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Old February 22nd, 2010, 03:42 PM   #1
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HMC-40 vs HF-S100

Canon HF-S100 is currently sold $700 at BH photo and Panasonic HMC-40 is close to $2000. It's three for one! Is this justified? Has anyone had an opportunity to directly compare these two cameras? I have read thru all (well, almost...) threads related to these two cams and wasn't able to make up my mind. Is the viewfinder and somewhat better manual control on HMC-40 worth three times the price? Is the picture quality comparable?

Comments welcome!
Senad
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 04:08 PM   #2
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I have an HMC40 and an HF10 (predecessor of the HFS100) - I love them both and use them both! The main difference is simply the form factor - particularly if you want to hang stuff off the camera (the HMC40 in the photo below has a 0.7X adapter and hood, light bracket, tripod plate, and external mic). Also the control rings and user buttons allow you to change manual settings fairly easily while recording on the HMC - the HF has a good selection of manual settings but they are 'fiddly' to access at the best of times. (The HFS is a bit improved I believe). The HMC is heavier, easier to grip, and consequently easier to keep stable when hand-held.

The HMC has slightly better resolution - but both cameras are great in that respect! The HMC also does slightly better in low light - the cameras are equally bright but the HF's grain is a little worse. Low light is not a strong point of either camera. The HF10 footage suffers from chroma interlace artifacts unless you are careful with what software you process it with - its NOT inherent to the camera, but is tricky to avoid. (Not sure if this persists with the HFS100).

The HMC's viewfinder is bad, in my opinion - I rarely use it. But it is there if you need it.

The HF is uber-portable. The HMC has a degree of 'pro credibility' that, to be honest, I find useful for some of the work I do with it. Obviously which of those has greater weight will be a very individual thing.

Basically, if you don't need a larger form factor, or a viewfinder, and don't need 720P60, then the Canon is going to save you a $1000 or so.
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HMC-40 vs HF-S100-hmc_hf.jpg  
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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Graham thanks for your input and particularly for the photo. I never realized that the HMC-40 was so much bigger than the consumer stuff. As a matter of fact, in my case, the smaller is the better. I'll probably go with the smaller camera. I consider the Panasonic TM-300 as well.

What really matters for me is the picture quality. I would appreciate manual controls but I will probably use the camera in the sunny outdoors most of the time. So the automatic controls should be OK 90% of the time. Of course, I can forget about focusing effects and the like ...

I will miss balanced audio inputs but I doubt they are worth extra 1500$...

Thanks again.
Senad
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:08 PM   #4
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New to the fourm, but have some ideas

Hi everyone, I am new here but I had an opinion on this post. I agree with everything Graham already said. I used to own the Canon HS100 and I now own the HMC40. As much as I loved the HS100, I have to say for me the price difference was worth it. I find the video quality very nice from both cameras, but the choices of frame rates seem to be better from the HMC40. IMO You won't go wrong with either camera. One point of note. When I was using the HS100 I was able to edit the video files perfectly and easily in Sony Vegas Pro 8. The files from the HMC40 will not edit w/o conversion to another format. I'm hoping Sony will put out a plug in or fix for this soon! For now, I've had to resort to using the Edius Neo 2.5 NLE.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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Senad the lack of XLR on the HFS100 shoould not be a problem, remember they are not included with the HMC40 and you have to buy them for over $200, You can buy a JuiceLink for the Canon and use it when you need it.
Beside I f you go with the HFS100, you should consider the small Canon DM-100, a very good multi use microphone that connect directly to the hot shoe (yes, no cable) and can be use as a stereo mic or shotgun at the push of a button. And still under $1000 for this kit.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #6
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I actually think having a 60p mode is very important but anyway, the price is not that bad. It's $1,850 and comes with a copy of the popular Edius Neo 2 and a 3 year warranty.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #7
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Presently (and until the end of March) it's coming with Neo 2.5 Booster - if the plain vanilla Neo 2 disk is in box, you can request the 2.5 booster disk via the PASS site.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #8
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Interesting thread. I have a Canon HF-S100, and am contemplating selling it and buying an HMC-40. I like the Canon, but would like a real gain control (the '100 doesn't have one) and a shutter speed I can set while using a Cine picture setting. The HF-S100 varies shutter speed automatically if the Cine mode is selected, so, even though it supposedly has a native 24p mode, the cadence may not be quite right.

The only reservation I have with the HMC40 is the viewfinder. Some say it's of low quality and therefore not useful. While I don't expect to use the VF all the time, it would be nice to know if I can use it for composition at least while shooting handheld.

Otherwise, it looks like a lot of camera for the money.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #9
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The HMC40's viewfinder is OK for composition - less so for focus and exposure.

Be aware that gain control only becomes available once the lens is wide open ... in other words, you don't have independent aperture and gain control.
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