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Old February 6th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #1
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Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Hi Guys

Our AC-130's are now available on this side of the pond so I'm think really seriously about replacing my HMC80's now... the only real hurdle is the switch from shoulder mount but by all accounts the LCD is really easy to use and I can put the cam on a simple shoulder mount and use it as a shoulder camera.

I'm hoping to see a huge difference in indoor shoots with the big lens and 1/3rd chip versus the tiny 1/4" chips and small 46mm lens....am I having too many expectations or will indoor shoots be a lot better???

Anyone bolted a shoulder rig under these cameras yet... I was wondering if you can use something simple like just a rail and shoulder pad and then use your right hand thru the strap like a shoulder-mount cam ??? Is it worth getting a rig with two front handles as grips or not???

Nate has already very kindly given me lots of info and this seems like the best upgrade to go for..I could go the JVC HM750 route but then they are nearly double the price (actually more than double with the fancy battery packs ) I can land two AC-130's here for under $8K (and that includes duty too!!!)

Anyone else have any convincing pros for this camera..I know Don Bloom was looking at them too!!!

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #2
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris,
I'm sure the 130 would do better in low light than the currents cams you're using. If nothing else the larger chips will make a hugh difference.
As you know I use the DVMultirig and love it however it is pricey. I also have an old HabbyCam shoulder mount that I was using when I first wnet to small form factor cams. I did modify it a bit to take my wireless receiver and can actually use it with the spring rod from the multirig if I wish. I like the stability the 2 outboard handles give me but can and have used the simpler mount with my hand thru the camera strap and other hand on the lens barrel and it worked fine. Up to you which you're more comfy with. Whatever you go with I'm sure will work out well for you.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 05:42 AM   #3
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Hey Don

I knew I would get a comment from you and maybe a hint as to what direction you were taking with replacement cameras???

Sadly the prospect of using a 700 series JVC has blown out the window (maybe there was a reason?) Apart from the camera costing me $6.6K EACH landed against the 130 at just under $4K each you still have to factor in the fact that the v-lock batteries are crazy prices too.. and that would come way more than a DVMultirig!!

Shucks, I have just seen that the 130 has a Sony style mic holder and not a 2nd cold shoe..I guess that means that there is no way that you could use a Rode Videomic on it?? Anyone know if the 130/160 mic clamp would clamp over the tube section of a videomic if you removed the shock mounting??? The tube that comes out of the battery/electronics housing is just under 1" in diameter.

I can get one of these rigs from SE Asia for around $350 ..they might work???

Still love to know what direction you are heading towards Don???

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris,

I presume you are also trying to mount a light or wireless receiver on the camera? I wonder if the accessory mountings (bolt holes) on the handle would allow you to mount any of that?

(I too am "Humming and hah-ing" about returning to the world of Panasonic with these cameras... all I need is money!)
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Old February 7th, 2012, 08:33 AM   #5
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Hi Mike

On my HMC82's I managed to find somewhere for the receivers..I usually have two on the back on the A-Cam used as the main cam at weddings and just a single on the B-Cam. The HMC82 has two cold shoes up front and I usually use the offset one for a Rode VodeoMic and keep the middle cold shoe for a video light to use at wedding receptions where it gets pretty dark. I noticed that the 130 only has one cold shoe and then a clamp style mic holder where my Rode VideoMics usually go. I'm fairly sure I can take the Rode off it's suspension mount and clamp the round front piece on the 130 mic holder ..otherwise I'll have to swop them for something like the NG1 Rode... I just found it weird that you cannot have a mic on suspension mounts to keep noise down????

Yep the rig also is an option for mounting stuff but that's usually at the back and they keep that for radio receivers.... It's not the end of the world if I have to upgrade mics.

Haven't ordered the 130's yet but I figure I had better upgrade while there is a few pennies in the bank and before my March rush of weddings happens!!

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #6
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

"Anyone know if the 130/160 mic clamp would clamp over the tube section of a videomic if you removed the shock mounting??? The tube that comes out of the battery/electronics housing is just under 1" in diameter"

I received my AC-130 about 10 days ago. Just measured the microphone holder and it's a plastic clamp that measures about 27mm ID. However, there are squisable (is that a word?) rubber pads inside that reduce the ID to 20mm.

...Jerry
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Old February 7th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris, If I do get something new this year, it's probably going to be either the 130 or 160. Perhaps one of each since I only need one camera for the reception but actually need 3 for ceremonies. So maybe a used 150 thrown in there for a C camera.

One reason I like the multirig is because of the receiver mounting plate on the back. It keeps it out of the way and helps balance the rig. AAMOF I found a couple of old BEC boxes that I uses on my fullsized rigs when I was using the Azden 500U receivers. The At1821 reciever fits pretty well in it, the box is a bit wide but the thickness of the box holds the receiver nicely. I mounted the bos to the back of the multirig and presto! All I need to do now is make a couple of longer cables and I'm all set. I hate using patch cables but until I get the new ones made I have no choice. No big deal. It works.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris it looks like the only thing you might be sacrificing is the form factor of the the shoulder mount vs handheld (and it looks like you have that covered to an extent)

The jump from 1/4 chips to 1/3 will certainly be a welcome improvement for you

the specs report that the hmc 80 is f1.8-2.8 and the ac 130 is f1.6-3.2

so coupled with the 1/3 chips and that fast lens you should be getting a big performance boost

on top of that you'll be going from 12x to 22x :O

thats a BIG jump

theres also plenty of other new features that the 130 has over the 80s

So in short, if you've got the cash and the itch. Why not?

I think the benefits of this upgrade are far bigger than the possible con of going from shoulder mount to handheld
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Old February 7th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris,

One thing I forgot - somewhere in my kit box I have an adapter which clamps into the mic mount and gives you another shoe mount. I think it's from Rycote:

http://www.rycote.com/products/acces..._shoe_adaptor/

Hey Tesco!

