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Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170

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Scott HendersonSony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 20, 2011 at 5:34:47 pm

I'm looking to upgrade to a new camera for mostly corporate interviews, green screen and some b-roll run & gun type stuff. I love tapeless HD workflow so I am comparing the Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170.

On the surface these 2 cameras seem very similar. Obviously the P2 card price is a major consideration and the Sony SDHC card option is one I am already familiar with from using a JVC GYHM100 (the camera I have now). But in reading about the Panasonic I think the scene files are a pretty cool way to dial in a look.

On the other hand I have rented the Sony HVR-Z7U recently and was very satisfied with the results from the shoot. The NX5U seems like a big brother to the Z7U. At least the general form factor.

The main reason for upgrading is that I'm looking for a more "professional" camera. The JVC is ok, but it's really more pro-sumer. I would like easier access to manual settings, etc.

Any insight or advice would be helpful. I know this is a Sony forum & I will get some Sony bias... but honestly I'm just looking for a versatile camera that will last me for a few years.



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Joseph MorganRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:21:42 am

Hi - I've only just (in the last few days) bought the NX5U (with Worldcam upgrade so I can operate in PAL-land as well) after a lot of umming and ahhing over different options, including the Panasonic 170 (which came a very close second.

I think in the end there were a couple of things that tipped it for me:

I prefer the option of widely available storage cards as I travel a lot (ever tried finding P2 card in Zimbabwe or Russia?).

The availablity of 'system components' with Sony e.g. I bought a Sony radio mic, a Sony hard disk drive, Sony screen shade, etc. when I bought the NX5 and I'm only going to one place for support and not having to muck around evaluating different third party options and so on.

I guess in the end it comes down to 'feel' though. You need to get both cameras in your hands at your local dealer rather than just reading about them or trying similar cameras but not the actual one. Then just see which one you like best.

I was a bit reticent about going down the AVCHD route at first but I've also recently discovered the editing software Edius and it seems to answer any concerns I may have had about that (I wasn't sure how various other editors handled AVCHD and it all sounded a bit of a nightmare at first to a non-techy like me). I love the filming and scriptwriting but hate the techy, computer stuff.

Hope that's of some help. I've only been filming over the weekend and haven't had the chance to look at it properly yet but all's well so far.

Joseph in Ireland with his new NX5

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Scott HendersonRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 21, 2011 at 3:23:13 pm

You make some good points. I agree, there won't be any P2 cards even at a local Best Buy or electronics store much less in a remote location. Plus sony is everywhere.

What kind of shooting do you do?

Scott Henderson

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Joseph MorganRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 21, 2011 at 3:49:27 pm

I'm from a previous life as a photojournalist and radio documentary maker who now wants to make film/TV documentaries.

I have my first gig coming up to make a documentary about the global water crisis. The money is coming from Trinity College here in Dublin and one of their ecologists is going to front it ( a very good looking and smart ecologist who can communicate). The only slight problem is that the budget they are putting up appears to assume we are cycling to Africa and living on tins of cold beans whilst we are there :-(

Not sure if you will be getting into this area (whichever camera you choose) but I've also been investigating depth of field adapaters and was about to put up a new thread on that topic.

What about yourself Scott? What field are you in?

Joseph in Ireland with his new NX5

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Scott HendersonRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:05:03 pm

Wow, exciting trip. Budgets are never what they need to be!

I am located outside of Washington DC and most of my work revolves around the organizations that do work for the government, NASA, trade associations and businesses just generally in the area. Basically a lot of talking heads! But some fun creative stuff too.

It seems like a lot of people are going with DSLRs for the d.o.f. & the large chip. But the workflow is not so smooth and there are a lot of accessories you need to buy to make the still camera work like a video camera. I'd be interested in hearing about your research into depth of field adapters.

Scott Henderson

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Joseph MorganRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:24:22 pm

Talking heads? Don't knock it - the core of any good documentary :-)

I'm trying to persuade this ecologist that he should live with a small tribe in Africa who have problems with severe water shortages so that he can report firsthand on what it's like to have to walk 80 miles a day just to pick up the water ration. A bit like "Supersize Me" - live the story. He doesn't seem too keen on the idea though! I think he's figured out that to get a good film, I would drag him to the point of nearly dying of thirst ;-)

I keep thinking about using a DSLR in conjunction with the NX5 by upgrading my Canon 5d to the Mk II version - but that's a lot of mucking around when it comes to editing time, travelling with two systems, etc. (though I'm about to get into Edius 6 which I'm told is the business for mixing formats on the same timeline).

I just opened a new thread on dof adapters in this forum.

Joseph in Ireland with his new NX5

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Clint RegehrRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:39:37 am

Hi all,

I bought by NXCAM a year ago and absolutely love it. In fact, did some of my first shooting with it in Ireland last spring.

The fact you can shoot 11+ hours of HD without changing media is awesome...and the batteries last a long time. So, I would think it would be ideal in a remote location.

BTW, I also film sporting events (the lens is great) and also wedding events, etc. It is a really nice camera.

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Michael JohnstonRe: Sony nx5u vs Panasonic AG-HPX 170
by on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:46:56 am

I've used the HPX170 and just bought a NX5U based solely on info and reviews. I made the right choice with the NX5U. AVCHD has caused some issues in the NLE but other than that the camera is amazing. You'll have to tweak the settings and set up a picture profile. Right out of the box the image is flat and washed out. All of that can be corrected easily. The included shotgun mic is surprisingly great and the lens is far better than the HPX170. SDI live output is uncompressed 10 bit 4:2:2 so you can easily attach a portable recorder like a Nano Flash for applications or clients where AVCHD is not acceptable. There is so much more I could list but don't want to write that much. For me, the biggest drawback is SD recorded in MPEG2. Not good for AVID or FCP users. Would prefer QuickTime or AVI. Finally, the optional 128GB Flash Unit is a must purchase and adds so much versatility to this camera with dual record and long record times. Good luck with the purchase. I've been on four shoots with this camera and it's performed every bit as good as full size cams that cost $10k more and there is NO difference in quality between this camera and the EX1, even though the EX1 has 1/2" chips.

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