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Looking to buy a professional camcorder...NEED ADVICE..HELP!

by aaceti / December 3, 2009 7:32 AM PST

I'm looking to buy a professional camcorder for about $2500 or less. The camcorders I have narrowed down to are:

Sony HVR-A1U - $2149
Sony HDR-FX7 - $2499
Panasonic AG-HMC40PU - $2499

My only problems with the Sony FX7 and the Panasonic HMC40 is that they do not come with a good mic and I would have to buy one myself which would cost more money. What is the best camera to buy in this situation? Other than those is there any camera better for about $2500?

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by aaceti / December 3, 2009 7:34 AM PST

also the camera must shoot in High Definition.

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FX7 or Panasonic
by tote4u3 / December 4, 2009 2:38 AM PST
In reply to: ...

My advice would be to go with the Panasonic. I own a FX7 and I also own the Panasonic ag-hmc40. The hmc40 I can tell you gets much better quality high def than my FX7, probably because of the avchd progressive video that it produces. Good luck.

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by aaceti / December 4, 2009 6:41 AM PST
In reply to: FX7 or Panasonic

The only thing that concerns me is that the panasonic doesn't use minidv tapes. I've never used a camera that uses just SD cards, has this been a good or bad thing for you?

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miniDVs or SD cards
by tote4u3 / December 4, 2009 2:45 PM PST
In reply to: minidv

Actually, this has been a very good thing for me. As you know or don't know, a camcorder that uses only SD cards has no moving parts, so no rubber pulleys to go bad, no tape to get caught in the capstan rollers and so on and so forth. As far as I'm concerned, avchd video is much superior to HDV, as I can tell you because I've burned video from my FX7 and seen it compared to avchd video and there's no comparison. I would say go Panasonic on this one without hesitation. Let me know if you have anymore questions I'll be happy to answer. Good luck.

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by aaceti / December 4, 2009 3:45 PM PST
In reply to: miniDVs or SD cards

yes thank you, you have been a great help. I do have another question though if you don't mind. Since niether the fx7 and the panasonic come with a good audio source and the XLR adapter and mic are very expensive. (Around $300 each) Would it be better to buy a more expensive camera that has a XLR mic attached? or is the Panasonic price range large compared to better cameras?

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Panasonic hmc40 or better
by tote4u3 / December 5, 2009 2:07 PM PST
In reply to: ...

Well my suggestion would be to go ahead and buy the hmc40 and then invest in the optional xlr for it, because even if you decide to buy a more expensive Panasonic model, you may still have to buy the optional xlr mic for it, unless it does already come with one. I'm not sure which Panasonic camera comes with one as one of the standard accessories, but I would guess that it would be more than you would pay compared to buying the hmc40 and investing in the mic for it. I would still suggest buying the hmc40 because you'll be getting more bang for your buck for less than a pro camera, plus you'll have your inexpensive SD cards to store your video on and the stunning high def video that it produces. Good luck on your decision and let me know if you have further questions.

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low light conditions
by aaceti / December 5, 2009 2:24 PM PST

yes thank you, you have been very helpful. I think I'm going to go for the panasonic. I just was wondering. I read some reviews that said this camcorder didnt work very well in low light conditions. How are your experiences with this camcorder in low light?

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Low light
by tote4u3 / December 5, 2009 2:46 PM PST
In reply to: low light conditions

My answer for those that worry about low light conditions with camcorders are very simple; simply buy a video light. I have several camcorders that I have bought through the years and bought video lights for each and every one of them and they work beautifully in conditions of low light. I know it's just another accessory to have to buy for your camera but just as the sound from the built in mic is not adequate, so it is with inadequate light; it needs help. There are very few if any camcorders that do well in low light conditions and even those that say they do well really do not, so do yourself a favor and invest in a video light, especially if you're planning on doing a lot of shooting in low light conditions.

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by aaceti / December 5, 2009 2:53 PM PST
In reply to: Low light

Good idea. Thank you. You've been a lot of help.

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Sony HVR-V1U
by aaceti / December 7, 2009 5:14 PM PST
In reply to: ...

What are your thoughts of the HVR-V1U compared to this camera? I was looking at that one as well its a bit more but I'm not sure how much better it would be?

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Re: Sony HVR-V1U
by tote4u3 / December 8, 2009 12:03 PM PST
In reply to: Sony HVR-V1U

Well, if you want my opinion I would stick with the Panasonic, simply because of the fact that I already have a tape based HD camera, the Sony FX7 which I am dissappointed with the video that it produces, but I am very impressed with the video that my Panasonic hmc40 produces. Also in my opinion, I believe that tape based recording is on it's way out. With the introduction of cameras that can record video to either hard drive or dvd or to an SD card, you are basically avoiding the glitches and artifacts that tape is prone to. Plus the fact that I believe my Panasonic hmc40's video blows away any tape based camera. I'm going to leave it up to you though. You are the one that has to decide which kind of camera you're after and which one will be the right one for you. I can only give you my advice and opinions based on my experience with both types of cameras. Good luck on your decision.

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