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AVCHD for pro applications: AG-AC160, AC130 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old September 14th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #1
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Ag-hmc80?

I have been using the HVR-Z1U for the last few years, but now I am doing less corporate events and I have sold my Z1U. I would like to go tapeless and with a proper shoulder mount camera. I have used a few shoulder mounts in the past and didnt really like any of them.

I have found a lot of articles on here talking about the the HMC80 when it first came out, but not seeing much else about them recently. I have a few questions if some users could answer them. How are they overall as a camera? How well are they balanced on the shoulder? Are they too light? having to work around no ND filters?; I would like to spend up to $2000 which is what the price of the HMC80 is in Canada. Is this the most bang for the buck, or am i better off buying a high end palmcorder and and beachtek and a make shift shoulder mount. Is it worth looking at a shoulder mount less than $5000?

I initially was looking at the HXR-MC2000 from Sony but the poor reviews and lack of xlr audio and manual controls turned me off. I like the HMC80 from what i've seen so far, but I have not seen them locally to get a hands on feel to them.

Thanks
Mark
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Old September 14th, 2011, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Ask Chris Harding...He uses the 82s which are the PAL version but basically the same camera. Prior to that he used the HMC72s which was the older model. He loves them.
He's the guy to ask!
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Don
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Old September 14th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #3
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

I've been very happy with my 80 ... not done a ton of shoulder work - mostly tripod.
KenM

PS - i hate tape - hope to never buy anything again that uses tape
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Old September 14th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #4
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

from what I hear the HMC-80 is really good camera but its pretty light hungry.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Thanks Don
Your check is in the post too!!

Balance is nice on the 80 but it is a little front heavy .... I use one of my own rigs on a waist belt for long wedding shoots otherwise the main BIG advantage is that you can change any setting on the camera without using a stupid menu or touchscreen...all the HMC80 controls are on the outside which is awesome.

The image is actually sharper than the HMC150 but yes you will struggle in low light but nowhere near as bad as the Sony which with a single chip dies once you go indoors!!!!

The 80 will still give a decent pic indoors but at stuff like dark wedding reception you need an on camera light to get a really crisp image!!! I use mine almost daily for Realty shoots and inside normal domestic homes no lighting is required.

I did look at getting HMC150's and then a decent shoulder mount rig but it really wasn't cost justified.

The only camera with a really decent EVF (it uses an LCD and loupe so the image is HUGE!!!) The only comparible EVF is the Sony EX3 which uses the same system (I can't afford EX3's at $8K each!!!)

Chris
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Old September 14th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Thanks everyone for their comments. I think I may be purchasing this in the near future unless something else comes up. I wish it had 2 sd slots or some internal memory, but everything else seems adequate for it. The last panasonic camera I used on a regular basis was the AG-460 SVHS camera which I still have. I have also purchased some low and higher end palmcorders over the years and just could not get used to them so I will be seriously looking at the HMC80.

Thanks again for the comments.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #7
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Hi Mark

Dual slots are not really needed unless you are planning a marathon shoot that needs to be continuous!!
A 32gb card will give you 3hrs and 16 mins of footage at the highest bitrate...even longer at lower rates.

At 17mbps you still get a great picture and a 32 GB card will give you over 4 hours!!!

BTW : the 80 has automatic ND filters in the lens that kick in when the shutter speed cannot handle the incoming light!!

Chris

Last edited by Chris Harding; September 15th, 2011 at 01:54 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2011, 06:29 AM   #8
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

True. Most of the time I will be shooting stand up interviews or maybe 30 minute studio discussions so i dont really need multiple cards. I have never needed multiple tapes for long shoots.

Nice to know about the ND filters. Probably not as good as a proper manual ND filter but nice there is something there.

I am also seeing discussions over the HMC70 and HMC80. Does one outperform more than the other? Probably HMC70 is better in low light but is there much else? Also any talk of a new model coming out?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old September 15th, 2011, 07:01 AM   #9
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Hi Mark

I have had both cameras!! The 70 was better in low light I felt probably due to the CCD chips but not nearly as sharp as the 80!!! The bottom line is that if you really need a low light camera then you need 3 x 2/3rd " chips ...end of story ....the Sony EX3 has 1/2" chips at $8K and going to bigger chips you start talking about money that doesn't make the purchases viable!!! Sadly we are stuck with 1/4" chips and the need for lighting in dark venues!!! I still prefer the 80 over the 70!! The 70 has virtually no manual buttons and you have to delve into the menu to control iris!! On the 80 I flip the switch to manual and I STILL have semi-auto exposure to get me in the ball park .. a quick press of the iris wheel and you control everything manually but a second press lets the camera take over again...it's the only camera you can work "blind" and switch from manual to auto and back again while keeping your eye on the EVF!!!

I felt that going for the HMC150 plus a decent rig and putting up with a pathetic EVF just wasn't worth it!!!

