What camcorder would you suggest?

Mar 3, 2018
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Hi friends! I’m Emiliano. I’m new here and I joined because I’m looking for a new camcorder and I need your help.
I've been reading about several brands and models and I still can't decide.

My idea is to do some local news coverage, an amateur coverage. Some public events, documentary and nature film and stuff like these. I won’t be doing this everyday, it’s not my job. I won’t do weddings.
But, I got a budget and I want something a bit more professional than a common consumer camcorder.
I believe, at least in my case, this would be a camcorder I'll be using for several years. I’m not a professional videomaker or journalist but I want something a step beyond the consumer camcorders. So, I'm not going to be selling it and buying another camcorder so frecuently.
This is an expensive product, at least in my country, and I don’t think I would have the chance to buy something else like this in the near future, either ’cause I didn’t like the image or I don’t feel comfortable with the rings location or the lack of three rings or something else.
I have to use very well my budget.

What am I looking for?
Well, the first concept I learn about was: “entry-level”. So, I could say that's what I want (wanted? - I still can't find a good “entry-level” camcorder yet), an “entry-level” camcorder. Since I have JVC Everio GZ-HM30BU, a 2012 costumer camcorder, I'd say any current handycam would be better than this. But, I want something a bit more semi-professional than a common handycam.
I want something which allows me to handle the exposition, focus, gain, white balance. Also something with a direct mic connection like XRL connection, so I can receive a more direct audio and not an ambient audio, for example, when doing an interview.

That's why I started looking for a camcorder in accordance with my needs, but without going that far. So, I put a limit to my budget.
The limit is 2600-2800 USD. It would be nice if I could find something nice for that price, but until now I'm not finding anything. So, my new limit, in case I need to get this far, is the Sony HXR-NX5R (USD 3400 here in Argentina).

So, now I've explained about my budget I'll tell you about the models and brands I was reading about for the last 3 month (yes, is not easy, much money and most of the concepts I've found are new for me).

Keeping always in mind the "entry-level" concept, the first model I saw or my first option was the Panasonic AG-AC90, but I was told the AC90 is really old now and although it was quite good for its time is really rather outdated now. I also was told that Panasonic camcorders don't have a good performance in low light conditions, so I could say I dismissed Panasonic.
My second option was the Sony HXR-NX5R and I think it was a very good option, still is. I didn't read any negative comment about it yet. In fact, I've read it has a very good performance in low light conditions despite of its three 1/2.8 sensors (I used to think bigger sensors, like 1" sensors, had a better performance in low light but it doesn't seem to be like this). The only complaining I read was about it's not a 4K camcorder.
Due to the NX5R price (USD 3400 here in Argentina) I went to the Sony HXR-NX100 (USD 2600). I must say I thought I have found it. I was almost convinced to buy it, but I read the negative comments:
- Iris doesn't open
- E:62:10 code error
- Focusing issues
- Bad performance in low light

So, I dismissed the NX100. I was advised not to take the risk.

What was my next option?
The HXR-NX80. Small, lots of professional settings, I thought this was going to be my new camcorder, until I read the negative comments. I couldn't believe it! Negative comments about a 4-5 month old camcorder?

Well, I could go for the PXW-Z90V, haven't read any negative comments yet.
But, something I never liked about these camcorders was the touch screen (tends to fail in the NX80) and the removable XLR handle unit. Don't know about you, but it seems it's going to break anytime. So, dismissed the Z90? Not yet, but it doesn't convinces me.

So, which one is still in my list as possible acquisition? The NX5R.
Basically, I'm looking for a camcorder with more controls than a consumer camcorder, with a decent (good) performance in low light and with no negative comments about failures.
I didn't research about other brands, like JVC or Canon.

As for resolution, well, I wasn't looking for a 4K camcorder. Although, I was told everything now is tending to 4K and I should consider a 4K camcorder even if I'm not going to edit in 4K.
Truth is I'm not going edit 4K videos, I should upgrade my Pc in order to do that and I don't have in mind upgrading my Pc right now. But, this was only an advise, you know: Is better to have it and no to need it than to need it and not to have it.

But, I found 4K camcorders (e.g. NX80), at least Sony's, didn't offer me the controls that others did (e.g. NX5R).
So, I found the PXW-Z150. But, again, disappointed by the negative comments about it.

So, where do I find myself now?
In the middle of nowhere. With new concepts, with things I believed I understood but I realize I don't (e.g. 1/2.8 sensors with better image quality and performance in low light than a 1" sensor).
And of all the camcorders I've been researching about only one it's still in my list: NX5R.

I know this is technology. Nothing is perfect. But, I'm trying to find the camcorder that fit for me, always within my budget. There's no perfect cam, but I need to feel comfortable and convinced. And most important, I wouldn't like to waste my money, once it's done there's no going back.

So I hope you can help me and guide me. I would like to read your opinion, your point of view about whether or not I'm in the right way, about the models I've been reading about, about its failures. Tell me about your experience with this kind of camcorders or suggest other brands or models.
Any help you could give me will be welcome.

Thanks in advance!

Emiliano.
 

nvincent_08

Commendable
Jun 21, 2016
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1,710
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i personally recommend you to get a camera rather than camcorder, why? a lot of camcorders have small sensor and a lot of them have non changeable lens, which if the fixed lens have terrible quality that would disappointing. because of those reason, cameras come in handy, the sensor size were bigger(this could be a big deal for shooting in low light condition), a lot of them have changeable lens, some brand like sony were famous for video because their cameras do good for video, also a lot accessories available so you can turn it to some kind of video rig, and bunch of lens option as you can use adapter to use lens with different mounting. also camera like mirrorless were pretty compact, so if you are on the go its easy to fit in your bag(depends on what lens attached)
 
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