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Old November 23rd, 2009, 03:46 AM   #1
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HMC 70 Pros & Cons in depth Users review

I planning to get one of this Panasonic HMC70, Is this camcorder worth every penny? can any one give me Pros & Cons more in depth from owners?

Should i wait for Sony NXCAM?

Thanks lots
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 04:10 AM   #2
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That's very early AVCHD technology and the bit rate is around 13MBPS. The HMC40 plus XLR adapter combination would be a much much better choice than that. I do not own either camera but you're gonna have to take my word for it.

If your willing to wait, the NXCAM does sound like a very good camera but I read that the release date will be in the Spring. That's a long time if you ask me and I hope it'll be earlier than that.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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The HMC70 is an odd duck; it's 60i-only, it has a maximum bitrate of only 13mbps, and it doesn't even have a focus ring. Unless you have a very definite need for the shoulder-mount form factor, I wouldn't make the HMC70 my first pick.

The HMC40 is a great little camera, very inexpensive, has full 1080p HD sensors and recording format, and really the only knock against it is the light sensitivity.

Neither are in competition with the NXCAM, which should be somewhere around $4200 if the price of the Z5 is anything to go by. If you want to compare against the NXCAM, you should be looking at the HMC150.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 05:11 PM   #4
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Hi Andrew

Despite comments these are AWESOME machines!!! I own two HMC72's (that's just the PAL version) I shoot Real Estate video and Promos but mainly just weddings and they are the greatest!! In my opinion they outshine the HMC40 for events as they still use CCD sensors and I really cannot put up with the hassles of CMOS chips (been there done that and never again!!)
Sure, if you are a technology buff and want 6 different shooting modes and lots of scene files and bells and whistles then the 40 or 150 will fit you needs better, but if you want a really nice picture and brilliant audio controls then grab one!! The audio has twin XLR and full audio control as well as attenuation on each channel...even on auto the audio is excellent and has "auto level" control NOT AGC so there is no pumping effect on silent passages.

I have shot weddings with the cams on full auto and got brilliant results...sure it's only 1080i at 13mbs but watch the video on your TV via HDMI cable and you will be blown away!! There is manual but it is not as user friendly as most cameras..you have to use the menu buttons to focus BUT also you can access the menu and negotiate WITH the camera on your shoulder just by feel!!!!

The cameras are actually far more professional looking than web photos show and are not nearly as "plastic looking" Just realise that these weigh close to 6.5lbs!!! They get heavy after an hour on your shoulder.

I wouldn't change my pair for anything else..I have shoulder-mount, cameras with professional results and I really don't have the time to play around with multi-settings ..I can turn on a shoot and know that the end product will be good!!!

I may sound awfully biased about the HMC70 but I think they are really a great buy!!!

Chris
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 07:05 PM   #5
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I have to agree with Chris on this one. The HMC70 is an entery level camera well price for someone looking to do HD and keep it simple. I've own this camera for over a year and it proven to be a great investment.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input Guys,
Im very new to AVCHD, all the time still using SD format. i guess this HMC 72 (PAL) will be my 1st starter HD Cam.
Where can i get more detail info for 13Mbps or 6Mbps? What the differences anyway? Is this Mbps recording mode very concern in some matter or just file size differ? Do i really need 24Mbps recording mode? since 13Mbps also can delivery jobs?

thanks lots
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #7
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That determinants the picture quality and something that goes up to 13MBPS compared to something that goes up to 24MBPS is a gigantic difference. The picture quality doesn't even come close to today's camcorders.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #8
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Hey Andrew

More than likely you will be doing the same as me as most footage will be on DVD. If you are trying to do Broadcast footage on BluRay then yes 24mbs is required!! However even 6mbs is fine with HD rendered to SD. For weddings I do shoot at 13mbs and that gives me 83 mins of 1920x1080 video on an 8GB SDHC card.

What I do to get a decent workflow is use the free MainConcept transcoder that is on the Panasonic site and transcode all my HD footage to Widescreen AVI ..this is edited and distributed on a standard DVD. I have actually done exhaustive tests with the HD footage transcoded to different formats as well at native AVCHD all rendered to DVD and believe me it's pretty hard to tell the difference between identical clips....most people will never tell!!!

Unless you are supplying footage that HAS to meet certain requirements then don't get so hung up on technical issues!!! (I'm as bad as the rest BTW!!!)

I do weddings at 13mbs transcoded to AVI and my brides are absolutely delighted...if I shot at 24mbs and stuck that on a DVD they would NOT know the difference!!!!

