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HVX200 vs HVX200a -- a side-by-side low-light comparison

We recently had the opportunity to test the Panasonic AG-HVX200 side-by-side with its successor, the AG-HVX200a.  The difference was dramatic.  The HVX200a performs much better at lower light levels than the HVX200. There is much less noise, and the picture is much brighter.

Test details:

A tripod was placed in the center of a room that doesn't have any windows (a small home theater).  The tripod was locked it down to prevent unintentional movement.  Both the HVX and the HVX200a were reset to the factory defaults, including all scene files. Each unit at various light levels with each scene file, to see which unit performed better, and using which setting. All tests were done using 24fps 720pn.

To give some background into the test environment, the theater has five lights mounted on each wall, for a total of ten lights. Each bulb is a standard incandescent 100watt bulb.  While we actually did tests for each possible pair of lights being on (the four lights behind the camera, the two on either side, and the four in front of it), the most obvious results came at the lowest light level -- filming with only one 100watt bulb on either side of the camera.


There is a slight difference in color between the two cameras.  This may be due to the upgrade or the conditions --  both cameras were set to auto white balance, but were never balanced to a white card, only the room's back wall.   As a result, the colors cannot necessarily be taken as an indication of the difference in quality between the two cameras. The noise level and brightness, however speak for themselves...

The video of the lowest light level test has been uploaded in full 1280x720 resolution using in the Ogg Theora format. 

You can get it here : HVX-Comparison -- Ogg Theora

If you are running Microsoft Windows, you'll probably need to install Directshow codecs to play Ogg Theora. You can get those codecs here: OpenCodecs

If you are running Mac OS, you'll probably want to get the Quicktime components. You can get those from this page: Qucktime Components.

Users of GNU/Linux like myself will most likely just be able to play it back without installing anything.



Here's a still from the HVX200, using Scene File 5 (click here for the still in full resolution):

And the corresponding still from the HVX200a (click here for the still in full resolution):


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