Video Accessories Misc

Panasonic AG-HVX200 Digital Video Camera with P2 Card Storage



In Use

Using the P2 cards was a little awkward at first, because the various shots are stored as individual files, and it is a little tricky moving them to the computer for editing. They do not have sequential numbers, so it is easy to get confused as to which one represents which shot in my notes. Also, the files are broken into audio and video records, as well as some other things. These are useful for the pros, but for an everyday user, it is inconvenient.

I had to download some software called Raylight so that I could open the files even in a major NLE (Non Linear Editor) like Sony Vegas 7, and the software (a plug-in) costs about $200, but it is excellent and its use with Sony Vegas made the editing process a pleasure.

OK, let's get started with some photos. As always, the photos shown below are unmanipulated except for sizing to fit in the review pages. Click on the photos to see larger versions.

This fruit basket was in my kitchen one sunny afternoon, and I couldn't resist. White balance was perfect. In this case, the sunlight was indirect.

When I put the basket in direct sun, and added a lemon at the bottom right, the image was still very good, with just a slight blowout of the white highlights. The grapefruit and orange just behind that lemon are too yellow though, where the sun is directly on them.

This red basket represented a real challenge. I had anticipated that there might be quite a bit of artifacts at the edges of all the beads, but it didn't occur. That is a nice advantage of recording at 100 Mbps. Other cameras typically use somewhere around 25 Mbps, which requires more compression, and thus, produces more artifacts.

Blue is very rich with the AG-HVX200, as seen in this shot of a ceramic bird. Again, white balance is perfect. I did notice that it sometimes took about 1 or 2 seconds for the white balance to stabilize, so what's called a "pre-roll" is called for. That means start shooting a few seconds before the action that you are going to be using starts.

These white flowers from a potato vine are rendered just a bit underexposed. That is because an exposure meter is designed to produce an exposure for neutral gray (17% gray), and that means white gets underexposed if it is a major part of the composition as it is here. However, white balance is again, spot on.

I always like to include this green succulent in my camera reviews because it has such a beautiful geometric composition. The color is exactly the way it appears in reality.

In the past, yellow has been a difficult color for digital sensors. Obviously, manufacturers are getting a handle on this problem as shown here. No issues at all.

Red is (was) another tough subject, and nothing is redder than a Poinsettia during the winter holidays. No problem here.

And here is the Safeway rack of veggies. This is the best white balance I have yet seen from a digital video camera in Auto mode. The only criticism I have of this camera is that it is not as sharp as a 1080i camera, but that is natural for a 720p product. However, the noise and chromatic aberration were much lower with this camera, as you will see in the bench tests, and I think that may very well be more important in professional video making for the TV commercial business.

Here is the iris test to see how quickly the iris closes down when exposed to a bright light. Click on the photo to download the short video. The results are about like all the other video cameras we have tested, with a close down time of 1.5 seconds.








And here is the moving points of light test. Again, the smearing is like the other cameras we have tested. Click on the photo to download the video that will show you the smearing.







The outdoor lamp test results were better than all other cameras. Notice that there is only a faint vertical line emanating from the top and bottom of the lamp. Usually, it is much more pronounced. This means better resolution around specular reflections in daylight images.

Here is a shot from my fireplace in the evening, using Low Gain. This gain setting will give the lowest noise.

Now, here is the fireplace again, only this time, with the Gain setting on High. Notice that the rear and sides of the fireplace are now visible. The gain settings basically change the gamma.