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Old August 5th, 2015, 07:18 AM   #1
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Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Hi guys,

This is my first post on this forum after a long while of browsing the forum posts, which are always informative and useful.

I shoot aviation movies (www.youtube.com/ukaviationmovies) and am looking upgrade my current camera which is a Canon XA-20. Iíve had some real issues with this camera, notable the IS dropping out when the camera doesnít detect much shake, which absolutely sucks!

Even though Iíve been burned by Canon somewhat, I was keen to stick with them and was about to plumb for an XF300, until I noticed it will not shoot 1080/50p. That said Iím going to play with shooting at 1080/24p on my XA-20 and see how the results play out.

My requirements are:
x20 optical zoom or thereabouts
Good IS
1080 at 50/60p
A few seconds pre-roll/cache record. The XA does 3 seconds which is fine
Minimum rolling shutter issues
Low noise and 4:2:2 colour sampling if possible
Run and gun/ ENG style
I have around £4,000 ($6,000) to spend

Iíve ruled out the Sony X180 because it doesnít have cache recording. Also the lens issue reported here X180 lens issue would totally screw me.

The JVC HM650 looks amazing on paper but Iíve ruled it out as I hate the quality of the test footage Iíve seen on the net. The whites look awful under high contrast conditions and contain nasty artifacts that Iím not a fan of. The comments on this video sum it up -

Iíd stick with Canon and go with the XF300 but it wonít do 60/50p at 1080. Is this as much of a deal breaker as I think it is?

The Panasonic AC160 and PX270 look amazing but Iíve no experience with Panasonic gear. Does anyone have any thoughts? People Iíve spoken to seem to rate it as Ďbudgetí and even Ďmickey mouseí? Am I going to hate it after 6 months and wish Iíd gone elsewhere? The test footage Iíve seen of the PX270 looks simply stunningÖ

I guess Iím looking for a love story between the user and their camera but all I seem to read are tales of woe and niggling issues that cause them to sell up and defect to another brand!

If anyone has any tried and tested recommendations Iíd really love to hear from them. If you have an XF300 and are shooting fast moving objects (wildlife, sports or aviation) successfully at 1080/24p Iíd really love to see your footage or hear opinion.

My options at the moment are AC160 or PX270 or the XF300. Each of them have their flaws, but Iím lost as to which one I could live with.

Thanks guys

Ben
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Old August 5th, 2015, 09:08 AM   #2
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Hi Ben

If it helps any I have been shooting on Panasonic for many many years so it was logical when the AC-130 and 160 came out they were my goto cameras. What a disaster!! Absolute rubbish (mickey mouse was a kind expression) I sold them in disgust after 3 months and reverted back to the much cheaper and far better HMC series again. However that was when the Tsunami hit Japan so I think that these models were made under licence elsewhere (I suspected China but never found out for sure) They now are on track again and hopefully the new DVX200 with 4K video is made in Japan again?

Before you buy anything, I would test drive first. Seriously, it's like buying a car so don't buy it unless it suits you and the footage suits you too! I went to Sony EA-50's after the Panasonics and they were brilliant ..they had everything that one could ever want BUT I just hated the image and the colour ..image was soft and despite doing whatever I asked I just couldn't keep them ..I simply didn't like the end result ..that's all.

Keep looking and keep trying out until you find what you like ... I'm shooting on Panny bridge cameras at the moment and love them to bits .. the FZ1000 does 4K video has the sharpest image I have ever seen and the colour is perfect all for under $1000!! Crazy??? not really they were what I was looking for to achieve my end result ... An entry level Mazda just might do it for you and in your opinion outshine the latest Jaguar by miles ... only you can say for sure!!
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Old August 5th, 2015, 04:15 PM   #3
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Thanks for the info Chris, some food for thought there, especially about the Panasonics... Sad to hear because, again, on paper they look just right for my needs.

Good advice on taking some out for a test spin. I'll look at a local company and see if I can hire some out for the day. My work has just bought a Panasonic X1000 but it's not the right camera for me. It also has a weird pimped out blue light around it when it's running which is horrible!

Cheers

Ben
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Old August 6th, 2015, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I have been shooting on Panasonic for many many years so it was logical when the AC-130 and 160 came out they were my goto cameras. What a disaster!! Absolute rubbish (mickey mouse was a kind expression) I sold them in disgust after 3 months and reverted back to the much cheaper and far better HMC series again.
Chris,

What were/are you shooting? Can you be more specific about your disappointment with the 130/160?

