The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Looking for Digital Camera Recommendations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

John Long
View Profile
Inner circle
New Jersey
2747 Posts

Profile of John Long
I'm not sure if this is the place to put this, but I am looking to buy a new camera, and wonder what others found important of usefull. I don't want to plop down a few Ben's and then realize I overlooked an important feature.

- what resolution, and fps do you record your videos at?
- Can a digital camera be good for recording a 30 minute show?
- are the twist around LCD screens very helpful in filming yourself?
- Is image stabilization needed for optical zooms of 4x or less?

For what its worth, the cameras I am considering the most are Cannon Power shot, 450, 540, and 640. I like the size of the 450, and like the flip-around LCD screen on the 640.

I should add that I hope to use this to practice magic with, but also for a general camera.

Thanks
John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
Dennis Michael
View Profile
Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
Are you asking for a Digital CAMERA or a Digital CAMCORDER?
Each has a set of requirements based on use.

I was looking at HD Camcorders until I realized I need a larger computer to edit video. More near a tera byte and a fast video card (Duel video card) and a HD Monitor. Now I am into real big bucks to find out the world hasn't the capability to play HD videos. We will still be in a lower definition universe for quite a while. Add to this the stage must be set and every little imperfection will be clear. So make-up skills need to be increased.

On the lower definiton Camcorderes I will not get anything less than a 3CCD, 1/3 or 1/2 inch chip, and take into consideration widescreen. I'm still looking.

As for a camera, the thing I want is something that has a high megapixel (8 to 10) and a fast read to shot again. I don't want anything that has over a second between shots.
Dennis Michael
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13401 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
I decided to get a real digital camera and bought a nikon D70 a few years ago.
This was after several discussions/emails with Pete Biro.

Best thing I've bought in a long long time. No more problems taking pictures. About 4 frames per second. I got a descent lens for it and another cheap zoom lens for soccer games and I'm very happy. The batteries last FOR EVER.

Obviously it's more expensive but when I watch others having problems or have to use one of the cheaper cameras upon occasion I thank my decision.

I did hear some great things about the Fuji F10, I think it's called. That's a point and shoot that had some really nice features. It's probably been replaced by now with something else.

Here's what I think is the cheapest Cannon:
http://www.ritzcamera.com/product/541161212.htm
Probably twice the price of the point and shoot you'd buy. I've taken photos with it as well and it's darn good. 10Megapixels, 3 frames-per-second shooting with 27-frame burst and a 0.2 second startup time. They practically take photos immediately upon pressing the button. With a camera like this around, who would buy a point and shoot anymore. Once you try one you'll realize that the small 'put-it-in-your-pocket' size just does not make up for their sluggishness, low batter life, slow startup time, slow refresh rate, and horid focusing.

I bought 2 point and shoots before I decided I could take it no more. Wish I had just saved the money in the first place.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
John Long
View Profile
Inner circle
New Jersey
2747 Posts

Profile of John Long
Thanks for your thoughts.

I am looking for a digital camera that can take movies (the question is how long of a movie they can take.). The main purpose will be pictures, but I want to be able to make video clips of myself to practice magic, and possibly of my self performing (mainly to learn from).

There are so many models. I was trying to get an idea of what features people considered important.

John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
ScottRSullivan
View Profile
Special user
874 Posts

Profile of ScottRSullivan
As far as taking movies, for your needs, it sounds like you should invest in camcorder, not a still camera that also takes movies. They quality will be better when you watch it back for critique.

MiniDV is pretty much a standard in the standard definition video world at the consumer and semi-pro level. In the high def selection (several thousand dollars just for the camera, as Den pointed out, plus computer upgrades) you can record to a miniDV tape if you purchase an "HDV" video camera (made by Canon, Sony and JVC, but not Panasonic).

Any miniDV camcorder you purchase, from the $200 Walmart selections to the $17,000 Panasonic selections record 63 minutes to a tape in standard record mode.

If you will be watching yourself as you record while you practice, it might be easier to use the video out cable pretty much every camera has to watch yourself on the live feed to the television via the cable. Much easier to monitor that way, though probably not a good idea to do during a live show.

I have never used a still camera to take movies. I own a D70 (mentioned above) and love it as well. It takes great digital pictures, but does NOT take movies. It's a great still camera, in my opinion, because it doesn't try to be something it's not. Just my opinion.

As far as models, go to the stores and play with the display models. It comes down to what feels good and works for your personal taste.

I really hope this helps. Let us know how it turns out!

