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      01-30-2022, 02:05 PM   #1
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Camcorder Recommendations

Over the years I have become the family videographer having done about a half dozen family weddings.

I've done the last couple with a basic Sony HDR-CX200 as the primary camcorder, supplemented with either my old Flip video cameras or a GoPro.

I know that I want to upgrade my primary camcorder to something that will support an external microphone. At this point I'm kind of torn between a higher end consumer or a lower end professional model. I'm strongly leaning towards staying with HD over 4K, as I don't really see the need for 4K and will likely get more camera for the money by sticking to HD.

I've always had good luck with Sony camcorders, but am also looking at Canon and Panasonic.

At the consumer level I'm looking at things like the Sony FDR AX53. On the professional side I'm strongly considering the Canon XA11.

I'd prefer to be closer to $1K, but would consider going up to $1.5K. I would love to hear any insight into things I should consider and any recommendations.
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      02-01-2022, 06:46 PM   #2
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I'm pretty much certain I am going the professional route and have narrowed the choice down to a Canon XA11 or Sony HXR-MC88.

Since both are ultimately optical devices, I wonder if some of the photography folks can weigh in on Canon vs Sony. My uneducated bias would lean towards Canon over Sony if it came to camera. But then Sony has a huge presence in the video world.

Plus I would have the benefit of simple things like it would use the same family of batteries that my current camcorder uses.

Ultimately I have a strong feeling that I can't really go wrong with either choice.
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      02-08-2022, 04:09 AM   #3
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I am mostly stills and have not shot video for several years. And I am not super familiar with camcorders.

A quick look at the specs for XA11 and MC88, one thing that jumps out is the Canon appears to have a more versatile lens. If I am reading the specs right, it's faster and the range of effective focal lengths is much larger. I don't know what the low-light performance of those sensors is, but if you are shooting indoor weddings then a faster lens is definitely an advantage. There are a lot of questions about the audio stage I would have but just can't answer. Typically audio and preamps on rigs like these is not fantastic. You mention external audio specifically, so I would dig around and look for some specific reviews of their audio. There are other issues like focus assist and peaking, and codecs that affect usability and that may or may not matter to you.

Just to throw something out there, another brand you might consider is Blackmagic. The Pocket 4K is about $1300. You mention not wanting 4K and you would have to buy a lens(-es) separately but maybe it's another option.

About Canon vs Sony from a stills perspective? All the ILC cameras now are good. Any of Canon, Sony, Nikon should be great.


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Originally Posted by bucketfoot View Post
I'm pretty much certain I am going the professional route and have narrowed the choice down to a Canon XA11 or Sony HXR-MC88.

Since both are ultimately optical devices, I wonder if some of the photography folks can weigh in on Canon vs Sony. My uneducated bias would lean towards Canon over Sony if it came to camera. But then Sony has a huge presence in the video world.

Plus I would have the benefit of simple things like it would use the same family of batteries that my current camcorder uses.

Ultimately I have a strong feeling that I can't really go wrong with either choice.
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      02-08-2022, 01:02 PM   #4
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I ended up ordering the Canon a couple of days ago. Ultimately it was gut feel as much as any differences in the specs.

I know they are budget devices, but to help cover myself on the audio side I went ahead and splurged on both a Zoom H1n and Tascam DR-05X as well.

Frankly all of it is probably overkill for my use, but it's something I like to do, my extended family enjoys and I can afford it. So what the heck
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      02-08-2022, 05:56 PM   #5
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The Canon looks like a good rig. Congrats.

The thing about mismatched recorders/mics is that your stuff may not cut together so well. Generally would prefer two of the same recorder/mic unless there is some specific feature you're getting. Instead of two recorders that cost $220 jointly something like the H4N (and is actually what I use for simple location sound) would give you XLR instead of 3.5 inputs, and phantom power. I've been pleased with the H4N. Anyway just a thought.

Good luck with your gigs!

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I ended up ordering the Canon a couple of days ago. Ultimately it was gut feel as much as any differences in the specs.

I know they are budget devices, but to help cover myself on the audio side I went ahead and splurged on both a Zoom H1n and Tascam DR-05X as well.

Frankly all of it is probably overkill for my use, but it's something I like to do, my extended family enjoys and I can afford it. So what the heck
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      02-08-2022, 08:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
The thing about mismatched recorders/mics is that your stuff may not cut together so well. Generally would prefer two of the same recorder/mic unless there is some specific feature you're getting. Instead of two recorders that cost $220 jointly something like the H4N (and is actually what I use for simple location sound) would give you XLR instead of 3.5 inputs, and phantom power. I've been pleased with the H4N. Anyway just a thought.
Family members are just thrilled that they are getting their wedding videos for free

I went with the two different ones as the Tascam is better suited for ambient sounds, while the Zoom is a little more direct. I'm thinking the Zoom will probably be better for the wedding ceremony and Tascam will be better for the reception.

Plus both can easily be used as recorders with lavalier mics if I go that route at some point.
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