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    HVX200 vs Panasonic MDH2

    I'm thinking of either buying a second-hand HVX-200 for $1,000 or a brand new 2014 Panasonic MDH2 shoulder camera for $1,600.

    HVX-200
    + DVCPRO HD codec
    - smaller 1/3" sensor
    - possible problems with pixel shifting reducing the resolution (HVX is 960x500 shifted to 1440x1080 for 1080i I think)

    MDH2
    + larger 1/2" sensor
    + shoulder style camera
    - fairly standard 1080p AVCHD 28 mbps codec

    The MDH2 is 1920x1080p so would that give it more resolution and detail than the HVX-200's smaller pixels?
    Which would give better detail and resolution all-round?
    I know the HVX-200 has some wonderful colours and film look though I wonder if it's technology is looking a bit ancient now and whether I'm better off with a 1/2" camcorder from 2014.

    Any feedback on which camera is best would be great.

    Regards
    rc444
    Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15

    #2
    Just shot with my hvx200 these last two weekends. 1080i. The dynamic range is limited and is not super in low light. But man, did it look good!! Yes, set up right, HVX200 has a great look.

    It is indeed a small sensor, but is CCD...so it's HD is not so bad comparably to new CMos sensors.

    However, I cannot recommend it above your modern options. I haven't used Panasonics newer cameras.
    Rafael Abreu-Canedo
    http://abreu-canedo.film
    Instagram

    Comment


      #3
      Those cameras are so different it's hard to give a clear recommendation.

      The MDH2 will probably be sharper. But that's not all that counts. You're comparing a mid-range, albeit older, 3-chip CCD camera to an inexpensive camera with a single-chip CMOS sensor. The colors, dynamic range and tone response will be quite different, and I'd bet that overall, the HVX will produce more pleasing images in a wider range of lighting conditions, although perhaps not quite as crisp.

      The HVX200 was quite a breakthrough when it was introduced. Nowadays, its hybrid P2/tape recording system seems a little anachronistic, and the controls and menus are pretty stripped down compared to current models. Given the advances in compression technology, I'm not sure DVCPRO HD is really a huge advantage over AVCHD. It also won't have modern connectors (HDMI, SDI) for hooking up external monitors and recorders. On the other hand, it's a much more solidly built and professional-grade camera than the plasticky MDH2. The HVX has built-in ND filters and, although the specs aren't easy to decipher, I think it will do much better in low light. (That "standard illumination 1400 lux" spec for the MDH2 is pretty scary.)

      A few facts for sure: (1) If you need 1080p50, then the HVX won't do it, but the MDH2 will. (2) On the other hand, if pro audio inputs are important, the HVX200 has balanced XLRs and records uncompressed audio, and the MDH2 doesn't. (3) If the reach of the zoom at the long end is vital, the MDH2 goes farther, but not as wide. (4) SD recording media for the MDH2 will be MUCH cheaper than P2 cards and could quickly make up for the difference in price between the cameras. (You don't say if any P2 cards are included with that used HVX200.)

      What we really don't know from your message is what kind of material you shoot, and how it's distributed. Your work and style could well tip the balance between the two cameras.

      Based on what I can read here and in the specifications, I think I'd lean toward the HVX200 -- it's also cheaper for you -- but this is no easy decision. Consider that there might be other options as well -- check out the Panasonic HMC80, for example, which although it has small sensors, is a more sophisticated camera than the MDH2 (although I have no idea what the comparable selling prices would be like in NZ).

      - Greg
      Last edited by Greg Smith; 10-26-2015, 10:35 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks Greg

        I am looking for a camcorder to use for corporate docos, special interest docos and hopefully short films as well. The majority of my work will go to YouTube for clients.

        FYI have a GH2 and a Panasonic LX100, great pictures from both but very limited audio and the GH2 sensor is terrible when filming under fluorescent lights in offices. The LX100 is awesome but of course no jacks for external audio.

        I think I was reading that the MDH2 records 20 megapixel stills and 4 megapixel video, while the HVX-200 has only a 1.1 megapixel video according to a posting I read from Jan Crittenden-Livingston at Panasonic. So maybe the MDH2 will look crisper. The 4:2:2 colors from the DVCPRO HD codec will make the colours more attractive on the HVX though.

        The other thing for me to consider is what improvements I'd get from a 1/2 chip over a 1/3 chip? If you have any advice on this, good to hear your thoughts.

