Sony’s VX1000 and VX2000 cameras have hands-down become the reigning champs when it comes to capturing skateboarding. But which camera is better? Fans of the VX1000 tend to be die-hard purists who’ll tell you that it’s the only camera worth using, while the VX2000 users will go on and on about all the advantages. Then there’re the pros who probably at one time or another have used ’em both. So we decided to settle this by asking some of skateboarding’s top cinematographers which camera they prefer and why.
The biggest advantage of the VX1 is the fact that when it’s equipped with the original Century Precision Optics Fisheye (not the new one with the guards on it) it allows for a wider and deeper image—making those gaps look bigger, skaters appear faster, and the person behind the death lens seems like the better filmer.
Everyone agrees that during the day the 1000’s colors are “warmer” and seem to pop more. Supposedly the same results are available on the 2000, but according to Mike Stanfield (a.k.a. Filmbot), “Even amateur filmers can turn on the VX1000 and achieve a true and accurate look, while you have to adjust the 2000 because of its tendency to go to a bluish washed-out tone.”
According to VX1 fan Ewan Bowman, “The 1000 is a bit lighter and just way better balanced for follow-filming. I love it.” Combine those facts with the wider death lens and better daytime colors and it becomes the top choice for filming lines. But Ty Evans reminds us, “The O.G. lens will help smooth out the shakes, too, but you better remember to turn the steady shot off.”
Nobody could really pinpoint the exact reason why, but the unanimous consensus is that grinds, smacks, and the rolling thunder of urethane just sound better on the 1000. For some reason the VX2 doesn’t always deliver that crisp skate sound, which sometimes plays back with a bit of static.
As Dan Wolfe points out, “It’s getting harder and harder to find and fix VX1000s.” Of course, being within inches of flying wood and metal doesn’t help much, but everyone seems to agree the 2000 can take a bit more abuse and is easier to fix. Most filmers agree there seem to be some quirks with the 1000 (such as the reccurring viewfinder burnout), but they also felt that most of these problems were probably more user-related than manufacturers’ defect.
Everyone loves that LCD flipscreen. Just pop it open, and not only can it help in rolling long lens shots, but Ty Evans even uses it to save time and keep the sweaty dudes away from the viewfinder. “I like it because it’s great to show footage, instead of having to pass the camera around to every one asking, ‘Let me check that shit!'”
Video vampires know that this is where the 2000 completely destroys the 1000. Every low-light and night situation is made sharper and brighter by the 2000’s ability to use the smallest amount of available light and make it work.
Ever miss that twenty-stair kickflip backside lipslide because your battery died? Yeah, that would suck. Well, the 2000’s batteries are bigger and last way longer—just keep ’em charged, and you can only blame yourself if you blow the shot.
It’s the little things like the manual zoom ring and improved edit-search function that can save time and headaches when shooting. Black Label filmer Grant Schubert agrees: “The VX2000 will cue the tape back up and be ready to record about four seconds faster than the VX1000. Time is key, and this helps keep the session going with no interruptions.”
VX1000 Versus VX2000
The Question: If you could only use one camera, which would it be?
“Except for daylight, fisheye, and sound qualiity, where the VX1000 prevails, everything else about the VX2000 is better, although I personally prefer and use the PD150, which is the pro version of the VX2000.”
“VX3000—best camera ever made, bring that beat back!”
“I’ve basically got the O.G. fisheye and the O.G. 1000, and I don’t care about anything else. Chicks just can’t handle its sleek look and smooth curves. As long as it doesn’t make the girls look fat, I don’t care, so until the VX69 comes out … “
“I really like filming with VX1000, but everything I film is at night, so I’m going to have to go with the VX2000.”
“When Filmbot is strapped with the VX1000, even Dre packing a 9mm ain’t got no chance!”
“I think the only true benefit to using the VX1000 is its wider fisheye lens. Other than that, I’d choose the VX2000 because it has way more advantages.”
“Don’t be afraid to take the fisheye off! VX2000.”
“When the VX2000 came out with all of its so-called improvements I tried it for a day, literally, but just wasn’t buying into the hype. The 1000 still has the best picture, color, sound, and lens. For me it’s always been about the VX1000, period.”
“You guys don’t know about the VX1500 Frankenstein? I put the sun white-balance chip and the mic from the 1000 into the 2000. Century optics made me a custom lens that’s the same as the 1000’s but fits on the 2000. Voila—the VX1500 Frankenstein.”
The Winner Is: The VX2000