The new AC series I think are not shoulder mount so I haven't heard of any genuine SM's from Panasonic in the price range us mere mortals can afford!!!

Chris
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Old September 17th, 2011, 07:50 AM   #10
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

One more quick question. I have seen the TM700/900 can do 1080p at 60p. Can the HMC-80 do this? I have only read it can do 60i. Is there a firmware upgrade for this camera that would allow this if it doesnt have it out of the box? I may look at getting a TM700 for a B roll camera if it is similar since the chips are similar as well.

Thanks
Mark
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Old September 17th, 2011, 08:33 AM   #11
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Hi Mark

The chips are indeed the same but for some reason the HMC80 only does (like the HMC40) 1080i, and in progressive 1080 mode it will do 30P and 24P

In 720 mode it will do 24P, 30P and 60P (mine are PAL so I mainly shoot weddings in 720 50P which is double frame rate )....it of course also has 1080i is 3 other bitrate modes which are useful and you can also shoot SD directly onto the card in both interlaced and progressive.

No-one yet has convinced me why the so called progressive modes are so good!!! Admittedly at double frame rate I get a lot better slomos and 720 is "supposed" to do a better transfer down to SD...I have shot weddings and both 1080 i and 720P and I cannot see any difference personally!!! Progressive does allow you to get pristine stills but the camera already takes great 10.6 megapixel stills anyway.

My cams seem to give an awesome image whatever mode I use!! But for the traditional video look you really cannot beat 1080 i although most people are convinced that you get a better image in progressive!!

The TM900 footage should match well!!!

Chris
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Old September 20th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #12
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
I have been using the HVR-Z1U for the last few years, but now I am doing less corporate events and I have sold my Z1U. I would like to go tapeless and with a proper shoulder mount camera. I have used a few shoulder mounts in the past and didnt really like any of them.

I have found a lot of articles on here talking about the the HMC80 when it first came out, but not seeing much else about them recently. I have a few questions if some users could answer them. How are they overall as a camera? How well are they balanced on the shoulder? Are they too light? having to work around no ND filters?; I would like to spend up to $2000 which is what the price of the HMC80 is in Canada. Is this the most bang for the buck, or am i better off buying a high end palmcorder and and beachtek and a make shift shoulder mount. Is it worth looking at a shoulder mount less than $5000?

I initially was looking at the HXR-MC2000 from Sony but the poor reviews and lack of xlr audio and manual controls turned me off. I like the HMC80 from what i've seen so far, but I have not seen them locally to get a hands on feel to them.

Thanks
Mark
Mark,

For what it's worth, you can get an HMC80 at Vistek in Toronto for $2099CDN, which puts you just slightly over your budget of $2K.

I don't work for Vistek, nor do I have any connection with them, financial or otherwise, but I thought you might find this info useful.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #13
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Thanks Steve. Henrys has it for the same price as well and they have a local store.

Just one more question about this camera. How does this compare to other cameras in the price range? I have been looking at the XA10 from Canon and some other high end handycams. Is the quality much better on the panasonic or worse? As much as I would like to have a shoulder mount camera, i'd rather pay less for better quality. Also, how would this compare to a older HVR-Z1U?

Sorry for so many questions, but I really can't try out the camera without buying it first. I want to be sure that I am buying the best quality image with the most features in the price range.

Thanks
Mark
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Old October 4th, 2011, 09:32 AM   #14
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Hey Mark

Still deciding??? I was thinking about going up to the new Panasonic ag-130 but after looking at last Sunday's wedding clip I thought to myself ..WHY??? The image is razor sharp, the colour is nicely saturated and accurate and in my opinion am I going to get DOUBLE the quality just by paying double the price???

Did you know that the HMC40 and 80 actually have a sharper image than the much more expensive HMC150. I really think that it's awesome value for money!!

I upgrade around every 12 -18 months and unless Panny come out with an HMC90 I cannot see me changing!!! Seriously, where can you find a shoulder-mount camera with pro audio XLR's and ALL the manual controls on the outside so you are not fiddling with menus all the time????

My two HMC82's have now clocked up over 100 hours each and I'm STILL impressed!!!! Never an issue and they have never disappointed me!!! Unless you want something small you can throw into a backpack then for me they are the best ever value at the moment on the market..way ahead of anything else in the same price range!!

Chris
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Old October 4th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #15
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Re: Ag-hmc80?

Well that is it true. I don't mind having a small handycam for b-roll, but for a camera I will actually be using I would like a no-nonsense camera. It doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles, but just enough. Sick having to have adapters and mounts and other 'stuff' to make my camera the way I want it. Features wise the HMC80 has enough for me. For anything $2000-3000 I am not getting a professional camera with real interchangeable video lenses anyway, and the form factor definitely is a big plus for me.

Thanks
Mark
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