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Old September 28th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #16
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Bottom line for me, at least compared to the XA10, is the Panasonic has 3 1/4.1" sensor, the Canon has 1/3" sensor. Pretty close to full manual control, the full audio controls, it's menu based but seems so professional to me. I've not used the Panasonic, but in any lower light footage shot with it, that I've viewed, I have always pretty much been able to see notice the weakness of the 1/4" chips, they just cannot gather the same amount of light. My XA10 is comparable to my GH2 with a F/2.8 lens, and I think that is saying a lot. I know lots of guys like the Panny, but I personally will never buy another 1/4" sensor camera again, they never have worked out for me. 1/3" is the smallest I'll go.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #17
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Give me 3 chips over 1 any day of the week, if the light gets to low, bring out the LEDs
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Old September 28th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #18
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

The TM300 is a totally different camera. I made that pledge 10 years ago. Things change.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 04:40 PM   #19
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

# of chips is irrelevant especially in this case. Three 1/4" chips do not, and cannot gather as much light as a single larger chip, and as to color reproduction being better, one look at the GH2 or Canon Mark 5D should dispel the idea of a single chip being inferior.

Larger chips gather images with greater dynamic range, product shallower DOF, and are much more expensive to produce which is why the Canon costs more.

Panasonic is a great camera, but three time 1/4" inch do not equal .75" of light gathering ability, they equal 1/4". The Canon sensor is newer, and larger, and will produce less grain in low light.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #20
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Thanks Jeff, but after over 30 years behind cameras, I dont think I need a lesson on camera technology, but I appreciate your consideration. My post simply said "give me 3 chips over 1 any day of the week" and I stand by this. My post, as with virtually every post on any forum is, as I often state in my posts, very subjective, as is yours. We all know what we want from any camera, and in general terms we all want something different. You will probably have noticed my other posts on the XA10, where I state that I found it to be a very good all round camera, with very good dynamic range, and colours that held up very well in low light. I was actually very close to buying one, but it just didnt give me anything extra over the TM900. As B cam to my EX1, The TM900 performs superbly. If I thought the XA10 could give me more, I would have purchased it.
As for shooting in low light, if its that low, forget using high gain settings on any camera, just bring out the lights. I have never had an issue with low light in churches, and thats going back to the days of tube cameras when 30lux sensitivity was considered state of the art. Receptions are never a problem, I simply use lights whenever neccessary. A lot of folk seem to think that using lighting of any sort is a big no no, I have never been of this opinion, for good images we need good light. Again all subjective.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 05:20 PM   #21
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

3 chips was the deciding factor for me over the G10. There's actually more combined surface area with the (3) 1/4.1 chips than one chip behind the bayer filter in the Canon, but since the chip density is greater with the Panasonic, low light performance goes down.

The two negatives I have about the TM900 are dynamic range and AWB. If the G10 has better dynamic range, that should count for something when weighed against the better resolution of the TM900. You need to consider what's more important.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 06:11 PM   #22
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

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The two negatives I have about the TM900 are dynamic range and AWB.
Hi Tom why is that? What's wrong with the tm900 AWB?
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Old September 28th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #23
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Colin, my observations about the cameras are not subjective, as I went based on numbers and numerous reviews, not any kind of brand loyalty or preference. I have never been a fan of Canon prosumer cameras and low end pro models, and have generally thought the offerings from Canon sucked, as far back as the GL1 and XL1. The more recent XHA1, same thing, hated it, hated the images from it. I've always like Panasonic on several levels, and on a customer service level I think they are fantastic. Nothing but good to say about them.

I am happy you are happy with the Panny. Your many years in the business do not change the facts that a smaller sensor, even three of them cannot match the performance of newer larger one. The Pansonic, is a fine camera, but from the first video I saw, even outdoors in shade, it looked like 1/4" chips to me. Not yet knowing anything about the camera, when I watched that first video, I just knew I didn't like the grain and what appeared to be a low-resolution image.

The Canon we are comparing, on the other hand, has been impressive almost without fail in every low light test I've seen. I took mine out for kicks Saturday and at 18db I saw virtually no grain from the gain. I'm not defending my purchase, but when something in the price range of mine comes along that is better, I will likely sell the Canon and dump it for anything that is better. Sony taught me real well, so that I will never stand behind any brand or be a fanboy for anyone. The gear either works for me, or not, and when it's time for something new, I'll look at whatever is out there.

I have no technical expertise on any of this, and I'm sure smarter people than me may like the Panasonic better, but then smarter people than me loved the HMC150, which to this day I cannot understand, so go figure.

My feelings on low-light performance are pretty strong. I entered the business using the legendary PD150.

