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


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Old September 30th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #1
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AG-AC130 vs XF300

The Canon XF300 sounds like a great tapeless solution to my XH-A1 cameras. The problem is price. The Panasonic AC130 (Coming out in November) looks like as good a camera as the XF300 but at a more realistic price point.
Any opinions would be much appreciated.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:45 AM   #2
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Different horses for different courses.
AVCHD vs. MXF wrapper, 24mbps vs. 50, 4:2:0 color vs 4:2:2 (at 50mbps only), CF vs SDHC, biggest point, since the Panny isn't out yet there's no way to make a fair comparasion. However, I have heard the Panny which has been upgraded from the HMC150 is supposed to have, not only a longer throw lens and dual slots but a better LCD screen and is suppposed to be better than the 150 in low light situations. Again since the camera isn't out yet, no way to tell.
Unless you need it tomorrow why not wait, let the 130 get out there and then make your decision based on real information and fact instead of rumor and hearsay.
I'm also looking at the 130 so I'm just gonna wait and see how it plays out. We can wait together! ;-)
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Old September 30th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Me three. Except XF100 vs AC130.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Hey Don

The Canon has one very irksome feature which is any clip longer than 5 minutes is broken up into 5 minute "chunks" That's means a standard Catholic ceremony would have 9 clips attached to it and the Pansonic a mere 1 clip!!! Since 99% of the time us wedding guys are going back down to DVD I doubt whether 50 mbps is necessary.

Hmmm pity the 130 is still a handheld camera...since it's not shoulder-mount I suspect it will have a crappy EVF like the 150!! Hopefully Panny have gone the same route as the HMC80 and put in a decent size LCD with a loupe eyepiece!!

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Old September 30th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #5
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

On paper the hpx250 is the competitor to the xf300. No matter how the 130 gets updated over the 150 (which I owned for two years) the codec is the weak point. I think the 130 will fall between the xa10 and XF's. I got great results with my 150 but the 300 is a different beast. And I have time on the xf100 which at this time doesn't have a real competitor. Seemingly the hmc40 would be the natural choice (I've got lots of hours behind it too) and while it's nice, the 100 blows it away due to the codec.
Really do hope Panny gets the message about the lcd's as every camera I've used (hvx200, hpx170, hmc150, hmc40) has been terrible.

And Chris, I've filled two 32 gb cards sequentially during an event recording (162minutes) and it showed up as one file when imported into FCP. Can't speak for Premier or other editing platforms but the 4gb clips are a non issue for me. And with the canons, you can select other rates than 50mps for recording but why? It looks sooo good!
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Hi Robert

No personal experience but Jeff Harper said that's what put him off!!! It's great if the clips are kept intact!!

The only decent EVF is on the HMC80 (mine are 82's since we are PAL) They moved the LCD and put in into the EVF housing so you have a huge 3" EVF with a 3 X loupe eyepiece and it's absolutely awesome!!!

That was the main thing that put me off the 150...it's much the same EVF as my olde HMC70's with a tiny LCD and it's like looking down a black tunnel with a tiny image at the end!!

I shot on Shaun's Sony EX-3 a few months ago and that also has an awesome EVF!!!! nice and big and easy to use but at over $8K here they are out of my budget!!! They are nice as you can use them as a shoulder mount camera since they have a traditional EVF!!

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Old October 1st, 2011, 12:49 AM   #7
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

I guess I must be missing something. . .

I hardly ever use the eyepiece when using these type of cams. It has its uses but I much prefer the flip out.

As for handheld vs shoulder mount, good riddance!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 01:03 AM   #8
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

The evf is useful if you're truly handheld. Gives you another point of contact to stabilize. Plus in the bright sun, the LCD is pretty useless unless you have a hood.
I've gotten used to shooting my 7D with a z-finder so it's a natural thing for me.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 09:03 AM   #9
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

The ac130 at sub $4000 is going to be a very nice camera regardless and the 1/3rd CMOS chips are likely to be a lot more sensitive than the old 150 CCD chips and based on the fact that the little HMC40 produces a sharper image than the 150 ...the 130 should be quite a machine. I was surprised that it's over 5lbs!!! It's actually almost as long as my HMC82 shoulder mount cameras, nearly as high and somewhat wider so it should feel pretty good in your hands!!

I wonder if the LCD is mounted far back enough so one could add a small rail under the cam and then pop something like a loupe over the LCD so you have the option to use it truly handheld or also pop it on your shoulder???? Having a loupe eyecup on the left of the cam also acts as a very stable support point!!

It just might be a replacement for my two HMC82's soon and it looks like our Don Bloom might soon leave his PD150/170's for this new one???? It's a bit unfair to compare the AC-130 at under $4K to the XF300 which is almost $8K .... it would be fairer to compare the XF 300 and the Sony EX-3 which are closer in price and I still would rather have the Sony's 1/2" chips!!!

Chris
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Old October 1st, 2011, 09:56 AM   #10
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

In this price range the choice is between Panny HPX-250, Canon XF-300 and Sony EX1/3.

All have advantages and disadvantages. The Sony weakness is in the 4:2:0 color-space and the compression. The Panny weakness is in the cost of P2 cards and the Canon in the use of MPEG2.

