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    HMC-150 "Too many hours?"
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    I'm considering buying a used HMC-150 with 4000 operation hours on it. Does anyone have a camera with similar usage? if so, is there anything to be concerned with? Is this a moderate or high number? Thanks.


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    Senior Member kwkeirstead's Avatar
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    It was apparently introduced in 2008 so you have an average of 650 hours per year or 12 hours per week.

    That tells me it probably was not a rental unit so the happy scenario would be that it had one owner and was reasonably well cared for.

    So, the issues that need to be sorted are

    a) how long does Panasonic keep parts?
    b) what parts typically fail
    c) what is the typical cost of repair?

    How about you check out AC90, for example, and decide for yourself if it is fair comparison to the HMC-150.

    If so, than a new one at $1900 would reasonably lose at least 1/4 of its value after a couple of years, so it seems to me anything over $500 for an HMC-1500 with 4000 hours on it would be too much.

    So if my numbers are good, you would pay $500 and then need to count on a possible repair job of $300 or more over your year 1.

    Why not try to find a used AC90 with say less than 500 hours at a price of around $1,000?

    My only reason for picking the AC90 for comparison purposes is it too is fixed lens with 12x zoom compared to 13x for the HMC 150. You might really like the 5-axis OIS on the AC90 plus the fact that once you get to open, it starts to apply gain and it can apply 18db it seems before you get noise.

    The only concrete info I have to offer is that I asked Panasonic about my AG160A when it had 500 hours and they responded that it was probably had 90% of its life left.

    Who knows whether these camcorders age linearly but surely at 4000 hours, something is going to fail at some stage.


    Don't pay too much attention to me - I have never had a 150 and I don't have an AC90 either.

    I hope others will comment - no problem if it turns out what I have written here is complete rubbish.


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    It's probably totally a question of how those hours were accumulated, and what kind of "life" the camera has led. Years ago, reading the hours meter was how you decided when to change the pickup tubes in a camera -- at 4,000 hours, that unit would have been on its third or fourth set. But the lifespan of solid-state sensors and memory card recorders without mechanical parts can be almost endless if they are treated well. The hours reading alone doesn't tell you that much anymore. Possibly the camera spent its time on an unmanned pan and tilt mount at the back of an air conditioned classroom, which would allow it to rack up a lot of hours without much wear and tear. On the other hand, if it was owned by a TV station and did daily ENG and commercial production duty out in the field, jostled around in a lot of vehicles, and constantly going in and out of its case, you could expect a lot more wear especially to the mechanical parts (outer shell, lens and zoom mechanism, memory card slots, knobs, buttons, access doors, etc.). Most likely it was somewhere in between those two extremes.

    I like kwkeirstead's idea to compare the price and capabilities of this camera to a new or used AC90 or AC130. I barely missed winning an eBay auction a couple of weeks ago where a lightly used AC90 in apparently good shape sold for about $650.

    - Greg


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    +1

    Hours on a solid-state camcorder are like miles on a hoverboard.


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    My camera has 948 operating hours


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    There was an HMC-150 selling here last year that had 15,000 hours on it. It was used in a studio and it sounded like it was left permanently on.


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    Senior Member Michael Carter's Avatar
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    The only moving parts and motors are focus, lens, and iris stuff - you don't have that complex mess of a tape transport, so less worries.

    Still, I'd do everything in my human power to skip the 150 and find an AC-130. Superior camera in almost every way, much much sharper image, dual card slots, WFM, scopes, etc. The focus assist is priceless and the LCD is hugely improved. The 150 upscales a lot to get 1080 and it shows with a soft image. Never owned a 90, but as I recall, it seems more on the 'sumer side of prosumer.

    I have plenty of hours on both and the 130 is just about a perfect video camera for many uses at its price point. The only thing it lacks is 1080/60 (the 160 has this though).


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    My main board failed at 2000 hours other than that no problems


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    Here's a fun fact about the HMC150 from the perspective of a company that's sold hundreds of used ones: they are reliable to a fault. To my knowledge we've never had an HMC150 returned for any kind of mechanical failure. That is huge. To put that in perspective, we sell probably 20% as many of Sony's equivalent AX2000/ NX5U as we do HMC150s and the Sonys come back all the time with lens issues. The same can be said for the HPX170 which is similarly reliable.

    I wouldn't hesitate to make an HMC150 with 4000 hours my A cam. You're only real concern is the ribbon cable on the flip-out LCD potentially failing and even then you'll still be left with a usable camera.


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    #10
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    Mine only has about 200 hours, maybe less. Still got the box.
    AG-HMC150, HMC-40, Sony Vegas Pro 8.0c, Sony PCM D-50, JVC GR HD-1


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