Tell you what ...take a look at a few minutes of my wedding video samples on the link below and YOU tell me which were shot on an HD camera and which were shot on an SD camera ?????
http://www.weddingvideoswa.com/sample.html

It who's behind the camera that counts not a host of technical specs!!!

Chris
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Old November 25th, 2009, 12:16 AM   #9
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I have practical experience with both cameras, but have personally purchased an HMC40 for the following reasons:
  • Manual control of the HMC70 felt very awkward, since you have to use the menu for pretty much everything. One set of buttons for zoom, iris, and focus.
  • The HMC40 also supports zoom and focus/iris remotes.
  • In general, I didn't like the feel of the HMC70. It was physically large enough to be bulky but not heavy enough to feel stable.

My two cents. I do like that the HMC70 has onboard BNC outs. I agree with Chris above in saying that it's the operator, not the equipment, that usually makes or breaks the shot.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #10
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Hi Bryan

Very fair comments!! I seldom use manual as with weddings you don't have the time to "play" I will use manual audio almost all the time and the layout is great! Yes a couple of rings would have made life easy for iris and focus.

I'm wondering is the USA HMC70 has the same case as the HMC72. My cams are more than heavy enough and clock in at 6.5lbs In fact after an hour they get pretty heavy on the shoulder!! One would assume that they both come out of the same mould in Japan????

With weddings I do a heap of handheld shots so I need something stable...I don't think I could get the same result on the HMC40 handheld at weddings and I'm still not a fan of CMOS sensors!! Results I have seen, however, show the 40 to be one awesome camera but having become hooked on shoulder-mount cams all my life..the current ones were an obviously choice!!

If you are going to need compactness then go with the HMC40 the 70's don't exactly fit into your pocket!! I think really that unless one has specific filming requirements and needs specs that fit them exactly, it comes down purely to personal choice. If I had to change from the 70 it would more than likely be to the 150 rather than the 40 as I do like the idea of having 1/3" CCD chips, maybe in some sort of shoulder "pod" ????

Chris
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Old November 25th, 2009, 06:12 AM   #11
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Chris,

How good is the Auto Focus handle in low light situation? will focus scramble to search object or jump forth & back for focusing?

advice me

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Old November 25th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #12
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Hi Andrew

I do weddings in dimly lit churches and have never had a focus issue running on autofocus.

However, I also do Realty Property Condition reports and that sometimes entails filming a white wall which the camera really hates and will lose focus because there is nothing to focus on!! I have also used a Sony for the same job and it couldn't focus at all!!!! I had to go back and use the Panasonic!!!

If there is enough light for an image then focus is always sharp!! At weddings I do the couples first dance with the reception lights turned right down and I just use an LED panel on the couple and focus is still razor sharp. Panasonic have probably the most efficient autofocus system I have used..even in very low light!! The HMC72 does have manual and you CAN operate the cursor buttons while the cam is on your shoulder...it also gives you a 2X magnification to make focussing easier!! I shoot around 36 weddings per season and have never had an issue with autofocus!! My previous cams were SD MD10000's and they too had a great autofocus!!! With any autofocus you will have problems filming thru dirty glass or through wire mesh but all cameras will have that problem!!

The auto focus operation on these is the least of your worries!!!! If you like a big camera then this is your baby!! If you want something compact then wait for the HMC42 to come out!!
BTW: You are obviously in PAL country?? Look at GlobalMedia Pro in New Zealand to get your camera...I have a writeup there as well as I've shopped with them for years!!!


Chris
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Old November 25th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Panasonic have probably the most efficient autofocus system I have used..even in very low light!! ...

The auto focus operation on these is the least of your worries!!!!
I second that.

Cheers!
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Old November 26th, 2009, 01:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I seldom use manual as with weddings you don't have the time to "play"
I try not to play around when shooting, either ;)

There are a couple of reasons why dedicated knobs and buttons are useful for my applications (I deal primarily with stage, theater, and live event shooting):
  • Lighting in a scene may not be even. Auto iris is out of the question, and it's often necessary to ride the iris in the middle of a camera move. The remotes are incredibly useful here.
  • Stage lighting (particularly indigos) combined with moving subjects frequently throw off the autofocus on all cameras.
  • I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone handheld or shoulder mounted during a stage shoot.

Back to the HMC70, I know that the footage that I've shot on it looked pretty good for 13 mbps. That they are able to get such a nice image in half the bitrate of HDV is pretty impressive.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #15
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Chris

I just purchased HMC 72 (PAL), Very awesome cam & quite heavy too, Can i know what is the recording format you use for wedding event? HF, HN or HE? i used Sandisk 16 GB (Class 10) & 2 Transcend 16GB Class 6

thanks
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