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Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders
AVCHD for pro applications: AG-HMC40, AG-HMC150 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:28 AM   #1
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HMC70 vs HMC80 Worth it???

Hi Guys

I'm running two HMC72's (PAL version of the 70) and they have been absolutely flawless and totally reliable too. Great image and great audio. I shoot a wedding almost every weekend and do around 6 Realty shoots during the week so they work pretty hard!!!!

Our tax year here ends on 30th June so if I'm upgrading I need to do it before then to get maximum offset!!

Overall is the HMC80 a significant improvement over the 70???? Anyone done the upgrade from 70 to 80 and are really happy?????

Your thoughts would be much appreciated

Chris
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #2
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Hi Chris,

I am interested to hear the responses too. I am currently shooting with a HMC40 as my main camera, highlights and reception complimented with a Pentax DLSR and an old DVC60 as the second ceremony cam that needs to be upgraded to HD.
Not to get off topic but how are your HMC72s in low light? We have to run lighting with the HMC40 otherwise the quality suffers.

Thanks
Adam
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #3
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Hi Adam

The 70 has pretty good low light even with 1/4" CCD's ..however at the reception I always pop an LED light on the B-Cam and shoot speeches with a softbox (with 4 x50w CFL bulbs) behind me.

Doing bridal prep inside homes I never have an issue with low light..the cams perform very well inside a normal house ...it's not off topic at all cos the change from CCD's to 3MOS is my only concern!! Will it be better or worse???? The rest of the camera is almost identical!!

Chris
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Old January 28th, 2011, 12:03 AM   #4
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Thanks Chris. Of course the HMC40 pales in comparison to the DVC60 in low light but with our LED lighting it does pretty good. Brightening up the footage and smoothing out the grain with Neatvideo has been necessary a couple times. Unfortunately the color saturation is what really suffers and can't be fixed in post. I don't mind some grain, thats an easy fix. I kinda figured the HMC70 to be the replacement to the DVC60, the DVC60 is great low light.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 05:48 AM   #5
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Hi Adam

I'm toying with the idea of moving to either the HMC80 or the HMC150. I would think that the 150 would be a lot better in low light than the 80 for starters but I was brought up on shoulder mount cameras so I would also need some sort of rig to make it a quasi-shoulder mount unit.

I do Realty shoots during the week as well so a lighter camera would reduce the aches and pains of lugging an 8lb camera around for 4 hours a day!! The 150 is half that weight!! My stedicam use would be easier too!!!

However my Realty shoots only need to be SD so the new SD feature also would save me heaps of time as I wouldn't need to transcode the AVCHD footage (Does the 80 still write SD to the card??? is it in AVI format????)

It's hard to decide actually!!!

Chris
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Old January 28th, 2011, 06:48 AM   #6
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Hi Chris,

I made the switch to the Sony NXCAM, but still keep up with Panasonic HMC line. The HMC80 uses the AVI file format for SD footage. Editing should be a breeze!
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Old January 28th, 2011, 02:42 PM   #7
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We shoot everything with the 40 in HD and transcode using cineform. That makes it really easy to edit. The 80 should still write to SD card. I've read it is essentially a shoulder mount version of the 40.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 06:43 PM   #8
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Hey Adam

I do have one factor also that is a concern and that is weight...I'm 65 next birthday and the HMC72's are getting heavy..on average I'm shooting every weekend PLUS doing at least 6 hours of Realty shoots a week and the arms and muscles start to ache so a lighter camera just might be the answer.

At present the HMC150 is only about $700 more than the 80 and I would benefit from the bigger lens and bigger chips too with low light weddings.

The only other issue with the 150 would be getting a shoulder rig for it!! I wonder if you can get an offset rig for the 150 so you can have it on your shoulder and use the EVF???? or do you have to use the LCD instead???

Decisions, decisions!!!!

Chris
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Old January 30th, 2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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When I bought my HMC40 the guy threw in a shoulder mount. The 40 on the mount is way heavier than my DVC60. The mount he gave me has a counter weight on the back, even with the foam padding I can only use it for about 30min until it starts making my shoulder sore.

