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Which Camcorder Should I Buy?

  • Canon Vixia HF G30

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sony HDR-CX900

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Panasonic HC-V750

    Votes: 2 28.6%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks,


I have a honeymoon and a road trip coming up in May. I have been waiting on the price of the Vixia G30 to drop but see that Canon has decided to extend the life of the G30 out to their 2014 lineup. The best price I see for the G30 is currently $1,399. The one thing that caught my eye is Panasonic's MSRP is less than half the price of the G30's lowest street price.


Taking a quick glossary look at the other main brands, I think I want to stick with the Canon but am hesitating because I may have overlooked things. My current bias based on things I recollect reading are:
  • Panasonic XC-920 auto white balance can take 25 seconds indoors.
  • Sony doesn't seem to offer the best bang for the buck but offers some niche features like projector and GPS capabilities.
  • Canon has about the best low-light sensitivity among the pro-sumer models; lacks internal memory but has two SD card slots.


Sony offers a 12x optical zoom, while Panasonic offers a 20x optical zoom like the Vixia G30 but through the use of 4 lenses. What says the community?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jogiba  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474371


Sony Handycam HDR CX900 is the best out of the three.

Can you elaborate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jogiba  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474435


The Sony has a much larger sensor than the Canon or Panasonic and a much higher recording bit rate.

Canon does in fact have a smaller imaging sensor, but with fewer and larger pixels on the sensor this gives it an edge for low-light situations. I don't exactly know Panasonic's situation. I agree though that it sounds intuitive to conclude a larger sensor should be better (assuming all else being equal).


On the matter of bitrate, it seems to be a moot point since the G30 manual mentions that some televisions may not be able to properly playback AVCHD recorded in 28Mbps or MP4 recorded in 35Mbps.


In either case, I think I may want to record video in MP4 since this seems to be more convenient for post-processing. The Sony seems to only support 720p for MP4 at 30Mbps. The Canon will do 35Mbps for MP4 at 1080p. Panasonic states they will do 1080p for MP4 at 50Mbps (Variable Bitrate).
 

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Either the Ax100 4K camera to future proof your honeymoon video to watch on the 4K TV you will own one day or the CX900. Or wait till April to see if the semipro announcements at NAB will drive down prices of existing products.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckAtZero  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474125


Folks,


I have a honeymoon and a road trip coming up in May.
  • Panasonic XC-920 auto white balance can take 25 seconds indoors.
  • Sony doesn't seem to offer the best bang for the buck but offers some niche features like projector and GPS capabilities.
  • Canon has about the best low-light sensitivity among the pro-sumer models; lacks internal memory but has two SD card slots.


Sony offers a 12x optical zoom, while Panasonic offers a 20x optical zoom like the Vixia G30 but through the use of 4 lenses. What says the community?

on road trip... you will need the sony with BOSS (balance optical stabilizer system). on our recent trip. while inside the plane I was able to record plane landing and takeoff with my sony cx760.


of the three camcorder you listed. get the sony cx900. althought it does not yet have the BOSS system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckAtZero  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474125


Folks,


I have a honeymoon and a road trip coming up in May. I have been waiting on the price of the Vixia G30 to drop but see that Canon has decided to extend the life of the G30 out to their 2014 lineup. The best price I see for the G30 is currently $1,399. The one thing that caught my eye is Panasonic's MSRP is less than half the price of the G30's lowest street price.


Taking a quick glossary look at the other main brands, I think I want to stick with the Canon but am hesitating because I may have overlooked things. My current bias based on things I recollect reading are:
  • Panasonic XC-920 auto white balance can take 25 seconds indoors.
  • Sony doesn't seem to offer the best bang for the buck but offers some niche features like projector and GPS capabilities.
  • Canon has about the best low-light sensitivity among the pro-sumer models; lacks internal memory but has two SD card slots.


Sony offers a 12x optical zoom, while Panasonic offers a 20x optical zoom like the Vixia G30 but through the use of 4 lenses. What says the community?

The Sony and Panasonic cameras are 2014 generation cameras, while the Canon is a 2013 generation camera. There is a sea change underway in terms of technology in 2014, so you definitely don't want to be spending money on 2013 tech if you want to future proof your equipment. The G30 is not a bad camera, but I'm pretty certain that both the Sony and Panasonic cameras are better. Canon may announce a 2014 model in the next month or two, but you probably will not be able to buy it before July at the earliest.


My guess is that the Panasonic will give you the most bang for you buck.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugela  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474874


The Sony and Panasonic cameras are 2014 generation cameras, while the Canon is a 2013 generation camera. There is a sea change underway in terms of technology in 2014, so you definitely don't want to be spending money on 2013 tech if you want to future proof your equipment. The G30 is not a bad camera, but I'm pretty certain that both the Sony and Panasonic cameras are better. Canon may announce a 2014 model in the next month or two, but you probably will not be able to buy it before July at the earliest.


My guess is that the Panasonic will give you the most bang for you buck.


the problem with Panasonic is they kept changing their battery. battery tm700 not compatible with tm900. and battery last for 4hrs only


while for sony cx700 cx760, cx900 uses same v series battery. fpv-100 last for 8hrs.
 

