Panasonic HMC40 vs Sony FX7

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    • #48507
      AvatarCville
      Participant

      Here is my dilema. I am going to invest some capital to my partime business and add a second camera along with various other items. I don’t want to debate CMOS vs CCD as I have made up my mind in that area and I am very happy with CMOS for the type of things that I am doing. I currently have a Sony HVR-HD1000u. I edit on a Quad core PC with Sony Vegas Pro 8

      With my budget im looking at the Sony FX7 or the Panasonic HMC40 I am interested in the pro’s and cons of mixing the AVCHD format with HDV on the time line or is there?

      I thought I was going to go with the FX7 untill I started looking at th reviews on the HMC40. I am just lnterested others input before I commit my dollars. The Idea of going tapeless is tempting.

      Thanks for your input

      Tony

    • #199298
      Avatarcomposite1
      Member

      Cville,

      Are you planning to keep using your existing sony? If so, you might want to consider getting a second one and then getting portable Flash Media card recorders or portable harddrive recorders to implement your tapeless workflow. If you get a flash media recorder, then your issues are dealing with editing AVCHD and the cost of the cards (because you will need more than one!) With portable harddrives you have the benefit of editing directly with HDV and have much more storage space for less cost. The potential drawback is the possibility of drive failure.

      The reason I suggest this with buying a second model of your camera is: you’ll save yourself hours of wasted post time trying to match up your footage from two different cameras. Not to mention that sony if I recall is 1080i res are those other cameras you’re talking about 1080i as well? Trying to mix Interlaced footage with Progressive Scan is a ‘female dog’ at best. Add that to trying to match up footage during color-correction and you’ll need a set of toupee’s to cover all the hair you’re going to pull out.

      Also, having the external options will allow you to shoot tape and tapeless at the same time. Though everyone’s running toward the ‘tapeless bandwagon’, the cheapest and most stable way to back up footage is tape. Long as you don’t get it wet, burn it, tear it or run a magnet over it, tape will last a long time. Just a thought.

    • #199299
      AvatarCville
      Participant

      Composite1

      Thanks for the input. You are correct the Panasonic is 1080p and full HD. I had been planning on the FX7 because it is Sony and would not be much learning curve from the one I have already. I don’t have a problem with tape with the exception of the time constraint during event recording if things go long. The Panasonic was not on my radar untill I read the review in the February Videomaker Magazine.

      I know that I will get some good input here and a wide range of opinions and I thouht I should see what ohers think before I make up my mind.

    • #199300
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I got some experience last year mixing HDV and AVC/MP4 video. I bought one of these relatively cheap HD camcorders, the Sanyo Xacti FH1, mainly to save wear on my Sony HDV camera. I was shooting 2-3 soccer matches a week, and really did want to mess around with the tapeless workflow without risking too much cash.

      The camera turned out to be surprisingly good. It actually does 1080/60p video, which is handy for sports, or for that matter, anything that might go to both web and DVD/BD. It’s far from perfect, and while the video is great for a consumer camera, there’s not much use for the audio. Nearly all controls are on-screen (this is even smaller than the consumer Canon SDHC models), but surprisingly, it has full manual exposure control. And a fairly big sensor — 1/2.5″, 8 Mpixel.. so it doesn’t have Bayer pattern fringing like older single-chip consumer models do.

      And it’s proved a useful enough B or C camera… easy to hide, too. And I’ve found I can match color between this and the HDVs, if the Sanyo’s set up properly for the shoot.

      The AVC stuff isn’t all bad. This is technically not AVCHD… it’s the same basic idea, but it uses all MPEG-4 stuff (AVC, AAC, and MP4 file wrapper) rather than the BD-derived stuff in AVCHD (eg, AC-3 and the MPEG-2 TS file wrapper). On my Q9550 PC, basic editing is doable, directly on the AVC files in Vegas Pro 9. For anything complex, though, I’m probably going to convert to Cineform.

      One downside with this camera… there’s a bug in their MP4 container creation of some kind, maybe related to time codes, that causes Vegas to sometimes crash. I can re-mux the MP4 and AAC to fix it, or just convert to Cineform.

      Anyway, the plus side of SDHC-cards versus tape convinced me. I recently upgraded the Sony HVR-A1 to a Panasonic AG-HMC40. It’s all good.

      Comparing the Sony FX-7 wasn’t really in my sights, because I was specifically looking to go tapeless, as well as upgrade that A1. For direct comparison, you can trust that the Sony’s going to deliver at least a better low-light performance. It’s using 1/4″ sensors too, but they’re half resolution with offset, thus, a bit more light gathering. With that said, they did a nice job on the HMC40’s sensors… I crank the gain up to 12dB-18dB and it still looks like video. I’d never go close to that on a CCD camera, or even the older CMOS-based A1. But the CMOS technology has been advancing fast, particularly in the areas of noise management (unlike CCD, the CMOS tech these days can actually cancel out any fixed noise, like dark current related issues… it’s only the random noise that remains an issue).

      I was also a bit skeptical about AVC in the past. The CODEC itself is great.. you should get at least twice the coding efficiency of MPEG-2, given the right encoder. But it took a good 10 years before pretty much every MPEG-2 encoder looked good. AVC’s been advancing, but change that to “realtime AVC on a 5W camcoder”, and you’d have to wonder. This started to change last year… even on the consumer models, like the Sanyo and the Canons, they were starting to see video that looked better than HDV. This is pretty much what you expect with a 2009-2010 AVC model. Conditions vary, but I believe the HMC40 is cleaner than either of my HDV models on most input.

    • #199301
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Oh, incidently, tape is NOT the cheapest backup these days. It’s the “free” one, if you’re shooting on tape.. you have it, you get to keep it, but you’re still paying $5.00-$8.00 for that 63 minute mini-DV tape. I’m getting BD25-Rs for $1.80, which have twice the storage space as the tape. Sure, there are various opinions about longevity, but in my case, I’ve done at least as well with optical media as tape over the last 20+ years of video work.

      And what you give up sticking to tape: native 24p (they all encode it as 1080/60i on tape, which means you’re splitting your 4:2:0 subsampling across four interlaced scan lines, rather than two progressive scan lines), 720/60p, etc. And you’re still doing 1440×1080 rather than 1920×1080, which, while not the end of the world, is still a compromise.

    • #199302
      AvatarCville
      Participant

      I ended up going with the FX7. I know I will get to a tapeless workflow in the future but so far I am very pleased witht the Sony.

    • #199303
      Avatartorpedo
      Participant

      Hi,

      I am new to this Video Maker forum and need help. What is the better form of recording media, tape or cards? and why. What is a good prosumer or low end professionl camera? Are there any place to buy these cameras used? What is progressive scan?

      Thanks,

      Hi,

      I am new to this Video Maker forum and need help. What is the better form of recording media, tape or cards? and why. What is a good prosumer or low end professionl camera? Are there any place to buy these cameras used? What is progressive scan?

      Thanks,

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