I will post a pic of it so you can avoid it.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Chris, I'm not going to speak to the benefits of one camera vs. another as I'm not realy familiar with the cams you are looking at however as one who is also going to be the same number as you on the next b-day and one who has not only used full sized cameras most of his career but also one who has tried many of the shoulder rigs out there, my take is this. Not only the weight of the unit but the balance of the unit. The only shoulder rig I have ever found and used that, while not the lightest of units, relieves the weight of the unit and mounted camera, is the DVMultirig. that is due to the spring rod that is attached to the unit. I, like you I'm sure, have used some very heavy camera rigs over the years but for me the balance of the rig was always more important. Yes a 26 or 28 pound rig got heavy no matter how well balanced but even an HMC150 on a should mount bracket without the spring rod to carry some of the weight is IMO worse simply because the balance is off and all the weight is carried by your arms only.
What I'm saying here is the smaller camera maynot be the end all, be all for you. I know you've been using the shoulder cams for a long time but the ones you use are fairly light. You might find you'd be better off sticking with that type of camera and perhaps invest in something like the ENG rig (made by Danny at DVTec-same as Multirig) to relieve the weight issue. I have one that I used on my JVC5000 with wireless receiver and Hytron 120 battery which made for a very heavy unit and the ENGrig made it quite reasonable to carry on my shoulder for hours on end. Also used it on my Sony DSR cameras and the unit made a world of difference.
I'm only mentioning this because were both old coots that are looking for ways to lighten our loads.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #11
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Personally I am thinking of selling one if not both of my AG-HMC 150s and get the 80s even though the 80s are not as good in low light as the 150 I have not found a shoulder rig that really does the job for me plus I have too much anton/bauer stuff. now that Anton/bauer has a solution fot he AG-HMC 80 I may just switch. After shooting as long as I have with shoulder mount pro cameras I need something on the shoulder.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 06:11 AM   #12
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Thanks Don and Randy!!

Don, as we get older we must get wiser!! I think I would truely struggle with a handheld.A spring loaded brace just might be the answer.. I started with the Panasonic M-Series (Standard VHS) and have been a shoulder mount fan from that day onwards so staying with the format makes sense. I think I would miss the really nice features where I can do almost everything on the outside of the camera without having to delve into menus, sub-menus and touch screens!!!

I must admit, I made myself a waist strap with a simple tripod leg in the pouch attached to the camera front and it's amazing how grossly front heavy the camera is!!! Of course a simple strut doesn't allow you any sort of flexibility if you move the cam vertically although side to side is brilliant. A rig like that might just ease my aching elbows as it's obvious that I'm taking a lot of camera weight on them.

Randy..your comment is food for thought!!! You are going in the opposite direction so maybe I really do need to stick with the cameras I know best and upgrade to 80's (they are heaps cheaper too) However I do think that Don is on the right track with providing some weight relief at the lens end!!!

Chris
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Old January 31st, 2011, 08:37 AM   #13
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Chris, the Multirigs spring rod has a connection to the multirig that will aloow movement such as dutch angle, the rig of course allows side to side and the rod if kept loose will allow up and down movement.

The ENGrig for fullsize cameras has rods which attach to the camera where the front tripod foot would be. The plate has a foot moulded in so it still works on a Sony or JVC plate so the camera can still mount to that. The rod of course allows side to side and up and down movement.

However I just noticed that the setup is made for Sony and JVC cameras so I don't know that it would work on the Panny models. You'd need to check it out on Dannys site DVTEC - Home

While the Multirig isn't cheap, it works. You can mount a wireless receiver to the back of it for balance, the mounting for the camera can adjust back and forth (I use the Manfrotto QR577 device on it so I can go from multirig to tripod or monopod with ease) I also use a Varizoom LANC controller on the right handle for zoom, record and start/stop. You can also re-configure the rig in many ways. I've never regretted investing in it for the small form factor cameras.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:11 PM   #14
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The problems I had with "the rigs" are out of the ones I tried which is a lot of them there was always something wrong with one of them. ie one work work well on my shoulder but not mount to a tripod OR give me an offset for the VF or have a place to mount my wireless & anton/bauer stuff OR would have a poor balance on my shoulder BUT be o.k. on the tripod OR would balance on my shoulder but be off on the tripod. For me I understand the weight issue but id rather have 7 lbs on my shoulder than 5 lbs in my hands tying to keep it steady. The only mount I saw that I am really interested in is this one Camera Plates Wings Arms and Shoulder Braces: Westside A V Studios WEB Store but as of yet I dont know if it will work with my AG-HMC 150.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 05:51 AM   #15
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Just for interest I cut up an old fanny bag (the kinda camera case that straps around your waist) and simply cut the bag away and stitched a pocket on the padded front that was left.

I made a simple aluminium rail system under the HMC72 to give me a mounting point just under the lens hood and cut up a cheap tripod leg and attached a tiny ball head to the camera end.

Don (as usual) was 100% right...it's not the overall weight but the balance!! With the "under lens hood" support there is now no camera weight at all on my arms...wow!! what a difference!!!

Admittedly there is no spring like the ENG rig but it still works pretty well.

I think I might just stick with my love of shoulder-mount cams as the price difference between the 80 and 150 if you also factor in around $650 for a DVMultirig becomes quite a factor!!!

I would still like to hear from anyone that has owned a HMC70 and done a comparison between that and either the HMC40 or 80.

Thanks to everyone for all the advice !!!

Chris
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