        --David
        Last edited by rc444; 10-27-2015, 02:50 PM.
        Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by rc444 View Post
          I am looking for a camcorder to use for corporate docos, special interest docos and hopefully short films as well. The majority of my work will go to YouTube for clients.

          The other thing for me to consider is what improvements I'd get from a 1/2 chip over a 1/3 chip? If you have any advice on this, good to hear your thoughts.
          It's not quite as simple as comparing the chip sizes, because the HVX is a 3-chip camera, and the MDH2 uses a single Bayer-type sensor. In theory, this means you can get much higher color resolution off the HVX200's optical assembly, up to 4:4:4 if the electronics and recording media will support it, while the MDH2 will always have less chroma resolution than luminance information. And further, you have three times the area of a single 1/3" chip working for you, with much larger photosites, which implies greater sensitivity.

          So the actual equation is to compare the area of the 1/2.3" chip in the MDH2 with the sum of THREE 1/3" chips in the HVX, and by that measure, the HVX200 actually has 1.75 times as much light-sensitive sensor area as the MDH2. There will be a minor difference in depth of field performance in favor of the larger single sensor in the MDH2, but no camera in the sub-1" range is highly regarded for narrow DOF shooting anyway.

          It probably partially balances things out that the HVX200 is an older design and probably less intrinsically sensitive than the newer CMOS chip in the MDH2, but I just wanted to emphasize that the sensor size alone will have less effect on the overall camera performance than you might expect.

          The more I think about this, the better I like the HVX200.

          - Greg

          Comment


            #6
            I'm getting the HVX-200

            Thanks Greg,

            You've really simplified things. I'm going to get the HVX-200, no question. I had a look at two clips, one of a short film shot on an HVX-200 and the other clip was a promotional video Panasonic shot which contained footage of an Indian wedding filmed on an MDH2:

            https://vimeo.com/1265651


            https://vimeo.com/99452774

            I have to say that the colours of the HVX just look way richer than the MDH2. The HVX has a slightly softer look, but it is not a weakness. The MDH2 footage doesn't look bad, it's actually quite clear but it just doesn't have that richness of the HVX-200. It doesn't really grab you as much. I think it looks more like an event video camera than a cinematic or creative camera. Anyway thanks for solving my dilemma - HVX-200 it is!

            Cheers
            David

            Originally posted by Greg Smith View Post
            It's not quite as simple as comparing the chip sizes, because the HVX is a 3-chip camera, and the MDH2 uses a single Bayer-type sensor. In theory, this means you can get much higher color resolution off the HVX200's optical assembly, up to 4:4:4 if the electronics and recording media will support it, while the MDH2 will always have less chroma resolution than luminance information. And further, you have three times the area of a single 1/3" chip working for you, with much larger photosites, which implies greater sensitivity.

            So the actual equation is to compare the area of the 1/2.3" chip in the MDH2 with the sum of THREE 1/3" chips in the HVX, and by that measure, the HVX200 actually has 1.75 times as much light-sensitive sensor area as the MDH2. There will be a minor difference in depth of field performance in favor of the larger single sensor in the MDH2, but no camera in the sub-1" range is highly regarded for narrow DOF shooting anyway.

            It probably partially balances things out that the HVX200 is an older design and probably less intrinsically sensitive than the newer CMOS chip in the MDH2, but I just wanted to emphasize that the sensor size alone will have less effect on the overall camera performance than you might expect.

            The more I think about this, the better I like the HVX200.

            - Greg
            Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15

            Comment


              #7
              i've read the dates on this post like 6 times to make sure i'm reading the year right ; )

              i'd forget the hvx200. its like what? nearly a DECADE old. and its absolutely DREADFUL in low light. i owned one when it came out. and it was fine for it's time. and it's still nice if you feed it lots of light.
              but when it's younger and more able sibling (the hpx170) came out. i traded up on day one and havent looked back. it's still my go-to for general run and gun / ENG stuff.
              it's like everything you like about the hvx but better. and it's still still CCD. so you wont suffer the jello or half frames from camera flash that nearly ALL modern cameras do (at ANY price)

              trust me. take the hvx200 off your radar and look for the hpx170.
              here's one video i shot recently on it. ALL of the b-roll (except the shot of the backyard pool) came from the 170.
              the evening shots from 1:41 on, would have been a daunting task for an hvx200.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAgzQuptVJE

              here's another video. this one as an example of why i wouldn't suggest an hvx200 based simply on it's sub-par low light performance.
              at 0:11 there is a shot of a girl next to a big tall guy. it's opened up and gained all the way up (and i still had to juice it a bit in post). and the hpx170 is easily 20-30% better in low light than the hvx200. the hvx200 would have likely been a grainy mush in that condition. that whole video was shot in available light and there are probably 4 shots i'd consider unusably dark for anything other than event / eng purposes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsZBsAnuw8M

              dont get hung up on things like sensor size. that–as greg pointed out–is just one part (and i'd argue in most cases the least important one) of a combination of specs.

