I recently got a great offer for a job (documenting a climbing expedition in Nepal), but with a catch: they want video as well as stills. Though I have owned a D90 since it was released, I have done very little motion work with it. So even though the job isn't for a few months, I need to get started as soon as possible to gain as much experience as possible.
The problem is that I don't have a camcorder. I could of course use the D90, but it is severely limited in terms of manual control, handling, audio and plenty of other small things. So I am looking for a decent HD camcorder. My requirements are 1080p, SDHC storage, decently low weight, external mic connectors and some amount of manual control. An EVF would also be very appreciated.
Would anyone care to recommend a specific model, or at least to give me an idea of whether I would be able to get by with a consumer model such as the Panasonic SD60, or whether I should go ahead and invest in semi-pro gear.
Thanks in advance!
The kind of in betweener is the panasonic g series still and video cameras. (see Michael's Article).
The panasonic will go to low light and focus ok, not tremendous but pretty good considering it's an evf. If you want to go all out with the Panasonic, contact Abel Cinetek as they have PL mounts, and I believe a way to hook up xlr sound inputs. For sound the easy way is a shot gun mike on the hotshoe, everybody offers one of these, call Samy's in LA to find out more.
Now since you shoot landscapes and tend to pull a lot of depth of focus, a dedicated small hdv 1080 camera might work better, a sony, Canon etc. The only downside to the small chipped handicams in at low light they tend to produce a lot of noise in the blacks. Sometimes snow storm noise, so it's worth a test.
Personally I'd take a panasonic, kit it out with a small tripod and friction head, maybe even add some sound equipment.
If you are not following focus at a fast rate the Canons 5d2, 7d, 1dmark iv, are more robust and obviously larger than everything mentioned.
P.S. I forgot about the new Sony's with a 1.5 cropped sensor. Don't know much about them or if they are out yet, but they seem worthwhile.
Again, I'd call someone like Abel and have them talk you through what you want to do.