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Dance Theatre - Suitable Video Camera

So I posted a question over a year ago with similar question but events happened (long story) and situation changed with us not having yet purchased a camera. Last time the budget was £400 but this time the budget is £1000 (based in England), though would prefer to spend a bit less if possible so ideal price would be around £600-£700. The camera will be used in a theatre for a dance show so lower ambient light levels in the audience where the camera will be based but bright on stage will the possibility of spot lights being used. Unlike last time, the end product won't be on a DVD (my mum/head teacher of the school has realised how out of date they are) though how they will sell the end product, I don't know yet.

 

So requirements are:

- Handle fast and slow movements (Dancers may be moving fast in some routines, dont want to end up with blurry movement)

- Decent zoom, doesn't need to be massive just something that will allow us to get a decent shot of the stage

- Good resolution though believe most cameras can get a sharp image at decent quality now?

- Handle difficult lighting, as mentioned the camera will be in the audience with low ambient light looking at a bright stage

- Simple UI, there's a good chance that this camera will be used by a none techy person so cant be a nightmare to use/navigate menus

 

I appreciate posting a similar message twice might be frustrating for which I apologise, but the requirements have changed and cameras are definitely not my area of expertise I've come to find. Any help in this matter would be appreciated!

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Having similar experience myself, though I used a borrowed Panasonic CX-350. 
 

The lighting conditions definitely pushed the 1” sensor, particularly in high contrast spotlit scenes. The footage was still serviceable though, and looked good on my 4K tv. However, you pay dearly for that 1” sensor, as you won’t find any under the $1500 mark. Camcorders that fall lower on budget most often comes with 1/2.5” sensors, which will not perform great in challenging, high contrast lighting conditions. 
 

You may consider an APS-C mirrorless camera, though the Canon mirrorless cameras in your budget (namely the M50) are limited to 30 minutes of recording at a time, while getting ahold of a Sony ZV-E10 is difficult right now. You also need to procure separate lenses. 
 

If the recording limit is a showstopper, I can’t think of any good options at this time. If at all possible, I’d try to stretch the budget to get a Sony HXR-MC88, as it’s the cheapest camcorder you can get with a 1” sensor. (It can be found for €1210.00, but unsure what that translates to in British Pounds).
 

If you don’t need to record past 30 minutes in a single shot, then go for the M50, and decide if a fast prime is necessary to handle difficult lighting, or if you can get away with a slower zoom. (A faster zoom is decidedly well above budget, so it’s really one or the other).

 

In general, for low light or high contrast scenes, larger sensors are better, albeit, they get expensive, fast, either in the body, or in the lenses. 

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On 5/28/2022 at 6:04 AM, Istalri Skolir said:

So I posted a question over a year ago with similar question but events happened (long story) and situation changed with us not having yet purchased a camera. Last time the budget was £400 but this time the budget is £1000 (based in England), though would prefer to spend a bit less if possible so ideal price would be around £600-£700. The camera will be used in a theatre for a dance show so lower ambient light levels in the audience where the camera will be based but bright on stage will the possibility of spot lights being used. Unlike last time, the end product won't be on a DVD (my mum/head teacher of the school has realised how out of date they are) though how they will sell the end product, I don't know yet.

 

So requirements are:

- Handle fast and slow movements (Dancers may be moving fast in some routines, dont want to end up with blurry movement)

- Decent zoom, doesn't need to be massive just something that will allow us to get a decent shot of the stage

- Good resolution though believe most cameras can get a sharp image at decent quality now?

- Handle difficult lighting, as mentioned the camera will be in the audience with low ambient light looking at a bright stage

- Simple UI, there's a good chance that this camera will be used by a none techy person so cant be a nightmare to use/navigate menus

 

I appreciate posting a similar message twice might be frustrating for which I apologise, but the requirements have changed and cameras are definitely not my area of expertise I've come to find. Any help in this matter would be appreciated!

Ultimately you’re asking a LOT for the budget you’re in.  Realistically a new smartphone, especially if you’re an apple user, will be the best thing for you.  They are getting really solid for stuff like what youre talking about, they can handle extremely solid frame rates for that fast movement, apple’s internal processing does a very good job dealing with challenging lighting situations(this is the platform I have experience with regards to smartphones, there are likely excellent options for android as well) and of course are extremely easy to use with reasonable zoom options and some pretty decent quick editing options.   The best thing about using a phone is how easy it is to distribute and share on social media.  Not having to transfer files off of a memory card and then upload them to a file sharing service/burn them to disks, etc is a really nice couple of steps to be able to skip when you want to share with family and friends.

If you still are more interested in a camcorder, and depending on timeframe youre looking to buy, I would look at the following two options.  

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1109405-REG/panasonic_hc_v770_full_hd_camcorder.html/reviews
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1709167-REG/panasonic_hc_v785k_full_hd_camcorder.html

The V770 is the older version being replaced by the V785k, The 785k isnt out yet and I’m not sure of the actual release date but the 770 has excellent reviews, including low light, and looks like its right in your price range.  To be clear I have no experience with either of these so I can’t speak to the ease of use/menu system for a non tech person but they’re definitely in the right price range and will cover your posted use case pretty easily.  

Hope this was helpful! Good luck!

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If you just need it for one event I’d just rent a decent unit and sticks.if the goal is to film quite a few in a year every year get the budget for something decent and spend the cash once. 

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If its a one off event or even one a year just higher a videographer to come film the show.
Probably be a lot better quality as they will have better equipment maybe even multiple cameras so its not just one wide shot etc. And you dont have to worry about equipment become outdated and theres no worry on your capabilities to film it.

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