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Old July 24th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #1
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HMC 150 vs XH A1

I have owned the XH A1 before, and looking for something better, this will be a second camera to a Sony EX1.

I like the idea of it being tapless, just wondering how else it stacks up, I am hoping some on here have compared them.

Thanks
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Old July 24th, 2009, 02:58 PM   #2
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Hi Denny,

I shot with a Canon XL1 for about 5 years. Two years ago I bought the XH-A1. I tried it for about 6 months and then sold it. I just didn't like it as much as the Sony Z1 that I was using at the time. I switched over the HMC150 in January of this year. I said all of that so you would no where I am coming from. I am not a fan of the XH-A1 and here is a list of what why I like the HMC150 better than the XH-A1.

HMC150 is much lighter than the XH-A1...great for the glidecam
HMC150 has a wider lens...don't have to buy a wide angle lens
HMC150 has a bigger LCD
HMC150 has a switch to change audio from on camera to XLR. No need to go into the menu like the XH-A1.
HMC150 will let you see Zebras while the LCD is in the detail mode, Canon calls it peaking...the mode that show more detail in the LCD that allows manual focus easier to see.
HMC150 allow expanded focus(mangication of the image in the LCD) while you are recording.
HMC150 is better in low light. See the link.
Tips & Tricks
HMC150 uses AVCHD (Mpeg4) which is much better than HDV (Mpeg 2)
HMC150 has a great manual zoom. You can whip it in for focus. It's much easier to use this techniqe with the HMC150 than the XH-A1.
HMC150 has no tape mechanism, drums, etc, so it will not need maintanance or costly repairs that tie in with the tape mechanism.

To be fair to the XH-A1 it has a stronger zoom (20x) and will let you tweak the white balance on the fly by adjusting the Kelvin temp. It probably does a couple of other things better than the HMC150. I just don't recall what they might be.


You already know the advantages of tapeless since you have the EX1. I do not know of a video camera that is as sharp and as good in low light as the EX1, but then again, the HMC150 is about $2500 cheaper than an EX1.

Camera choice comes down to personal prefernce. I'm sure you can find videographers who can give a long list of why they like the XH-A1 over the HMC150. It's a matter of finding the right camera for you.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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Mark, thanks so much for your input, I still watch the DVD's I purchased from you a couple years ago.

I am really trying to get away from tape, I know it has its down side, but storage is cheap, and having more than one camera rolling is pretty good insurance.

Thanks
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Old July 24th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
I am really trying to get away from tape, I know it has its down side, but storage is cheap, and having more than one camera rolling is pretty good insurance.
We actually went from tapeless acquisition to HDV for a number of reasons including the fact that miniDV still carries the advantages it has always had and for the reason you state: Storage and archiving is dead simple. Our original cameras were HVX200 but we got them when they first came out. There were no card readers so the speed advantage wasn't there. Also in an ENG environment, shooters were ghastly afraid of mixing up P2 cards. Granted we use a Focus Enhancements DTE hard drive recorder as our primary capture medium with the camera's tape as backup and for archiving.

While AVCHD is arguably a superior format in terms of video quality over HDV, folks still love the stuff that's shot on the Canon HDV cams. We use the JVC GD-HY110 which is "only" 720p but even regular EX-1 and EX-3 shooters still envy the smooth color, cinematic capability and low-light performance. Finally, while AVCHD may be tapeless it does not necessarily speed workflow, and in all my experience, it SLOWS workflow because of the transcoding needed when ingesting for editing.

So many folks at DVinfo seem to be focused on the camera itself but for serious commercial work, workflow, speed, reliability, and process is every bit as important as a camera's performance. Even the earliest prosumer HD cams are providing very nice images. Users hoping to "upgrade" really need to look at how the camera works in their workflow process and system as well as the camera specs. Good luck.

Dave
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Old July 24th, 2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Hi Dave,

You bring up some good points.

The workflow of AVCHD really depends on what NLE you use. I'm told that Vegas and Premiere do not need to transcode to edit. I also heard that FCP 7 will handle AVCHD. I'm on Edius, and it has to be transcoded, but on my quad core it transcodes 8 minutes of footage in 8:45, so it's close to the time of tape.

I had no idea that the JVC GY-HD110 is better in low light than the EX1/EX3. I had always heard they were the low light champs. I have shot a little with a GY-HD100, and it was really poor in low light.

I am all about making money with my gear and the HMC150s price point allows me to start making a profit sooner than many of the HD cameras on the market.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #6
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I shoot both the EX1 and HMC side by side, they cut together nicely. in some situations I find the HMC provides a better image, and is easier to use. so much so, i had given thought about selling my EX1 to buy a second and save a boat load of money, still do at times. There really isn't anything the HMC 150 can't do, and I doubt your clients will be able to tell the difference.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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I just received an HMC150, and I regularly shoot multi cam events with a Cannon A1, HV30 plus a Sony Z5 owned by one of the crew.

So far I have just shot color and resolution charts on the wall. I edit with Avid MC, so the HMC150 media was transcoded with Panasonicís utility to ďP2, DVProĒ, imported to Avid and transcoded again to DNxHD145TR, (just like the HDV). The color of the 150 was superior, and the resolution was almost up to the A1, but the same for practical uses. The 150 and A1 were noticeably better than the HV30.

I bought the HMC150 to replace the HV30 for on stage run and gun, so my A1 will stay as the main camera on tripod. There is a lot to like about the HMC150, but in general most features related to the A1 lens are superior.

In a few days Iíll shoot an event, and will learn a lot more, such as... can the autofocus compare to Canonís uncanny perfection.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 08:55 PM   #8
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Be interesting to see what you come back with mate on after your test shoot.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #9
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Tapless definitely is faster if ...!

I own the HMC-150 and IF you own Cineform (Prospect HD) the workflow is MUCH faster than a tape-based camcorder.

Now if you don't own cineform, then you might be right regarding speed but with Cineform and my hmc-150 it has improved my workflow tremendously. I am never going back to tape.

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Old July 30th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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Strange about the HV30s sharpness, me and a friend did a shoot last week, he was using his A1 and my hv 30 was every bit as sharp and i would not want more vivid colour the hv 30 is perfect for me, where the hv loses sharpness is in progressive mode , where the 3 chip has advantages in it has more DOF.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #11
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Good thread. Watched all the videos Mark made on the 150 and now I am back in the middle between shooting for the 150 and the A1. While tapeless is great and I am currently doing that the hard way by capturing directly into my NLE (Avid Liquid) through firewire, I wonder about the issues I will introduce into my workflow with the AVCHD format. Also I really like a long zoom and have loved the 16x on my Panasonic DVC-30 so the 20x on the A1 looks very attrative as compared to the 13x on the 150 however I really liked the comparison that showed the wider angle on the 150. The last 2 weddings I have done have put me very close the the couple at times in the ceremony and the DVC-30 just was not wide enough.

Thanks for all the input from the posters. Just I'll just have to see what will work best with my work flow and cost wise!

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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:49 AM   #12
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I have both cams and for me its a close call, but I do favor the 150. It's lighter, the media is cheap and reuseable, it's sharp, and overall a great cam. Light weight, low cost, and you gotta like AVCHD over HDV.
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