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Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90

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Craig Alan
Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Aug 31, 2013 at 9:58:11 am

I'm using the Panasonic AG-HPX250 with my more advanced students. Really like these cams. I'm looking to replace our canon HV40s for the beginning students.

Panasonic AG-HPX170 and Panasonic AG-AC90 both seem like good beginner cams and would make the transition to the 250s easy.

AC90:

I like the easy access to key control buttons

it sells for a lot less and uses cheaper media.

I also like being able to shoot in 1080 60P.

Concerned about the somewhat fragile attachment of the LCD screen.

I have no experience with this cam and really I'd like some feedback on using it.

AG-HPX170

I like the SDI out on the 170.

We already have three of them and would need only two/three more.

Even though they have different chips they seem to pair well with our AG-HPX250-s.

both the AG-HPX170 and AG-AC90 use the same batteries. They have about the same zoom range.

Can anyone offer some feedback on the pros and cons of the Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 1, 2013 at 12:10:01 pm

If you need SDI...

If you need P2, like the 250...

If not, save the money, I love the 170, great cam, last of the CCD's...
But older tech.

Chris


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Craig Alan
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 1, 2013 at 5:44:49 pm

Thanks Chris.
I've used the 170 and loved it until I got the 250s which are better. My only real problem with the 170s were the shared ring for iris and focus which is a pain during a shoot.

If money were no object I'd go for more of the 250s. Better lens, three rings.

But do you know how the AC-90 performs? Image quality (1/4 chips 3mos) and if the LCD is too fragile?

Is the lens as good as the 170?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 1, 2013 at 5:50:53 pm

No, I don't know, I have used the HCM150 a lot, it is the same as the 170 but to SD card.

You do have that little wheel for iris on the 170 separate from the focus.

Chris


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Craig Alan
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 1, 2013 at 9:59:04 pm

Good point on iris adjustment. And in auto mode if you are auto focusing you can use the lens ring for IRIS. In manual mode you can use the little iris wheel as the third ring. I prefer three rings but at least you don't have to toggle the little iris/focus switch to adjust iris. Is there any difference in the type of adjustment being made? Since the little iris is not attached to the lens maybe it's a digital control?

I just read one review in which the AC-90 lost points since the zoom ring adjustment had a bad latency and made it virtually useless in mid-shot. The rocker zoom works fine though. Generally the reviewer found the manual controls poor but the auto functions very good - which sort of makes it a good loaner for me and a consumer level cam in general - which its price indicates. I think that the positive AC-90 comments over the 170 has to do with the 3mos sensors being more sensitive than the 3 CCDs. But CCDs have certain advantages with motion shots which might make them good loaner cams which are mostly used outdoors and without my supervision or studio lights.

One advantage for me on P2 cams is the cards are more robust, bigger and less likely for a student to steal them since they can only be used in P2 devices. If we use SD cards the kids use them in other devices, they are real small, more likely to get broken as well. On the other hand, the P2s are insanely expensive. I need at least two per cam which means over $1200 per cam.

In any case the big differences with the 250 over either one of these are a 22x lens and intra-100 codex.

The 170 shoots in DVCPro HD

The HCM150 and AC-90 shoot in AVCHD.

I know the AVC-Intra 100 holds up better for keying and is considered a higher end codec.

Most of the google stuff I find is early articles on AVCHD before it started getting added to higher end prosumer cams.

Has there been any improvement with AVCHD that would put it on par with the DVCPro HD?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 2, 2013 at 1:16:01 am

I think the AVCHD codec is very clean, does a decent job on a budget, DVCPROHD codec is noisy, getting to be outdated, not full raster, etc. I don't envy you on the cards issues, good luck, go the save money route, these kids won't take great care of the equipment over time. JMO.

Chris


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Craig Alan
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Sep 2, 2013 at 5:02:49 am

Thanks Chris.
So even though Panasonic intended the DVCPROHD to be pro and AVCHD was a replacement for HDV, AVCHD has evolved and DVCPROHD hasn't?
But the AVCINTRA 100 of the AG-HPX250 should surpass both of these ... correct. Full raster, 422 color … I really like the results we are getting with the 250s.
I’ve decided to err on the side of high expectations. I’m going to order two more of the 250s with the 170s as back ups and loaners (the school already had the 170s when I got there; I added 3 250s since then).
If I can afford one or two of AC-90s, I might try those out too. They seem like great run and gun cams with modern backside illuminated 3mos and from what you say about AVCHD (actually AVCCAM in this unit). We are talking ¼” sensors however and less than stellar manual controls.
But my priority is the 250s plus a Canon 5D package. So I’ll have to crutch the numbers.
I’ve been doing this for 8 years and have lost very few units to accidents, theft or deliberate abuse. I’ve also had this very democratic everyone participates equally approach. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep an eye out.
Since there is more riding on proper care, if I get the care-less or hater vibes then they will loose the privilege of using the gear. Never used this type of discipline before but I think it’s a good step to allow students to be exposed to the potential of this level of production. I still have consumer level cams as an option. Just doesn’t feel right to weaken a program to cater to the worst behavior.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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mark villa
Re: Panasonic AG-HPX170 vs Panasonic AG-AC90
on Jan 14, 2014 at 9:59:07 am

it's a 60p thing. I normally shoot sony EX1 and used to its weight and excellent 30p. BUT after I saw the 60p footage out of the ac90 that a friend gave to me then I had to get one and I did. Small, light , front heavy(ish) on a tripod (but I'll tell later my cheap fix), a PLEASURE to hold and the SD cards are fantastic for quick jobs. about the front heavy problem on a tripod I attach a cheap focusing rail (20bucks @ B&H and 12 bucks on-line) and works like a charm. Only for smaller and lighter cameras of course but moving the camera will compensate better the counter balance of the fluid head. Mark the best position and we are in business. The only thing that I don't like about the ac90 is the complicated white balance , not because is difficult but because is bizarre . The only way to get a proper reading is to put a grey card (12%) (not white): THEN it gets it right.


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