Panasonic 953 vs. Sony 950? at DVinfo.net

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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:09 AM   #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, 01:15 AM   #2
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The first order of advice will always be to get your hands on and eyes through both camcorders, and shoot a bit and bit more with each to determine which you like better. That said......

You probably will shoot indoors at least as much as out, yes?
Both will shoot marvelous video outdoors, provided you learn the manual controls, of course.
Indoors, the 950 seems to have the edge over the 953 in low light performance, with it's slightly larger, low noise CCDs. To me, if you're going to shoot indoors at all, this makes the 950 worth the extra dollars.

The 950 has a jack for external zoom controllers (LANC). Does the 953? Does this feature matter to you?

I presume you've posted next door, or two doors over, rather :-), at the PV/MX forum?

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Old January 4th, 2004, 03:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
I have a six month old daughter and I want to start getting some of her first things on camcorder.
I assume this means a lot of indoor shooting which also means shooting with indoor lighting. Consider the larger Sony VX2000 or VX2100. If that costs too much money then see if you can get the 1-chip Panasonic PV-DV852. B&H has been blowing them out for under $600---a steal.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 01:36 PM   #4
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I can't comment on the Panasonic - yet.
But I've been using the Sony 950 for a year, to shoot video of my soon to be six years old daughter - among other stuff. Here's some of the wisdom I have aquired :
The 950 is not particularly good in low light. But the real problem with indoor (household) lighting - at least in our house - is that the light usually comes from all the wrong directions, leaving my subject in shadow. You need two things to weigh up for this: A good wide-angle add-on lens, so you can squeeze in between the light source and the subject and a small shoe-mount light that will lighten up 2-3 metres in front of the camera.

Sooner or later you will realize that you also need an extra microphone. The built-in stereo mic picks up too much motor, zoom and handling noise for my liking. I use the Sennheiser MK300 in the shoe on the camera. (You're right - I can't use the light then.)

Learn how to use the manual settings - at least for the exposure. You'll thank me once you get around to start editing your different shots together.

Automatic white balance is very reliable but not fool-proof. Mixture of daylight and fluorescent is hard to figure out - even manually.

Sound is excellent - even on auto. The level changes very smoothly.

Colour is great.

Another thing I like about the 950 is that it produces "professional" video but allows me to look like a tourist. That makes it possible to shoot in situations where a larger camera would motivate some people's anxiety.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #5
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Sounds like one of the things you dislike most about the 950 is the low light limitations. With that in mind you need to be looking somewhere other than the 953 as it has less ability in low light than the 950(1/6"CCD's to 1/4.7CCD's). You might need to look into a 3-1/3"CCD cam to get into a better low light ability.
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