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What Camera to buy?


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So I've been tasked with finding a cheap(ish) video camera with tripod and a shot gun mic.



Other gear that would be a bonus is some basic lighting, possibly a radio mic pack maybe reflectors. Also a white screen would be nice although I'm sure I can find something budget such as a large piece of white material to use.

But its all budget dependent as I don't have the much budget. No more than £5000 for now and thats at a very very maximum.


It'll only be used to film corporate videos such as product intro's, do some basic interviews and bits of video's at expeditions so nothing amazing but does need to be in HD and the footage needs to be easily transferable. Im trying to stay away from tape based recording formats as I understand this is an outgoing format and I most of all I don't want to have to hang around for ages waiting for the footage to be captured in real time to final cut pro or adobe premier.


If I can get any advice that would be great.



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Maybe the pmw150 at about 3,700

Allow 400 for a tripod and the same for a radio mic

That allows 500 for a cheap Chinese made fluorescent lighting kit and a couple of reflectors although some card and tinfoil is almost as good

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Frankly, this is completely daft! We cannot recommend a product without knowing the application. I'm transferring data from a card at the moment and the one hour recording is 15 minutes into USB2 at the moment. HD - so with so many formats, which one is right for you? Tons of cameras that are quite nice, but do you need a camera with real lens, or will one of the prosumer ones do? Very little in it for quality. I've just done some BBC stuff, where their lighting was a simple battery operated LED flood on a stand, plus the room lighting. On top you get all the audio problems. XLR or not XLR, that's a very big question. So is phantom power. It's universally accepted that a shotgun mic is a useful tool, but only with a person pointing it. They are quite useless for some circumstances on top of the camera - a hyper being much better. Now we also need to look at things like external monitors for HD - old fashioned composite doesn't cut it, but SDI-HD can cost.


I'd personally hate to use a £400 tripod and head - they are dreadful things once you've used better. Ok for locked off, but non-wobbly pan and tilt, plus the ability to stay where it is put when you take your hand off means, you can pay 3 times that for nowhere near the best one.


If it's general interviews then the money can be spent one way, but once you start needing manual focus, image control, pro type controls, it gets a bit different. In fact, a cheap handicap style camera might be able to do all this, couple with something like a zoom/roland separate recorder?

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He asked and got a couple of replies.Granted, we could have asked more questions, but he wanted a camcorder, and that's what was recommended.

I disagree that a£400 tripod is crap, I use a 503 head on 525 legs and although not brilliant, it is available for. Little over £400 but rrp is nearer £65If the budget is 5k then it needs to be split reasonably. No point in a 1k tripod if the budget gets blown on that

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'It'll only be used to film corporate videos such as product intro's, do some basic interviews and bits of video's at expeditions so nothing amazing ' - that would suggest it's the kit which does the work for you! Who will be operating the kit, how often, with what level of training and who are the audience? would be questions I'd be asking.!


An iPhone may be a good starting point and then decide if its worth blowing £5k on camera gear - we come across lots of 'never been touched' corporate camera gear which was purchased with great intentions.






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Thanks for the replies I realise I should have put more information. I am an experienced user so should really know what to go for but just wanted to see the suggestions I got.

Ive managed to get a cracking deal on a second hand Sony NX5E from a guy I know that is selling his. I know exactly where and when and how its been used so I'm not worried that I'm getting a wetfish as I'm sure a few of you would be saying I should worry buying second hand.

It comes with all the original accessories including the shotgun mic. I am going to do tests with the mic on top of the camera first then look into possibly getting a boom and a better mic such as a Rode NTG-2.

It will pretty much be always me operating/transporting/editing and will at first be used a lot then unfortunately I suspect the amount it is used will go down dramatically depending on how quickly I do the videos!

I was looking for a camera ideally with BNC outputs just incase in the future the guys decide they want to monitor what is being shot on separate screens.

XLR Audio is also a must. In the future I'm looking to add on radio packs or other mic's.


Ive also found a £450 tripod that is made by Manfrotto so not worried about that breaking on me and all the specs check out (maximum payload, pan and tilt degrees, Halfball 65mm)


Im a little overwhelmed at lighting but have suggested a couple of soft lights with reflectors, Shouldn't need to much to be honest as the lighting in the room is actually very good so its just to be used as key lights. I would of liked to go for something like a proper Dedo or a Celeb but unfortunately the budget doesn't stretch to that....yet!


Im also getting a white backdrop and stand. Its only £75 so I'm not expecting anything amazing!


We are now looking for a motorised rotating turntable to put products on. Most of our products are pretty heavy and actually pretty large. Ive found a couple on good old fleabay that are 60cm in diameter and take up to 80Kg which should be enough for most of the stuff we are show casing.


Again Thanks for the help.

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The NX5 is a decent enough camera.


Get a better tripod if you possibly can. Vinten Vision Blue is the perfect match for that camera (I have both these items) it is the cheapest video tripod that you can actually do a proper smooth pan with. Manfrotto do not make any good tripods for video, avoid them. If you must get a cheapo tripod then Libec are much better than the manfrottos.


There are some half decent Chinese redhead lighting kits on eBay for little to no cost, make sure you get them PAT tested before use as they are sometimes a bit slack with the wiring, but there really isn't much to them and its not worth paying the premium for genuine arri lights. Go for conventional rather than LED or CFL lighting, you have to spend a lot of money to get good full colour spectrum LED.


good luck

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