Panasonic Pro AG-HMC150 3CCD AVCHD 24fps Camcorder
List Price: $3995.00

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Product Description

The powerful tapeless AG-HMC150 joins the Panasonic line of professional HD camcorders. This AVCCAM camcorder features highly-acclaimed functions for the popular AG-DVX100 Series of DV-tape based camcorders to tapeless HD recording. Using the cost-saving AVCHD format to record onto SDHC or SD Memory Card media, the AG-HMC150 produces exceptional images and responds to creative production needs. It also features a 28mm (35mm equivalent) wide-angle lens - widest in a professional camera of this class - and a newly developed 1/3-inch 16:9 progressive CCD. It further enhances image quality by adding a higher-quality PH mode to the clean, extended-time recording abilities of the AVCHD format. The AG-HMC150 handles full-pixel (1920 x 1080/1280 x 720) 24p and 30p progressive recording, and includes cinelike gamma and other versatile functions to meet the special needs of creative image production.

Features:
  • Full range of HD formats: 1080/60i, 1080/30p, 1080/24p (Native); 720/60p, 720/30p, 720/24p (Native)
  • Higher bit-rate recording than consumer models (21 Mbps PH Mode)
  • 13X Wide angle 28 mm lens out of the box (35mm equiv.); 1/3-inch CCD Progressive Imagers
  • Waveform Monitor, Vectorscope plus two Focus displays for accurate, quick focus
  • 3.5-inch LCD monitor displays thumbnails for quick non-linear access to clips

Customer Reviews:

  • OutStanding Picture Quality for the Price
    I am completely happy with this camera's performance. I'm still learning some of the finer in and outs of it but I am completely satisfied with its color pick up and picture quality.

    The recording media is very affordable, I bought to 16gb class 6 SDHC cards when i purchased this camera and so far is the easiest format to use especially if you come from a background using dslr's. The formatting must be done in the camera if anyone is wondering, and if you do format the sd card in your computer you will get an error message once you pop in.

    My only problem with this camera is the AVCHD editing. It's a monster to edit and rendering is a painful process. I'm buying a new computer to accommodate the editing process because I currently can't effectively edit my work with the duo core processor I have at home. In my office I have a Core2 Quad and it is also kind of sluggish and rendering in any of the HD formats is about 15:1 (minute) ratio. It's just ridiculous.

    But enough of that, I did enough research to know that the editing would be a beast, I just wasn't truly aware of the true impact it would have on me.

    All in all this camera is an exceptional product and I am extremely pleased with my investment.

    2/25/09 I forgot to mention these cards can be played in a PS3, which is a great feature for reviewing the days shoot. =)...more info
  • Completely astounding camera - will improve your life
    I saw this at macworld and spoke with the reps there, and got to play with the camera a little. I am not completely a "user", nor am I an owner - yet. However, I intend to purchase as soon as I can justify it to the powers that be. I presently use a DVX100a, and have used other prosumer DV cams from Canon, JVC and Sony. None of the competition really has anything unique that is worth looking at in my opinion. The GL2 was a POS next to the DVX, and the GL2 was really better than most other prosumer models, even from Sony. What I'm getting at is that the HMC is a vast improvement - in the layout of the controls alone - from the DVX. When you consider the shooting options of the HMC, and the technology behind recording to an SD card using prores, this camera is a game-changer. The footage looks a lot less saturated than HDV in a canon, and warmer than XDCam in sony's, and the media is way more flexible than even miniDV tapes. The camera feels about the same weight of a DVX with the full size battery, and is SOLID. My only concern is that the format of the prores files requires you to have a lot more disk storage for editing, and a more powerful processor than in a computer made 3 years ago. You have to expect it if you decide to shoot for HD. Its a new ballgame, folks. ...more info
  • Perfect for documentary filmmakers
    This is the perfect camera for documentary filmmakers. It's modeled after the near perfect DVX line of Panasonic cameras, has a great lens, and terrific display screen. It's an ideal system for anyone looking to upgrade to HD.