Scott
Magic of Dan
View Profile
Regular user
St Charles, MO
115 Posts

Profile of Magic of Dan
Frank, I bought myself a D70 a couple years ago as well. It is the best camera I have ever owned. Unless you want to spend over $2000, it is one of the best cameras available.

I agree along with Scott. If you want to do video, buy a camcorder. If you want to do pictures, buy a good Digital SLR. I think you will pay for quality if you buy something that does both.
Dan
The Magic of Dan
mghia
View Profile
Veteran user
Kymystical
387 Posts

Profile of mghia
What about these newer Digital video units that do not use tape. Seeing that we all burn tape to a hard drive, wouldn't it would make sense that this is the way it will all go and save a step?

If so, has anyone played with the newer video cameras that go to memory card or disc? Is there any quality difference? (more artifacts or some other glitch they have not figured out out to over come that would tip off you were using all digital, no tape?)
ScottRSullivan
View Profile
Special user
874 Posts

Profile of ScottRSullivan
They are nice in theory (video cameras recording video to memory cards). But there are several caveats to keep in mind.

First is resolution. This is the actual pixel size of the image. Many are not fully NTSC resolution (720x480), but are instead 640x480. It's close, but on a real television, it will look not quite as crisp.

Second is compression. In order to store that much video on a small memory card, these cameas must compress the heck out of the video footage. Many record to mpg formats. With talking head interview shots, this isn't a big deal, but with footage with movement (fast moving objects on stage and/or quick sleight of hand) you'll notice blocky compression artifacts when played back.

Third is record time. Still cameras allow you to lower the quality of the pictures when your memory runs low. With video, do you really want to do this? You'll have footage that looks like bad YouTube video.

With tape based cameras, you can go down to Walmart or any convenience store and buy a $6 tape for an hour of record time. Not quite as easy to find memory cards in an emergancy.

Finally, archiving. Yes, it's going onto a hard drive, but hard drives fail. When your master is on a hard drive and the file gets currupt, no more master. Tapes are a great archival media. I have tapes from a years ago that can be popped into my deck and played back without a hitch.

You also asked about cameras that record to disc (I'm assuming like a mini DVD is what you mean?). While you can find these blank mini DVDs more often, they are still pretty expensive. Also, they will have all the same compression problems as the memory stick since they record to DVD (which is a compressed format).

All this being said, I am all for recording to a flash media card. Recording to flash media IS the future and many of us are already doing this. Within the next few years, it will be much more common. The downsides mentioned above must be taken into consideration, but there's no stopping it. We're all heading this way.

In fact, a camera I rent often is Panasonic's HVX-200, which records HD footage to a high end memory card (over $1000 for an 8 GB card of very high speed memory). It looks like a PCMCIA card (but with four SD cards in RAID configuration inside) that can be copied to a laptop in minutes by popping it in the laptop's PCMCIA slot. It uses a high end format (DVCPro-HD) that is one of the standards used by pros.

But I have a pipeline set up to back up this footage (redundant RAIDs) as well as off site backups. I can't afford to lose this info. But I also back up to an optical format just because I still don't trust hard drives. Anything mechanical can fail.

If high quality isn't an issue, rent a few or play around with them in the store. Ask questions about resolution AND compression. Ask what format exactly it records to.

And most of all, have fun and use whatever you buy. The most high end camera that sits in the closest is worse than a low end camera that gets used every day.

Warm regards,
Scott
mghia
View Profile
Veteran user
Kymystical
387 Posts

Profile of mghia
Interesting comments Scott, THANKS!
I did not specify a particular type of memory card and understand that SD or CF might be too small or slow. As you pointed out, there is other formats that do work and in HD.

Your second concern was my concern. The blocky look of fast motion. I assume you are saying this does NOT happen with the HVX-200?

So while you do not think memory cards work in normal format you just mentioned one so I am a little confused. Do you like this new format or not?

As to failure, I think you over glorify tape and down play other media failures.
The reason I am looking for what is up and comming is that TAPE SCREWS UP ALL THE TIME!
Come on, surely you have gotten some bad tape, or the heads got dirty and the tape was all artfact laden. Or what about when tape, for some reason gets stuck in the machine? IF you say this has never happened to you, you are lucky.
Tape wears out each time you play it , or even sitting on the shelf. Now you are a pro so many keep things in the optimal temp but I have had tapes become unstable just sitting on a shelf.
So I am all for backing up on disk or other hard drive no matter what the source media since "stuff" happens" but for the most part, not very often on average.


