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Panasonic's HPX-170 vs Sony EX1


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#1 Bob Hayes

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:29 PM

I am thinking of buying and HD camera and I’m not sure which direction to go. I think I have narrowed it down to the Panasonic's HPX 170 or the Sony EX1. It would have a mixed use for me.

40% Extra stunt camera for Genesis, F23, F900, or Varicam projects. Car or crane work.
30% Spec projects for television or films
20% Corporate work
10% Chance I might shoot an Indy feature with it.

I do not want to get involved in a more complicated system like the Red because I would just rent if that was the case.

What do the usual suspects recommend?
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#2 Michael B McGee

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 10:09 PM

well Michael Mann/ Dante Spinotti used the EX1 with the F23 on Public Enemies. the tv show Dexter uses both the EX1 with a F23. i've heard it used with the F900R as well as the many other XDCAM HD cameras. i assume they cut quite nicely together. i would also assume that the EX1 would cut well with its big brothers, F35/Genesis. I own one and live in Santa Monica. let me know if you want to demo it.

good luck,
Mike
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:34 PM

I like the EX1 as I own it. Certainly the rolling shutter is something to be addressed and mindful of (not too bad in my experience but it can bite you I'm sure). For me, the big selling point were the 1/2" 1920x1080 chips and also the codec. I find it quite good and it hasn't failed me yet. I get more record time per GB than on DVCProHD which saves money on cards (8GB for 26 min of 1080 on EX1 V what DVCProHD is [which I forget]).
The cam is awkward to hand hold, though, so a shoulder mount might be in order for you.
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#4 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:36 PM

Hi Bob,

You may wish to consider the Panasonic AG-HMC150. Although I haven't used this cam myself, on paper at least it appears to have several nice features in its favor. Refer to Panasonic's website:
http://catalog2.pana...Model=AG-HMC150

The AG-HMC150 has CCD sensors -- not CMOS sensors as in the Sony EX1 & EX3. Although the EX cams are very nice cams, their CMOS sensors can exhibit some rolling shutter artifacts ("jello cam" & partial frame exposures of flash/strobes).

Also, the AG-HMC150 records to relatively inexpensive and readily available SDHC Class 6 memory cards. By comparison, the Panasonic HPX-170 uses very expensive P2 cards and the Sony EX cams use somewhat less expensive SxS Pro ExpressCards.

The 2 Panasonic cams mentioned here have 1/3" sensors. The DOF characteristics of the 1/2" sensors in the Sony EX cams may or may not be the highest priority for your applications.

Don't get me wrong: The Sony EX cams are wonderful (especially the fabulous viewfinder on the EX3!), and I wouldn't mind owning either of them, but as of this writing I'd personally prefer the AG-HMC150 for the reasons mentioned above.

Just my $0.02 US. YMMV.

- Peter
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:39 PM

Peter the Panny is AVC-Intra IIRC? any word on post for that as I'm curious 'bout the HMC150 too.
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#6 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:19 AM

Peter the Panny is AVC-Intra IIRC? any word on post for that as I'm curious 'bout the HMC150 too.


The Panasonic AG-HMC150 records using AVCHD at up to 21 megabits/sec., which should compare favorably to Sony's XDCAM-HD at 35 megabits/sec. The AVCHD codec is supposedly more efficient than the XDCAM-HD codec, so the difference in bitrates supported by these 2 cams is probably not a significant factor. There's info about AVCHD here:
http://www.panasonic...am-features.asp

The AVC-Intra codec is a different codec with it own advantages:
http://www.panasonic...hd/avcintra.asp

These relatively modern codecs are well supported by up-to-date editing software running on appropriately-configured, recent-vintage computers.

P.S.: The NAB expo is in Las Vegas next week. You may wish to wait at least a few days to see if relevant new product announcements are made, before making a final purchase decision.
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#7 Walter Graff

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:36 AM

Easy, the EX1. The 170 is noisy. Even in good light it's noisy. Compared to the noise in the EX1, you wouldn't want a 170. The EX1 uses the same chipsets and software as full fledged HDCAM... it's about the best camera going for the price.
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#8 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:08 PM

Easy, the EX1. The 170 is noisy. Even in good light it's noisy. Compared to the noise in the EX1, you wouldn't want a 170. The EX1 uses the same chipsets and software as full fledged HDCAM... it's about the best camera going for the price.


That's what I've heard, too, Walter.

The Sony EX1's list price is almost double that of the Panasonic AG-HMC150, and the AG-HPX170 costs less than the EX1, too, so I'd expect the EX1 to have better S/N specs.

IMHO the AG-HMC150 is a very good value for the money and has some advantages even when compared to more expensive cams. Likewise there are more expensive cams which offer specific advantages -- for a price.

I'd only recommend the AG-HPX170 to someone already heavily invested in P2 cards.

A nice thing about SDHC cards is that they are inexpensive enough that you don't necessarily have to erase & reuse them. Instead, you can preserve your "camera originals" (after making a backup, of course).

FYI: "Brave" EX1 & EX3 users can also benefit from SDHC technology, with some caveats:
http://www.glasseye....ticles/sdassxs/

The EX1 & EX3 are very good values, and again: The EX3's viewfinder is far above average for cams anywhere near its price.

In any case, who knows what NAB may bring next week.


EDIT: Whoops, my mistake: In the original version of this post, I meant to refer to the Panasonic AG-HMC150 as being about half the price of the Sony EX1, not the Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs. the EX1. I've corrected the text.
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