              and let's talk about P2 cards. while its dead-on reliable, practically bullet-proof and i use it on a nearly daily basis. it's kind of a cumbersome, small (and comparably expensive) recording format compared to what most modern pro/semi-pro cameras shoot to. i can stick a 64 gig sd card in a 5d3 and shoot all day without hardly even worrying about recording space. but when shooting on P2, i always have to consider where i am and what i can get before i have to start transferring.

              for P2, i wouldnt buy anything smaller than a 16gig. a 16 gig will give you 17 minutes of 1080 24pn.
              another thing: in just about ALL situations, two smaller P2 cards are better than one larger one. as you can shoot on one while you're transferiing the other (helps to have an assistant!)
              if you just have one big card. once you fill it, you're dead in the water while it transfers. a pair of 32s would get you a little over an hour of space.

              something like this would be a good starter kit.
              http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...0AAOSwhcJWNtTH

              not sure how soon you're looking to pull the trigger. but im half-way considering selling my entire hpx170 kit (camera, three batts, three 16 gig cards, smallHD dp1 monitor, foxifocus and zoe zoom control all in a pelican case) and up/cross-grading to that new 4k dvx200
              Last edited by wgzn; 11-07-2015, 11:11 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks wgzn. I think the biggest drawback of the HVX/HPX will be the P2 cards. A 64 gb P2 card on eBay Australia costs $700-$900. But thanks for pointing out the weaknesses of the HVX. I'm halfway there but still not ready to choose. If only the P2 cards were cheaper.


                Originally posted by wgzn View Post
                i've read the dates on this post like 6 times to make sure i'm reading the year right ; )

                i'd forget the hvx200. its like what? nearly a DECADE old. and its absolutely DREADFUL in low light. i owned one when it came out. and it was fine for it's time. and it's still nice if you feed it lots of light.
                but when it's younger and more able sibling (the hpx170) came out. i traded up on day one and havent looked back. it's still my go-to for general run and gun / ENG stuff.
                it's like everything you like about the hvx but better. and it's still still CCD. so you wont suffer the jello or half frames from camera flash that nearly ALL modern cameras do (at ANY price)

                trust me. take the hvx200 off your radar and look for the hpx170.
                here's one video i shot recently on it. ALL of the b-roll (except the shot of the backyard pool) came from the 170.
                the evening shots from 1:41 on, would have been a daunting task for an hvx200.
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAgzQuptVJE

                here's another video. this one as an example of why i wouldn't suggest an hvx200 based simply on it's sub-par low light performance.
                at 0:11 there is a shot of a girl next to a big tall guy. it's opened up and gained all the way up (and i still had to juice it a bit in post). and the hpx170 is easily 20-30% better in low light than the hvx200. the hvx200 would have likely been a grainy mush in that condition. that whole video was shot in available light and there are probably 4 shots i'd consider unusably dark for anything other than event / eng purposes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsZBsAnuw8M

                dont get hung up on things like sensor size. that–as greg pointed out–is just one part (and i'd argue in most cases the least important one) of a combination of specs.

                and let's talk about P2 cards. while its dead-on reliable, practically bullet-proof and i use it on a nearly daily basis. it's kind of a cumbersome, small (and comparably expensive) recording format compared to what most modern pro/semi-pro cameras shoot to. i can stick a 64 gig sd card in a 5d3 and shoot all day without hardly even worrying about recording space. but when shooting on P2, i always have to consider where i am and what i can get before i have to start transferring.

                for P2, i wouldnt buy anything smaller than a 16gig. a 16 gig will give you 17 minutes of 1080 24pn.
                another thing: in just about ALL situations, two smaller P2 cards are better than one larger one. as you can shoot on one while you're transferiing the other (helps to have an assistant!)
                if you just have one big card. once you fill it, you're dead in the water while it transfers. a pair of 32s would get you a little over an hour of space.

