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Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K Handheld Camcorder
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- Variable Frame Rate Up to 120 FPS in FHD MP4 / MOV Recording in 4K
- Integrated Leica 13x f/2.8 - f/4.5 Lens 3 x Individual Lens Control Rings
- 2 x SD Cards Slots (U3 Compatible)
- HDMI 2.0, 3G-SDI Output
- HDMI 2.0, 3G-SDI Output
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|Item Dimensions||14.8 x 11 x 21.8 inches|
|Item Weight||12 pounds|
|Media Type||SD Card|
|Optical Sensor Technology||MOS|
|Shipping Weight||12.45 pounds|
|Video Capture Resolution||4k|
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|Sold By||Abe's Electronics Center||6ave||Amazon.com||Focus Camera||Amazon.com||Fumfie|
|Screen Size||—||3.5 in||3.5 in||3 in||3.5 in||1 in|
|Optical Sensor Technology||MOS||MOS||CCD||CMOS||CMOS||MOS|
|Video Capture Resolution||4k||4k||4K||4K||4k||4k|
4K 60p camcorder
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So enter the Panasonic AG-DVX200. It promised the run-and-gun flexibility of the HC-x1000 PLUS the same MFT sensor (size) of the GH4! Holy Toledo - that is a homerun!
But it didn't start out that way.
One of the great things about the DVX200 is it great flexibility in controls. You have two or three times the control options that you have with the HC-X1000. This is a good thing - as long as you invest the time in REALLY learning the camera. As for me.... I decided to start using it ASAP (hey it was a sizable investment!) and my original footage was far below my GH4 and the HC-X1000! I had a terrible time trying to focus on things near to the lens (Which changed when I realize that the camera actually has a Macro mode). I struggled with brightness, color, and sound. At one point I literally put the camera in my closet with the expectation that I was going to sell it.
Then I decided to spend 3 or 4 hours and really try to understand how to set up the camera ....
Now - I love it! Here is a run down.
- Size - it is pretty darn big. Probably 2x larger than the HC-X1000. In fact, this is probably the biggest issue with the camera. I am struggling to find an appropriate sized case that will hold he camera that can still be used as my carry on luggage for flying.
- Video Quality - When properly set-up it is very good. It definitely rivals my GH4 for sharpness and color. The larger sensor size means that it record in 4K with very little noise (much better than the HC-X1000). The quality does fade when you film 4k at 60FPS. The camera writes at 150MPS.... which probably isn't adequate. However, (I may be wrong) this is the absolute fastest write speed available on a (high end) SD card. I am curious to see the footage at 4K 60FPS when recorded on an external recorder.
- Image stabilzation.... very, very good. In fact, I have shot footage inside a bounce house. Somehow the DVX-200 managed to capture the "bounce" without produce a noticeable abrupt shake.
- Sound - I am still working on this one. The onboard mic is front point and directional. I have had difficulty finding a sweet spot for recording level/gain. I have now switched to using the Sennheiser MKE 600 with improving results. The DVX-200 has two XLR jacks that can supply 48V phantom power (same with HC-X1000x ... this differs from the GH4 which requires an add on to become XLR capable)
- Zoom - very smooth with the ability to adjust two separate zooms to your need for speed.
- Lens... pretty darn good. With some knowledge and practice you are able to get a shallower depth of field. Again, you will need a bit of knowledge on how to lock in your f-stop while adjusting the gain and shutter speed, but it can be done.
-2 memory card slots
-Capable to write in 4.2.2 but you will need an external recorder (like the one made by Atmos). I am really anxious to try recording in 4.2.2 to see if they will further improve the 4k footage.
- Weight - not especially light or tripod friendly. The bottom of the camera is rather large which make it tough to work correctly with tripod slider plates. I am using a Manfrotto 504 and it requires the perfect placement in order to make it work.
- Capability - can write at speeds up to 150m - which (obviously) requires a very fast SD card. The camera ill capture 4K at 60fps... just be ready for some very large files!
