6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 6, 2012 10:14 AM by 5004sqdn RSS

    Cameras that use the AVCHD format

    5004sqdn Community Member

      I was trying to decide, for a possible future purchase, between the Panasonic AG-AF100 and the Sony FS 100UK.

       

      However, I am having reservations now. I am not conversant with the intricacies of the various codecs and someone mentioned in an article that thet would not use the AVCHD format under any circumstances. Probably a biased viewpoint no doubt but it has me thinking and now hesitant.

       

      Can anyone advise me as to whether this is a detriment when thinking of these two cameras since they both use the AVCHD format? At the moment I am using a Canon XH A1s.

       

      I hope this is not a dumb post. Please go easy on me :-)

       

      Trevor

        • 1. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
          SCAPsinger Community Member

          Well, I can tell you that there is a substantial improvement when going from HDV to AVCHD. It's very visible. I just cut some HDV footage for the first time in years yesterday, after cutting mostly AVCHD for the last 3-4 years now. It was painful to look at, even though it was 1080.

           

          As for AVCHD in general, it's not the easiest format to edit. It is highly compressed. That being said, Premiere Pro CS6 and a quality Nvidia GPU combine to make editing AVCHD almost a non-issue nowadays.

           

          I know plenty of folks who shoot on AVCHD cameras and bypass the compression by recording to a separate recorder via HD-SDI or HDMI. Generally speaking it's for color correction latitude, since most serious filmmakers would prefer to capture 4:2:2 than 4:2:0.

           

          However, I also know quite a few adventurers who do features and record directly to the AVCHD media on the AF100. One guy I know has even had it checked out by Technicolor and they said it looked great.

           

          Here's one of his features shot on the AF100, direct to the AVCHD media onboard:

           

          I know he recently did some other work with a Canon 5D and recording off the camera but then the 5D is bit of a different beast than the AF100 or FS100.

           

          As for choosing between the Sony and Panasonic....well, I'm almost as big of an Adobe fanboy as I am a Panasonic fanboy. I've used the Panasonic cameras for years and I really have found that the layout of the camera controls, the depth of the camera controls and the overall image from Panasonic cameras is excellent. I've never been much impressed with Sony gear, it used to be a lot worse (when you used a Sony camera, you used to pretty much be obligated to use Sony media, Sony hardware, etc). But I've found Sony cameras to be a bit less user friendly, with a lot of things either buried in menus or not available at all when compared to their Panasonic counterparts. Just one man's opinion, take it or leave it.

           

          I really like the images from the AF100, we've worked with it a few times now and it's quite versatile. There are, however, more options coming soon. If you are interested in being on the bleeding edge of technology, Blackmagic Design is soon releasing their first ever camera, a 2.5K sensor camera for about $3,000. Like the AF100, it doesn't include a lens but can work with most any glass out there. However, it IS the company's first foray into any kind of camera, and it's completely untested by the user community at large so if you need a camera with a confirmed workflow, it ain't ready for primetime yet.

          • 2. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
            5004sqdn Community Member

            Christian;

             

            Thank you for such a complete and thoughtful response. Well, you have already alleviated any concerns I had and I am so grateful. That clip was so impressive too and you have also accomplished another task within your answer - you have swayed me to a choice of the two cameras e.g. the AF100. I know you must have some bias but then we all do. I respect your analysis, Christian. I know the HDV format of the XH A1s was not the best but it was all I could afford at the time. I am in predevelopment of a documentary and trying to get a little funding with which to purchase one of the aforementioned cameras.

             

            It is because of my inexperience with the different formats/codecs etc that I thought I would raise the question. I am a long time photographer (read more than fifty years in the business) but this digital technology is interesting and also a little confusing for the 'old gray matter' :-)

             

            Again, thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your valued expertise/knowledge. BTW - did you have involvement in the clip you showed?. It was incredible.

             

            Trevor

            (Burlington, Ontario)

            • 3. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
              J. Simon Community Member

              Depending on how far into the future your purchase will be, you may want to consider some new Digital Cinema cameras coming out soon that will be in the same price range as the models you're looking at now, but offer some serious benefits over AVCHD.

               

              http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1015838?tstart=0

              • 4. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
                SCAPsinger Community Member

                5004sqdn wrote:

                 

                Christian;

                 

                I know the HDV format of the XH A1s was not the best but it was all I could afford at the time. I am in predevelopment of a documentary and trying to get a little funding with which to purchase one of the aforementioned cameras.

                 

                Again, thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your valued expertise/knowledge. BTW - did you have involvement in the clip you showed?. It was incredible.

                 

                HDV was awesome when it first came about, it only compares poorly years later now since better things are available. It is only my opinion that nobody should shoot pro work on HDV right now unless they simply have no other choice (for whatever reason). AVCHD is just a lot better in most all implementations in terms of visual quality. Again, that Canon HDV stuff was mind-blowing when it first came around 7 years ago or whenever it was, and remained pretty good for at least 4 or so years at that price point.

                 

                As for the clip, wish I could say I was involved, but I tend more toward corporate and event work. I try to jump on a narrative project every now and then but it is certainly not my bread and butter. I agree, they did an excellent job on this film for all the things considered. The guy Owen Smith is very self-deprecating however, so I'll have to let him know you enjoyed it.

                • 5. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
                  5004sqdn Community Member

                  Jim:

                   

                  I already had read your post with great interest yesterday. All these new pieces of equipment are so mind-blowing. As a very oldtimer my short films/docs are more on a 'semi pro' basis. As I mentioned in my response to Christian, my many years in the photographic business was in the stills and I only had a couple of brief forays into 8mm and 16mm many,many years ago.

                   

                  As more of an interest factor I have really taken up the short films in my years of semi retirement but I guess my old values of trying to put out as good a product as I possible can, has led to the many questions about the new digital equipment with which I come face to face. I have limited budget so have to find the best possible with what I can afford but in doing so, it leads me into the techie questions of which I have little/no expertise.

                   

                  Those cameras to which you refer seem very interesting indeed. I am hoping that my fund raising will come through by the end of the year and I will then be able to purchase some modest but valuable camera equipment.

                   

                  Many thanks for the link, Jim.

                   

                  Trevor

                  Burlington, Ontario.

                  • 6. Re: Cameras that use the AVCHD format
                    5004sqdn Community Member

                    Indeed Christian - please do tell Owen how much I enjoyed his clip. I have read about the inadequacies of HDV but unfortunately was not aware of them when I made my purchase a couple of years ago. That is essentially why I am making these inquiries now . To try to get the best I can for the money I have.

                     

                    Many, many thanks.

                     

                    Trevor

                    Burlington, Ontario