Just playing with you here but while you are right that you can buy tape in many stores, 1. it was not always that way and 2. you might be too far way to go running to various stores looking for the DV tape you need. 3 or the stores that carry the tape might be closed during a night show. 4. I would always be going to shoot with the proper amount of media, and extra batteries. So shopping around is not an issue 99.9% of the time for me or yourself. Plus if you buy disks or whatever on line, you always get a better deal to make it worth it.


Your idea of backing- up is good advice FOR ANY FORMAT YOU USE. Tape or some other format.
ScottRSullivan
View Profile
Special user
874 Posts

Profile of ScottRSullivan
I can understand the confusion. For the most part, I don't like consumer memory card video cameras. The quality is just not there yet. Just remember back to the first generation digital still cameras. Give it time, in a few years, we'll all be recording to flash media in HD quality. But for now...

In general, I believe that most of the consumer cameras compress the footage way too much for broadcast specs.

I do promote the P2 cards that the HVX uses. However, once you get up to this next price bracket $10,000 for the HVX plus an 8 Gig card that records a whopping 8 minutes of HD video!

I like this new format and especially the direction the industry is going. What I was trying to convey was that there is much more than just the memory card. You've now got archiving issues, higher price for the cards and much more.

Regarding the compression artifacts, no the HVX does NOT have them in any measureable way. All the Mpeg formats record I-frames and P-frames. Without getting too technical, this means the first frame in the Group of Pictures (GOP) has all the info. The next 15-40 frames contain "relative" info. In other words, we need the info stored in the first frame to extract and re-build the current frame.

The HVX doesn't do this. Each frame holds all the info (Panny calls this "intra-frame compression"). And at 100 MB per second, that's a LOT of info. But the tradeoff is it's NOT a consumer product, it's a low end professional product.

Yes, tape screws up. I do everything to minimize that and practice preventive maintanence.

I use a specifc brand of high end miniDV tape (Panasonic's MQ tapes) and only use each tape once. While others might, I NEVER re-use a tape.

Re-using tapes will cause dropouts over time. Also, store them upright, like books on a shelf. This will prevent the tape from bending and crinkling, causing dropouts. Keep them in a dry, cool environment. There's a whole list. Plus, for ultra important info, like I mentioned above, I have triple redundant (2 hard drives and an optical data backup).

As for playing them over and over, you're exactly right. My tapes get played during one logging run (going through and noting timecodes for footage I want to use) and then I set up my Mac to do a Batch Capture. It loads the footage to an external hard drive array. I then edit from the hard drive and don't ever touch the tapes again under normal conditions. If years later I need to re-edit the footage, I've got it backed up on the hard drive and tapes. Once the project is finished, the hard drive goes up into storage and I plug the next drive in for the next project.

So I don't have the problem of playing tapes over and over again. I'd recommend to the average person, get a standalone DVD burner, plug your camera into it and burn off raw copies onto DVD. Then watch the DVDs and store the tapes in a safety deposit box in a bank. Especially home movies. In case of fire, you don't want to lose photos and home movies. Everything else can be replaced. Memories cannot.

I hope that helps. Youv'e got a strong grasp on digital video.

Warm regards,
Scott
digitaliris
View Profile
New user
1 Post

Profile of digitaliris
Check out this place if you are still looking....good info...

http://www.dvcams.blogspot.com

http://www.highdefinitioncameras.blogspot.com
Quote:
On 2007-01-07 11:05, Dennis Michael wrote:
Are you asking for a Digital CAMERA or a Digital CAMCORDER?
Each has a set of requirements based on use.

I was looking at HD Camcorders until I realized I need a larger computer to edit video. More near a tera byte and a fast video card (Duel video card) and a HD Monitor. Now I am into real big bucks to find out the world hasn't the capability to play HD videos. We will still be in a lower definition universe for quite a while. Add to this the stage must be set and every little imperfection will be clear. So make-up skills need to be increased.

On the lower definiton Camcorderes I will not get anything less than a 3CCD, 1/3 or 1/2 inch chip, and take into consideration widescreen. I'm still looking.

As for a camera, the thing I want is something that has a high megapixel (8 to 10) and a fast read to shot again. I don't want anything that has over a second between shots.


John Long
View Profile
Inner circle
New Jersey
2747 Posts

Profile of John Long
Thanks, I'm still deciding. I'm deciding between a camera that has a swivel LCD screen (Cannon A630) and one that is a subcompact (Cannon SD 600).


Two sites that I found good for reviews and technical info are:

http://www.dpreview.com/
http://www.steves-digicams.com/
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
TheAmbitiousCard
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13401 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
The swivel can be good if you're rehearsing and filming yourself. you can see yourself to make sure you're in frame.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Looking for Digital Camera Recommendations (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.2 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL