So here's the thing. I currently have a pretty good DSLR setup with a Canon 7D, 450D 70 - 200mm Zoom, and 300mm lenses with a few other smaller primes and general zooms so feel relatively sorted for our trip to Kruger in three weeks. I am a serious amateur photographer with what i would term an intermediate knowledge of photography and learning all the time.
I would like to have a mid range video camera that I and the missus could use in conjunction with the still camera's, question is what do I buy?
Budget would be up to about the R5K, R6K mark max I haven't shot any film on a video in many years and played briefly with the video function on my 7D but that is pretty much dedicated to stills.
So things to consider would be obviously budget, ease of use, decent zoom and then finally whether it would be wise to try to get a slightly better specked used camera and if so what do I look out for?
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:45 pm Posts: 588 Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hi trailrunner. Phew! where to start, it's a big question. Things change so quickly in the camera world that it's hard to keep up with the latest developements, the newest of which seems to be the advent of 4k video. This is the latest very high resolution video format. My only experience of it is that my new cell phone records in 4k Ultra High Definition. I know very little about it except that the image quality looks fantastic at somewhere around 3600x2500. (thats a guess). This of course makes the files very big and requires sofltware and hardware that can handle it, but it's obviously the future standard.
Next standard down from this, and I wouldn't go for anything less is full HD at 1920x1080 50p. the 50p part here is very important.
I've got 2 video cameras that I use for our wildlife trips. A panasonic FZ200 which is a a mirrorless still/video combination. Costs around R6000, has a 24 times optical zoom and is for it's money a brilliant little camera. A big plus is the ability to hold 2.8f throughout the full 24x zoom. It's biggest failure in my opinion is the manual focus, it's horrible. It shoots full HD and lower in AVCHD and MP4. It also shoots 100 frmaes per sec, which gives very nice slow motion at a very good image quality. Of course you lose audio at that FPS. It aslo does 250 FPS but the quality is poor and not worth using. The FZ200 is not in the DSLR league, but it can shoot quite good stills. I know Canon, Nikon, Sony etc have similar offerings and my info is probably quite outdated.
My first and newest camera is a Canon XA20 which is brilliant it's class, but is R23500.00. Same as the FZ200 it does full HD 50p AVCHD and MP4, has a 20x optical, but its slow motion is only 50fps.
I'm a hobbyist, not a pro, so I can only offer an opinion from that level.
I have been a Canon man for some thirty odd years now and think that they produce a great still camera range. I am however a bit of a technophobe when it comes to video and think that creating a large budget for a camcorder would be completely wasted at this stage. I am a serious amateur with relative knowledge regarding wildlife photography just not very good and learning all the time.
Your Panasonic sound about right is that the best value for money at this point? I really just want something to supplement my pics and also you never know what you are going to get in Kruger so it may be really worthwhile to have the video functionality on hand.
As this is a relative afterthought I figure that around R4K would be the absolute budget so if there is anything half decent for that sort of price I may very well be a buyer.
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