I've seen "flickering" when my RX10-IV (similar to AX700) shoots video in AUTO.

Dexcon wrote on 5/20/2020, 9:37 AM

I always record in default color settings on my AX100 - i.e no camera generated color grading. I leave that for post.

I've found that a really good mic is Rode's Stereo VideoMic Pro Rycote, though an adapter is needed to attach it to Sony's proprietory adapter mount. The only downside is that the Rode is battery powered and needs to be manually turned on/off - there is no camera power on/off link to auto on/off the mic when the camera is turned on/off. But the advantage is that the audio quality is substantially better than the AX100's inbuilt mic as well as Sony's add on ECM-XYST1 mic.

 

 

MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 10:09 AM

@MH7

On flickering...

Do you shoot Manual or Shutter Priority? I've seen "flickering" when my RX10-IV (similar to AX700) shoots video in AUTO.

Well, I believe I shoot in manual. These are my typical settings:

  • IRIS: F4.0 (I shoot at 4.0, even though the AX700 goes to 2.8, people because otherwise there’s a lighting change almost as soon as I start to zoom in).
  • ISO: 1000 or 2000 (depending on lighting conditions. I often also shoot with a lower ISO for a darker image so that some detail is retained for editing in VEGAS Pro).
  • Shutter Speed: 1/50
MH7 wrote on 5/20/2020, 10:13 AM

Thank you to those of you who are helping me and giving me some tips and advice for my Sony FDR-AX700 camera and advice on ways to improve my cameras audio I greatly appreciate it. 😁👍🏻
 

I am seriously thinking about buying a gimbal because I know it would really help with my filming style. I don’t want to give a budget because I want to keep open. Are you guys able to give me any advice on them and what one would be most suitable for my Sony FDR-AX700?