Video Camera ellection


Hi everyone!
I’m thinking to buy a video camera to compose some fx, make my tests with 3D and real image… etc

I would like to know ( i dont have very much knowledge on video cameras/recording), what are your opinions, and if it would be, that you recommend me a model.

I would like a High Definition one, i dont know if can be one with 3CCD, and… what more…
some people said me that some SONY models have limitations with HD frames that only can be downloaded to SONY specific format to SONYVEGAS.


There are a number of good HD (HDV and the new AVCHD) cameras starting just over $500(US) and running to ~$10K. 3ccd or CMOS is really a non issue. It used to be the mark of a “pro” camera but now there are cheap consumer 3ccd cameras and also outstanding CMOS cameras (like the RED). Decide based on image quality and workflow, not camera mechanics.

Caution: the AVCHD cameras use the (newer) h.264 codec from the MPEG4 spec rather then the MPEG2 used in the HDV cameras. Apple seems to have the AVCHD editing thing well in hand, but support under windows it is iffy and somewhat convoluted (at best)

What do you want to spend… closer to $500 or $5K and what platform are you using? That will make a big difference in specific recommendations.


Unfortunately CCD vs CMOS isn’t quite the non-issue it should be. Rolling shutter artifacts caused by the readout speed of the CMOS sensor can make matchmoving difficult - it’s still possible to get a track out of it, but it might not be accurate.

Reiterating WmH’s question - knowing how much your looking to spend is helpful. I’d suggest a Panasonic HVX-200 as a good camera to get for VFX, but it might be more money than your willing to spend.


hehe. i forgot comment this… i dont want to spend a lot of money. starting from 500-600 to 800-900 €…$… tell me some models of 1000-1200 but no more. I would like very much to have money and buy a 5K€ one, but is more for my personal tests, small projects…etc, no professional use.

then 3CDD > CMOS? i always thought that CCD >>> CMOS.

i normally use combustion, and premiere. Yes I know… premiere is for noobs, but for now i dont have maked a big project. i would like to use it with combustion, tracking programs like syntheyes, and can select over final cut, avid …

Am i asking for so much things for a little money?


I saw a JVC FULL HD with 60GB 3CCD and image stabilizer about 900-1000 €…

The Panasonic you say HVX-200 i think that would be much money. Only seeying it on photos. 5000?


Yeah for the amount of money your willing to spend I don’t think you’ll find a camera that will do everything you want it to do - so you’ll most likely be making some compromises along the way. There are some nice HDV cameras with CMOS sensors out there that take nice images and are reasonably priced - such as the Canon HV20 (now HV30). But you’ll be limited in how you can utilise these cameras -

I guess the things you should keep in mind are…

[li]Manual Control - does the camera offer you control over focus, aperture, shutter speed, gain, white balance?[/li][li]Recording format - tape, compact flash card, HDD? I reckon tape is still pretty good and still keep all the original tapes - that way if I offline footage to make more room for new footage I still have the original footage stored on tape if I ever want to recapture it. Compact flash or HDD means that if you want to keep footage you need to back it up to DVD or another HDD. Compact flash and HDD does provide the added benefit of easy transfer from camera to computer. From my understanding compact flash is much more resilent to external forces (vibrations, camera knocks) than tape or HDD.[/li][li]Progressive/Interlace - Frames that are captured progressively are easier to work with for VFX, it is possible to work with interlace frames, but you either have to convert them to progressive frames or rendering and composite using interlaced frames.[/li][/ul]Plus the usual things like image quality, ease-of-use, price and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t mentioned. Sorry I can’t give you an actual camera to go for, it’s very difficult to recommend such things.


how much do you spend on a camera for that? the minimun.

i saw some models with 3CCD, HDD sure i only need a small HDD of 40-60gb.

for example this model:

3CCD progressive, manual W/B , etc and its rounding 1000€

what do you think. Can you tell me more good characteristics of cams to use it with fx?
If u can tell me some models from here:
would be great! =)

I dont know if u like JVC, but i know a reseller here on my country that can make me some good prices.

