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Canon XHA1 VS. Sony PD170 VS. Panasonic DVX100B

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Kennon Shain
Canon XHA1 VS. Sony PD170 VS. Panasonic DVX100B
on Jun 23, 2007 at 11:30:22 pm

Well, I'm pondering whether I should make a new cam purchase. I was going to go HDV before the season started, but decided to wait (and pay off some bills). I am currently using Canon GL2's, however, and the low light capabilities are becoming a problem. Both for weddings and music videos.

After hearing of the workflow of HD, I am afraid to take it on quite yet. I was thinking of sticking with DV for the next couple years, then maybe trading in down the road when there is more advances in HD technology. Am I crazy for sticking with DV?

I'm considering the Sony PD170 or Panasonic DVX-100B. I would like to shoot short films on the side, but my event business is the priority. Does anyone have experience with both? Does the Panasonic hold up in event video? I know it isn't as good as the 170 in low light, but it is still about twice as sensitive as the GL2.

I was salivating over the Canon XHA1, but again, the low light/HD issues seems iffy. I know you can shoot in HDV, and down-convert to DV (therefore bypassing an additional workflow), but why spend the extra money if I won't use it? Is the XHA1 event-proof?

Legal videos are also a option I'd like to get into, which I know the PD170 can handle. Looks like I can get the Sony or panasonic for about $2600-2700 on B&H, so price doesn't really make a difference. The A1 isn't much more, about $3250.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated! Especially before I drop all the cash.....



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Re: Canon XHA1 VS. Sony PD170 VS. Panasonic DVX100B
on Jun 27, 2007 at 4:12:58 am

Kennon I have a 170 and a 150 I am a sony man all the way until Panasonic made the HVX-200. Now I have That as well. Weddings,"Low Light" Stuff 170 all the way. The reason I bought the 170 is to have some security if for some reason I get retarted and drop the camera it won't shatter. I have shot small corporate stuff, Weddings and Sports and all I can say WORK HORSE! You gotta think of the future before you buy. What are you going to upgrade to then buy that lowered version. This will allow you to match cameras. I did struggle with the HDV version of Sony it would have been to easy to buy that but I really liked the vision Panasonic has with the P2 Technology. So the Panasonic 100b is not a bad buy either. My next goal is HPX 500...

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Nicholas de Kock
Re: Canon XHA1 VS. Sony PD170
on Apr 24, 2008 at 10:15:39 pm

I just bought the Canon XHA1. I have two PD170's I use for events and weddings. I hooked both cameras up onto my HD 32" LCD. At first I was blown away by the detail of HDV this was my first real HDV experience and I was sold, the fine detail is simply incredible, I might even have said in my excitement that I'll never go back to the PD170. Then I split viewed my TV, the two camera next to each other and composed identical images. I set both cameras through different settings trying to match to the images up.

My words were barely out before I took them back. The XHA1 is not a good low light performer for wedding work, light simply disappears. The PD170 had an illuminated image with vivid colors. I tried matching up the colors, XHA1 had dull color under the same lighting conditions.

Now this is where things got interesting, clearly the PD170 won hands down with excellent color reproduction but the XHA1 had superior detail from my view point, I was sitting directly in front of my TV. I sat on the couch 2m away and the fussy picture of the PD170 turned into an image I preferred over the XHA1! The viewing distance made it impossible to see the fine detail the XHA1 has, and the book I composed in my shot was clearly readable with the PD170 and closely matched the look of the XHA1.

I primarily shoot weddings, I'm not convinced that the XHA1 is a good replacement for my PD170, the dull color and light hungry sensor is a problem. Even with a 10W light the XHA1 still struggles to match the color and light of the PD170 without any light.

I think I'll keep the PD170's for the reception, in daylight and controlled light situations the XHA1 will perform well however in a medium lit room the PD170 wins in my opinion. The PD170 stills has life and I wont be able to replace it with the XHA1 completely if at all.

The new Sony EX1 might prove me wrong however price of memory is ridiculous and the rolling shutter dilemma might just turn out to be nothing once people get use to it. The PD170 + viewing distance almost turns it into a HD camera, HD is a marketing point though and a reason to push up prices, however my clients wont be happy with the XHA1 image quality during reception.


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