Differences between the HMC150 and the HVX170 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 31st, 2009, 04:43 PM   #1
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Differences between the HMC150 and the HVX170

I haven't seen any definite posts about characteristic differences between the Panasonic HVX170 and the HMC150. But my search skills being what they are... lol....So I made my own comparative chart.

I did this because I was leaning towards the 170, then I saw the footage of a 150, and I was blow away. I really was a skeptic towards AVCHD... compared to DVCProHD. My perfectionist side was swayed to the "dark side", pushed, shoved and kicked by my common sense.

So here goes. Fell free to correct or add any others that I missed.

Pricing as of April 1st 2009 (Referenced B&H).

.................................. HPX170 ....... HMC150
Price (Street) ............... $5195 .......... $3495
Variable frame rate ....... Yes ............. No...(other then the classic 24/25/30/50/60)
Weight ........................ 4.2lbs .......... 3.7lbs
Power consumption ....... 13.8W .......... 9.8W
Recording media ........... P2 ............... SDHC
Codec ......................... DVCProHD ..... AVCHD
Color space .................. 4:2:2 ........... 4:2:0
Uncompressed output .... HD-SDI ......... HDMI
Firewire ...................... Yes ............... No
Warranty ..................... 5 years ......... 3 years
Ease of use for editing ... Simple .......... Not as straight forward**
8GB memory card ......... Dicontinued ,... $44
16GB memory card ....... $800 ............. $90*
32GB memory card ....... $1500 ........... $273*
64GB memory card ....... $2400 ........... Not yet available

* Pricing of SDHC cards are for the Panasonic brand (other brands are cheaper... much cheaper)
** Editing requires transcoding to another, more manageable format. And/or a more powerful computer. Editing won't be as "instant" for certain needs, such as SDE's and news edits. Computer performance IS an issue when dealing with AVCHD.

So that's it.... nothing else is different? Everything else is the same? I've debated long and hard. Being a pro user, it was hard for me to admit that the HMC150 was remotely thinkable. But after much research, and upon seeing great footage, I came to my senses that the HMC150 is more then perfectly viable (for my needs). I have to compromise... I will need 2, possibly 3 cameras in the near future, and considering the prices of P2 and the extra cost of the HVX170... I can live with AVCHD and 4:2:0. Worst case scenario, when I'll do green screen shots, I'll get an AJA ioHD with HDMI input and capture ProRes422, which is better then DVCProHD anyway.

Last edited by Frederic Segard; April 1st, 2009 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Updated chart: Pricing and editing issues
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Old April 1st, 2009, 10:49 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Frederic Segard View Post
So that's it.... nothing else is different? Everything else is the same?
You forgot prices. Not only of the cams themselves, but those pricey P2 cards as well.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 11:48 AM   #3
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If your applications don't need the variable frame rates of HVX172, then - YES - the HMC152 is a viable choice.

Do be aware that today's processors cannot edit AVCHD encoded files off the timeline. You need to transcode that into something "bigger" - such as Cineform's codec, via Neo Scene software - then the NLE can edit it efficiently.

Compare that with HVX172 - which records in DVCProHD - a codec that processors today can edit immediately without having the need to transcode. If you have the right hardware in place, it is even possible to edit the video right off the P2 cards. No need to copy into the hard-disks.

Therefore, if you are doing a news presentation (for example), the HMC152 won't do for you.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:52 PM   #4
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The 170 does loop recording, time lapse recording, and standard-def recording; the 150 can't do any of those.

The 170 has a couple more focus assist features than the 150.

The 170 can do live firewire streaming to an external recorder (such as a FireStore or a DVCPRO-HD tape deck or to Adobe OnLocation); AVCHD cameras don't provide that functionality.

The 150 has a linear timecode sync function; the 170 only does timecode sync through firewire.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:40 PM   #5
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Darn, can't edit my original post to add Barry's comments!
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:04 AM   #6
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For timecode sync, don't they do the same thing, just in a different manner? 170 is via Firewire, and 150 is via the composite connector.

For the additional focus assist tool on the 170, i assume that you are referring to the focus bar? Anything else?
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Old April 6th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Frederic Segard View Post
For timecode sync, don't they do the same thing, just in a different manner? 170 is via Firewire, and 150 is via the composite connector.
Yes, but... the 170 can sync to a DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50, or DVCPRO-HD camcorder (or deck) and that's about it.

The 150 can sync to just about anything that outputs LTC (which would include any professional camcorder with a TC OUT or TC IN jack, a timecode slate, an external audio recorder, etc...)

Quote:
For the additional focus assist tool on the 170, i assume that you are referring to the focus bar? Anything else?
No, you're right. For a minute there I forgot the 150 has the graph. The 170 has the expanded focus, the graph, and the focus bar.

Expanded focus is different between the two anyway. On the 170 it's a small window that takes up the central 1/4 of the screen (or so). On the 150, it fills the screen with the center expanded portion of the image. So they both have expanded zoomed-in focus aids, but they do act differently.
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Old April 6th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #8
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The 150 can sync to just about anything that outputs LTC (which would include any professional camcorder with a TC OUT or TC IN jack, a timecode slate, an external audio recorder, etc...)
So the 150 has genuine LTC? Not some mumbo jumbo makeshift hack? Wow, well, I can't believe the 150 has something over the 170. hehehe.

So in theory, you could leave the cable plugged in to another device's TC in our out, and never loose sync? Are you telling me that gone are the days of TC drift from one-time FireWire jam sync? :-) Please, pretty please say yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
Expanded focus is different between the two anyway. On the 170 it's a small window that takes up the central 1/4 of the screen (or so). On the 150, it fills the screen with the center expanded portion of the image. So they both have expanded zoomed-in focus aids, but they do act differently.
After trying the 150 for the weekend, I'd say that having a pixel to pixel expansion, taking all the real estate of the 4:3 LCD (and the EFV) is a definite bonus of the 150.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Frederic Segard View Post
So the 150 has genuine LTC? Not some mumbo jumbo makeshift hack?
Well... sort of in-between.

Quote:
So in theory, you could leave the cable plugged in to another device's TC in our out, and never loose sync?
No. It does not provide for the ability to jam them together. It uses the same basic premise as the firewire sync, of using the TC PRESET value and reading that from the external device.

You probably could leave an external device jammed to the HMC150 when the 150 is set to "master" mode, but you don't get to use it as a camera while it's outputting the timecode signal, so... no.

Quote:
Are you telling me that gone are the days of TC drift from one-time FireWire jam sync? :-) Please, pretty please say yes?
No, but... maybe. Because you can do the sync when in camera mode, whereas with the firewire sync you always needed one to be in MCR mode. And you lose frames when you swap between modes. So I would say that as long as you're not swapping between camera and playback mode, you'd probably find the sync more accurate with the 150. With the other cams you always had to swap modes at least once, and that always introduced a few frames of error.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #10
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Ahhhh! Got it! Many thanks for the clarification!
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Old April 11th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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So which one are you gonna get?

I just bought a 150 from B&H today. I do weddings, so I need a plenty of memory cards. The P2 cards are simply exorbitant.
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