You could have a Videomic on that, a light on the front shoe, and a wireless receiver on the handle.

One thing I've read about these cameras are that they're well-balanced and not too much of a bind to hand-hold. Big, but not heavy.

Or get something like this:

http://www.rycote.com/products/acces...hoe_extension/

...put it cross-ways and you can mount two or mabe more devices on one cold shoe. Heck, they've got a 40cm wide one. I'd love to see that one in action!
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Old February 7th, 2012, 06:46 PM   #10
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Hi Guys

All the feedback is much appreciated indeed. Time to order and once I have them I'll get my butt into gear and organise one or two rigs.... I actually very seldom use both cameras shoulder mounted so I'm sure just one rig should be enough for now.

Rycote make all sorts of stuff..I'm amazed!!! I'll update on the progress as it happens and my thoughts on the cameras.

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:42 PM   #11
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Thanks for the shout out, Chris. I'm waiting for a render, so I tested your theories and took some photos! :)

A few things:

I hooked the camera to my 40" HDTV last night via HDMI and just played around with the picture profiles for a while. You certainly need to adjust the settings a bit in order to get the best possible image, but I think I finally have mine dialed in and I was quite impressed. With the right profile, 12db of gain is almost completely imperceivable - I don't like going much higher than that, but in a pinch I think 15-18db would definitely be usable. Also, if you zoom all the way into 21x, the lens aperture ramps down pretty significantly, but things are pretty good (≈F2.8) up to about 14x or 15x. My point is, I think you'll be impressed with the low-light sensitivity of the cam.

Something to think about is if 1080p60 is a necessary feature. The step-up AC160 is supposed to be getting this in the near future. After the initial release of the cameras, the prices came down a bit for the 160. At current US prices, I might have spent a little more to get that feature... I don't do just weddings, so full 1080p60 might not be as useful for your purposes. Just a thought - maybe even get one of each!

I happened to have a VideoMic laying around, and yes it does (sort of) fit in the mic holder. Not sure what covering up that part of the mic would do to sound, but it stays put solidly. The real problem is plugging in that 1/8" cable coming from the Rode. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think there's any 1/8" input on the camera. You'd need some sort of XLR to miniplug adapter.

The camera's mic holder does a better job with the mic than mounting the VideoMic on top with a "contraption" of some sort. In my case, I had a shoe extender I tried out. It works, but the whole thing is just so big and awkward! If you really wanted it to, the VideoMic would work, but if you're getting two brand new cameras, you might as well get a phantom-powered NTG-1 as well. You deserve it, right?

As far as the shoulder mount goes, I tried it out too - quite stable, but you'll definitely want some sort of a counterbalance to make it more comfortable to to use. I prefer to just cradle the back of the camera against the front of my shoulder but if you like a rig, that's cool too.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, photos attached of my experiments.
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Old February 7th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #12
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Thanks Nate

You are a star!!!
I guess replacing the mics is not a big deal at all!! However just to confirm, I ripped the 3.5mm 'twirly' cable and plug out my Videomics when I got them and replaced with a decent quality cable and XLR plug so they have been XLR since new!! Probably a better solution is your first pic?? All one would need is an aluminium flat bar with a male cold shoe fitting on one end and then a standard cold shoe above that for the video light and on the other end of the bar another standard cold shoe for the mic. In fact on the HMC82 I had to change all my suspension ring orientations so the mic didn't foul my light!!! By making a custom one, I can make sure the shoes are far enough spaced to work!!!

I have tried 720 50P on my HMC82's and didn't see any huge improvement over 25P so nope the 50P or 60P isn't an issue with me at all. In fact as far as I know Panasonic have decided that the adding of 60P via firmware might not even be possible!!! Seems silly to pay for a 160 when I won't use the features.

I saw your previous pic 'snuggling' the cam and that might just be the easiest way to shoot...otherwise maybe just a simple aluminium rail under the cam and at the rear a pad at sorta 45 degrees...if you have seen the Sony EX3 you can use that cam as a shoulder mount and it's really comfortable but has nothing actually on your shoulder ...as you said, like a rifle butt

Thanks again for the pics!!

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Smart idea customizing the VideoMic to XLR! That should work perfect then.

I like the "cold shoe bar" but I'd have to recommend getting a quality one like the one listed by Rycote. I got a $10 one from eBay and it just isn't quite strong enough to trust. Used it once and it bent.

Almost something like this for the brace?: Redrock Micro - microBrace body pad

Also, I love the Pelican 1510 rolling case for the camera. If you're into hard cases, it fits pretty well!
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Should I get 2 x AC-130's??-p1010985.jpg  
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Old February 7th, 2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Chris,

I have 2 AC-130s. Over all nice cameras, but the auto-focus is pretty bad. If you use auto-focus a lot you might want to look at other cameras.
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Old February 8th, 2012, 04:16 PM   #15
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Re: Should I get 2 x AC-130's??

Thanks Jeffery

I did read about that... I think there also might be a firmware fix coming out for that so the cam snap focusses in auto instead of coming in slowly. It probably could be an issue if you are tracking fast moving objects (and annoying too!!!) I mainly do weddings so it more than likely won't be an issue.

I have already paid for my two so I will have to live with it or work around it!! I'll report back next week on what I feel are issues too!!

Thanks to Nate too!! I do appreciate the effort and pics!! That support might just work!! It's tough deciding before you have a camera in your hands!! I'll also look at Cine City in India...They are very good at selling you "bits and pieces" of their rigs and they have a couple of neat DSLR rigs that just might do the job!!!

Now, anyone on this side of the pond looking for some neat condition HMC82's??

Chris
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