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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:21 PM   #16
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I saw that Amazon finally had the HMC-40 in stock so I took the plunge and am getting it overnighted it to my office.

Two questions for those who have the 40:

1. How is the sound using the 1/8 mic input?
2. Is there a way to record in standard def? I'm thinking no.

This is the camera I will be taking on my upcoming Halloween cruise. I can't wait to see how it does in low-lighting situations such as in the nightclubs and dining room. I'll be taking my Comer 1800 light with me so that will be a big help. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:45 AM   #17
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Congratulations on your purchase!

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Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
1. How is the sound using the 1/8 mic input?
That's going to depend more on the quality of the microphone than the quality of the connection for a short cable run (e.g. shotgun mic on the handle). Where you will see significant advantages for XLR connections is situations where you want the microphone cable run a long distance from the camera - then the unbalanced cable to the 1/8" mic input might cause problems. I suggest you take a look at the Rode VideoMic if you decide to stick with the 1/8" input.

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Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
2. Is there a way to record in standard def? I'm thinking no.
No standard def recording. But you can put a 4x3 marker box on the screen so you can frame for standard def and then downconvert to SD in post (or you can play standard def out of the camera)
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:56 AM   #18
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Well, luckily I do have a Rode Videomic, which I have been using on my Sony HDR-XR500V. Love them both.

I do mostly breaking news videos for our newspaper group's web site, and the Videomic has served me very well. Because the HMC-40 can't shoot in standard def, I probably won't use it for work. I've tried editing AVCHD on deadline, and believe me, it's not fun - even with a tricked-out Dell laptop running Premiere Pro CS4.

However, I've got an assignment this weekend to go ghost-hunting overnight at a local renovated theater. That would certainly put the 40 through its paces and since the g-hunting is not a deadline story, I could convert the files to SD to edit.

I'll report back next week on how everything went.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 06:05 PM   #19
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Sherri,

I just don't think ghost hunting with the HMC40 is the best route to go, the low light I have experienced, to include household lights has been mediocre at best. I have a feeling you will be quite displeased with low light.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 09:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Ryan View Post

No standard def recording. But you can put a 4x3 marker box on the screen so you can frame for standard def and then downconvert to SD in post (or you can play standard def out of the camera)

Rich,

We've been transcoding down to SD, but I've not been able to figure out how to put the 4:3 markers on the screen. Is there a setting in the menu somewhere for that? The only thing I've been able to find is grid lines for the photo mode.

Thanks,
Robert
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:50 PM   #21
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Yeah, Mike, I did some testing tonight with ambient light inside a small restaurant that was closing after 27 years in business. Low-light video was OK - better than I thought it would be - but still not in the stellar category. Audio with the Videomic was really good, though.

I had planned to bring the HMC-40 to my g-hunting assignment to shoot interviews before the lights go out. My trusty Sony HDR-XR500V with Night Shot is going to be my camera of choice for the duration of the assignment. Gotta have that authentic g-hunting infrared look.

And another question about the 40 - does it have to have Panasonic batteries or can I use third-party ones? I am figuring that since Panasonic and Sony are technology partners, the Pannys have to have a chipped battery like the Sonys do. And did I read correctly that the 7-hour battery for the 40 has to have its own charger and can't be charged with the included charger? What??
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Robert Welch View Post
We've been transcoding down to SD, but I've not been able to figure out how to put the 4:3 markers on the screen. Is there a setting in the menu somewhere for that? The only thing I've been able to find is grid lines for the photo mode.
It's in the SW&DISP SETUP menu under SAFETY ZONE choices are NONE, 90% (default) and 4:3.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 12:02 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
YAnd another question about the 40 - does it have to have Panasonic batteries or can I use third-party ones? I am figuring that since Panasonic and Sony are technology partners, the Pannys have to have a chipped battery like the Sonys do. And did I read correctly that the 7-hour battery for the 40 has to have its own charger and can't be charged with the included charger? What??
Sherri, I don't know about the only Panasonic batteries, but I expect they will need to be "approved" I think there is an Anton Bauer battery (pricey) that will work. I have the big 7-hour battery. It uses the same charger that was included with the HMC40. It's pretty big and heavy but it does last a LONG time.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 12:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
I had planned to bring the HMC-40 to my g-hunting assignment to shoot interviews before the lights go out. My trusty Sony HDR-XR500V with Night Shot is going to be my camera of choice for the duration of the assignment. Gotta have that authentic g-hunting infrared look.
The HMC40 is obviously the successor of the DVC30 but it’s too bad a certain feature didn’t make it to the HMC40.
THis could bite the Sony PD170 & VX-2100
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 11:38 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Rich Ryan View Post
It's in the SW&DISP SETUP menu under SAFETY ZONE choices are NONE, 90% (default) and 4:3.

Thanks for the info, Rich. I will say, the menu system is nice in some ways, but kinda complicated at the same time. Just not enough time in the day to play with it and learn everything.

Robert
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 12:45 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
Yeah, Mike, I did some testing tonight with ambient light inside a small restaurant that was closing after 27 years in business. Low-light video was OK - better than I thought it would be - but still not in the stellar category. Audio with the Videomic was really good, though.
Glad to hear that you are using it for interviews. I'd like to see your interview footage as I have one coming up Oct 10th. I did some pro-bono work at work on Friday and used a lavalier system, the audio worked quite well. Quite pleased with this little guy.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 09:40 PM   #27
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I'm considering the idea of selling my FX1, and purchasing an HMC40 with the proceeds. The biggest question in my mind is, will the HMC40 perform nearly as well as the FX1, in typical indoor situations around the house, like shooting clips of my grandkids in the living room (with just practical lighting), or will there be a noticeable step down in that regard?

I realize the 1/4" chips in the HMC40 are way smaller than the 1/3" chips in the FX1, but I'm also aware that imaging sensor chip technology has advanced significantly since the FX1 was introduced - newer 1/3" chip cameras clearly outperform the FX1 in less than ideal lighting.

How clean are the images from the HMC40, when employing considerable gain? Is it cleaner, when using gain, than the FX1? The clip Bob Diaz posted gives me that impression.
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 11:00 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
I'm considering the idea of selling my FX1, and purchasing an HMC40 with the proceeds. The biggest question in my mind is, will the HMC40 perform nearly as well as the FX1, in typical indoor situations around the house, like shooting clips of my grandkids in the living room (with just practical lighting), or will there be a noticeable step down in that regard?

I realize the 1/4" chips in the HMC40 are way smaller than the 1/3" chips in the FX1, but I'm also aware that imaging sensor chip technology has advanced significantly since the FX1 was introduced - newer 1/3" chip cameras clearly outperform the FX1 in less than ideal lighting.

How clean are the images from the HMC40, when employing considerable gain? Is it cleaner, when using gain, than the FX1? The clip Bob Diaz posted gives me that impression.
I think you will find the HMC40 sharper than the FX1 in good light. But low light may be a disappointment. I just did a quick search and consensus seems to put the FX1 ASA at about 150. The HMC40 tests put it at ASA 64. So the FX1 is at least one stop faster. Don't forget that now only are the sensors smaller 1/4" vs 1/3" but they are more dense (full 1920x1080 HD).

But in my uses (even indoors) it has been fine. Just add a little more light. The form factor and tapeless workflow is really nice.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 04:30 AM   #29
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I just did a quick search and consensus seems to put the FX1 ASA at about 150. The HMC40 tests put it at ASA 64. So the FX1 is at least one stop faster.
You can't judge relative sensitivities like that unless you know that they each have the same noise figure at the quoted gain. It's quite possible for one camera to seem insensitive, but have very low noise at the 0dB setting. That means it can stand a lot of gain, so actually perform better in low light than another with a higher quoted 0dB ASA rating.

The only way to tell is take both cameras somewhere dark, put in enough gain to expose them the same, then review the results on a decent screen. All the ASA numbers tell you is what f no you will have at 0dB gain in a given light level.

Think of digital still cameras - you can tell them to be any ASA rating you want.
Quote:
Don't forget that now only are the sensors smaller 1/4" vs 1/3" but they are more dense (full 1920x1080 HD).
It seems to be even more than that. Panasonics description talks of "full HD 3MOS imagers, high-resolution 10.6-megapixel still photo capture", so I assume they the sensors must be even more dense than 1920x1080. Result is a sharp still image - but even worse low light performance.
Quote:
But in my uses (even indoors) it has been fine. Just add a little more light. The form factor and tapeless workflow is really nice.
Has anyone compared it to the JVC HM100, which seems to be the most direct competitor? Almost identical form factor, and also SDHC recording. I'd be curious to know how they compare in low light.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #30
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With respect to comparisons to the HM100, yes that would be quite interesting to see. However, from a price standpoint the HM100 is competing more with the HMC150. But I too would like to see how they compare.
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