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Panasonic HC Series Camcorders
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Old December 21st, 2015, 05:46 AM   #1
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VX870 and HC-X920 questions

I am looking at a replacement for a Panasonic HC-X900 as its ‘HDMI out’ is no longer working and unfortunately the required parts are not available. I am currently considering a VX870 or the HC-X920. The former has Infrared capabilities which is of interest but only if I have control of the settings. Earlier camcorders when set for IR use automatically set the aperture and gain to maximum and set the frame rate to its minimum. Can anyone tell me if the VX 870 does the same? There is no mention of what happens in the manual.

Another question. The 920 is 3MOS whereas the 870 has only 1 sensor. Does this translate to significant differences in image quality?

I also have a TM900 and recently purchased a Blackmagic Video Assist. Although it is early days I feel that the ability of the VA to record in various forms Prores is of value.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 08:33 PM   #2
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Re: VX870 and HC-X920 questions

Re the VX 870 Infrared capability the manual advises: -

"Night Mode (Infrared)
Do not use in a bright location. Doing so may cause a malfunction".

Is this implying that all exposure settings are set to the maximum?
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Old December 30th, 2015, 05:53 AM   #3
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Re: VX870 and HC-X920 questions

I think I have made up my mind as to which camera to get to replace my faulty HC-X900 and that is another HC-X900. As they and the later HC-X920 are discontinued it either has to be a second hand camera or a repair job on mine.

My interest is mostly natural history subjects that are not always easy to access – a current project is on the lives of paper wasps that are presently active on the ceiling of our veranda. As the name suggests they build intricate nests from masticated wood pulp. Getting near enough is a problem and the relatively small size of the 900 series makes access easier. I use a Canon 250D (i.e. 4 diopter close up lens) to get close.

I am now hooked on my BMD Video Assist – the image quality and ease of use are greatly appreciated. A gentle touch of the screen starts recording and another one stops it. To review a clip all that is needed is another light touch.

I can use the TM 900 and HC-X900 with the VA and importantly I can use the IR remote to control zoom and also to power on and power off. The HC-X920 does not have a remote and the WiFi apparently cannot be used at the same time as the HDMI out. This means I cannot use the VA and control zoom etc. This eliminates the HC-X920 from my quest.

To control focus remotely on an HC-X900 or a TM 900 I have a small motor that can drive the control ring. The VX 870 has a control knob that is rather inaccessible and that has to be depressed before it can be rotated. This eliminates the VX 870.

Below are two pictures of my current paper wasp set up. The larger camera is a TM 900 mounted on a remotely controlled head. To make sure the Infrared signal from the remote make the distance I use an infrared extender that positions an infrared emitting diode at the front of the camera. For reasons I do not understand the TM 900 and HC 900 do very well under these conditions – far better than my Sony EX3.

The other camera pictured is a GoPro with a ‘C’ mount conversion. It also has a removable infrared cut filter making infrared work possible.

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