Best Regards


I figured someone would trot that talking-point out (complete with video links no less), yes a rolling can be a problem with some sensors in some instances (the consumer level canon’s also seem to suffer from a mechanical image stabilizer issue in high vibration situations) At any rate, you do realize that 35mm MP (film) camera’s also have a rolling shutter don’t you?

But again, in most shooting situations, the cmos vs 3ccd thing is a fairly moot point (except for being endlessly regurgitated in the trade show booths of companies that make 3ccd cameras) I would much rather (in 95% of situations) shoot with a Red than a 900R (the red is CMOS and the 900R is a standard 2/3 3ccd pro format (“CineAlta”) video camera)

I guess it depends on your point of view, but I find that while the CMOS cameras do have some issues to watch (and really… what camera doesn’t) they produce a far more “film like” image then the 3CCD cameras. (at least to my eye) If that is the standard to which you aspire.


Thanks WmH, each day i have more doubts on the camera. What about JVC?

WmH, finally the problem isn’t that what image can be more near to “film like”, i need a camera to obtain good shoots for fx. To track 3D objects, simulate things, and last to dont have any problem with a “normal” postproduction software.
I thouthg that 3CCD was the best ones, but this is again an start from :smiley:

HDD-> sure
Progresive recording seems to be an important point… OK

more? :smiley:


The JVC (you linked) seems nice and records in MPEG2 compression (important if you only have windows available for post AVCHD (h.264), at least currently, is a “bag of hurt” on windows)
The downsides (I see) are small image sensor (1/5") this will likely yield poor(er) low light performance and also make it tough to get depth exclusion via (shallow) depth of field (or a rack focus) should you (ever) want to do either. It does seem to have native progressive support (which is good) rather than interpolated progressive.
Also, I don’t see anywhere that it is supporting the HDV standard (it only indicates a mpeg2 transport stream which is similar to HDV but may not be completely complient). This combined and the stated 27mbps data rate (the HDV standard is 25mbps) indicates that this may be a “variant” of the HDV standard, make sure your editing/post software can deal with the files it generates. (some like Sony’s VEGAS can be pretty picky WRT to HDV compliance)

Keep the above criticisms in perspective, any camera you pick is going to have some negatives no matter what you spend.


yes, anyway each camera will have some negative points; but for a person (me) that dont know anything about video cameras,some help can be very useful. I have digital SLR photo camera, and i know image, focuses, apertures, depth of field and all this things… but i dont know what exactly i must to buy with my money estimation, due to the fx tests and small projects.

For now, with your helps i have got some tips to follow or to “start from”, but i need continuing searching for info.

WmH, If you were me, with around 1000€-$, what would you buy and why? :smiley:


I pointed it out because he wanted to do 3D tracking. If he said “I just want a camera to shoot non-vfx shots or home-movies” I’d agree with you - in most situations CMOS sensors are perfectly suitable for shooting stuff, but if your solving 3D matchmoves then your going to have to be careful how you shoot with it (and that includes working with the RED camera).

Actually I’m going to slightly revise my statement on this - if you want to shoot simple vfx shots (even simple 3D matchmoves), then a camera with a CMOS sensor will probably be suitable in most situations. Just keep it in mind that you’ll need to be careful how you shoot with it.

Motion picture film cameras have a rotating shutter - slightly different thing which doesn’t suffer from the same geometric image distortions created by reading the sensor pixel-by-pixel.


so, what camera would you recommend me earlyworn???
HV30 have a CMOS one, i dont want simple vfx shots to use it with particle illusion XD, im talkin about fumefx, After Burn, Syntheyes… i know that wont be as if was a 5000$ camera, but…

thanks a lot for your help.

CCD or CMOS?, i think CCDsure?


You must be young, the term “rolling shutter” was first coined to describe MP film cameras and yes they can (and do) suffer from the same diagonal skewing of verticals in a strong pan that CMOS sensors do.