Thanks,
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Old August 7th, 2015, 01:25 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Hi Ervin

Prior to the AC-130's I had HMC82's and despite the small 1/4" sensors the lens was excellent the audio outstanding and the build good. On delivery the AC-130's seemed to have a tiny exposure range and called for ND changes (it has built in ND's) every time a cloud went over the sun! I'm shooting weddings so one camera had to fend for itself exposure wise which it simply couldn't manage in auto exposure so I ended up having to watch the weather and lighting and keep switching ND's in and out .. no a big issue BUT everytime you operated the ND switch a white flash appeared on the footage ..not good during a 20 minute wedding ceremony. The autofocus which is needed when you have to get in and out fast was hopeless and I ended up having to use manual ...it used to hunt badly even on a static scene in good light! The AC-130 does not have good glass either (not Leica optics) and it very soft at full wide !
The XLR audio in all modes was very low quality whether in manual or auto ... a complete disaster for a camera that was 4 times the price of my previous ones!!
After Panny's I reluctantly moved to Sony EA-50's ..great cameras but I still dislike the Sony IQ ..it just doesn't do anything for me so this season I have gone back to Panny's again with the FZ1000 4K bridge cameras and they are amazing for the price!! I simply wanted something small and light as I'm getting on in years and the Sony's were killing my back ... The FZ1000's have an outstanding image quality and colour despite being bridge cameras but do need an XLR Beachtek on them for audio! I also have the option to choose AVCHD or MP4 right up to 100mbps and it also has a slomo function built-in at 100/120 fps which is an asset! These also are back with Leica 25-400 lenses which is great.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 09:17 AM   #6
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Chris,

Thank you for the detailed answer. Here is the reason I am trying to understand your disappointment with the camera: the Panasonic AC160 is regarded as one of the best cameras in the industry I work in, which is legal video... and I have not yet heard of any major complaints against this camera.

Granted, your experience is with the AC130, which is the "little brother" but for the most part is the same as the AC160. The AC160 has PCM audio (would have cured your audio issues... maybe?), and over/under crank. The major difference between your work and ours is that we shoot statically, indoors, where lighting conditions change very little (if any), and we use manual focus exclusively.

The big problem we are facing is that we are limited to very few cameras to meet our needs... which are: time and date stamp BURNED over the video, a zoom of 20x or so, and as many outputs as possible, because we need to be bullet proof - we record to a main recorder (can use the internal cards for that), a backup recorder (believe it or not, some legal videographers even use a second backup), sometimes need an output for a PIP setup to mix camera video with document images, and an output to feed into a laptop for live streaming. The 160 is the dream camera for all of the above because it has date/time stamp, 22x zoom, XLR audio inputs, dual card internal recording, SDI + HDMI + FireWire + analog outputs.

So... I am just about to buy an AC160... and I wanted to make sure I understand why the AC130 did not perform for you.

Could it be that YOUR particular AC130 was defective?

And if you worked within my confines, would you still consider it a bad camera?

Thanks,
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Old August 7th, 2015, 10:49 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Hi Ervin

I had two and they both displayed the same issues so no faults there. The 160 only difference is the SDI out which the 130 doesn't have, otherwise they are the same. Take a look on the DVXuser forum about the 130/160 if you intend buying one...lots of user comments there. I guess they are fine indoors in full manual mode but make sure you buy a 160A ..the updated model ..focus is a lot better than the original...both models have the same audio mode and for me both were not nearly as good as other Panasonic cameras ..My HMC80's audio was brilliant!! There are a few guys on DVX forum using the camera for legal work so talk to them.

Chris
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Old August 8th, 2015, 06:54 AM   #8
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Ramsay View Post
...My options at the moment are AC160 or PX270 or the XF300. Each of them have their flaws, but Iím lost as to which one I could live with.
Some thoughts...YMMV
1) The the 22x zoom and ENG requirements are going to keep you in the 1/3" chip and smaller which combined with lens, affect your IQ.
2) The AC160 ND issue noted by others sounds really annoying.
3) The XF300 is an old old old camera. It probably lacks some nice modern features like 1080/60p as you noted. I would think that is not negotiable for fast moving planes. Perhaps picking up a used one will take the sting out of that.
4) Be sure to evaluate the PX270 IQ like you did the JVC. There's only so much you can get out of a 1/3" 3mos.
5) As an exercise in completeness, drop the 22x requirement and see what $6k gets you in a larger chipped camera IQ-wise and CODEC-wise and zoom in post.
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Old August 8th, 2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Good point Les

It is amazing how much you can zoom on a 3840x2160 video clip in the NLE and still retain an image quality that is way better than any 1/3rd chip camera can give. On my little FZ1000's guys have pushed the zoom to it's max of 400mm in 4K at the moon and then done another massive zoom in the NLE where even crater details of our nearest neighbour are sharp and quite outstanding!! I would suspect that a nice 4K camera would work well on aircraft as you can zoom in post as well without losing any detail!
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Old August 9th, 2015, 08:27 AM   #10
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Re: Panasonic, Canon or somewhere else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Some thoughts...YMMV
1) The the 22x zoom and ENG requirements are going to keep you in the 1/3" chip and smaller which combined with lens, affect your IQ.
2) The AC160 ND issue noted by others sounds really annoying.
3) The XF300 is an old old old camera. It probably lacks some nice modern features like 1080/60p as you noted. I would think that is not negotiable for fast moving planes. Perhaps picking up a used one will take the sting out of that.
4) Be sure to evaluate the PX270 IQ like you did the JVC. There's only so much you can get out of a 1/3" 3mos.
5) As an exercise in completeness, drop the 22x requirement and see what $6k gets you in a larger chipped camera IQ-wise and CODEC-wise and zoom in post.
Thanks Les, these are really useful points to keep in consideration. Really good points on the XF and dropping the 20x zoom requirement, I'll see what that throws up. I think with the requirements I've lusted above has backed me into a corner and I'm finding it difficult to buy my way out of it for $6k.
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