    The workflow of the SDHC cards is also amazing. For a fraction of the price of a P2 card, you get unbeatable storage capacities and beautiful image quality. ...more info
  • I have mixed feelings about this
    I do actually really like this camera, but I just can't give it more than 3 stars for numerous reasons. So, pros and cons:

    PROS:
    * It records in just about every mode from 24p to 60p, or 30i and 60i.
    * It's lightweight
    * It is very customizable
    * excellent wide/zoom lens
    * no tapes! all solid-state!
    * good video quality in manual recording modes
    * 60p slow motion is cool.

    CONS:
    * The auto modes are awful. This thing has an autofocus mechanism that just doesn't work and is unusably slow. I haven't seen an autofocus this bad since the late 1980's.
    * The auto-iris is also quite bad. There are no zones for any of the auto modes, so it takes the whole image and does an average. A $500 camcorder has better auto capabilities than this.
    * $3300 is very overpriced for this camera.
    * No timelapse recording mode
    * built-in mic is pretty bad.
    * startup time is very long, and the standby mode is not designed well and still eats too much battery power.

    The Pro's still do outweight the Con's so I can recommend this camera, but it is far from perfect....more info
  • Fantasic product, great Post Path
    This new HD camcorder which is capable of saving 1080p video to SDHC memory cards is fantastic. The footage we are taking is very impressive, sharp with great HD depth of field. Be sure to register it through Panasonic to ensure your 3 years of warranty coverage. An important note: I also got the Panasonic PZ850U TV which includes an SDHC slot. The PZ850U line from Panasonic will play the raw HD video fromthe SDHC cards without ANY transcoding! This enables me to sit back and watch the footage, make notes on the clip numbers, time points and greatly simplify the content that needs to go into post production.

    ...more info
  • WOW :-)
    I received my 150 a little over a week ago. Bought it because I wanted to move up to HD and get out of the tape business. It did not come with an SDHC card. Bought an 8 GB to carry me over until my 16 GB cards arrive via Amazon. I am still on the learning curve on it. Especially liked the large comfortable color view eye piece. I was also amazed by the clarity of the video play back on my 48" LCD screen. Used the three cable output first, that came with the camera( Video, Lt. Rt. Audio )

    Very clear video, much clearer than my trusty old Canon GL-2 It does not come with an HDMI cable. Bought one locally and tried it. Plugged one end into the HDMI out port on the camera and the other end into the HDMI port of my TV. I was blown away by how clear it was !! The video was clearer than some of the stations I view in HD.

    On playback, you are given a thumbnail of the first frame of each scene you shot when you turned the camera on. On playback, you can skip around the scenes you want to view , or delete if needed. The focus assist is another nice feature. When you use it, it momentarily zooms in on the middle of your next shot so that you can fine focus if needed.

    It has many other features that I have not tried yet. On editing, bought the Pinnacle 12 Ultimate because it is set up to handle the AVHCD format and a PC with the AMD quad Phenom processor with 3 GB of RAM. Waiting for a more powerful graphics card to arrive before trying to edit in this new format. The battery that came with it is small. Would recommend buying the larger battery as soon as you can to balance it out. Right now, it feels a little out of balance because of the smaller battery. Also liked the solid magnesium body. No plastic anywhere ! Overall, I am impressed with this camera.

