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Camcorder image sensor/quality question

blondie81

Novice Member
I am looking to buy a HD camcorder and I obviously want the best image quality possible without breaking the bank. Looking at the latest Panasonic range, here are my options with amazon prices:

HC-V160 - £129
HC-V270 - £167
HC-W570 - £265

Now I am lead to believe that paying more would mean I get better image quality, but reading the specs, all of these cameras appear to use the same 1/5.8-type BSI MOS Sensor.

The number of added features with each camera definitely goes along with the price, but I ask, would it be fair to say I would be getting exactly the same video quality with the cheapest camera as I would with the most expensive? just less features?

I am a noob when it comes to camcorders so any advice is most appreciated, thanks.
 

rogs

Prominent Member
...would it be fair to say I would be getting exactly the same video quality with the cheapest camera

No, not quite.
Although as you have noticed the sensor sizes are all the same, there are a couple of other items in the spec. which make an important difference....

--The 270 and the 570 both have Optical image stabilization (O.I.S) as opposed to the 160 which uses electronic stabilization (E.I.S) That's a big difference

--The 270 and the 570 both have full 1080/50p 28Mbps as their highest quality option. The 160 only has 1080i. Again, another big difference.

The other items - like the sub camera in the 570 - are more likely to be seen as gimmicks.

I reckon the 270 is the best of those 3, value wise.
 

blondie81

Novice Member
No, not quite.
Although as you have noticed the sensor sizes are all the same, there are a couple of other items in the spec. which make an important difference....

--The 270 and the 570 both have Optical image stabilization (O.I.S) as opposed to the 160 which uses electronic stabilization (E.I.S) That's a big difference

--The 270 and the 570 both have full 1080/50p 28Mbps as their highest quality option. The 160 only has 1080i. Again, another big difference.

The other items - like the sub camera in the 570 - are more likely to be seen as gimmicks.

I reckon the 270 is the best of those 3, value wise.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I did wonder whether the £100 jump in price for basically a 2nd camera i won't use, would be worth it. Just wondered whether I was missing something on the image quality front. Cheers.

Just out of interest, can you recommend a camera that would be the next step up in image quality? i guess the next nearest priced camera but with the next step up in sensor?
 

rogs

Prominent Member
Although the newer 'BSI' sensors are more sensitive than their earlier counterparts, a 1/5.8" sensor is still tiny, and will almost certainly not be very good in low light (indoors, without extra lighting, for example)
The next step up the camcorder ladder is the HC-V770, which has a much larger 1.2/3" sensor and will give much better results - especially in low light. but it's more than twice the price of the 270, and comes with all sorts of other bells and whistles you have to pay for, whether you want them or not.
To get the benefit of a 1.2/3" sensor, together with full 1080/50p HD video, but for less than £250 you'd need to look at a 'bridge' camera - like the Panasonic FZ200 .
Excellent specs and value for money, but much bulkier to carry around, and without ideal camcorder 'ergonomics'.
I personally think bridge cameras offer the best value for money, but if the size and shape doesn't suit you........
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
"Bridge"-cameras do offer excellent value but as rogs implies the penalty is they handle like a Stills camera. However, for some senarios that's ideal, as folks will assume you are not taking movies.
Sadly though the Budget for the camcorder is quite low, blondie81 will need to budget for tripod, memory cards and spare battery. . . . and maybe brighter bulbs for filming at home ( although family members won't notice low-light issues and many camcorders have a slow-shutter setting "Lo-light" which gives another stop.
However, from a given manufacturer you are "probably" getting more if you spend more - the exception being that second camera ( Pana) and the Projectors in Sonys. . . .

blondie 81 - good luck with yr purchase . . . but I didn't read what you intend filming. . . . or how your audience will view it.

...and then there is the Editing, which is a whole addition to cost as you need a reasonably powerful PC to keep Rendering times sensible.
 

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