Final Verdict - While the learning curve is rather steep - the DVX200 seems to be a combination of the best of both the GH4 and the HC-X1000. The camera costs about 50% more than the HC-X1000 so it isn't necessarily a slam dunk option. However, if you are looking for cleaner footage at 4k (when you start dropping down to 1080 I think the advantage diminishes) the DVX200 probably warrants the difference in price. Compared to the GH4.... the DVX200 provides much better image stability and dual XLR inputs, at a much higher price and size (the GH4 is like an iphone when compared to this thing!). Also, with the proper lens you can get a much shallower DoF on the GH4. However, for me... the DVx200 is the best camera for the job for about 80% of my video needs. In order to get another improvement in performance you will likely need to spend 3 or 4x over the cost of the DVX200.
4 1/2 Stars
This is my new work camera, replacing the AG-HMC80, because the HMC80 was a lot cheaper of a camera than I had ever wanted in the first place, and this time around I just had to keep it under $5k for my procurement purchase. I had used the HVX200 years ago and thought this would be right up my alley, and its growing on me, but there are some extra annoyances compared to what I remember of the HVX200.
Obviously the biggest annoyance is common with most prosumer cameras these days: 3/4 of the options/adjustments are buried in user menus. You do have user button options but I've never liked them as much as dedicated buttons personally, too easy to forget which button does what, there's not really room for labels. The focus is honestly one of the slowest focuses I've seen on the cameras I've used, close-up shots it occasionally has to hunt for the right focus, which can be a little annoying. The body itself is rather heavy, and I don't care much for the fan (yes, there's a fan, and yes, it can occasionally be a little loud, at least for a camera since I've never had a camera with a fan on it, most of the time its rather quiet though). The servo is also a little bit noisy but nothing that should ruin a shot. And this is a personal preference, but I don't care for the primary scroll wheel (which is used for pretty much everything), too easy to accidentally scroll one extra when trying to depress it as a button, and the touch screen isn't very responsive. Most of the things "wrong" are nit-picks, personal preferences, and minor annoyances, but still, they can add up, I'd definitely see about borrowing, renting, or somehow trying it out before purchasing.
All that being said, there are some insanely-high positives to note. There are the bulk of controls, settings, and options that one would want on a prosumer camera; I mostly utilize the camera for recording meetings so I rarely get to test out all the fun features like v-log (yes I could use it, by why waste time?). I really like the doors covering the audio settings, very slick looking and functional, as they limit accidental bumps and the lik while also still allowing you to see thanks to the windows. The screen is really nice, actually one of the best I've ever seen on a camera in this price category, and the fact that it folds up the way it does is pretty spiffy looking (hopefully it won't break, my only concern with it). Battery compartment being enclosed and spring-ejected is pretty nifty. Output and recording options are all pretty solid, I'm still sticking with the 1080p but hope to make the 4k leap in the near future. Speaking of 1080p, its pretty good in recording quality and thanks to it accepting SDXC high capacity cards, I can stick a 128gb card in there and get 11hours of recording at the highest setting, much better than the 32gb card I was limited to with the HMC80 (where I could only get around 3 hours per card). Love that this has dual-cards, you can either have them set to duplicate or roll-over the recording to the next card, this can be a life-saver with live events (well, less-so now that I have so much recording time on each card, but when I switch to 4k I'm sure it can be an issue).
They really took their time in designing the layout of the camera. Yes, personal preference will depend upon the individual, but they really did some smart things just with the camera shell layout alone. The only real downside is the fat base of the camera, you will definitely need a tripod with a larger head to lock it down, I'm using the Manfrotto 504HD with good results.
All in all, I'd definitely recommend the camera at its price-point, but really take a look and compare to some of the Sony's, if I could have spent more I would have gone over to the Sony line (the other camera crew I work with just recieved their FS7's, which I would have preferred as well, but of course the cost is a lot higher.