Which small camera/tripod combois best for a documentary?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

I am interested in buying a small camera to use as the only camera on a documentary I'll be filming abroad. Size and weight is important, but also picture quality is a big issue. I've heard that mini DV is the best tape format, although the picture quality is not perfect broadcast standard. Is there anything better out there I should know about? If not, is the Canon XL1 the best camera available on the market at the moment? Finally if I do get an XL1 which tripod would be small, light and compact but with a spreader and a decent head? Many thanks for any assistance!

-- Jon Harker (jx@pobox.com), April 02, 1999



I shoot with a Canon XL-1, in the right light it shoots outstanding, images, very broadcastable. National Geographic and others produce 15 minute to 1/2 hour programs on it and the Sony VX1000. The downside of the XL-1 is its size compared to the 2 smaller Sony cameras: VX1000 and TRV-900. The 900 is small, shoots a very nice image and looks very much like a consumer camera, and also handles like one which is a plus or minus depending on your experience. There are a few tripods available, smaller, though less fine, models from Bogen. I've heard good things about the Miller system 20 for a little heavier camera like the XL-1. With 2 stage carbon-fiber legs, it weighs only 9 lbs and handles professionally. If you live near a larger metropolitan area, I would try as many of these thing out as possible before I bought anything sight unseen, especially a tripod.

Good luck.


-- Patrick Long (PMLong@wyoming.com), April 09, 1999.

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