Panasonic AG-HMC151e vs. Sony Z1/Z5? at

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Old November 20th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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Panasonic AG-HMC151e vs. Sony Z1/Z5?


I've got a Canon XL2, but I'm looking to upgrade to HD.

So far, I've boiled it down to either the Panasonic HMC151e or the Sony Z1/Z5. Now, I like the HMC151 as it's tapeless, which will really speed up editing time, however from looking on Vimeo, the Z5 appears to be better quality? Has anyone had experience with BOTH of these cameras?

I read somewhere that the HMC151 doesn't actually have HD chips, is this true, and does the Z5 have them? Also, what is the screen like on the HMC151? Is it high-res enough? The Panasonic is a fair bit cheaper, so both cameras have their pros and cons. Just some general feedback on both cameras would be great!

I look forward to hearing from someone!

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Old November 24th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hi, Ollie:

So many variables! Were you thinking about buying used? If not, a new Z5 is about the same price as the NX5, a camera that compares much more readily with an HMC15x as they share the AVCHD format and tapeless operation.

As a former Z5 owner, now an NX5 owner, I would never go back to HDV. Mature though the Z5's HDV codec is, the NX5's AVCHD codec does a far better job maintaining high detail in the presence of motion. It's just all-around better, in my view (except that some editing apps are still learning how to work with AVCHD). In addition, it's tapeless, and tapeless is really the way to go. Unless you're already using tape and don't mind, you really shouldn't get started, IMO.

The HMC15x has lower-resolution sensors than the Z5/NX5, but neither are full HD. Still, the HMC15x images I have seen are remarkably good. Also, the HMC15x, like the NX5, shoots in 720p60 (or 50), which is the underappreciated "wonder mode," IMO, and is what I do almost all of my shooting in now.

...and finally, the HMC15x is a lot less expensive than a Z5/NX5, which has got to be pretty tempting. I went with the NX5 largely because I was used to the Z5 and liked it (with the exception of dealing with tape). If I was starting from scratch, things might have gone differently. Though I have not personally used the HMC15x, I have to say that it looks like a bargain for what it offers.

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Aaron Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #3
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I would really say yes, AVCHD is the way to go over tape and HDV, so I would go with the HMC150. In fact I bought, and use 2 of them. Great cam, and as mentioned above, the price cannot be beat. Nor IMO, can its overall image quality, in this type of cam,
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Old November 25th, 2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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Ask the question in this forum... we'll all say "Go Panasonic". Ask it in the Sony forum, and they'll all say "Go Sony"!

Faced with these quandries, I fall back to a spreadsheet - list all the features of the two or three cameras youa re looking at, including price, give them all weights based on how important they are to you, and eventually Excel can decide for you.

Or maybe I'm just too sad...
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Old November 30th, 2010, 11:08 AM   #5
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Hi Ollie,

Some good comments have already been made, many of which I totally agree with. I like AVCHD much better than HDV, so the NX5U is a better choice over the Z5, in my opinion. However, if you want to see how footage from the Z5 compares with the HMC150 you can see a low light shootout here.
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I would assume that the Z5 and NX5U have similar chips, so the performance should be similar, at least in the ballpark, however, I am not a Sony expert. I'm sure you could get more info on that in the Sony forum of DV Info.

So if it comes down to comparing the NX5U to the HMC150, they each have their own positives and negatives. For shooting handheld or Glidecam, I greatly prefer the HMC150. When shooting outdoors, especially in full sun, I greatly prefer the HMC150. The reflective screen on the NX5U makes it very difficult to see, even with a Hoodman. If you shoot everything inside on a tripod, the NX5U may have the advantage.

Fair warning, the NX5U has had some issues with bad back focus, so if you do decide to go with the NX5U, make sure you test out the back focus right away and if you received a bad unit, send it back right away. If you wait, you will have to pay shipping and go through the Sony warranty service. You Do Not want to do that.

Bottom line. They are both great cameras, it's just a matter of finding out which one is better for you and your needs.
Mark Von Lanken
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:06 AM   #6
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Guys, thanks so much for your replies!

Mark, I've read your review and watched the comparison videos - they are so helpful!

I think I'm pretty much set on the HMC151 now, especially as it will be easy to use the footage alongside my Canon 550d too.

Once again, thanks a lot for your help!
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