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


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Old December 7th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #46
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Noa

I have exactly the same feeling sadly and being undecisive isn't a good place to be! "I want it but what do I do if I'm disappointed with the results" That is exactly what happened to me with the AC-130's..I figured bigger chips, newer camera everything will be awesome and I did the stupid thing (due to budget restraints) and sold the HMC82's as soon as the 130's arrived to offset the costs and they did didn't suit me and that then entailed me selling the 130's at a loss and buying two new HMC82's ... expensive mistake!!

Do you REALLY, REALLY need an AC-90 or do the specs entice you to simply want one??? I look at my HMC 82's and think that the image is absolutely brilliant in good light, the camera has a WOW factor for me since the HMC's still used Leica lenses unlike the AC series. As costly as it was the image of the 130's never impressed me... sure it was sharp as a tack (unless the AF failed) BUT it never ever had a wow factor and I missed that!! I shoot the 82's with the scene files at default so it's a flat image with no enhancements yet the end result is eye popping good! The 90 guys are already using scene files to modify the camera's profile so my other worry is that maybe you need tons of work to make the picture look good????

Sure after 15 db the HMC's are noisy but at weddings I simply lock the gain at 10 or 12db and pop on a LED light and I like what I see!!! Because I'm lighting the subject the camera responds with an equally good after dark image. I'm very reluctant to change at the moment (maybe better the devil you know??)

Yeah the Sony really did perk my interest BUT in low light situations shooting wide I cannot see the stock 18-200 making the grade at weddings so one would need something like a 16mm F1.8 for close work and then maybe a 50mm F1.8 for other reception work....Add two decent fast lenses to the price of over $4K already and you have quite an expensive outlay ...probably anything up to $6K with spare batteries. Do I want to sell my HMC82's for say a $1K - $1.5K on eBay and then have to outlay an extra $5K PER CAMERA to get a better picture ??? At the moment all it costs me are a couple of video lights and the hassle of setting up a light for speeches with 4 x CFL's in it.

Maybe I'll stay where I am and look at the new season and see what the feedback is?? (September 2013) ....However, based on Tim's footage just one AC-90 might be on the cards so my Stedicam and for doing Realty shoots (then againthe 90 is handheld and I really am used to shoulder mount cameras)

See??? I am having sleepness nights too!!!

Chris
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:07 AM   #47
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

I don't "need" the ac90 but I surely need a camera that has more control, for the most of my work the handicams suffice but there have been several occasions the past weddings I wished I had more manual control and currently that is holding me back, it takes too much time to get the shot I want when I need to adjust focus on the touchscreen and for danceperformances the cx730's can have issues holding focus during zooming, you could have them in auto focus but because at a performance they first turn off the light and then turn it on when it starts, the cx730 might take a while before it locks into focus and that is unacceptable. This problem only occurs if i"m too far away from the stage, I had 2 dance performances beginning this year where I was pretty close to the stage and all went well, also when zooming in and locking the focus so I was very happy but the last performance I did I was all the way at the back and had to zoom in completely and then the camera doesn't hold focus anymore during zooming.

So to maintain the quality of my productions I realize now I need something as well with some more controll and it's actually the ac90's prize that has my attention, I mean, it's the same prize as the xa-10, it's a few 100 euro's cheaper then the sony nx30 and both are real handicams in size and functionality. And if the ac90 would be really bad, what I doubt based on barry Greens own experience, if you sell them again you won't loose that much money, even if you sell at half the prize, so I think it's a good investment.

Unlike Canon, Panasonic at least know how to prize their camera's correctly, 16000 euro for a C300 without lens while BMC can deliver a raw camera for 3000, yeah right...
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:53 AM   #48
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Noa and Chris,

For me, I knew the 90 only had to be as good as the FX. I knew the FX was only good up to 9db of gain and that was streching it. I really had all intensions of sending it back. After I compared the two, I really believe the 90 will be as good as the FX in low light and better than in good light. The FX also struggled with highlights, bright faces and brides wedding dress were sometimes blown out. I learned these situations and tried to not let it happen.

The 90 does have a lot of control but is lacking a couple of things I miss. One thing I'm not sure about,is I don't think you can control focus when in auto-focus. You can't take over with the ring when in auto. It's hard to tell if this is true because the auto focus is so good, it never goes out that I can tell.

The other thing is no limit setting for gain. I really would like to be able to limit the gain when in auto using a light.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:31 AM   #49
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Tim

Panasonics work differently!! On the 40/80 Full auto (switch in auto) the camera does everything..if you switch to manual then the focus is STILL in auto and the iris is still in auto BUT the wheels can trim both focus and iris up or down so you can tweak both focus and iris manually. Flipping the switch to auto and back to manual ..resets your changes to the default settings the camera chooses so you have the auto working with the ability to adjust both so it's a semi-auto state. To go full manual you need to switch either focus to manual or iris to manual (or both) A very useful feature!!!

