Video Cameras forum

General discussion

Consumer vs. Professional models

by Mazz1916 / June 30, 2008 12:13 AM PDT

I recently bought my first cam and am getting good use out of it (Canon ZR 930, With Rode mic). As such I'm continuing to research cameras for when I step up to the next level. So I'm wondering what that next step will be? Hard drive models it turns out are only a new technology and allows for true HD so what does that mean in terms of Professional models? Do consumer Hard drive HD cams give better quality picture than professional level HDV cameras? I'm guessing pro cams have better versatility with sound equipment. How good are the cheaper HD consumer cams in comparison?

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Professional cameras at $10,000 and below are
by Kiddpeat / June 30, 2008 3:23 AM PDT

all tape based. That usually means miniDV tape. They DO NOT use the kind of hard drives that you see in the store. When they do use hard drives, the drives alone cost several thousand dollars and store essentially uncompressed video.

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So what would you recommend?
by Mazz1916 / July 1, 2008 12:34 AM PDT

As I understand it your saying that top level pro cams are second to none. Which I fully understand. But in terms of affordability I have to look at these cheaper models so I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons. These new HD consumer cams Give quality pictures I'm trying to find out if that picture is better quality than the low end hdv pro cams. If the picture quality is better then then is there a way I could possibly figure out how to get good quality sound for an overall top notch end result?

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If you think you can get better quality from a hard drive
by Kiddpeat / July 1, 2008 12:51 AM PDT

consumer camera in spite of the fact that the pros are opting for tape, then go for it. I thought the answer to your question was obvious based on my answer, but I guess not.

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Prosumer Video Cameras
by jimhaleyscomet / July 1, 2008 6:57 PM PDT

The next step up from consumer video cameras are Prosumer models. These cameras are usually much better quality machines (less chance of malfunction) and cost 3x to 4x more than top notch consumer models. This is a small test but my friend (a commercial videographer) had his two Prosumer cameras while I went through three consumer models.

Prosumer models also usually have MUCH better video and sound quality. A standard def prosumer model will probably take better video than a consumer high def model (especially under low/uncontrolled light conditions). While the camcorder chip might record "High Def" video you can only record as good of a signal as the amount of light you can get through the lense. HighDef video needs a lot of light for high quality video. There is a reason that broadcast cameramen often have a big light on the camera! This translates to needing a lot of glass surface area in the lense for a quality image. As a result Prosumer models are usually bigger cameras (and much bigger than the new tiny HDD consumer models). I purchased an HVR-V1U specifically because it handles indoor shots so much better. The audio quality is also much better than my previous 3CCD chip top notch consumer camera. This is due to better A-D conversion in the cameara...not just the mike. Consumer (and the smallest prosumer) models are often hamstrung by low light conditions. In my case that means performances on stage where I can not control the light.

Almost all consumer hard drive cameras state HDD which means Hard Drive....it does NOT mean High Def video! HDV is a high def format but records to miniDV tapes.

So in answer to your question. If you can really light up your subject (and avoid natural light indoor shots) and are not too concerned with audio quality then a HDD camera might work for you. But you really can not get a $1000 consumer model to approach the build quality, the video quality, and the audio quality of a good $3000 - $4000 Prosumer model.

I finally bit the bullet and spent $3500 even though I am not a professional. I really only tape my kids but we can still make out their faces even if they are on a distant stage. If I can avoid buying a new camera every few years (as I was doing) it should be no more expensive than consumer models and the video and audio is outstanding.

At least that is my experience. Perhaps someone else knows a better less expensive way to push a high quality image through a tiny lens.

Jim Haley

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Prosumer Vireo Camers
by Imperiatus / July 13, 2008 1:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Prosumer Video Cameras

Directed to Jim Haley:

I am considering buying a "Prosumer" camcorder but am balking at the steep price, $3,000 and up.
There are older, first-gen prosumer cameras available specifically the Sony VX2000, VX2100 or VX2100E models, that are half the price of the newest models.
Would these cameras have any issues interfacing with the newer PC's software, specifically with Windows Vista?
I have been told that Vista is not compatible with a lot of the newest equipment, so it might really be problematic with those older cameras.

If you can give me an opinion as to whether you would buy one I'd appreciate it.

There are also the Sony HDR-FX1, Sony HDR-FX7, Panasonic AG-DVX100B that are available for approx $2,000.

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