Panasonic 953 vs. Sony 950? at DVinfo.net

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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #1
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Panasonic 953 vs. Sony 950?

I'm really torn between the Panasonic 953 and the Sony 950. This will be my first experience in buying a camcorder and I want something that is going to give me the best overall for my money. I have a six month old daughter and I want to start getting some of her first things on camcorder. I've been in the past getting them on digital film, but want to upgrade to live motion.

I've done a lot of reading on both and everyday I seem to be going back and forth on the two without really getting anywhere. I want a camera that me and my wife will be able to easily handle but at the same time something that will give an overall good quality.

Right now I think I'm leaning toward the Sony today. Only because I read that the Panasonic does not have a hot shoe like the Sony and the Panasonic does not have as many accessories as the Sony. I'm really stuck and probably after doing so more reading, I may be leaning back toward the Panasonic.

I guess my question would be, if both the Panasonic 953 and the Sony 950 were being offered free, which one would be the better overall choice?

Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 06:35 PM   #2
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Welcome, Ed.

For a lot of indoor shooting using indoor lighting look at the VX2000, VX2100 or the older/less costly Panasonic PV-DV852. The 852 is selling for under $600 US at the moment here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com - or see the PV-DV852 thread for the exact B&H link.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 07:26 PM   #3
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hi there
there have been a few reviews on dvinfo about this and i actually own a mx500 (953) myself and i am very impressed and happy. The fact of the matter is if it was offered free i would take the sony because it is worth more and a "touch" better in low light but not great. It is a bigger camera which probably isn't a big deal. in the way of accessories i would be surprised if you use them all. the important things you might get are external mic and lense filters and new batteries all of which you can get to suit the panasonic. The panasonic as you have probably read offer a lot more manual features which to me are a must as i can easily change the apperture shutter and white balance. i hope this helps. to me i would take the pana becaus the saving on it is quite a lot and you could buy a heck of a lot of accesories for the money you save. The panasonic also has better stills because of the higher res ccds and also a much sharper image. it has a sharper image then even the more expensive vx-2000

i hope this helps
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Old January 4th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #4
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here is a website to help in your decision. of course the 953 is the mx-5000
http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/0208_3CCD.html
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #5
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As a man who likes to be in charge and know what's going on when I film, I'd take the Panasonic. Here are a few of its advantages.

The mics are on top, and don't get hidden (and rubbed!) behind your left hand cradling the lens. The lens has a wider wide-angle. The 16:9 performance is noticeably better. It's considerably cheaper. The viewfinder displays shutter speed and aperture, not some silly vague horizontal 'guess where we are now?' bar.

I'd take the Sony if the better InfoLithium technology was important, and if I wanted a 12x rather than a 10x zoom (there's not as much in that as figures would suggest). The touch screen is a real party pooper, and is fun to demonstrate.

But beware, both cameras are dissapointing in low light, and both have smeary CCDs in contrasty lighting. But both cams will astound you with the image quality that's there for the taking, so don't delay Ed. Your daughter gets older by the day, and you've got a camera to learn!

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Old January 5th, 2004, 09:14 AM   #6
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Is widescreen important to you?
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Old January 5th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #7
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Widescreen is not all that important to me. One way or the other it really does not matter.
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Old January 5th, 2004, 04:19 PM   #8
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Widescreen is not all that important to me
Gotcha, I shoot widescreen exclusively and its worth considering since most new TVs above 40" and above are 16:9.

I think the DV953 is a better value for the money but remember both the DV953 and TRV950 need extra light indoors. The DV852 that Frank mentioned is better in low light than the DV953 or TRV950.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 01:21 PM   #9
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low light?

When you say that the 953 and 950 need extra light indoors, how much light are we talking about?
I am doing some wedding videography and looking at these cameras - so shooting indoors is a neccessity.
I'm willing to bet that Ed will also being shooting indoors a good deal...
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Old January 15th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #10
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I am doing some wedding videography
Yikes, I would definitely not recommend the DV953 or the Sony TRV950/PDX10 for weddings. Most indoor weddings are less than ideal conditions for small CCD cams and I shot a wedding last year with a PDX10 and VX2000. The PDX10 footage was useless save for a few commentary shots with a 20w on-camera light. I would have strung up extra lights to help the PDX10 but the bride would have rather strung me up instead. :)

The VX2000 and DVX100/DVC80 (all 1/3" 3CCD) get my vote for $3000 and under wedding cam with the GL2 (1/4" 3CCD) being as low as I would go.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 01:44 PM   #11
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Bob - these are NOT low light cameras. Many single-chippers are better, so if low light is a priority (and I'd suggest it is for any wedding videographer) give these cameras a test-out before you buy, if at all possible. The Panasonic - for all it's excellent Leica lens quality - is very disapointing indeed, and this is a known failing of 1/6" mega-pixel chips.

You may well be able to light the first dance with an on-board light, but you'll not be wanting to light the church or able to light the reception. You have been warned my friend.

tom.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #12
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I am doing some wedding videography and looking at these cameras - so shooting indoors is a neccessity
I use the 1-chip JVC GR-DVL9500 to do the odd wedding. It works fine for this, but the PV-DV852 would certainly be the better cam for weddings. For 3-CCD cams for weddings: VX2000, XL1 and GL2. The real cat's _ss would be the JVC DV500, in my opinion, with it's 1/2" CCDs.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 07:22 PM   #13
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I agree with what was said above. In addition, I will add that I test-drove the Mx500 (PAL of DV953) and TRV950 side by side in Oct 2002. Here in Singapore, the 950 is almost double the price of the 953, but the quality of the 950 is not even better, than the 953. Moreover, the 950 seems to be more bluish than the 953, which is a Panasonic, and the Panasonics are warmer, nice skin colour. The 950 video is less noisy, but the light sensitivity is about equal.

I test drove viewing on a TV (from the shop) and a laptop, Powerbook G3. In both cases, I can't find justification to buy the Sony.

The TRV900, on the other hand, was certainly better, but that's EOL. Larger chips.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #14
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The TRV900, on the other hand, was certainly better, but that's EOL. Larger chips.
Maybe the DVC30 will be a better TRV900 and better MX3? It looks pretty good on paper.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 08:45 PM   #15
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Maybe the DVC30 will be a better TRV900 and better MX3? It looks pretty good on paper.

It looks pretty heavy and expensive as well.
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