Just some visual’s as a point of reference (on rolling shutter skew) to make the concept more concrete. (not my images but the way, lifted from a bud in Helsinki, his images his calcs)

33/108 = 0,305
0,04*0,305 = 0,0122
1/0,0122 = 81,9
Rolling shutter = 1/80 sec

HV20 25p:
33 / 78 = 0,432
0,04*0,423 = 0,0169
1/0,0169 = 58,8
Rolling shutter = 1/60 sec

HV20 50i (de-interpolated, single field):
127/434 = 0,2926
0,04*0,2926 = 0,011
1/0,011 = 90,9
Rolling shutter = 1/90 sec

35mm FILM
36/249 = 0,1446
0,04*0,1446 = 0,0058
1/0,0058 = 172,4
Rolling shutter = 1/170 sec

62/81 = 0,7654
0,04*0,7654 = 0,0306
1/0,0306 = 32,7
Rolling shutter = 1/30 sec

These were calculated based on 25 fps, as that’s what we use for TV in Finland - the difference to 24 fps is definitely smaller than margin of error… I’ll explain the math if someone really wants to know (which i doubt :wink:


First off, yes I am young - late 20s. What about yourself?

Second, I actually agree with most of your statements to a degree, however I’m not really up for arguing semantics with you anymore - as it’s ultimately not that helpful to the original question.

And lastly chouonrow - I’m sorry I can’t give you the answer you want, I’ve tried to be helpful by pointing out things that you may want to keep an eye out for - but I honestly don’t know enough about the specific cameras models in your price range to recommend you one. My apologies.


hey man! i would like very much to know what are all this numbers XD but thanks! :smiley:

earlyworm thanks for all your info, has been very useful for me.

and WmH, you recommend me some model? im between some canon,JVC or panasonic… but,
i only know that must be progressive, and 3CCD?

thank a lot.



I am going to have to agree with earlyworm here I (we) simply don’t know enough about your specific needs to recommend the absolute right camera for you.

There is not one simple best camera or best sensor (CCD or CMOS) or best setup (bayer filtered or discrete (3-chip)). Each technology has strengths and weaknesses, otherwise the industry would have all converged on those technologies, at least for specific uses and/or specific price ranges. And that just isn’t happening (clearly the reverse is)

The one caution is at this time AVCHD, while clearly superior technology, is simply not well supported on windows yet (disregard this if you have an intel-mac ) and should likely be avoided in favor of the older and better supported HDV format.
(unless you have a very specific task, workflow and software that you know works well (or works at all ;-))

Earlyworm, yeah I would consider 20’s pretty young. (I am 50) Also, I didn’t mean it as an insult, only that it was before your time (the origin of the term.)


oh noes, dont tell me that this 2 pages are for nothing :wink:

is sure that you can make me a small recomendation :smiley:

I read some documents and i think that JVC users have problems with TOD files, can be editables through SONY vegas directly, but i dont use it.
lets think on one about 1000-1500 €-$

What i want to do:

Record chroma scenes, outdoor recording and then… download my video files to my pc and get files that i could open on Combustion, on convert the video camera clips to TGA,tif sequences or similar. with this is enough.

All things that u said to me has been very usefull to get more idea:

1º CMOS or CCD? …definetly unknown answer
3º IOS, on that models is better deactivate it, isnt a matter with tripod and stabilization on postproduction
2º Progressive recording…OK
3º Aperture, shutter speed and some manual control of the objetive actuation…OK
4º Hybrid AVCHD/MPEG2 recording WOULD BE FINE, because we pray all days to god for windows 7 have all we are waiting for. :D. If not, for now we will have MPEG2.

IMPORTANT POINT WmH, i was thinking what huge 3D renders, and huge processing of 1920x1080 files i need with an HD format record. I make another question:
If i say that the HD format isn’t my priority, and i say that i would like very much a second hand professional camera, not hd, but a lot of more image quality… what can you recommend me??

helpppp!. Thanks man


for example a sony PMW-EX1, its about 1000€ second hand