You might have to check the menu cos on the 130 you can also set shutter/iris/focus states in manual so the 90 might have these. I use my 82's in manual but autoiris and autofocus are still active and I can change either or both to a degree. You only have full manual control when you switch each section itself to manual or auto ....It's great cos in a tricky situation in manual I can run focus in auto and iris in manual or vice-versa ..the best of both worlds. On the 82's the camera must be in manual to allow the wheels to work so the 90 should be the same.

Chris
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #50
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

I found the fx1000 delivering a quite good image, much more color standard then in my xh-a1, the canon was known for having a flat image and you did have the possibility to apply presets or to tweak the image but there was no preset I liked and tweaking the image never gave good results so I always did CC in post. It's good that the ac90 gives you that option as well, from experience (with my dvx100b I had) I know that values you"ll find are a good starting point to improve the camera image and they give better results then what I could achieve with my canon. With my small Sony it's take it or leave it but luckily Sony managed to get it right.

Concerning limiting the gain, you should try to do the exposure manual using the lens ring, I too had problems getting the hang of it but after a while it became second nature, it will make a big difference in your image if you get the exposure right, as long as you let the camera decide you will have issues.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:56 AM   #51
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Sometimes I think we might be overthinking the gear. What I mean is this. we look at every camera like the AC90 (btw, thanks to Tim for being our "scientific experiment") on this one since he was the first one on the block with the camera) as wanted it to meet our perfect design. A PMW-200 would certainly blow away the AC90 but from a financial point I can buy 3 of the 90s for the cost of 1 PMW-200.
I've shot weddings on all kinds of cameras and honestly 99% of brides don't know the difference nor do they care. We Do! Sure there are some brides and grooms that are very tech savy and want you to have the latest and greatest but most?!?! All they want is solid,stable, well composed, nicely exposed footage with good audio so that in the future they can re-live their wedding.
I'm a dinosaur. I'm still shooting on PD 170s. SD, 4:3 Tape for heavens sake but the quality of the image is still great! Do brides know or care? Not a single bride has complained about the quality of the workmanship for over 13 years since I started using the PD 150s before the 170s. They don't even complain about the 4:3 or it being stretched to 16:9 on their TVs and honestly unless you're doing an ECU on a fairly large person, it's not going to make a hugh difference in the look. Listen, I am not out to make Award winners but to give the B&G the BEST possible product I can on that day for the money I'm being paid. I still do a whole lot of weddings so appearently the gear hasn't made a lot of difference to the clients.
I KNOW I need to make some upgrades and based on the footage I've seen of the AC90 along with the price I can't go wrong with a couple of them for the work I do. Are there other cams that I think would do better? Sure at 2 and 3 times the price and frankly I could but don't want to spend that kind of money anymore.
That's what I mean about overthinking it. Value gotten for the dollar spent. Do I get MOST of the things I want from this camera for the money I'm spending or does it fall short and IF it does fall short how short and IF it does fall short can I live without the certain things it doesn't have?
I like the form factor of the Sony NES-EA50 and frankly I don't care if the stock lens is slower than what I'm used to (keep in mind the PD series can almost see in the dark and produce a great image) I can up the gain, the ISO, add more light but I CAN NOT live without ND filters on the camera. Whether switchable or automatic like the AC 90 for me not having NDs is a non starter. PLUS I can buy 2 AC90s for the price of 1 NEX50. I have battry's for the Sony so I save money there but not enough to offset the $1500 difference between 1 NEX50 and 2 AC90s. I'm not dead set on any camera. If JVC or Canon cameout with something newer and better in the price range I want to be in in the next few weeks I'd be open to looking at them as well but for now, it appears that the AC90s will fill my needs in most of the areas I need and for where it falls short, I'll work around it. I've stopped overthinking about my choice, hell, I've stopped thinking about my choice period. They aren't perfect, no camera choice is. If they don't work out, oh well, I don't have a lot invested but something tells me they'll be just fine for the work I do.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #52
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Good post Don and I think your right on. I didn't leave the 2100's because of my clients.......I did it for me!!
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Old December 7th, 2012, 08:59 AM   #53
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Guys

I have said it many times here but I'll say it again...we are way too technical for our own good BUT without chirping on about formats, resolution and low light we simply wouldn't have anything to talk about on this forum so we become tech-heads here and it IS fun!!

Yep brides couldn't really care if you are shooting in 1D, 2D or 3D or whether its HD, SD or anything else..it doesn't concern them at all. Our mission at weddings is to be in focus, make sure the bride looks pretty and the sunshine yellow dresses of the bridesmaids are not orange in the video ...that's all that makes them happy!!!

