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Canon vs. Sony vs. Panasonic - Budget/Mid-Range Camcorder?

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Old 07-13-2011, 06:41 AM   #1
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Default Canon vs. Sony vs. Panasonic - Budget/Mid-Range Camcorder?

I'm trying to decide between the following units for primarily for home videos (new niece in the family) - can anyone comment on quality/advice on which route to go ahead with?

a) Canon HF-M301 - $300 @ Costco
b) Canon HF-R200 - $329 @ Amazon
c) Sony HDR-CX130 - $450 + $60 Free Accessories on Amazon
d) Panasonic HDC-SD90K - $400 @ Costco

I think I'm leaning toward the Sony CX-130 (since it has 1080p over the Canons) but I've read really great things about the Panasonic SD90. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

Anything else I should consider for <$500?
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep123 View Post
I'm trying to decide between the following units for primarily for home videos (new niece in the family) - can anyone comment on quality/advice on which route to go ahead with?

a) Canon HF-M301 - $300 @ Costco
b) Canon HF-R200 - $329 @ Amazon
c) Sony HDR-CX130 - $450 + $60 Free Accessories on Amazon
d) Panasonic HDC-SD90K - $400 @ Costco

I think I'm leaning toward the Sony CX-130 (since it has 1080p over the Canons) but I've read really great things about the Panasonic SD90. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

Anything else I should consider for <$500?
There are alot of Canon users in this forum, so you apt to get a lot of pro-Canon feedback. And there's nothing wrong with that. I have a Sony, not the one you listed, but a Sony. Here's the thing that right now Sony has going for it. The software that you get free from Sony (Picture Motion Browser) is a step above anything else. It's a very intuitive system for organizing and maintaining your video library. It even has some simple editing tools like burn to DVD and conversion tools. It's not a full blown editor, but it's a good organizing tool.

As for performance, I haven't really looked into the latest so I can comment. I like my Sony, but I was torn between Sony and Canon, so take it for what it's worth.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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I happen to be a Sony guy too and I generally recommend them, but if low light is important to you, as it is to many people, look carefully at the chip sizes of all the cams you are considering. The CX130 has a very small chip and does not do well in low light. Not sure about the others. Go to the manufacturers' web sites to get the specs, or the B&H web site for all the details before you buy.

The bigger the chip, the better the low-light performance, generally.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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I had an SD Sony Camcorder for 10+ years (still have it in fact and it still works fine). When I upgraded to HD I ended up with a Canon. I think mainly due to price and features at the time.

I've been very happy with it, so I can highly recommend Canon. I would not recommend the R200 though. The M301 should be fine, although I can't seem to find specs on it. I have to assume its similiar in specs to the M300. The difference between the R and M is the image stabilization. The M uses optical which is better. There are likely a few other small differences as well.

As far as 1080P is concerned, I really wouldn't worry about it that much. It requires even more resources to deal with it and its not likely going to be that much of an improvement when viewing it - A 1080P TV will de-interlace 1080i video.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acgold7 View Post
I happen to be a Sony guy too and I generally recommend them, but if low light is important to you, as it is to many people, look carefully at the chip sizes of all the cams you are considering. The CX130 has a very small chip and does not do well in low light. Not sure about the others. Go to the manufacturers' web sites to get the specs, or the B&H web site for all the details before you buy.

The bigger the chip, the better the low-light performance, generally.
For low light shooting, Canons HG line is getting rave reviews,,well,,,from everybody. Personally have not played with it but understand that for a consumer grade camcorder it delivers excellent low light results. Just me
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