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Old October 4th, 2011, 09:34 PM   #1
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Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Hey all,

I'm getting close to buying a new video camera. My budget is $2500 - 3000, and I anticipate using the camera for documentary work and event videography.

The contenders on my list of possibilities (not arranged in any order of preference):

Panasonic AG HMC40
Sony NX70U
Canon XA10
JVC GY-HM100

Which one of these cams would you buy? Why?
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Old October 5th, 2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Steve,

Years ago, I got the AG-DVC30, a standard def camcorder which I really liked. The AG-HMC40 seems to be a high def version of that camcorder, and would probably serve you well. My limited experience with Canon camcorders (not the one you mentioned) is that they produce excellent quality video, but my hands were too big to easily manipulate some of the controls. I can't speak for the other models you mentioned.

I wonder if a shoulder-mount camcorder might be better for you, since you'll be shooting events and documentaries. For example, Panasonic makes the AG-HMC80, a shoulder-mount version of the AG-HMC40:
Panasonic AG-HMC80 3MOS AVCCAM HD Shoulder-Mount AG-HMC80PJ B&H

It also has the advantage of professional XLR mic inputs. Of course, if you need to be inconspicuous, then a shoulder-mount unit could be a problem.

Ken
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Old October 5th, 2011, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Hi Steve

I have had two HMC82's now since February and have logged close to 200 hours on them. (82's are PAL) The 80 is NTSC!!

Best value for money in my option and really pristine video!! As long as you like shoulder-mounts it's my favorite by a long way!!! Otherwise if you want something smaller the HMC40 has the same electronics without the extral controls (I hate touch screen menus!!!) and no XLR audio but is smaller and more compact!!

If you want something even smaller look at the TM900 ...awesome camera for around $1K but really too small for me!!!

Chris
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Old October 5th, 2011, 08:30 AM   #4
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

I would do side by side Sony and Canon, i alreay have G10 and love it, but it would be interesting to take a look at NX70
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Old October 5th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

I have an NX70, and previously owned a HMC40, so have some experience of these cameras.

I love the NX70, the only downside is the lack of any ND in it, and you need to carry filters with you, or find a fader ND (good luck with that). Built-in 96GB Flash memory is great, picture quality is excellent, viewfinder and LCD panel are top-notch, extreme 26mm wide angle is superb. Check the NX70 forum for samples, plaudits and whinges.

I gave up on the HMC40 due to the 41mm, very non-wide lens, and the dreadful viewfinder and mediocre LCD panel.

The XA10 is worth considering if you want something really small.

The JVC HM100 (or new HM150) is pretty good, but not as wide as the NX70.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #6
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

I wouldn't buy any of them because I don't have it in my budget ;)

However, if I DID, I'd go with the Sony NX70, COMPLETELY due to its weather-resistant design. After nearly killing my Z1U multiple times over this year filming outdoor motorsport events, I could definitely use that feature. When I think of past doc situations where I kept a camera inside or otherwise didn't shoot where I should have been shooting because the rain cover simply wouldn't have done the job...

...heck, where's my credit card?
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Old October 5th, 2011, 06:06 PM   #7
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
I have an NX70, and previously owned a HMC40, so have some experience of these cameras.

I love the NX70, the only downside is the lack of any ND in it, and you need to carry filters with you, or find a fader ND (good luck with that). Built-in 96GB Flash memory is great, picture quality is excellent, viewfinder and LCD panel are top-notch, extreme 26mm wide angle is superb. Check the NX70 forum for samples, plaudits and whinges.

I gave up on the HMC40 due to the 41mm, very non-wide lens, and the dreadful viewfinder and mediocre LCD panel.

The XA10 is worth considering if you want something really small.

The JVC HM100 (or new HM150) is pretty good, but not as wide as the NX70.
Mike, the things you mention about the AG-HMC40 are reasons why I'm not leaning towards it - however, I've included it on my list because the price is right, and it seems to crank out pretty decent images.

The NX70 is probably the camera I would like to go with, but it's at the upper end of my price range - but may be feasible if I stretch a little and buy it in the US. B&H sell the '70 for $2799 US, while in Canada, all the dealers sell it for $3199CDN and no cheaper. Buying stateside would save me about $350.00 after taxes and shipping are factored in. I'm still debating about whether I want to pay what I estimate is a $500 premium to get the weatherproofing the camera offers. I don't anticipate doing a lot of shooting in wet, dusty conditions, so I wonder if that feature is really necessary. By the same token the 96GB of onboard memory the NX70 has is a pretty compelling selling feature.

The JVC looks like a possible alternative that might save me some money - it goes for $2395 at B&H, and in Canada, $2500 seems to be the going rate. The only catch is that B&H cannot export the HM100 to Canada (must be some sort of stipulation JVC have made to protect the profits of Canadian retailers, methinks!)

