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    Panasonic HMX100 vs Sony MCS-8M
    #1
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    We are looking for a portable video mixing setup for onsite multicamera mixing/recording of presentations includeing a speaker and powerpoint/keynote.

    We have two Panasonic HMC152s (PAL version of the 150).

    I've been looking at the Panasonic HMX100 and the Sony MCS-8M - both looks quite suitable and have the on-board audio mixing too. There is not much info on the Sony product - and I've just heard that the Panasonic has been superseded but can't find any info on that.

    Will be glad for any comments or input.


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    #2
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    Have been struggling to find any comparison or criticisms between these two - we now have the funds and keen to buy. If you can point me toward any thing I'd be thankful.


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    #3
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    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Toronto
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    4,193
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    Four customer reviews at B&H Photo give the Panasonic HMX100 five out of five stars : Panasonic AG-HMX100 Digital AV Mixer
    Cameras : Panasonic GH4 with factory audio fix, GH3 with Grip
    OIS Zoom : Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8
    Nikon Primes : 24mm f/2.0, 35mm f/2.0, 50mm f/1.4, 55mm f/2.8 Micro, 85mm f/2.0, 105mm f/2.8 Micro, 135mm f/2.8, 200mm f/4.0
    SpeedBoosters : Metabones Nikon G, Mitakon Zhongyi Nikon F


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    #4
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    Yep Thanks
    Am hearing good about the Panny. But nothing much about the Sony. To me the Sony looks more intuitive and compact. But the fact on having very little in the way of reviews or comparisons make me shy of going that way even though I'm preferring it! I'm talking to a company that may allow me to purchase both and return one - that will really give me a side by side comparison and their restocking fees will be 'research costs'. Still nice to have other comparisons.


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    #5
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    Well have found a solution to finding which is best. I have worked out with a supplier to allow us to purchase both and return one within seven days. That will give me time to play with them both connecting to our gear and see what works. They should turn up in the next few days.

    If any one has any questions you'd like to know about either let me know, also any thoughts on features to check on.


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    #6
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    Hi Autlea;

    Im spanish, my english is very bad, but i need know. What do you think about the MCS-8M and HMX100?, Whats better?. I like much the SONY, by the posibility of to use the images with alpha by USB.


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    #7
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    Hi Agux
    I'm liking that feature of the Sony too - but am awaiting the arrival of both machines to test them this week or early next. Will report back with details.


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    #8
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    We have both machines here at present to trial and it will be the Sony that we keep.

    The Sony is more intuitive, just much more straight forward to use and navigate around. once you understand the Panasonic's layout (menus and deck), it is quite good, but not natural and simple. The Panasonic has more buttons (may mean faster access to features) and can most likely do more things, but we have not yet found anything it can do that the Sony doesn't - that we need.

    The Sony screen is in colour and easier to view, although the Panny's screen is bigger.

    The menu button block on the Panny is not in as smart a place and is easy to bump a button while operating the knobs - we did this a few times - maybe because two of us were operating it at times! The knobs on the Sony are press-able but the Panny you need to press a button elsewhere on the operating panel to 'enter'. This isn't a deal killer but worth noting.

    The multi-view screen is cleaner and quicker to see what is happening on the Sony. The Panny has more info, but not info we find necessary (it does show sound levels which is nice, but we won't benefit from that) On the Sony, the shot that is live has a red box around it, on the Panasonic it has "PRV" and "PGM" in white letters overlaid on the image near the top, along with the other info this is hard to spot quickly.

    For the munti View, the Panasonic seems to do something like de-interlace the DVI output so is ideal on a monitor (comp) as well as a screen (TV), the Sony seems to have a raw output of the interlaced only signal so flickers slightly on a monitor when using a DVI -DVI cable. I see the manual recommends a DVI to HDMI cable for monitors - using this works fine on both the screen and monitor we tested.

    The Sony has its own sound meters right on the deck with coloured lights, the Panasonic has it along the top of the mono LCD screen and on the multi view. The Sony has lights to tell you which audio channels have signal, and if they are peeking, you can also turn each channel off or monitor them individually. The Panasonic only has sliders available on the deck, no extra audio buttons. The Panny's sliders are full-size, and right by your right hand. Apart from feeling flimsy they appear to work well (we didn't play with putting audio through it). The Sony's sliders feel better quality, they are smaller and up to the top left of the panel. Depending on the importance of sound mixing to you, the Panasonic is better for lots of sliding since its more handy and bigger. The Sony is slightly less usable as an interface, but has more features on deck and would suit us since we pretty much set the levels and let it run. Having it up to the top left out of the road means your right had can use the T bar and trans buttons while your left is selecting the next camera to que up etc.

    For executing transitions, along with the T bar and auto trans button, the Sony also has a cut button which the Panasonic lacks. Depending on your use, this may not matter. You can just press the channel button to do a straight cut. We'll be mainly wanting straight cuts so the button is nice. The Panasonic is very easy to change the length of a fade/wipe so you could reduce it to one frame and in effect make the auto trans a cut button, but then you need to readjust to get back to a timed transition — the Sony has both.

