I bought my camera from an outfit called the Southern Advantage Co., Inc. The fellow I dealt with was Ed Sturt. soadv.@mindspring.com, 4636 Dawnwood Dr., Charlotte, NC 28212, 704-532-2176, 800-632-6076, fax 704-532-4597. The camera actually was drop shipped from some place in Texas.
Power supply/cable for using 12v battery packs:
NRG Research, Inc.
840 Rogue River Highway
Grants Pass, OR 97527
model no. for VX-1000 cable is: 2SD01 w/ cigarette lighter jack ($64.95)
2SD04 w/4-pin XLR ($74.95)
12v battery packs are Cool-Lux 7.0 amp/hr. lead-calcium electrolyte, model no. L-7.0. These are available w/either cig. lighter jacks or 4-pin XLR. I paid extra for the 4-pin XLR because of the security of locking connectors, but they used some off-brand connectors that don't lock very well. I'm thinking of changing them all to Switchcraft brand so they will all lock together. It would have been cheaper to buy the cigarette lighter versions of everything and then put good 4-pin connectors on myself. (BTW, pin 1 is ground and 4 is positive)
I also bought a nifty camera light from Cool-Lux called the Mini-Cool 2000.
It runs off 12 volt. I built a little box with one 4-pin XLR male that splits to
(2) 4-pin XLR female jacks. That way I can run the camera and the light off one
battery pack. You could make up a y-cable, but I chose to use chasis jacks in a
little aluminum box to avoid the possibility of connections going bad from
bending. I put a belt clip on the little box.
Cool-Lux Lighting Ind., Inc., 409 Calle San Pablo, #105, Camarillo, CA 93012, 805-482-4820.
.5x wide angle convertor lens is "Kenko Video Wide Converter VC-050Hi 0.5X" made in Japan. It requires a 52mm to 49mm adapter ring to fit onto the 52mm threads of the camera's lens. BTW, 52mm is the size of standard Nikon filters, which is pretty convenient. My Nikon UV filters, etc. screw right on. I told Ken Rife about the Kenko .5x lens and he went out and bought one. His turned out to be different than mine - it's physically smaller. But his vignettes! (cuts off the corners) I couldn't believe it. Make sure you specify my model no. or you might get the wrong one. Ken's said Kenko, it was a .5x, but it was a totally different lens. I bought my lens and the Steadicam from the same place I got the camera from. (and at the same time)
My bag is by Quantaray. Amazing! I just found the tag that came w/it. sitting on my desk! Model no. is 44-166-0834. The UPC bar code no. is 81097 44083. The tag also says that the model is "QS-DF Double-Feature SLR/Camcorder Case 44-166-0834." It says "QS Series." Mine is black. I bought one for my church at the same time that is grey. It was about $100.00 as I recall. Manufactured in Korea for Ray Enterprises, Inc., Beltsaville, MD.
Cinema Products also sells a bag for use with the Steadicam JR. Haven't seen one, but the price is about the same as I paid for my bag. I like my bag a lot. It actually came with an little bag that slips inside the main bag. The VX fits nicely in this inner bag when it's by itself, but you can't use the inner bag if you want to keep the cam on the Steadicam.
Steadicam JR. Also, check out the new Steadicam made specifically for the VX-1000. Haven't seen a price for it yet.
Don't forget to get yourself a back support belt and wear it when Steadicaming or when wearing the heavy batts. Also, remember to wear the heavy batts right in the middle of your back centered on your spine. This should keep you from damaging your back the way I did my first time out. After a week in New Guinea, it took about 5 mos. for my back to get back to normal.
I'm using a cheap Velbon Videomate III tripod that was my father's. It is an actual fluid head, albeit an extremely light duty plastic thing. Cost was probably about $100. Probably was about the best thing you could get off the shelf at Best Buy or Circuit City or maybe a camera store. Works remarkably well because the VX is so light. Bigest problem is that it has no positive lock down. I leave the quick release plate mounted on the Steadicam and let it be part of my counterbalance weight. That way I'm always ready to pop the camera (w/Steadicam folded underneath) onto the tripod. It's a pretty slick system, although the folded Steadicam does make the camera a bit more rickety on the tripod.
I don't know if I told you about the undocumented color bars feature on the VX: Put the mode dial (left rear) into camera mode. Hold the red start/stop button on top of the camera (not the thumb one) down with your left index finger, then hold down the photo mode black button with your right index finger, then while holding those two buttons, flip the standby lever out of lock into standby with your right thumb. The camera will then make bars which you can record. To turn off the bars, flip the standby lever back to lock and then to standby again.
Make sure you play with the slow shutter speed capability. You have to have the digital mode switch (on backside of batt. compartment door) set to "zoom" for the slow shutter speeds to work.