AC-90 and Canon XF100, Up Close and Personal
Yesterday, I had a chance to check out a camera shop in Toronto that sells video cameras and related equipment.
I took a look at a Panasonic AG-AC90 and a Canon XF100. I was surprised at how big the Panasonic is - it's quite physically substantial for a low-end prosumer camera. By comparison, the Canon seemed positively tiny. When I commented on the size, the sales guy behind the counter said, "Well, Panasonic likes to build 'em big."
From an ergonomic standpoint, the Panasonic didn't fit my hand really well, but I suppose I could adapt to it, given time. I found that using a two-handed grip made holding the camera a lot easier, and with the excellent optical stabilizer activated, I felt quite confident that the Panasonic would be an excellent tool for event videography. Something else that I liked was the viewfinder. It was large, bright, and to my eyes, very clear.
Now on to the Canon. I have small hands, and I was surprised at how cramped the control layout was. The grip strap also didn't allow me to tighten it down sufficiently to keep the camera firmly glued to my hand. In short, the camera didn't fit my hand well. Build quality seemed a bit lacking, and I found the Panasonic to be better built - surprising considering that many consider the build quality of the AC90 to be worse.
The one thing I really disliked about the Canon was the tiny, low-res viewfinder. It was dimmer than the AC90's viewfinder, and the tiny data text was hard to read on such a small screen. Really, the viewfinder was bad enough that I was beginning to think that it was a bit scandalous for Canon to market such a camera, aimed mainly at pros/semi-pros, but still demand almost $2500.00 for it. Sure, the 4:2:2 codec and use of CF cards as recording media is a drawing card, but still... don't get me wrong, I like Canon products. Most of the time, they offer pretty solid value.
In addition to that codec, the Canon has an advantage over the Panasonic - better image quality.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to stick an SD card in the AC90 and shoot a short test video.
I also wanted to take a look at an AG-AC130 but also didn't have enough time for that. I did have a quick look at a Sony NX70, it fit my hand better, but I found the hard-to-regulate zoom rocker switch and the rather dim viewfinder made it a tad pricy piece of kit at $2800CDN.
Re: AC-90 and Canon XF100, Up Close and Personal
The AC90 has a1080/60p mode and higher resolution than the XF100.
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