Better to buy a cheap camera or rent a good one?


New member
I've been considering lately buying a DV camcorder, but I just can't for the life of me decide if I'd be better off renting one. The thing is, I'm incredibly inexperienced and I'd really like to own something I could shoot with, so I can just screw around with it and learn without worrying about paying for the time I'm using it. But, part of screwing around with it will be so I can learn specifically how it works so I can more quickly shoot my own short films-- which will later be entered into festivals.
The conclusion I came to: I can get a Sony VX-1000 for $500 on ebay. I'm thinking that's definitely something that will get me acquainted with the world of digital video camcorders and can maybe be good for a couple short films, if I get proficient at using it. I won't have to worry about it going obsolete (because it already is, and I'm not blowing much on it anyway) and I won't feel like I've wasted my money if I decide later to go ahead and rent something better for a particular shoot.
Would it be better to just save my $500 and go ahead and rent a better camera anyway, even though I'll have virtually no experience using it? Is buying a Sony VX1000 off ebay just a horrible, horrible idea? Is it practically unusable, realistically, or could I still get some decent video off it if I lit and used it well? Would the better idea be to just save up and go ahead and spend $2000-$3000 on a "real" camcorder?
Thanks for the advice

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
shoot your picture

shoot your picture

i say do your pre production work and be very organized, rent a good camera and learn fast.


Senior Member
Staff member
be careful when buying used cameras on ebay - or any hardware or equipment on ebay for that matter. be careful buying laptops on ebay. they might not work, and the seller might not be available or kind enough to tell you how to make it work, or why it's broken. (a friend told me he bought a used Sony on ebay, and it was broken, unrepairable.) i'm not saying to stay away from ebay, you still might be able to find good buys, but it's tricky when you're dealing with hardware and equipment. make sure you read all refund/return policies.

on another note, do your due diligence when researching different cameras and different rental houses / rental companies, packages, and all costs associated with packages. You'll also need to know what other equipment/peripherals/media you'll need to shoot with your camera and how to use them. (think sound!) sometimes you save more in the long run if you rent, and when renting you can try out, test, and shoot with different kinds of cameras, and learn more about a camera (or cameras), before making your decision on what you might want to buy.

with these different decisions to make, research to do, and steps to take - don't let it stop you from shooting your picture. don't let it delay you from getting your hands on a camera (or cameras) and shooting.