    Another big downfall with the Panasonic is the double use of the main cross point (XPNT) channel buttons. There are channels 1-4 and then you need to use the shift button to use 5-8, the Sony has all 8 buttons laid out, plus you can go into the menu and change it, so that buttons 1-7 are channels 1-7, button 8 is 'shift' and, while pressed, buttons 1-7 are channels 8-14. Since we would normally only be using about 4 XPNTs for our main mixing we didn't think this would be too much of a problem as you can choose which input goes to which XPNT. The plan was to put our 2 cameras, PC in and graphics in the first four buttons. On the Sony this is possible, any input can go to any XPNT channel, but on the Panny it seems the DVI in (from PC) can't go on the first 4 (only SDI or HDMI in can) which means you will always have to use the shift button to transition to a presenter's slides coming in from their computer through the DVI in. Much of our live mixing will be presentations with slides.

    The Sony takes noticeably longer to start up but is quieter, lighter and more compact than the Panasonic.

    A winner for us is the Sony's USB input for graphics etc. I can be using a computer to generate titles and thirds and transfer them to the mixer and save them while still mixing the live feed, then could insert them (chroma keyed and all if I had preset the key). The Panny relies on the DVI in. This means you don't need a USB flash drive and can connect the computer straight to it via the DVI in (you'd make it full screen on the computer and grab it). The problem here is if the DVI in is being used by the slideshow coming in from the live presentation at the time and even if that wasn't being used it seems that you need to bring the shot up to at least preview, and maybe even live to program to capture the shot (didn't test this particular point further). Basically eliminating the possibility of inserting any thing while live mixing. For us, we'll be needing titles and thirds that will change throughout the day so will be needing to put lots in so the Sony wins here. With the Panny, we would have to capture them between presentations, it would also mean disconnecting the DVI in (presenter's laptop etc) so we could connect to ours to capture the shots. If you were to decide that capturing the shots is better for you than using USB — guess what, the Sony can do it that way too! The USB can also be used to save settings and snapshots also (They are exported from the deck to USB - its two way). Both units would be benefited by another computer interface, either another DVI in or even better a USB/LAN to load files straight into the frame memory from a computer.

    The Sony is quite simple to do chroma keying. We tried with the Panasonic but found it frustrating and the manuals hopeless. We gave up in the end as we had already found that the Panasonic wasn't the way we were going.

    The Sony is generally a smarter machine and easier to figure, the manuals are more helpful. It is also a more modern machine (from what I can figure)

    The above is only from our testing over a couple of days and that was aimed toward what we want to use them for. Some of it we may not have got right, especially with the Panasonic, as it was generally harder to figure. We are comfortable with taking the Sony to use it now. Feel free to comment, question or correct any infor above.

    Before getting these to test we found much less info available on the Sony. There is quite a bit online about the Panny, much of it is people trying to figure it out or sharing how they have figured it. Either the Sony isn't being used (maybe because its newer) or people aren't having trouble with it.

    I'd be keen to be in touch with some one else with a SONY MCS-8M and be able to compare notes and ask questions. One thing I'd like to figure is if the Frame Memory can be kept once the unit is powered down and restarted - it seems to always lose the content.
    Last edited by autlea; 08-02-2012 at 05:04 PM.


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    #9
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    Thank you ever so much. In the end I think we will choose the Sony. I will get in contact with you as soon i try the MCS-8M with my feedback. Thanks for you report.


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    #10
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    Thanks for your review of the sony. Anymore you can tell me/us. A sony dealer said the panasonic was a toy compared to the sony, so im doing my research before purchasing one or the other. The thing is we possess the MX50 and the MX70, and we recently acquired the mx100, sooo many of the issues you faced I didnt as we were already use to the interface, although even I ran into some issues, especially in the setting up of the inputs and input types. The layout is not very friendly, but once you get use to it, it can work with. I like the Feel of the buttons as compared to the older MX among other stuff and the addition of the AUX output, the multiview and the built-in wave form monitor (WFM). I love alot of stuff about the panasonic, hence sticking to the MX line for 3 generations. But a couple things I hate are 1. In SD mode, one side of the display is cutoff. I tried all the display modes on the PANASONIC TV and I even tried another TV and same thing. Therefore I cannot see part of the SDI1 monitor along with the PREVIEW monitor (the left side of the multiview). I use the tv remote and shift the display to the right, but then that cuts off the right side of the display. Thankfully is just the display on the TV, the output to the recorder is fine, but as a director, I would prefer to see the entire video for framing purposes you know. Even the labels of the monitors are pixelated in SD mode. In HD Mode though everything fits in fine on any TV and the word are crisp and nice. 2. Every input source and even the multiview out can be assigned to AUX out, except the DVI in. I hate that. 3. The WFM can only be assigned to inputs, I wished it was able to be assigned to the main preview monitor. 4. The DSK on the MX100 is a big fail. The way it was on the MX70 was much better with the usb connectivity to a machine running the panasonic graphics loading software. we could even call up graphics from the switcher interface once it was loaded. Now that gone. these companies nuh know that they mustnt fix whats not broken....?

    Anyways, the sony look nice but I can hardly find and review on it, so please tell me more


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