Video Cameras forum

General discussion

SONY High Definition HC1 vs. Panasonic GS400

by markpsf / July 16, 2005 2:14 AM PDT

I'm upgrading from a Sony TRV 900.
I own a Sony TRV 900.
I need a somewhat lighter camcorder ( I do a lot of travel videography), one with an easier to view in daytime LCD screen, and with equal or better performance, especially in nighttime shooting. I also need to use an external mike since I also do alot of work in settings (especially classrooms) which require that.

My choice is narrowed down to the new SONY High Definition HC1 and the Panasonic GS400, which also has gotten rave reviews

I will not likely show my videos on a high definition TV screen for a number of years. I have reservations about moving to a smaller LCD screen since it will require me using my reading glasses. But I also have liked working with a Sony.

I would best be classified as a high-end amateur.
Any thoughts greatly appreciated.



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by drhiberd / July 16, 2005 6:12 AM PDT

If you are going to record in HD, you would want to display in HD. Do you have editing software that will support HD?? The Sony got a great review on but it does not have nearly as much manual control as the GS400. I'm not sure if the Sony has a mic input or not, as a lot of their camcorders lately only use Sony mics with the hotshoe. If you do not plan on displaying on HDTV and since the GS400 will run you about $600 less, it may be a better choice. This is only an opinion, as I have never used either one. Each one has their perks. What is most important to you?? (HD or less cost and more manual controls)

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Thanks plus
by markpsf / July 16, 2005 9:46 AM PDT
In reply to: camcorder

Thanks for the response.
If the only additional value in the Sony was the HD function I'd go with the Panasonic, but I also have concerns re the quality of the viewfinder (brightness and size of image), image stabilization and low light functioning of the Panasonic visa vis the Sony.

Any further thoughts appreciated.



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by drhiberd / July 17, 2005 1:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks plus

The biggest difference between the two is the ablility to record in HD. If this option is worth an extra $600 to you, then the Sony is your choice. It sounds like you are not interested in HD, so why spend that kind of extra money?? If you are looking for a great camcorder for the same price as the HC1, why not go with a Canon GL2 or the Sony VX2100. You would get a much better and more proffesional camera than the GS400.
I'm sure the image stabilization on the GS400 is fine, but I doubt it could match the low light on the Sony. As far as low light goes, the VX2100 is the king for consumer/prosumer cams.
For the mic input, I have the Sony HC90 and it has a hot shoe for external mic, but it does not have a mic input, so check into that on the HC1.

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Continuing the dialogue
by markpsf / July 17, 2005 3:49 AM PDT
In reply to: HD

Very wise advice re the HD. Thanks. But I did leave out some other
important info, sorry.

I use the camcorder re travel alot and the TRV 900 pushed the limit on portability. Additionally, I prefer a larger LCD screen since the smaller ones require me to use my reading glasses to view playback - which then requires taking them on and off to use the viewfinder (which I prefer using for most shots). So the 2100, which I know is a great camcorder, is a little too big and has a small LCD screen. The HC1 also has a small LCD screen, one of it's drawbacks. The GL2 is just too big.

I may have to trade off on the low light quality.

Any other thoughts greatly appreciated.


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by drhiberd / July 17, 2005 4:18 AM PDT

It sounds to me like the GS400 has everything you want. The reviews I have read say that it has pretty good low light performance. It cannot match the VX2100, but nothing can for under $2000.
Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of options in the $1000-$2000 range, so I think you've found your camcorder.

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Recording in HD does not mean displaying in HD. You can
by Kiddpeat / July 16, 2005 1:44 PM PDT
In reply to: camcorder

tell the camera to downsample to SD and still have your material in HD for future use. Every camcorder I know of will accept an external mic. The question is whether it will accept an XLR mic. Only the pro version of this camera does that.

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A new wrinkle
by markpsf / July 22, 2005 1:21 AM PDT

After a week of heavy researching, I've now rejected the GS400, only because it doesn't represent a significant change from my TRV900.
I'll check out the HC1 at a Sony store but doubt that it will be the right camcorder for me because of doubts about slow zoom control and the electronic stabilization, and the absence of an onboard mount for an external mike.

So now I'm looking at the Sony 2100 as one of you guys suggested, although it seems too large for easy travel. Have any of you used it as a camcorder while travelling? I'm also looking at the Panasonic AG-DVC30, which is significantly lighter than the 2100 and a lot cheaper.

Any experiences, advice, random wild thoughts appreciated.


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Just got the HC1
by jabas / October 7, 2005 6:02 PM PDT
In reply to: A new wrinkle

Just bought the HC1. It does have MIC input, the zoom is better than I thought and the LCD screen is big enough. In my case, I bought HD to keep the tapes in HD format for the future (i.e., two years from now) when every camcorder above $500 will be HD and HD TV and DVD sets will be very common. With the unitary price of tapes one can easily afford that.

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