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Old October 31st, 2017, 11:16 PM   #1
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4K Camcorder for Wildlife

I'm looking at getting a 4K camcorder for shooting wildlife and the front-runner at this stage is the Panasonic UX180.

Does anyone here use the UX180 for wildlife? If so, how do you find it?

I'm concerned about the reach of the lens and the picture quality. The samples I've seen online are okay, but don't blow me away. Highlight roll-off doesn't look too good and there looks to be significant noise reduction smearing, even in good light.

But I see the same problems in any cameras in this price range.

Are you using something else similar, and if so, how do you find it?

The PXW-Z150 doesn't seem to have very good 4K specs. I'd miss 50p/60p.

I could push the budget to something like an EVA1, FS5 or similar, but any lens that I'm going to be happy with would cost way more than I'm able to spend.

Weight is also a big issue with me, hence why I'm looking at cameras with an integrated lens.

My research seems to suggest that add-on tele-extenders are not really available any more, especially for 4K. Am I mistaken?
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Old November 1st, 2017, 12:58 AM   #2
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

Not sure if you have seen Doug Jensen's video of Florida wildlife using the PXW Z150. Well worth a watch.
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Old November 1st, 2017, 04:12 PM   #3
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

Thanks for the reply, Donald.

I had seen Doug's footage. Yes, it's good, as is everything I've seen from Doug, but those shots all look to have been captured in nice lighting conditions. It's on the edge that I really need to know which performs better, and the only way I could do that is to test them side by side.

The main reasons I've not looked too closely at the Z150 is the 12x zoom and maximum frame rate of 30p in 4K. I like to almost always shoot in 50p (I'm in PAL land) to allow for smoother slow motion if needed.

I find that many of the shots I want to get are of small animals at quite a distance, and often in quite poor light.

I have seen some good footage from both cameras online, but also a lot of uninspiring footage, but perhaps that comes down to the user more so than the cameras.

Here's some examples of the sort of stuff I do (all shot with a very cheap camera and tripod (modified Panasonic HDC-SD90 and Manfrotto 055 legs/128LP head)):





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Old November 1st, 2017, 04:14 PM   #4
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

I should mention that where I live makes it impossible for me to try any cameras out without a plane trip, but ultimately I could do that if it gets down to a tough decision.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 09:15 AM   #5
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

If, like me, you like the smooth motion of 50/60P then you could look at the Canon XF400/405 or the Panasonic HC-X1/UX180. Both 1" sensors. If you do not need to zoom a lot like a camcorder then you could look at the Panasonic GH5 then you can choose the lens you want. I have one and am very pleased with performance.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 11:37 AM   #6
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

I agree with Ron. I also have the GH5 and am happy with it. Add the Panasonic 100-400 zoom and you would have a great combination.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
If, like me, you like the smooth motion of 50/60P then you could look at the Canon XF400/405 or the Panasonic HC-X1/UX180. Both 1" sensors. If you do not need to zoom a lot like a camcorder then you could look at the Panasonic GH5 then you can choose the lens you want. I have one and am very pleased with performance.
Thanks for the reply, Ron.

Yes, the UX180 is the front runner at the moment. I've eliminated the XF400 because of not enough zoom range.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 03:57 PM   #8
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

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Originally Posted by Mark Williams View Post
I agree with Ron. I also have the GH5 and am happy with it. Add the Panasonic 100-400 zoom and you would have a great combination.
I'm in my 50s and have used SLRs for stills and 16mm and video cameras for motion pictures since the age of 14. Although video and photography has been mostly a hobby for many years, my first job was as a film and video camera operator. I used cameras and lenses that cost as much as a house.

I've never been able to feel comfortable with the idea of using a stills camera for video, but really, the only times I've tried were with my Nikon D90. I found it very clunky to operate and of course the picture quality left a lot to be desired.

But I have read some good things about the GH5 (and the GH4 for that matter).

With wildlife, things often happen very fast. Is the GH5 something that's possible to change settings very quickly?

Also, I'm assuming it's not possible to zoom while filming with the 100-400.

I'll put some more thought into going the GH5 route and see if I can track down some wildlife footage shot with that combination.

Thanks Mark and Ron for the suggestion.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 04:03 PM   #9
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

If the UX180 is the top of your list and you do not need SDI or timecode link then the HC-X1 is identical and a bit cheaper. The GH5 is not as convenient to zoom as a camcorder when your shooting but it does have a LANC control for the few power zoom lenses that are around though most would view them as not being up to the quality of the GH5. If you are shooting at 50P in UHD then you can of course zoom in about 4:1 if you are delivering HD but focus is VERY critical in UHD.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

The UX180 is pretty much the same price as the HC-X1 on the street in Australia. Since I do occasionally get called on to do the odd video job, having timecode might come in handy.

That's another mark against the GH5, I guess. I do get asked to shoot an occasional commercial video and the GH5 will be less desirable there.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 04:37 PM   #11
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

If they are the similar price then of course get the UX180 but for me in Canada there is quite a difference. I think they both have timecode the difference is a timecode sync connector for multicam. The SDI is only HD too so any UHD has to be from the HDMI common to both. So the UX180 has the advantage in a studio multicam environment with SDI monitoring. As a one man band I see no advantage over the HC-X1 as picture and sound are identical. I choose the GH5 because it offered 10bit 4:2:2 on the HDMI for an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun/Ninja Inferno. My use is always on a tripod, fixed in the theatre.
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Old November 2nd, 2017, 07:02 PM   #12
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Warren View Post
The UX180 is pretty much the same price as the HC-X1 on the street in Australia. Since I do occasionally get called on to do the odd video job, having timecode might come in handy.

That's another mark against the GH5, I guess. I do get asked to shoot an occasional commercial video and the GH5 will be less desirable there.
I have a friend in Perth, Robert Humphries, and he's done a lot of wildlife shooting with a camcorder, don't know which one. Here is his email, and I'm sure he would love to give his thoughts on cameras. Here is his email.

auriga99 AT hotmail DOT com

Also, here is a link to some footage he just got of a Frogmouth plus other stuff from South Africa http://www.hbw.com/ibc/u/24680.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 11:50 PM   #13
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

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Originally Posted by Don DesJardin View Post
I have a friend in Perth, Robert Humphries, and he's done a lot of wildlife shooting with a camcorder, don't know which one. Here is his email, and I'm sure he would love to give his thoughts on cameras.
Thanks for your reply, Don.

Those videos appear to be much lower resolution than 4K.

I've sent Robert an email to solicit his opinion.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 09:50 AM   #14
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

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I've sent Robert an email to solicit his opinion.
I've been exchanging emails with Robert. He also has his eye on the UX180/HC-X1.
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Old November 24th, 2017, 01:26 PM   #15
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Re: 4K Camcorder for Wildlife

I ordered a UX180 today along with a spare battery, a couple of 128GB SD cards, a Rode wireless mic kit, Rode NTG1 shotgun mic, and a shock mount for the mic.

All except the spare battery should arrive mid next week.
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