First impressions: FX1000 vs Panasonic HMC150 at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old May 25th, 2009, 08:00 AM   #1
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First impressions: FX1000 vs Panasonic HMC150

Just a quick note to offer my first impressions of the HMC150 vs my FX1000s.

I like the HMC150 very much. I MUCH prefer the way the CCDs handle flash over the CMOS.

A shooter shot a couple of hours of footage in 720p for a wedding Saturday, and I like the way it looks.

AVCHD files are no walk in the park, however I presume upshift by VASST will handle that.

I miss that the Panasonic does not shoot in SD, which is how I shoot most of the time with the FX1000 now. (I did know about that prior to purchasing)

Overall, the footage looks very nice, film like.

I use a Juiced Link box for my audio with the FX1000, and I am so over that mess. It throws off the balance of the camera and I hate it. The box works great, but other than that the arrangement is cumbersome and unacceptable.

Of course you can purchase the Z5 for an extra $700, which would be a very good choice, since it offers tapeless also. I have lots more to learn about the Panasonic, and while I like it very much so far, I would, at this point, lean toward the Z5 simply because if offers the best of most worlds (16:9 SD and HD) and it offers a tapeless workflow and pro audio.

If you are looking strictly at image quality, I don't see either one is much better than the other. I have read the posts of us comparing images, etc., and I still believe the differences are too small to care about, but it is honestly too early for me to tell. As you can read below it turns out the settings were changed by an inexperienced operator and I cannot determine how good or poor the Panasonic stacks up.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 26th, 2009 at 01:27 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #2
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Thanks Jeff, the question I have is.....is there a noticeable difference in low light?

I know you don't know the answer to that yet, but when you do, please give your input.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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I will know in a day or two Tim. I have footage shot from both cams at the same event, but haven't downloaded the tapes yet. You can bet I'll report when I see. I already suspect the Panasonic is not quite as good, and I think we all know that it is slightly inferior in the low-light dept, but I'm not sure if it is a big issue.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #4
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I will know in a day or two Tim. I have footage shot from both cams at the same event, but haven't downloaded the tapes yet.
If you had a Z5 (with the CF-recorder) you would have transferred the files long ago! Takes me max. 10 minutes to log & transfer an hour of shooting! So my advice is: get the Z5, it's really a fantastic camera, with even more features than the Z7. Like coloured peaking!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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Luc, it takes me 10 minutes to download an hour's worth of footage from the Panasonic, I have pro audio, and it cost me $2500. The Z5 is a great cam, I'd love to have one, but for the price of the Panasonic the Z5 become a tougher sell for someone who runs three cameras and charges under $2k for a wedding video, which is my situation.

Granted, the current new price for the Panasonic HMC-150 is around $3500 at b&h, which is only $700 less than the Z5, but $700 is $700.

As I stated before, I would likely lean toward the Z5 because of the HD/SD ability but for those on a budget the Panasonic is hard to beat. I openly admit the Z5 it is a great camera and I'd love to have one (or three)!

Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 26th, 2009 at 12:02 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #6
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Tim, there are some major differences in the footage, and there are too many variables for me to make a fair comparison. The Panasonic camera operator went out of auto mode, and some of the reception footage is blown out, while some other is very dark, even though she was using a light. She is too inexperienced to have gone manual, but she was a video school student on her first shoot. Luckily she was only present for training, as the customer only paid for one camera. I provided three, so things are probably covered just fine. I never imagined it would have been necessary to ask her to stay in auto mode.

I will be using the Panasonic this weekend placed next to an FX1000 and I will get a perfect comparison then.

I just downloaded the footage from the HV30 which was being used as a backup, and it is actually brighter than the footage from the Panasonic, so this tells me the settings were off, as the HV30 cannot possibly be better than the Panasonic regarding low-light capabilities. I am amazed at the HV30 in a well lit environment, amazing little camera.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 26th, 2009 at 01:23 AM.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 02:45 AM   #7
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As I stated before, I would likely lean toward the Z5 because of the HD/SD ability but for those on a budget the Panasonic is hard to beat. I openly admit the Z5 it is a great camera and I'd love to have one (or three)!
Of course, Jeff. For me too, $ 700 buy me a lot of other equipment. Such as (almost) an HV30, which is my third camera, for steadycam operations. Which has, as you say, a marvellous image quality for it's price!
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Old May 26th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #8
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Images from FX1000/Hv30/HMC150

The following images do nothing to answer Tim's question about low light of the HMC150, but here they are anyway.

I find the HV30 to be a remarkable of performer in decent light. For a $400 (used) dollar camera is it quite good. The FX1000 looked very good of course, as this was a well lit church.

I don't have images from the HMC 150 of the reception (which would be much more useful to all of us) that are usable for comparison.

Please don't ask why the Panasonic was located where it was. I had given instructions that the Panasonic was to be in the balcony next to the HV30 but obviously the shooter had other ideas! If I were to place an unmanned camera down front off to the side the obvious place to me would be on the groom's side to catch the bride's face.
Attached Thumbnails
First impressions: FX1000 vs Panasonic HMC150-fx1000sd.jpg   First impressions: FX1000 vs Panasonic HMC150-hv30sd.jpg  

First impressions: FX1000 vs Panasonic HMC150-hmc150720phd.jpg  
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Old May 26th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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Thanks Jeff.

Was the photog down front popping off flashes during the ceremony?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #10
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I'm not sure Tim, I didn't notice when I was reviewing the footage. I'll try and take a look soon...I am about to get back to actual work, as I've been spending too much time gabbing and not enough editing!
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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Jeff, I've got the HV20 and think it's a great camera. But you can see the '1-chip signature' in the HV30 clip when you compare it to the FX1000. There seems to be a much greater color tonality in the FX1000 as a result of the 3-chips.

That's probably the single greatest issue in trying to match the little guys with the big boys. Sharpness & detail is rarely an issue, especially since some of the little cams actually have greater resolution than some of the big guys.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #12
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You're right, of course Ken, but the similarity of the colors, etc. sure is good, especially with auto white balance. Don't get me wrong, the HV 30 is definitely off a bit and not nearly as precise, but still pretty darn good.


In a darker church a few weeks ago I ran the HV30 and it the footage is virtually unusable. In good light it's great, but as soon as the light drops it's useless without additonal lighting.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #13
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Jeff, I recently bought a Sony XR500 and the low light of that 1-chip cam is truly phenomenal! The color balance is also much closer to my Z5 and your FX1000. I bet you'd have an infinitely easier time with 500 as your 2nd or 3rd cam.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 01:01 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info Ken. Sounds like a sweet little camera, but at over $2k it should be!

Is it better or comparable to a Z1 in low light?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #15
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Actually the price is much closer to $1,000.

I would say yes, it is better than the Z1 in low light. I've done comparisons with my Z5 and it's actually more grain-free than the Z5 at the same lux level!!! However, the image of the Z5 is brighter as are the colors, despite some minimal grain. But you won't find a camera with less noise at anywhere near this price or 3X its price for that matter.

However, as I mentioned, color-wise it has that same 'Sony signature' color...just not the same broad tonal variety. It's also got OIS that's beyond anything I've seen at any price. At times it almost looks like a steadicam...OK, not quite, but closer than I've ever seen with any OIS system. You can walk with it and see very very little shake.
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