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Joshua Hill

HD Camera Thoughts

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After years of holding on to the vague hope that I'd be able to shoot a significant amount of Super-8/16mm film, I'm realizing that (being that I've been unable to afford to shoot any film at all) the better bet would be to get off my film high-horse and get an HD camera.


I've not owned a video camera since my XL1s years and years ago (over a decade ago, actually), and so while I'm not unfamiliar with the concepts involved, I've been a bit out-of-the-loop and am faced with too many choices to really make an informed decision on my own, so I thought I'd settle in here and find out what everyone thinks.


While I know DSLR cameras are all the rage, I'm looking for a pure HD video camera for ergonomic and production reasons. I live in New York, and the majority of my shooting is going to be narrative, often in public places (bars, coffee shops, etc.) guerrilla style, using the backdrop of New York as my production design and focusing on the stories that I've been neglecting to tell.


As I look to be starting a job within the next month that is going to provide enough income to purchase (initially) one camera, I've been doing my research to figure out what would suit my needs better.


Based on what I'd like in an HD camera, I've narrowed my choices down to two under-$2000 models:


Sony NEX-VG20 and the Canon XA10.


XA10 - I like it because it is very small, and I've liked a lot of the footage that I've seen from it. While I don't necessarily like the 4:2:0 color space, I like the portability and low-profile. I've also had good experience with canon cameras (XL1s) in the past, so I lean toward that.


NEX-VG20 - I like the larger sensor and the colors I've seen far better, and the interchangeable lenses are a huge selling point, but I've always been hesitant about Sony cameras for some reason. It is also a little larger (so it seems) and a little more conspicuous, but not massively so. I cannot find a definitive answer on whether the VG20 is native 24p or not, as that is my preferred shooting mode.


Ultimately, I'd like to buy one camera and begin shooting again and, perhaps, pick up a second camera to match it in six or eight months for some dual camera shooting.


What are you thoughts on these cameras? Do you have any other suggestions?


Thanks in advance; I know I'm going to get some good stuff to think about.

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