Over the last few months I have reviewed the Panasonic AC160 and had a 160A for a couple of days not to mention the JVC HM600 I reviewed recently, the question I keep getting asked is which camera would I choose.
Both cameras are competitively priced with the Panasonic AC160 coming in at £3,719 and the JVC HM600 at £3,499, it’s not a coincidence that the JVC is £200 cheaper so if it’s price then the JVC wins.
The JVC also has a 23x zoom lens with a 29mm wide angle compared to the Panasonic at 22x and a WA of 28mm, both sporting manual aperture rings and variable servo zooms…a tie
Feature for feature the cameras are very similar but the Panasonic does stop at 25Mbps 1080 50p while the JVC goes up to 35Mbps broadcast ENG but for many the 1080 50i is not very appealing.
I tested both cameras at 720 50p and the Panasonic was rock solid on tight shots but the 25Mbps VBR gave in my opinion variable quality wide shots, some were great and some were average. The JVC is rock solid on both wide and tight as the extra 7Mbps VBR helps the wider shots.
Both cameras are 1/3″ so the low light capabilities are fine up to 6dBs, don’t expect to find any 1/3″ camcorder to perform well in low light though these cameras are far better at 0dB than the competition as they are more sensitive.
If you are looking for a 1080 50p camcorder the Panasonic 160 is top dog but for £200 less and a 35Mbps broadcast news approved camera the 600 is your choice.
You also have to take into account the look and feel of the cameras, the JVC is less plasticky than the Panasonic and is also slightly smaller in size.
If the JVC had 1080 50p it would be a no brainer, JVC are looking into upgrading the 600 to 1080 50p but have admitted the fan as it stands is not capable of running the camera cool enough to accept 1080 50p.
I don’t do interlaced footage and use 720 50p or preferably 1080 50p when available, both cameras give a good clean 720p image which looks far better compressed down to SD DVD than 1080 50i.
Lastly if there is one single item that would sway me one way or other it would be customer service…JVC have excelled at upgrading the 600 camera with at least 3 FW upgrades over the last two months, I mentioned that in order for the flash banding to work you need to switch off the shutter which could be a pain when filming at a wedding so JVC have upgraded the software to have the shutter off as default which means the camera is always set to 50 fps in default mode.
The Panasonic 160 has sold well and the 160A with 1080 50p and better lens tracking is also a good seller, JVC are very pleased with the uptake on the 600 and will hopefully have further news and FW update announcements during NAB 2013 but then maybe Panasonic have something extra up their sleeve for NAB…exiting times.
A cryptic message from Kris Hill from JVC…
Stay tuned for some interesting news. Not 1080 50/60 before i get asked but indeed something that may turn a few heads.
Update : Live streaming from the 650 will be an april launch……its not been a secret however exact details are tbc.
The news i was reffering to is more about a large order we have secured for the 650 model. All will be clear when we do an official press release soon.
NAB and IBC are typically new product launch dates so for those who have asked dont expect too much until then or just before.