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


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Old October 21st, 2012, 02:00 PM   #1
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VariZoom Compatibility

Really interested in the new AC-90 so I'm getting ready to put my low hour HMC-80 rig up for sale so I can purchase the new AC-90. I have the excellent Varizoom VZRock PZFI from my HMC-80 that I would like to use on the AC-90. It may be premature, but does anyone know if it will work? Even after looking at the specs, just not sure.
Maybe Jan could chime in if she reads this post.

Best,
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Old October 21st, 2012, 08:19 PM   #2
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

Hi Steven

The remote jacks on the AC-90 remain unchanged so the remote will work on all the HMC cameras as well as all the AC series cameras. Once you get an AC-90 it will be interesting to get your comments compared to the HMC80. I swopped my two HMC80 for AC-130's this year and it was a disaster!! I sold them very quickly and had to buy another two HMC80's again. Multiple issues with AF, iris and audio and poor build quality compared to the 80. The AC-90 certainly looks a lot better and at least the Autofocus seems to work!!

Chris
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

Hello Chris,
I watched, with interest, your trials with the 130's and you saved me alot of grief. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to purchase an AC-90 and keep the HMC-80 as well. I'm waiting for some user feedback and reviews before pulling the trigger on this one. My main reason for switching to the new cam is to take advantage of newer technology and to change the form factor to something I can mount to my crane easier or to a steadycam type rig.

Thanks for the input!

Steve
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:34 AM   #4
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

Hi Steve

Yeah the HMC80 is quite heavy !! With a video light and my wireless receivers and a big battery plus the rig rails underneath it hits around 10 lbs...however I have a waist belt with a sprung rod which clips into a mini ballhead right under the lens hood. I can basically handhold you long periods and get really steady footage.

The 80 on my stedicam is also a bit heavy and I was looking at the AC-90 to use there instead. I'm not sure if the dual spring arm can go soft enough for a lighter camera so I need to check first and do some tests.

I have really gotten into GoPro Heros for fancy shots...that would be a breeze on a crane. The IQ is quite staggering and I use them at weddings and the MP4 files mix well with the 80's footage too. The nice thing is you also are only swinging around a $300 camera as opposed to your $2000 camera if you have an accident or it gets stuck on the jib and it starts raining. It sounds crazy but they are amazing cameras for specialised shoots. I even saw a guy with a fishing pole and a GoPro under a bunch of helium balloons doing aerial shots!!! (He reeled it in where he was done)

My only issue with the 90 so far is "once bitten twice shy" after my 130 encounters so I'll take a back seat until I get some genuine user feedback ... I really didn't like the build quality of the 130's and I'm worried the 90's will also be cheap and nasty ... I really admire the build quality on the HMC80..it's a solid camera!!! I certainly won't make the mistake of replacing my 80's with 90's at this stage!!! They are just too good and useful to me and I always seem to gravitate back to them!! I'm also a shoulder mount fan so that means trying to build new rigs as well!!

Chris
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 06:07 PM   #5
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

Chris, I saw the 90 at DV Expo, and own an AC160. The AC160 seems better built. Then again it's a much more expensive cam, so it should be. They are both great cams.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

I finally found the spec sheet on Panasonic's business solutions web site and got my VariZoom answer, just as Chris said. It should work.

I also finally got a weight number. Not too bad at 3.9 lbs. including battery and that extremely heavy SD card :-)

I also noticed that the Minimum Illumination spec is: Approx. 5 lx (iA mode, auto slow shutter ON)
This may be misleading with the backlit sensors though.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: VariZoom Compatibility

Hi Steve

According to Barry Green, the camera is no more sensitive and has the same low light performance as the HMC40 ...that has not changed at all. However, the backlit sensors seem to provided a much cleaner picture at much higher gains. Barry mentioned that even at 24db gain (which as you know on the 80 is a pretty noisy image, is totally free of video noise.

So bottom line is the ISO rating of the HMC 40 and the AC-90 are in fact much the same...the slightly faster lens seems to make up for the slightly smaller chips.

Barry actually reported that in good light the image sharpness could exceeed the AC-160!!

I would still wait for users feedback though and also try to buy through a dealer like B&H where it you truly don't like the camera you can return it. I was amazed at the size...It's a lot bigger than the little HMC40 and only a couple of inches shorter than an HMC150.

My issue again will be whether it will adapt nicely to a shoulder mount pad and rail and have a loupe on the LCD at the front so I can use it on my shoulder.

I look forward to feedback from those who have already placed pre-orders for the month end

Chris
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