I am light crazy. I run three to four lights at my reception, and sometimes run a 2' x 2' 500 watt softbox in addition. And I have a F/2.8 zoom lens that STILL sucks in low light IMO, whereas other people would be happy with it. So when I select a camera, it damned well better be the best low light camera available at that price point. And at this time, the general consensus from everything I've read and from all comparison videos I've seen the Canon appears to be just that. To me it seemed common sense when I made my selection, nothing more.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 04:20 AM   #24
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

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Bottom line for me, at least compared to the XA10, is the Panasonic has 3 1/4.1" sensor, the Canon has 1/3" sensor. Pretty close to full manual control, the full audio controls, it's menu based but seems so professional to me. I've not used the Panasonic, but in any lower light footage shot with it, that I've viewed, I have always pretty much been able to see notice the weakness of the 1/4" chips, they just cannot gather the same amount of light. My XA10 is comparable to my GH2 with a F/2.8 lens, and I think that is saying a lot. I know lots of guys like the Panny, but I personally will never buy another 1/4" sensor camera again, they never have worked out for me. 1/3" is the smallest I'll go.
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Colin, my observations about the cameras are not subjective, as I went based on numbers and numerous reviews, not any kind of brand loyalty or preference. I have never been a fan of Canon prosumer cameras and low end pro models, and have generally thought the offerings from Canon sucked, as far back as the GL1 and XL1. The more recent XHA1, same thing, hated it, hated the images from it. I've always like Panasonic on several levels, and on a customer service level I think they are fantastic. Nothing but good to say about them.

I am happy you are happy with the Panny. Your many years in the business do not change the facts that a smaller sensor, even three of them cannot match the performance of newer larger one. The Pansonic, is a fine camera, but from the first video I saw, even outdoors in shade, it looked like 1/4" chips to me. Not yet knowing anything about the camera, when I watched that first video, I just knew I didn't like the grain and what appeared to be a low-resolution image.

The Canon we are comparing, on the other hand, has been impressive almost without fail in every low light test I've seen. I took mine out for kicks Saturday and at 18db I saw virtually no grain from the gain. I'm not defending my purchase, but when something in the price range of mine comes along that is better, I will likely sell the Canon and dump it for anything that is better. Sony taught me real well, so that I will never stand behind any brand or be a fanboy for anyone. The gear either works for me, or not, and when it's time for something new, I'll look at whatever is out there.

I have no technical expertise on any of this, and I'm sure smarter people than me may like the Panasonic better, but then smarter people than me loved the HMC150, which to this day I cannot understand, so go figure.

My feelings on low-light performance are pretty strong. I entered the business using the legendary PD150.

I am light crazy. I run three to four lights at my reception, and sometimes run a 2' x 2' 500 watt softbox in addition. And I have a F/2.8 zoom lens that STILL sucks in low light IMO, whereas other people would be happy with it. So when I select a camera, it damned well better be the best low light camera available at that price point. And at this time, the general consensus from everything I've read and from all comparison videos I've seen the Canon appears to be just that. To me it seemed common sense when I made my selection, nothing more.
hi Jeff your many points are interesting, but you were at some point comparing the Panasonic with the XA10, which is not what the point of this thread (and costs close to 2.5 times as much as the 900) is as we all know the XA10 audio is on a different league, and mainly focusing on low light performance, whereas I 'd be interested in your views about usability (although I am not sure you own the tm900) and quality of footage (not only in low light), as I perceive the relative softness of the Canon as not necessarily a quality.

when you say the canon has full manual controls, that's where I wonder what's the difference with the tm900. I cannot find evidence of many shortfalls of the panasonic here, that also seems to have quite a complete array of manual controls, zebra, peaking etc etc... I even read reports that the menu structure and functions are more easily accessible on the 900 than the canon.
what about clip preview in shooting mode? I think the canon allows for that, but with no audio right? I don' think the panasonic has this function at all.
both instead seem to have the buffer record function

they are clearly both amazing camcorders, but I wonder why Canon insists in not having 50/60p and instead puts questionable gimmicks like infrared shooting (at least 3D for panasonic is optional if you want to throw some money in it).

low light is important for me too (that's why I own a 5d and previously an EX1r), that's why I am still unsure, but I disagree that footage online from the tm900 seems at times low resolution: I haven't experienced that at all and I must have watched tens of videos from each camcorder.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 08:30 AM   #25
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

The AWB on the TM900 is good in strong light but misses the mark as late afternoon shadows approach. It's fine if you manually white balance.

The low resolution is nonsense, and the images are very clean. Preface that with I've only used 1080/60p mode. There doesn't seem to be a need for 60i since clean down converts for blu-ray are possible.

The TM900 manual controls are there but they are consumer grade and easy to use.

The main weakness as mentioned before, carry a white card or wear white tennis shoes you can WB on, and dynamic range. You just can't pan from the shadows to the bright without adjusting exposure. I'm not sure if 1/3 chips can either but I suspect the G10 is better at this this due to the low chip density.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #26
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Fredrico, the XA10 and HFG10 use the same chip, the same sensor as the pro models such as the XF 300 and 301, which is the reason it costs more. Larger sensors are more expensive to manufacture, which seems lost on people looking at the price, IMO. If I am mistaken on this point, then I am wrong. Is the price difference worth it? If you are a low light shooter, a wedding shooter, than, yes it should be. But if your standards for low-light performance are satisfied by the TM900, that's fine, but just because it work for you doesn't make it better. It works for you, and that is what counts.

