Broadcasting Forum
Panasonic AG-AC160A vs Sony HXRNX5U
Panasonic AG-AC160A vs Sony HXRNX5U
by Daniel Skrobowski on Jul 28, 2014 at 7:01:54 am

Hello, we usually run a live broadcasting setup with Panasonic AG-AC160As. Besides some annoying, occasional autofocus issues, we were happy with them. We had our video equipment stolen recently, and we've been examining some other items to determine whether or not we should just repurchase those Panasonic camcorders or try something else.

Here is our application:

Live Broadcast, HD-SDI output is required, there is 100 feet of HD-SDI cable between the camcorders and a video switcher, low light (quite low, actually), preffered no P2 equipment, at least 70 feet between camcorders and objects of interest—at least 20x zoom required.

I've been looking at the Sony HXR-NX5U because it's a very highly rated camera on B&H. This camera seems like it might be a replacement option for the Panasonics. However, I have some concerns.

The Sony uses 3 CMOS sensors and has a minimum luminance rating of 1.5 lux, but the Panasonic uses one 3MOS sensor and has a minimum luminance rating of 0.4 lux. I was content to use the 3MOS technology because of the facts that it is supposed to dramatically improve low-light performance (which is important for our application) and that it's supposed to dramatically reduce noise issues. However, upon looking at how the minimum luminance rating was determined by each company, I'm wondering if the low-light performace of the 3MOS cameras is exaggerated.

See the different calculation methods here:

Please notice how the gain for the Panasonic is set to 30db, while the gain for the Sony only goes as high as 21db.

So, how well do you think that the Sony would perform in low-light settings and would the noise be more of an issue as compared to the Panasonic? Is there really a noticeable difference in low-light performace between these two cameras?

Has anyone used that particular Sony? I'm also wondering if the fact that that the Sony has three 1/3" sensors and the Panasonic only has one 1/3" sensor would make up for any deficiency in the ability of a CMOS sensor to perform as well as a 3MOS sensor in low light.

Please share your thoughts. Which camcorder do you think would be better for our application as described above?

All tips are greatly appreciated.