Like Don I'm shooting with not the latest cameras at all and I have to use lighting at receptions BUT I love my cameras and they give me all I want and more importantly they give my clients what they want. I too have never had a bride EVER complain about IQ or colour ...then again, miss the cake cutting and she will be onto you like a ton of bricks. What really annoyed me was a nice wedding I did back in August and shot with the HMC82's and a GoPro ...the bride spotted the wide angle footage and actually asked if she could have much more of "Camera 3" footage as it was so nice (the $300 GoPro Hero!!)

The other important thing is the fact that we run a business and taking Don's cameras ...they must have paid for themselves a million times over and that is good economics indeed!!! For me I make around only $50K a year on weddings and $50K on Realty so if I can do the job well with a pair of cameras that cost me under $5K why on earth should I buy a pair of cameras for $20K just cos they are "cool" ...To me
over spending on capital equipment is eating into MY profits!!

Chris
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:27 AM   #54
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

I also agree with Don. I keep trying to convince myself of the AC 90's (and so far am leaning toward buying a pair). I shot a performance with a PD 170 last week and loved working with it. Recipients are eagerly waiting the DVD's which will look real good.
We have to always be aware of new technology, and where the industry is going. This is good for our own confidence and dealing with the occasional geeky client with questions about specs.
Why I am still leaning toward the AC90 is that I work with a lot of photographers and given the controls of this camera, the photogs should give it a little more respect then something that looks "more automatic."
A good word or not so good word goes a long way among professionals.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:57 AM   #55
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Quote:
given the controls of this camera, the photogs should give it a little more respect then something that looks "more automatic."
Currently I film with handicams, these small ones that fit in the palm of your hand and 550d's which are also quite small compared to a 5dII, When I started to use these camera I did worry about how my clients and there guests would think of me but when I saw what I can do with these cameras as a soloshooter I don't care anymore what they think. The footage just looks much better now then when I used my xh-a1.

With photogs however I never did care what they think of my equipment and respect doesn't come from a camera but from a person using it, they might not take you seriously but that is one of my least worries, if they would act as if I was not there I"d tell them to take me into consideration, you'd be surprised how much effect that kind of personal approach has.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:54 AM   #56
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Noa, you are absolutely right when it comes to not being intimidated by what others think of our tools or methods.
I promote ad nauseum about having your own agenda and sticking to it, no matter what anyone says or thinks.
I guess losing a 20K gig due to my camera appearance sticks in a distant memory.
But lets face it, anything in this class will have it's place and limits.
I think this camera, the AC90 is going to become one of the best in class in years to come. Just a hunch but we'll see.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #57
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi

Sorry if this question is out of the discussion in this thread, but I would like to ask Chris (Harding) what was so bad about the 130 so you decided to sell it? I've looked through yor old posts on this forum but did not find anything indicating that you didn't like the 130.

I will probably buy a new camcorder soon and the Panasonic AC160 is one of the camcorders I find very interresting so your oppinion on the 130 would be very welcome.

Please start a new post if you find this thread wrong for this discussion.


Regards,

/Bo
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:00 PM   #58
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Hi Bo

I mainly shoot weddings and Realty and always shoot solo so I do need to have a camera (I'm shooting on two) that I can leave to look after itself while I'm using the second one. Here were my issues (note that most are NOT camera faults...just unsuitability for me issues)

The 130 in autoiris only controls the aperture not the shutter speed so at a wedding if a cloud passes over the sun the camera will scream for a manual ND filter to be changed...if I'm not right there my shot is under-exposed ..if I change the ND the footage now has a "flash" as the filter changes. The entire exposure system makes seamless shooting (even in manual) somewhat difficult. Not ideal for weddings at all or any operation where you are filming a continuous sequence and the lighting could change!

The Autofocus is very poor indeed and locks up at times and also drifts very badly ...I had to use manual all the time which is tough if you have the camera on a stedicam!!

In ALC, the audio signal gets clipped rather than reduced so your waveform gets a haircut rather than a lower level.

The image is sharp but IMO the lens just has no WOW factor at all!! The image is flat and dull without any sparkle...the HMC series still used Leica lenses which knocked you out !!! The 130 needs a awful lot of scene file tweaking to get a decent looking image but for me still no wow factor at all!!

Remember these are simply MY experiences and your applications might be totally different..it's still a good camera for stuff like theatre and dance recitals where you have consistent lighting.

Chris
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:09 PM   #59
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Chris, I'm getting the feeling you're going to stick with your 82's? Am I wrong?
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #60
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Re: AC90 Sample Footage

Greetings Don

Yes as main cameras the HMC82's definately are keepers!! However I was thinking about getting just one AC-90 when they eventually are released on this side of the world to use on the Stedicam and as a third camera. The 90 also might be useful for doing my Realty shoots as it's lighter and each house is around an hour shoot so a lighter camera would win there even if it's not shoulder mount!!

The Sony sadly has been moved to the bottom of the list as I think that without a couple of fast lenses for wedding receptions I would be back in square one and with lenses the cost is over budget.

You can put me down for one AC-90 at the moment to join the current family At the price it's going to be hard to beat I think??

Chris
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