Unless I'm mistaken, the images are virtually the same with the HFG10 and the XA10, though the XA10 may or may not have more controls. This is the same sensor that is in the $4500 XF301, but I might have the price wrong. The XF301 has three of the same sensors, and yet many reviewers, such as Phillip Bloom see little difference between the three chip version and the single chip version. This is disputed by many, of course, but the fact that some see sucha minimal difference is worth noting.


The TM900 is a fine camera, but after this thread started I went to read review after review of both, and then comparison reviews of both, and the consensus seems to be clear, IQ quality with the Canon is superior. The TM900 viewfinder has half the resolution of the Canon, about 460K to 900K 500K, which alone is worth a lot during manual focusing.

Anyway, for those that are happy with the Panny, great, I'm happy for you. Comparing these cameras is like comparing a Kia and a Hyndai entry level automobile, it's pretty inconsequential anyway. If I had the budget I would have instead bought a fuller sized pro model, not a consumer toy, but things are what they are.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #27
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

Regarding resolution nonsense, the facts are that the sensor of the Canon is lower resolution that matches the aspect ratio of HD, resulting in larger pixels, producing better images. This is why the HF G10 produces poor photos, but superior video. The Panasonic will produce somewhat better photos, but grainier video. Excessive pixel count, and in a smaller sensor, cannot physically duplicate what the larger, 2.37MP sensor with can do for video, but it will produce higher resolution photos. It's physics, and has nothing to do with opinion.

Larger sensors produce better dymanic range as well. These concepts are much beyond my level of knowledge, but are repeatedly pointed out in in depth reviews and comparisons of the cameras by folks who know much more than I.

As to whatever camera anyone chooses, I'm sure they will be happy either way. But to dispute these numbers is silly, and makes no sense to me. I looked at both cameras, and many others with no preference for brand, and even disliking Canon video cameras, and I couldn't deny what seemed to me to be an obvious choice.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 10:49 AM   #28
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

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I personally will never buy another 1/4" sensor camera again, they never have worked out for me. 1/3" is the smallest I'll go.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #29
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

We should keep in mind the title of thread, it's one cam vs the other. It's not about whether you have one or the other and it just works, the title indicates to me we're talking about comparisons.

If you own the TM900 and do not see unacceptable levels of graininess, that's great, but it doesn't mean it's technically as good or better than anything else, it just means you are happy with it.

Same for the Canon. Same for any camera.

On the other hand one can see what one wants to see, and I've been guilty of that plenty. My very first camera was a Panasonic 3x 1/4" camera, forget the model, but I loved that camera. I bought it new for wedding work. The guy I worked for shot with nothing but PD150s, 170s, and VX2100s, the best lowlight cameras at the time in the price range.

The guy I worked for thought it was a great camera, but he looked up the specs after I showed it to him, and he was skeptical, but he let me use it on a job with him. Then he showed me the footage next to the VX2100 later. I was not able, or willing to see how much better the footage looked from his cameras. He'd been shooting since VHS, and is a very smart, patient guy. But after a few more weddings, it became clear he was right, and I finally saw what he was talking about. I promptly sold my camera at a huge loss, and bought a used Sony, and was happy ever after.

The point is not that anyone needs to sell their camera, or change, but that when you already own a camera, it is very difficult to admit anything else is as good. We always want to justify our purchase, and I'm sure there is a bit of that in my reasoning as well, which is why I was relieved to re-research the whole thing and come up with the same conclusion, even upon reading reviews I had not seen before. But whatever, we all have a camera, and are making a living, and that's all that counts.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #30
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Re: panasonic TM900 vs Canon HF G10

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Regarding resolution nonsense, the facts are that the sensor of the Canon is lower resolution that matches the aspect ratio of HD, resulting in larger pixels, producing better images.
If only it were that simple, the G10 and XF300 would be reproducing the same resolution as each other, but instead the XF300 and TM900 resolution numbers are closer to each other while the G10/XA10/XF100 are behind. The principal difference is 3 chip versus 1 chip or moreover, that the the 1 chip loses some resolution sitting behind a bayer filter.

Any time you start ceding away resolution benefits in search of low light or dynamic range you should be certain that it's a good trade to make. For wedding receptions, I would agree low light performance is king. The TM700/900 have been tested to spatial resolution of 1000 TVL horizontal and 900 vertical, and the 1080/60p mode is higher temporal resolution as well.

I'm careful not to say one is "better" than another because that depends on whether you make a priority of clarity in strong light, or not having a muted image in weak light.
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