Need to Order Two AVCHD Consumer Cam's for Shoot this Friday: Canon or Panasonic?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Chris7, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought

    I need to order two identical consumer cams for a three day shoot starting in 6 days. I will place the order Sunday or Monday morning with B&H.

    I will be using three static cameras to simultaneously record two "taking heads" from three angles. There will be NINE shoots over three days, each about 2 1/2 hours long.

    I am currently only familiar with my Canon HF100. The telecine removal and available light performance bother me more than the codec.

    But I think there will be enough available light that the added gain will not be as big a problem as removing the telecine.:rolleyes: (I will be able to measure the light in the venue tomorrow).

    I do not have time for my usual obsessive research.;)

    As far as I can tell, Canon currently makes the only native 24P consumer AVCHD cam (VIXIA HF S200, etc.) and Panasonic makes the only consumer AVCHD cam with decent available light performance (HDC-TM700K, etc., with 3 CMOS sensors). I would be happy to be wrong about this.

    I am leaning toward the new Canon for the native 24P, as well and the fact that I already have experience with Canon HF100, so I suspect I would better know what to watch out for regarding Murphy's Law (past mistakes that HURT).

    Are JVC and Sony anything special? What is the Panasonic's native sensor ISO rated at? Is the Canon still ISO 80? Does the Panasonic offer 24P with a telecine? Does it offer 30P (24P is mentioned once in the tech specs, 30P is not mentioned at all).

    I do not care in this case about the bigger sensors to attain more out of focus blur. But I don't mind bigger sensors if they make the photosites bigger and thus improve the low light performance and dynamic range.

    Many thanks for your help. Will be in touch later this eve.
  2. Chris7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    I read too many reviews, and was surprised to see how little progression has taken place in consumer video cameras over the past two years.

    I'm left wondering if, five years from now, consumer cameras will have even the low light performance of today's under $10K prosumer cam's. Sigh.

    I'm going to just buy a couple used HF-100's, as they work fine and I'm already familiar with how to use them.
  3. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    If you're worried about low light performance, you need to look into shooting HD video on DSLR cameras.
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Doubtful. The problem is that in order to get a camcorder in consumer pricing territory, manufacturers have to use cheaper (smaller) sensors. And the smaller the sensor, the less light sensitivity. And when you use a bigger sensor, you need better quality optics to go with it (more money). This has consistently been the case, even 10+ years ago.
  5. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Well if you are going to compare the Panasonic to the Canon, then compare like models ;). From what I was looking at the Panasonic model you mentioned is better than the Canon unit you mentioned. If you were to compare the Canon HF-S21 to the Panasonic then I could give you a few pluses for the Canon over the Panasonic at this time.
    SDXC/SDHC card placement and the Canon can hold 2 cards plus the 64GB of internal storage for fill over. Also the future of the slots can hold up to 2TB each if and when they make the SDXC cards that large.
    The color is close on both units and the manual controls are similar but in the end I went with the Canon and I see you are going that way as well.
    I think if the Panasonic had two slots and the big internal storage at the time I would have went that route but I can't just have one slot for recording.
    Enjoy your choice in the end :D
  6. Magrathea macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008

    What's your budget mate? Looks like you're not looking at anything prosumerish?.
  7. Chris7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Low Light Performance: Canon vs. Panasonic (Consumer)

    I am. Will be getting the successor to the D90 or the 50D, depending on what Nikon does with video. Rumors that Nikon is going 1080p AVCHD, with autofocus, starting with the cheap D3100 here. Problem is, most vDSLR’s only do shorter clips (sensor heat?), so this will not work for recording seminars in available light. Looks fun for other situations, though. BTW, the high ISO perfermance of the 7D shows a similar amount of noise as the Panasonic HPX170. At least according to this test.
    I was totally surprised on how little difference there was.
    Hugh. So about the same, even after the smaller photosites required for high def, hugh?
    As far as I can tell, the more expensive HF-S21 just has more internal storage. I can get 3-4 hours of footage on a single 32GB SDHD card, and I now have five of them.

    I bought another HF-100 used, so I’m OK for now. I’ll check again next year, though, to see if Panasonic puts native 24P on their next consumer cam. Also, I don’t really understand how is rating low light performance here.

    I think both the Panasonic and the Canon’s sensors are rated at around ISO 80. But since I don’t know how much gain is being added in the tests, I don’t really know how this relates to the real world.

    The question would be, how many stops advantage does the Panasonic have over the Canon (provided that the light is low enough for the sensor to start adding gain)? E.g., does the Canon at 6 db of gain have similar noise to the Panisonic at 12 db – a stop better low light performance?

    For now, consumer only, meaning around $1K new. For next summer, thinking about the Panny HMC150, once the RED Scarlet 2/3” Fixed and corresponding generation of Japanese camcorders push used prices down. The more I learn about the HMC150 camera, the more I like it. I think it uses the same sensor as the HPX170, with native ISO of 500.

    Won't be buying another camcorder for about a year. I'll check this thread again, but may not have time to really follow up. Thanks to all who posted.
  8. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Just my 2 cents: I have had nothing but problems with ALL the Canon video cameras I've owned or my family has owned. Yes, all four of them. (We didn't learn very quickly, huh?)

    The #1 cause of failures is the tape mechanisms. Even with correct, regular maintenance and high-quality tapes (even when retentioned before recording!), these cameras continually have problems with the tape mechanisms.

    The #2 cause of failures is the CCD completely failing. No picture at all.

    Canon has been a**holes about getting them repaired too.

    I'm a Sony and Panasonic guy now!


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