                something like this would be a good starter kit.
                http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-AG...0AAOSwhcJWNtTH

                not sure how soon you're looking to pull the trigger. but im half-way considering selling my entire hpx170 kit (camera, three batts, three 16 gig cards, smallHD dp1 monitor, foxifocus and zoe zoom control all in a pelican case) and up/cross-grading to that new 4k dvx200
                Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15

                Comment


                  #9
                  If only the P2 cards were cheaper.

                  thats been one of the long-standing biggest challenges for P2 adoption.
                  my first 8 gig p2 card cost $1300 back in like 2006

                  Comment


                    #10
                    P2 expensive? I am finding 16 Gig cards going on Ebay for under $100.00. Like the gent said buy 4 of these are you are good to go. Why buy a 64 gig card? Unless of course you are a one man show but still, start a transfer and keep shooting. I just recently re-purchased an HVX200 not even the A model, and I'm loving having a real video cam again. If you can find an HPX170 that obviously is a step up but the old HVX still has a few years left in her. Just buy some cheap lights and again you are good to go. You should always have lights on hand anyway if you are working professionally. I never went anywhere without some kind of light kit. Just my two cents. I'm sure you will make the right choice for your situation.
                    Cheers.

                    wgzn: Were you using any adapters for the sit down talking head shot? Looks like a nice shallow focus? Or did you just back up and zoom in? Either way looks good.
                    MDKfilms - Sound & Film production

                    Comment


                      #11
                      wgzn: Were you using any adapters for the sit down talking head shot? Looks like a nice shallow focus? Or did you just back up and zoom in? Either way looks good.
                      thanks! adapters? ha, nope. that's a 5d3. was about 7 feet away from her with the 24-70 2.8

                      Just buy some cheap lights and again you are good to go. You should always have lights on hand anyway if you are working professionally.
                      good suggestion in theory. but there are a lot of cases in event, news and corp work where bringing lights is either impractical or would be hella-frowned-on.

                      Why buy a 64 gig card?
                      for situations where you need to roll uninterrupted for over an hour. for my purposes, thats usually a live music performance where you're shooting hand held. on-stage or in the press pit where an assistant isn't practical or taking your attention off the subject isn't possible. or, quite frankly you'd just rather not futz with juggling cards ; )

                      if you're shooting "professionally" you're ready for any situation.
                      Last edited by wgzn; 11-10-2015, 10:59 AM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I would quite like to get a second hand HPX170, though they are more expensive than the HVX200 on Ebay, so I will most likely get an HVX200a instead. It won't be perfect in low light, though it will have a more richer looking image than the more ordinary looking colours of the MDH2.

                        Originally posted by wgzn View Post
                        thanks! adapters? ha, nope. that's a 5d3. was about 7 feet away from her with the 24-70 2.8

                        good suggestion in theory. but there are a lot of cases in event, news and corp work where bringing lights is either impractical or would be hella-frowned-on.


                        for situations where you need to roll uninterrupted for over an hour. for my purposes, thats usually a live music performance where you're shooting hand held. on-stage or in the press pit where an assistant isn't practical or taking your attention off the subject isn't possible. or, quite frankly you'd just rather not futz with juggling cards ; )

                        if you're shooting "professionally" you're ready for any situation.
                        Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I would quite like to get a second hand HPX170, though they are more expensive than the HVX200 on Ebay, so I will most likely get an HVX200a instead.

                          from my searches, it's only about $300 difference usually. even it were $500, i say just save up a little more money and hold out for the 170.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            HVX200a, HPX170 & HMC150 all use the same sensor. Which, IMHO, is only slightly better than the original HVX200.

                            If you don't need variable frame rate, I'd go with a HMC150, mostly because it shoots on SD cards instead of P2 cards, which will save a lot on total price.

                            Yes, the HVX200 or HVX200a can shoot on tapes too, but it's standard def DV. And it's 2015. Unless there is a solid need for DV tapes, skip it.

                            If the HVX is all you can afford, it's a fine camera w/ great professional features. But there have been so many, so, so, so many better cameras to hit the market since then, that I would think anyone would be much happier with something else.

                            If I was looking into something, I'd look at the Sony NX100. $1,700 & you'll get something new w/ a warranty.

                            http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...hxr_nx100.html
                            Where are all the S-VHS hipsters?

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