Of the three, only the Canon is a BBC approved HD handheld, so IMO that makes it a no-brainer, the Canon is the absolute favorite, but when the 250 really comes out, it may change the landscape a bit, or not. The Sony loses on the aspects of color space and compression and the optics do not compensate for the larger sensor size, not to mention the lousy ergonomics of the EX3.

Comparing the XF-300 to a consumer camera like the 130 is not a real comparison. It is something like HDCAM-SR versus a GoPro and both deliver 1920 x 1080 resolution.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 11:18 AM   #11
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Harm, I'm sorry but I must disagree. First off the price range you're talking about is anywhere from 2 to 3 thousand more than the price range of the 130 so I would have to expect the higher prieced cameras would offer me more although that's not always the case as we all know. Secondly for one of the cameras is a P2 workflow which I have been seeing less and less of and is quite a bit more costly than the CF or SDHC. Thirdly 2 of the cams you mentioned are 1/2 inch and while they may "only" do a 4:2:0 space for many of us it os really a matter of so what.
Even the original comparison of the XF300 at $6500 USD vs the AG-AC130 at $3800 is not a fair comparison. While both have 1/3 inchs "chips" and longer lens they are nowhere near comprable cameras. Not saying one is better just not close enough in specs or price to be a fair comparison.
Kind of like comparing Rolls Royce and Chevy. Both will do the same job but the specs and price range of the 2 make it a very unfair comparison.
Much of the comparison between the 2 cameras is a personal preference as much as anything thing else but again since the AG-AC130/160 isn't even out on the market yet how can we compare anything to it but when we do, lets use a comparable model to do so, you know apples to apples and oranges to oranges otherwise it an unfair comparison.

Chris, thinking I might have to join the 21st century at some point in time ;-) but even if I do, I'll hang onto my trusty old 150/170s since I have some corp clients that at the end of the day want the original tapes and I aim to please especially when they're writing the checks!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 11:55 AM   #12
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

I don't know where the thing about the Canon XFs splitting clips came from. I have the XF100 and have done 40 minute clips with no separation.

I'm just an advanced amateur, but chose the XF100 over waiting for the 130. I willingly gave up the longer zoom of the Panasonic to get the compact size of the XF100.

It also includes the 50mps codec/w 4:2:2 color and has good low light capability. My previous camera was the HMC40 - the Canon's low light is AMAZING compared to that, so my judgement here may be a little biased.

It's small enough to be unintimidating, but I get many comments on how professional it looks. Plus, despite having a single 1/3 inch chip, there is a thread here (in the XF forum) of people who have owned both cameras saying that its footage is almost indistinguishable from the XF300.

I could have waited (got my XF100 in May) and pushed my budget to $3800 (B&H price for the 130) but since I didn't need the 22x telephoto, at $800 less, 7.5 inches shorter, and less than half the weight, the XF100 was the better choice for me.

But, I'm sure the 130 will be a great alternative that sells well to those whom its strengths fit better.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 04:12 PM   #13
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Harm, I'm sorry but I must disagree. First off the price range you're talking about is anywhere from 2 to 3 thousand more than the price range of the 130 so I would have to expect the higher prieced cameras would offer me more although that's not always the case as we all know. Secondly for one of the cameras is a P2 workflow which I have been seeing less and less of and is quite a bit more costly than the CF or SDHC. Thirdly 2 of the cams you mentioned are 1/2 inch and while they may "only" do a 4:2:0 space for many of us it os really a matter of so what.
Don,

Both the Panny and the Canon use 1/3" sensors, only the Sony is 1/2", but then that is only 4:2:0 color space, while both Panny and Canon use 4:2:2 color space. Combined with the mediocre ergonomics of the EX3, which is not really a shoulder mount, it leaves the choice between the HPX-250 and the XF-300 and thus between P2 AVC Intra or CF MPEG2. The latter has the advantage of better economics.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 10:42 PM   #14
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Right but all I'm saying is let's compare 1 to 1 meaning same specs to same specs. For example, IMO the best comparable camera to the AC-130 would be the Sony NX5. Same codec, same bitrate, virtually same length lens, ame price range, etc. and there is no way to do that yet since the 130 isn't even out yet.
If you compare and EX1 to the 300 how is that a fair comparison they're differnt cameras that can perform the same function but then so does a Varicam or a JVC 1 chip pocket camera. It's like I said, a Rolls Royce and a Chevy Impala both do the same thing but they sure aren't comparable. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when the 130 comes out how it stacks up to the others.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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Re: AG-AC130 vs XF300

Hi Don

I'm also running a business, as you are, so if I can do the same job (especially as all my weddings go to DVD) with a $2000 camera rather than an $8000 camera it makes economic sense to me to buy whatever camera does the job, is reliable, and gives the bride great memories!! If I can get that with a $2000 camera (which I can at the moment) does it really make any business sense to buy a Canon XF300 so I can say to people on the forum "Look what I have!!" I produce weddings with my two HMC82's that brides are thrilled with so there has to be a VERY good reason for me to invest double or even quadruple the amount in equipment. I know it's a little cruel but will the AC-130 give me double the amount of work OR can I charge double my normal prices???? I know for sure that I won't get 4 times the work or 4 times the price just cos I'm shooting with Canons!!!

My commercial shoots don't end up on a national broadcast network so I really don't need 50 mbps when 24 is more than adequate!! I can get over the 1/4" vs 1/3" chips with a $100 video light so from a business point of view what incentives can a new Panny or Canon, not offer me, but offer my business?????

Chris
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