HD Camera Buyers’ Guide: Manufacturer Suggestions

by Carolyn Braff
When transitioning a
college athletic department’s
video
operations from standard-definition to high-definition, choosing a
camera may not be the first thing a director does, but it can be the
most important.
To
assist in this process, SVG-U has compiled product suggestions from seven
major camera manufacturers, starting this week with Ikegami, Panasonic, and
Thomson. Check back next week for Part II, featuring Canon, Fujinon,
JVC, and Sony.
Ikegami’s HDS-V10 tapeless camcorder can pull double-duty, working as both a camcorder and a studio camera as needed.
“A
college might be looking to do some camcorder-type recording work some
of the time and, other times, have a more system-type camera for
shooting live events,” explains Alan Keil, VP of engineering at
Ikegami. “They could use this HDS-V10 as a camcorder sometimes and
then, with a fiber extension, use it as a system camera.”
The
HD/SD-switchable HDS-V10 can record 1920×1080/4:2:2 HD pictures and is
priced at less than $30,000, without the fiber extension.
Ikegami
also offers a low-cost compact base station, the BS-89, which can be
combined with various camera heads to create a studio setup at a cost
of $80,000.
Panasonic’s
AG-HPX500 offers an HD version of a full-size shoulder-mount camera
that works well in low-light situations. Featuring multiple HD and SD
formats and variable frame rates, the camera requires an external lens,
but, with a standard B-4 mount, it can incorporate SD lenses that an
athletic department may already have on hand.
“It
can be used with the CAC-capable lenses to deliver excellent HD
performance at lower prices using electronic correction similar to many
fixed-lens cameras,” Bergeron explains. “With P2 recording in most
formats, SD and HD, it should integrate with current and future
coaching systems.”
The
AG-HPX500 is listed at $14,000. Other affordable options include the
AG-HMC70 and AG-HMC150 fixed-lens cameras, which use AVCCAM recording
and list for $2,495 and $3,995, respectively.
Thomson’s
Infinity camera records in full-resolution HD, 1920×1080/4:2:2. A
versatile option, the Infinity camera can connect to a control panel to
act as a studio camera, go into the field in a multi-camera flypack
application, and record interviews, all on spinning-disc removable
media or solid-state compact flash cards or directly onto an external
hard drive.
The
camera shoots in SD and HD and offers a choice in compression but, at
$25,000 with a viewfinder and no lens, is a bit on the pricey side of
the low-cost HD market.
“Because
we’re used to selling studio cameras in the $100,000-plus range, this
is an affordable camera,” Chiolis explains. “It’s perfect for the
college market because it really lowers the cost bar dramatically yet
the quality remains very, very high.”
For some key questions to ask before purchasing your first HD camera, click here.