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Hi StuckAtZero - first of all, congratulations on the honeymoon!


I'm a Panasonic guy, but, if I were buying a 1080p camcorder today, it would be the 2014 $1498 Sony CX900 .


Here's why:


- 1" sensor

- New XAVC-S codec

- Sony Optical Stabilization is generally better than the competition

- The video performance of the $1298 RX10 has been surprisingly good - and this is essentially the same camera in a camcorder body - with a better codec and no 30 minute clip length limit

- It doesn't cost that much more than a 2013 HF G30, which is $1397 on eBay and $1499 at Amazon as of this post.


Panasonic and Canon seem to have decided not to introduce top-end prosumer camcorders this year (e.g., no X920 replacement, no HF G30 replacement - pretty much leaving this market segment to the CX900 ).


And, unless you plan to upgrade your monitors soon, or produce videos for 4K distribution, the extra $500 for the AX100 isn't worth it, in my view


Hope this is helpful!


Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

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IMO 4K will be the standard in all market segments by the end of 2015, so if you need one and are going to buy a camcorder now that does less than 4K, spending ~$1.3k is not money well spent because you will probably want to replace it in a relatively short period of time. The Panasonic is very reasonably priced and appears to have decent specs. Just look at is a shorter upgrade cycle since you are spending far less money, then get a 4K camera when that market has matured a bit.


Btw, I don't believe that Panasonic and Canon have abandoned that market, but the 920 and G30 replacements will be 4K cameras, not 1080p only. I think that it is quite possible that both will release updates this year, but staggered among their other product releases. They will spread them out to maintain marketing buzz in the media. The first Canon will probably be something like an "XA30" however, with a consumer version "G40" being released a few months after that, perhaps in 2015. Keep in mind that the 750 has a very high pixel count in the new sensor, so there will probably be a 4K version using the same sensor in the future (just like the Sony cameras). The Panasonic can also shoot at 120 fps at least, and possibly as high as 240 fps. So, enough data throughput seems to be there for a 4K model. It just has not been announced yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevypower  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474690


Either the Ax100 4K camera to future proof your honeymoon video to watch on the 4K TV you will own one day or the CX900. Or wait till April to see if the semipro announcements at NAB will drive down prices of existing products.

I'm all for future-proofing, but I'm also concerned about picture video quality as well. I haven't jumped onto the 4K bandwagon yet... I've looked at a Sony 4K demo at my local Best Buy and I didn't perceive anything better than what I have now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyker1212  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474842


on road trip... you will need the sony with BOSS (balance optical stabilizer system). on our recent trip. while inside the plane I was able to record plane landing and takeoff with my sony cx760.


of the three camcorder you listed. get the sony cx900. althought it does not yet have the BOSS system.

I'll definitely have to look into the BOSS feature you speak of and consider what situations it would come in handy for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugela  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24474874


The Sony and Panasonic cameras are 2014 generation cameras, while the Canon is a 2013 generation camera. There is a sea change underway in terms of technology in 2014, so you definitely don't want to be spending money on 2013 tech if you want to future proof your equipment. The G30 is not a bad camera, but I'm pretty certain that both the Sony and Panasonic cameras are better. Canon may announce a 2014 model in the next month or two, but you probably will not be able to buy it before July at the earliest.


My guess is that the Panasonic will give you the most bang for you buck.

I'm not certain if a 1-year gap genuinely makes a big difference. But it seems like the 2014 models you're speaking of are playing catch up to Canon's 2013 model, or am I missing something?


I agree though that the Panasonic seems to have a very disruptive price point, but I'm concerned about trade offs with my limited understanding of videography. Ideally, I'd be more inclined to wait for a G40 to come out and I put my money onto the G30 after it takes a price drop... but I fear that won't happen in the window of time I would need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by brunerww  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24476457


Hi StuckAtZero - first of all, congratulations on the honeymoon!


I'm a Panasonic guy, but, if I were buying a 1080p camcorder today, it would be the 2014 $1498 Sony CX900 .


Here's why:


- 1" sensor

- New XAVC-S codec

- Sony Optical Stabilization is generally better than the competition

- The video performance of the $1298 RX10 has been surprisingly good - and this is essentially the same camera in a camcorder body - with a better codec and no 30 minute clip length limit

- It doesn't cost that much more than a 2013 HF G30, which is $1397 on eBay and $1499 at Amazon as of this post.


Panasonic and Canon seem to have decided not to introduce top-end prosumer camcorders this year (e.g., no X920 replacement, no HF G30 replacement - pretty much leaving this market segment to the CX900 ).


And, unless you plan to upgrade your monitors soon, or produce videos for 4K distribution, the extra $500 for the AX100 isn't worth it, in my view


Hope this is helpful!


Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

Thanks! Looking at your points, my thoughts are:
  • I'm not yet convinced that Sony's 1" sensor is as good as Canon's ~ 1/2" sensor given that Canon's has much fewer pixels in order to have larger pixels specifically to increase light sensitivity (better for low-light settings).
  • I'll have to check the XAVC-S codec out and also see if it's an open standard or if it's a proprietary one. It sounds interesting.
  • I'll have to look more into Sony's OIS, but Canon clearly has zoom beat on Sony due to Sony only having 12x versus Canon's 20x.
  • I'm not very familiar with the RX10, but I have owned the CyberShot DSC-F717 (which took lousy video). I've always thought that one needs to buy a digital camera and camcorder separately since no one has seemed to make the perfect fusion of both...does that still hold true today?
  • Canon does have a top-prosumer model, it just happens to be the G30 which was released 2 to 3 months after the G20 debuted. It seems that for the most part Sony has played catch up to Canon's G30... or am I incorrect on this matter?
  • I concur on not rushing out to getting a 4K camcorder... especially since I can't seem to see any sort of difference with in-store 4K demos versus a Kuro demo I have for my plasma.


I'm actually surprised there's so much support for the Sony camcorder. My initial inclination was the larger pixels and stronger optical zoom for the Camcorder were very strong attributes that others seem so far to believe are nullified with with Sony / Panasonic may be offering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugela  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24477855


IMO 4K will be the standard in all market segments by the end of 2015, so if you need one and are going to buy a camcorder now that does less than 4K, spending ~$1.3k is not money well spent because you will probably want to replace it in a relatively short period of time. The Panasonic is very reasonably priced and appears to have decent specs. Just look at is a shorter upgrade cycle since you are spending far less money, then get a 4K camera when that market has matured a bit.


Btw, I don't believe that Panasonic and Canon have abandoned that market, but the 920 and G30 replacements will be 4K cameras, not 1080p only. I think that it is quite possible that both will release updates this year, but staggered among their other product releases. They will spread them out to maintain marketing buzz in the media. The first Canon will probably be something like an "XA30" however, with a consumer version "G40" being released a few months after that, perhaps in 2015. Keep in mind that the 750 has a very high pixel count in the new sensor, so there will probably be a 4K version using the same sensor in the future (just like the Sony cameras). The Panasonic can also shoot at 120 fps at least, and possibly as high as 240 fps. So, enough data throughput seems to be there for a 4K model. It just has not been announced yet.

I concur that 4K will eventually be THE standard, but I'm not sure how soon. My theory revolves around that it will be more about curbing online piracy (given the enormous file sizes involved) than it does with consumer demand. Ginormous screen sizes will also foster this new standard, but I think the ulterior motive is mostly to address piracy and to also justify higher price points for something most people will fail to see a difference on.


Your points on buying a Panasonic in the short run are very compelling. I agree that I think the 920 and G30 replacements will come out as 4K camcorders. My concern for the 750 is low-light sensitivity as well as how long auto-white balance will take.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckAtZero  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24478080


...I'm not very familiar with the RX10, but I have owned the CyberShot DSC-F717 (which took lousy video). I've always thought that one needs to buy a digital camera and camcorder separately since no one has seemed to make the perfect fusion of both...does that still hold true today?

Not really.


This is the sharpest HF G30 video I could find:




I moderate the RX10 group over on Vimeo - and this is just one of a dozen stunning RX10 videos:




I didn't believe it either, so I rented the RX10 and shot with it myself. It is the real deal.


Good luck!


Bill
 

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"•I'm not yet convinced that Sony's 1" sensor is as good as Canon's ~ 1/2" sensor given that Canon's has much fewer pixels in order to have larger pixels specifically to increase light sensitivity (better for low-light settings)."


This a valid point. Another is that the Sony lens is not as fast (smaller aperture).


"•I'll have to check the XAVC-S codec out and also see if it's an open standard or if it's a proprietary one. It sounds interesting."


I do not understand what you mean by "proprietary" (you must have been captured by Apple's behavior): XAVC-S just uses H264, which is a standard. Almost any editor that takes H264 video will handle it. I have used it in the editors I have. This is not a problem (in fact I do not get what is new about it other than allowing higher bitrates).


"I've always thought that one needs to buy a digital camera and camcorder separately since no one has seemed to make the perfect fusion of both...does that still hold true today?"


This WAS true - big-sensor cameras make some terrible video (using resolution and lack of artifacts as the criteria). Recent exceptions are the Canon 5D Mark III, the Panasonic GH mirrorless and the new Sony RX10 and the new Sony camcorders with the same 1" sensor.
 

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Dan does such a great job with his videos and this one really does show what a great camera the RX10 is.


For ease of use and producing great videos with very little hassle, this one is tough to beat!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckAtZero  /t/1522264/need-help-picking-a-pro-sumer-camcorder-to-buy#post_24478013


I'm not certain if a 1-year gap genuinely makes a big difference. But it seems like the 2014 models you're speaking of are playing catch up to Canon's 2013 model, or am I missing something?


I agree though that the Panasonic seems to have a very disruptive price point, but I'm concerned about trade offs with my limited understanding of videography. Ideally, I'd be more inclined to wait for a G40 to come out and I put my money onto the G30 after it takes a price drop... but I fear that won't happen in the window of time I would need it.

No, they are next generation compared to the G30.
 
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