    ...more info
  • Quite a new experience
    I debated for a few months whether to buy this camera or a Sony or Canon HDV. I knew the new MPEG4 format would be harder to edit, and possibly require a computer update. Nevertheless I was impressed with the quality of images reported, the light weight and ease of recording on a chip. I've only had the cam for a couple of weeks and used it only once on a shoot for my job with community television. It worked well. I am used to using a Sony PD-170, and the low light ability didn't match up to that, but not surprised. Gain setting of +12db doesn't produce grain. So far the only thing I'm a little disappointed with is the LCD viewfinder. With all the developments in LCD technology in the past couple of years I was expecting to see a finer grain image. Instead it looks like three or four year old technology--like an SD screen on a HD cam. I have a Canon HV-30 and the LCD is smaller but gorgeous. Of course that doesn't have any effect on the image the cam produces, but it's a bit of a turn off. You have to use your imagination as to what the final results will be or use an external LCD monitor. I still like the cam for its low weight and ease of use. I use for weddings and other event shoots--quite a bit of hand-held and with monopod. Time will tell how it all pans out. I'm in the process of upgrading my computer and editing software to handle the AVCHD. That's the future? We'll see....more info
  • DVX100B Owner
    Coming from a DVX100B, I find myself shooting with this camera far more than I ever did with the DVX. Going tapeless is the primary reason and the beautiful shots this camera is able to produce is the secondary. Final Cut makes capturing footage as simple as drag and drop. There's no more nonsense of having a deck to capture things in real time anymore. The SD card format also means reviewing footage on a shoot is painless and won't require rewinding tape to try and get to a particular shot. As for the picture quality, it's gorgeous. Sharp, colorful, and 24P is amazing in low light. From what I've seen on Vimeo and read on forums, other HD cameras in the Panasonic line up like the HVX and HPX, offer just about the same image quality but their prices are thousands more and you're forced to use P2. Unless you're concerned about having more frame rate choices for overcranking and undercranking, this is the camera to get....more info
  • Panasonic Delivers Again
    For those of you who enjoyed the DVX 100 and 100b and wish to step into true HD tapeless recording this is the camera to buy. The stock 28mm Leica Dicomar lens is beautiful and plenty wide for most applications. The overall color reproduction on the camera is amazing. It has a list of features like a waveform monitor and several external controls for all of it's features, making easy to do on the fly adjustments. Another thing that impressed me was the two XLR inputs with phantom power 48v. The camera is weighted perfectly, so using the overhead handle is wonderful, Like previous models such as the DVX 100 this camera does not favor the batery or lens side of the camera...nice work Panasonic, and it only weighs about 4 pounds. The focus ring and focus assist feature are also good for finely tuning focus or creating massive depth of field and soft backgrounds with ease, I think the focus ring is actually better than that of some of the more expensive P2 cameras Panasonic offers.

    The only drawback to the camera, and it is a small one, you must choose between two or three programs to edit the footatge nativley. No surprises it is probably the only software you would want to use anyway Adobe Premire CS4 and Final Cut (6.0.1 or something like that). I also think there is a sony program that can handle the gnarly 21mbs footage. In non native 1080i 30fps mode (which sucks) the footage can be edited in more prosumer based software, like the newest iMovie.

    Overall this camera is a beast if your into shooting extreme sports and fast moving action stuff like me, you will find the 60 fps modes to be delightful, and the overall feel, functionallity and ergonomics of the camera to be up there with the best.

    CAN'T BEAT IT FOR THE PRICE
    ...more info
  • Nothing new to add... other than I love this camera
    One thing you need to keep in mind is that editing AVCCam/AVCHD is a P.I.T.A. I'm using CS4 on a 2.4 quadcore with 8gig of RAM and Vista64 and it's sluggish with frequent lockups. I'm getting Cineform ProspectHD v4 when it comes out to compensate. Vegas 8.0c well I'm told, and FCP need to convert it to ProRes (or whatever it's called). I think Avid needs to convert it to a native codec as well. Panasonic does offer a free converter to DVCProHD on there website

    That said... the camera itself is awesome. Really. I'm coming from the DVX, and this is leaps and bounds above that (which is saying something). The images I'm getting are beautiful. I'm planning on going out now on my days off to shoot just for the fun of it.

    I really can't add anything that hasn't been said already by others. But if you're looking at the HVX200a or HPX170 (they all share the same chips, and the HMC shares the same glass as the HPX), but don't want to deal with the costs of P2 or need all of the features of the HPX or HVX, I would HIGHLY recommend buying this instead.

    Just be prepared for some editing headaches at first (the problem with bleeding edge technology is sometimes you need to get stitches). ...more info