Sony NEX-VG20H or Panasonic AC130

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    • #49511

      I’m thinking of upgrading from a GH2 (great low light camera for me so far) to a dedicated video camera because:

      -need XLR input

      -dual sd card or backup recording

      -longer battery life

      -easier focus (shallow depth of field not required)

      So I was thinking of either

      -Sony NEXVG20H + XLR adaptor like a beachtek (larger chip, but f/3.5 stock lens)

      -Panasonic AC130 (smaller 3mos chips but f/1.6 lens)


      budget is about $3,000.

      I read that the VG20H copies SD files into a hard drive. From B&H “Like the VG10, the NEX-VG20H records AVCHD files (up to 28 Mb/s) to
      either Memory Stick or SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, and it adds Direct Copy of
      these files to hard drives.”

      I’m leaning towards the Panny AC130 since it is 1/3″ 3mos, it’s not mostly touchscreen, f/1.6 as well, dual recording, camcorder like autofocus, and no need for new lens.

      But I’m wondering if anyone has any first hand usage of any of these.

    • #202677

      Typing on my phone so it will be short. I have had my VG 20 for a couple of weeks.

      I have only done some minor shooting with it. I bought mine without the lens purchased the 55-210 and the 16 wide angle. I will pick up the 50mm prime soon. I have only done one lower light test so far but it performs much better than my Sony fx7 much less noise when I push the gain. I can’t speak to the panisonic.

      I have a post on this site with some video I shot at 60p with just a 75 and 50 watt halogen spot.

    • #202678

      Hi Reynand – I completely understand wanting to add a camcorder to your arsenal after shooting with the GH2. I have a GH2 as well – great camera, but it lacks a lot of standard camcorder features (headphone jack and manual audio gain are my biggest gripes).

      I’ve shot with the NEX-VG20, and it’s a great “DSLR in a camcorder form factor”, but, like a DSLR, it has no power zoom, no camcorder-quick autofocus, no XLR inputs and no dual SD cards. And I can’t find a new AC130 for less than $3450from a reputable online retailer.

      At the $3000 price point, you may want to look at the $1840 Canon XA10 or broadcast-quality$2995 XF100. Both have dual card recording (SD for the XA10, CF for the XF100), XLR inputs and camcorder-quick autofocus. Philip Bloom speaks highly of both, but prefers the XF100:

      Here is what people are doing with the XA10:


      Narrative test:

      Here is what people are doing with the XF100:


      Narrative (sort of):

      Hope this is helpful. Please let us know what you decide!



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #202679

      Reynand – something I didn’t notice before I wrote the post above (sorry about all the links – I got carried away :-))

      I just noticed that the Canon XF100‘s big brother, the $6500 XF300, is Videomaker Magazine’s 2011 Best Professional Camcorder of the Year.

      Reflects well on the XF100.



    • #202680

      Reynand, I currently have an AC130, and if you’re looking for autofocus be careful with the 130, its autofocus isn’t as great as previous Panasonic cams, it will frequently “hunt” on you either while panning or zooming. Lots of complaints out about it, and Panasonic is aware and are “researching” the issue so they may release a firmware update to correct it in the future, but as of now its still present, so bear that in mind. If you really want it and are planning on using/relying on the autofocus try to find a store/display model or a friend close to you so you can do your own quick tests and judge if its too much of a hassle/problem for you. Other than that it’s a pretty fantastic camera!

    • #202681

      Thanks for all the info, and much appreciated!

      Thanks TFSMITH24 for the insight. i did some research on the autofocus issue on youtube and vimeo, and it seems like it becomes an issue only when zoomed in or in low light, low contrast. i rely on autofocus on run and gun events, although i know pros use manual. i hope to reach that pro level someday. i just saw a video on youtube ( ) about using autofocus to focus, then switching to manual to lock, which is what i do now for the GH2, since i don’t have an HD monitor. it looks like the ac130 has 1980p horizontal res, which is WOW!

      as much as i really wanted the XA10, it wasn’t a 3-chip and it was all touchscreen. and the XF100 wasn’t 3-chip either, although it does have very impressive codec, i saw some lightless footage, which happens to be majority of my situation: receptions with no lights except from the dj-booth. uughh.. some reviews said it wasn’t as good in lowlight as 3chips. the XF300 is like $6000, might as well go for an EX1 1/2″ 3chips, right?

      As much as I wanted the VG20 due to it’s large chip factor, dual recording was the deal breaker. Thanks BILL BRUNER. That confirmed it. I’m about to order the ac130, in time for my next shoot.

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