Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying a Camera Are:
PICTURE QUALITY—Compare the technical specs, video signal to noise ratio (the higher the better-40db to 55db), light sensitivity, image resolution, warm-up time, internal stability and automatic circuitry.
UTILITY—Compare weight, portability, ease of operation and set up, practicality of physical design, ability to interface with various VTRs, lens interchangeability, audio, intercom, tally features, accessories, transportation cases and power needed if portable). Do you want an internal or external CCU?
LIFE EXPECTANCY AND COSTS—Analyze initial purchase cost and annual maintenance costs. Don't forget cost of tube replacement, spare parts, down time repair/labor rates and possible resale value.
Check 'Em Out!
Use the spec sheets as a starting point, but do not believe it when the salesman says, "Mr. so and so easily chose the AWAKKA XP-7000 over the SAWNA ZAP-2219 because the color was so much better." What one person thinks is good color may not be pleasing to another. So go see for yourself and compare cameras under ID ENTI CA L lighting conditions if possible.
Also, don't forget to check the camera's low light capability. Does it get really noisy and/or do the colors shift or fade substantially? Make tapes of the pictures recorded by several cameras and use the tapes for later comparison and reference when trying to make your decision. Keep in mind that dealer's showroom conditions are always "ideal," that colors they set up are simple and bright, and lighting is perfect. It's also very hard to remember what a camera's pictures looked like two weeks ago. So make those sample tapes.
The Camera is the Eye
The video camera is the eye through which we interpret our shooting environment or scene. The camera only sees what we want it to see. But also we may be limited by the camera's technical viewing ability, especially in color. The video camera then, is a very important link in the video system. The camera's picture quality and the operator's creative and technical skills determine what will be recorded on the VTR.