10-25-2011, 11:36 AM
Looking at cameras to replace my wonderful Canon XH-A1. What would you buy the AC130 or the Sony NX5U.
The Sony NX5U has been a proven camera plus it has SDI! Not that I would use it much, if at all.
One advantage I can see the AC130 has is it can record to 2 cards at once. Great for a backup of all the footage!
What other advantages does the AC130 have? They look to be pretty close in price, at least at first.
Thanks for your thoughts!
10-25-2011, 09:14 PM
I'm an unapologetic Panasonic fanboy. I like the way the Panasonic cameras have worked and the way the images come out looking, ever since the DVX100. Regarding Sony, I wouldn't say I dislike their camcorders, but I've always found them to be a bit more difficult to work with (things aren't always where they should be, and/or features aren't available or don't work the way you want). Canon cameras have always had superior glass, even on the cheaper prosumers, but the end result to me has always been a bit less than the raw output of a comparable Panasonic. For all those reasons, I'd encourage a serious look at the Panasonic offerings over and above the Sony and Canon offerings.
All that said, they are VERY similar cameras in so many ways, it really may come down to which brand you prefer. One advantage the Sony has over the AC130 is better audio recording (PCM versus Dolby on HD recording) but that may or may not be terribly important to you. The AC160 has PCM (and SDI) but it does cost more. And yes, the SDI is also a bonus on the NX5U.
The lens is slightly wider and slightly longer on the AC130, which gives you better reach than the NX5U, but not by a large margin.
The AC130 is slightly better in low light. Again, not a very large margin of improvement over the NX5U, but it is better.
Other thoughts...I know the Panasonic offers the standard zoom/iris/focus/record remote functionality but I'm not sure what Sony offers through the LANC on that camcorder. For me, I use the Varizoom remotes very frequently so that is a bit of a showstopper in my case. I also have a slew of Panasonic batteries that fit the AC130 and AC160 (same battery for the AF100 and HMC150) so that makes my choice easier as well. The simultaneous recording is certainly nice - especially if doing something like a legal deposition where you absolutely positively CANNOT afford to to lose a shot. I doubt it'll be used often in my typical workflow, but having it there sure is nice if I need it.
There are also the scene files on the Panasonic. Although this used to be virtually a Panasonic-only feature, it's fairly standard in some kind of implementation on other cameras. However, I still feel that the Panasonic scene file configuration is the best available.
Also, Barry Green's books generally either ship WITH the Panasonic camcorders or are available via a voucher in the box. If you've never had the pleasure to get to know a camera with the help of the well-regarded Barry Green and his manuals, you'd be in for a treat. These things are packed with practical information to get up and running in no time, and often there are some bonuses (scene files) included to help you get started with some standard camera settings.
There are possibly a few other differences (AC130 has pre-record functions, not sure about NX5U on that) but as you said, they really are very similar cameras. The NX5U will be the cheaper option for a while since it's been out a little longer than the yet-to-be-shipped AC130, but expect the prices to come down soon on the AC130 (like, within 3-5 months, possibly sooner...the actual street price hasn't been seen just yet so who knows).
10-27-2011, 09:23 AM
I have always tended towards the Sony cameras, but just got a Pany AC-160 on loan and after an hour playing with it on lunch break - I love it. The lens is so long and wide. LCD is great, layout os great, ergonomics are great. I shot recently with the NX5U and was not overly impressed. Its basically a gut feeling as I have barely used the 160 - but if I was spending my own money I would get the Pany. I posted some test footage in this thread: