Camcorder recommendations requested

I am looking for an HD camcorder that writes to a memory card. My preliminary search shows several possible models in $1500-$3000 range. Main interest is finding something I can use handheld (or shoulder mounted) without shaking the unit every time I make an adjustment. Long focal length less important than macro performance. Ideally would take an XLR or wireless mike. Separate physical controls for exposure, focus, audio gain would be nice. I do not like touch screens on cameras.

Suggestions? I am biased towards Panasonic and Canon (in part because of compatibility with editing software) and away from Sony (too many weird non-standard “features”), but would consider Sony and others if there’s a good reason for them.

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9 Responses to Camcorder recommendations requested

  1. Charles says:

    Do they make Red Cameras in that price range?

  2. GroM says:

    Your requirements put the unit you are looking for well out of “camcorder” range, and into semi-pro niche. Sony and Panasonic make those, and Sony just recently pushed out a light shoulder-slung 3D camera.
    Red is out of the question, due to complexity and price (the basic “brain” with sensor and processor is worth over $10k alone).

    But why bother? With some additional kit you can shoot HD video with any mid-to-high level DSLR, especially close-ups. A whole episode of House M.D. was filmed with two Canon 5D’s and nobody noticed until the producers revealed it. A DSLR body with a big sensor, fast processor and video mode, appropriate optics, a balancing shoulder rig (yes, they make those) and a big enough storage card – and you’re set. I’m sure you have most of those, and the rest will fit into your budget just fine.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      I using my 5D2 now. Several problems: no usable AF, very clumsy, very bad distortion of fast motion. Using DSLR is a no-go.

  3. This is a good one

    I have been using my 7D more and more as well as the this guy which is smaller

  4. Peter Nap says:

    I was directed here by a reader from another site Oleg. My comment to him was that I hadn’t found the perfect all around camera and used 7 of them (Including 3 GoPro’s) on a regular basis.

    My vote would have been for the 5D with Magic Lantern (That and a 7d are my R&G cameras)…also, but you’re already using that.

    Even a Red isn’t going to cover all the bases so I’ll be watching the answers here closely, to see if such a camera does exist without a second mortgage..

  5. Scott Bragg says:

    Of the current lines out there I’m leaning towards the Canon XA10. I tried finding the HD version of the venerable XL line that takes Canon SLR lenses but apparently they’re gone now.

    The XA10 has a 20mm focal distance in macro mode and a minimum 60cm at full 300mm zoom mode. It also takes dual XLR audio inputs.

    I haven’t had a chance to use it, but I”m tempted to call and see if Showcase Video has one in stock I can go look at.

    List price on the basic kit is about $1200 (I think) so it’s on the lower end of your price range.

    Storage looks good too. It has internal memory as well as dual SD card slots for up to 5 hours of constant recording in full 24mb/sec 1080p mode.


  6. You posted this a bit ago but i’ll still drop some input!

    I am a videographer/produce commercials for TV and Web and I bought a panasonic HPX170 ( about $4500). Its a bit on the pricy end and uses P2 cards but the quality is insane, commercial grade. The way I feel about things is that if you are going to pay alot for a camera you might as well buy a really good camera that will last you a while and wont go out dated anytime soon. You also have 2 channel XLR on the HPX170 as to were a DLSR you have to get a separate rig to convert to XLR. The money you would spend to get a DLSR fully loaded you would spend more then the HPX170.

    I would also go with a DSLR but they are kind of small and dinky unless you have a shoulder mount, which I have also.

    It really depends on what you are trying to do, commercial quality stuff or just playing around!

    If you have any questions/ tech or anything just let me know I know a pretty good amount, its my life!

    – Jamieson

  7. matt says:


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