I like the XA10, but having owned several recent Canon cameras with the touch-screen menu system, a little leery of it. At the same time, I recognize that pretty well all of the cameras I'm considering use touch-screen menus of some sort. The one thing I'm not sure about on the XA10 is the viewfinder. I don't like the fact that it doesn't articulate like the one on the NX70 does, and looking at the overall design of the XA10, I wonder if the viewfinder was simply transplanted from the HF S21/30 models. In other words, I wonder if the viewfinder's too small.
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Old October 6th, 2011, 07:34 AM   #8
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

The JVC is supposed to have a pretty good viewfinder. I know that lots of HM100s were used by some of the US-based news channels for video journalists, so they can't be too shabby. It's even been used in warzones, check out MacVideo - The ultimate resource for video on the Mac and have a search around for it.

When I was comparing it to the HMC40, I discounted it mainly because it was more expensive in the UK. My supplier at the time tried to convince me to spend the extra $100s to get the JVC because they felt it was a superior camera (mainly with build quality and codec).

Edit: specific links:

http://www.macvideo.tv/camera-techno...eviewid=116725

http://www.macvideo.tv/camera-techno...newsid=3250756

http://www.macvideo.tv/camera-techno...icleid=3219252

You might even be able to get a HM100 cheaper soon, with the arrival of the HM150!
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Old October 6th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #9
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Mike, I think the $2395 price I saw at B&H is the lowered price. It's conceivable it might go lower once the HM150 starts arriving on store shelves, but I doubt that it will. As an aside, I've been noticing that the AG HMC 40 is starting to drop in price - B&H and others are starting to sell the `40 for around $1795. Here in Canada, Vistek have cut the price of the HM100 by $300.00 - a big drop considering that most Canadian retailers like to sell for MSRP and won't sell for less unless forced to by competitors, or they need to start clearing out stock.

Perhaps Panasonic have a replacement for the HMC40 (and I`m not referring to the AG-HMC130) coming, and dealers want to clear out the old stock to make way for the new model. Or maybe the `40 isn`t selling all that well and they need to get it moving.

I`ve been seeing used JVC GY-HM100s showing up a lot lately, and the prices are tempting. There are only two problems that I can see emerging from going that route, namely, lack of warranty and a camera that has the shooting interlaced video while in progressive mode problem, thus requiring an expensive, out-of-warranty repair to fix.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #10
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

I'd pick the XA10 or the NX70U. Don't forget the Sony VG20.
For $3,000, the Canon XF100 can also be in the picture.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #11
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

A couple of nights ago, I had an opportunity to check out an XA-10 and a Sony VG-10 at a local camera store. Initially I was concerned that the viewfinder on the XA-10 would be too small, and not of very good quality. But I found it to be quite useful, even for critical focusing (the focus assist feature helps!) and not 'too small' at all, which is a surprise, considering that I wear trifocals! Although I do wish that the XA-10 had an articulating viewfinder like the Sony NX70 does.

Overall, I found the build quality of the XA-10 to be quite good. It fit fairly well in my hand, although it did feel a little big (I have small hands!) and a little front-heavy with the XLR handle attached. I suppose this front-heaviness is something all of the small pro camcorders with an XLR block suffer from to a greater or lesser degree.

By and large though, the XA-10 seems like a lot of camera for the money.

I didn't like the VG-10 as much. I found it to be very front-heavy with the big 18 - 200mm lens attached, and from an ergonomic standpoint, it wasn't as good as the Canon. It has no power zoom, and no XLR attachment. I did like the viewfinder with the large eye cup it offers, but that's about it.

The XF100 is my dream camera. Alas, by the time I pay tax on the purchase of such a camera and buy CF cards, it'll be well out of my budget.

I still like the NX70, but I'm still mulling over whether or not the waterproof body the camera offers is worth the $500 - 700 premium demanded over the price of the XA-10 or a JVC GY-HM100. And I strongly doubt that Sony are about to offer an NX70 'lite' version that doesn't have the waterproofing and dustproofing feature.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #12
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

I wouldn't recommend any of those cameras. If you have $3000 to spend, go with either a Panasonic AG-HVX200 or Panasonic AG-HMC150. Both of these cams have 3-1/3" chips. All of the other cams you're considering either have a single small chip or 3-1/4" chips. That by itself is reason enough not to consider them. Just my opinion.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #13
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

It's good that you know what your budget is, that's a really good start, but you also need to know what features you most need & want in a camera. Once you know that, the choice will make itself.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #14
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

You can buy the JVC in Montreal for $2,400 on sale. Lozeau - Professional.
They also have the Sony HVR-A1U for $1,700. on sale as well Lozeau - Professional. Although it is HDV and single chip the sensor is 1/3 and it does take great video.


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Old October 11th, 2011, 04:52 PM   #15
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Re: Which One of these Four Cameras Would You Buy?

Thanks for the tip. $2399CDN for the GY HM100 is attractive. It's $200 less than what Vistek in Toronto want. Buying it from Lozeau might save me some money as I live in Ontario, and TVQ (sales tax to you non-Canadian readers) doesn't apply to non-residents.

The Sony A1u would be a good choice, but it has two strikes against it - it shoots 1080i only, and uses tape. I prefer cameras that use solid state recording media, and also prefer the look of progressive footage. Although I have to confess some 1080i footage I saw coming from a Sony NEX-VG10 recently on the Sony website (the VG10 also shoots 1080i only) looked a lot like progressive, and I wonder how Sony managed to tweak the footage so it looked as good as it does.
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