OK, the Pana AG AC160 is a pro camera with three 1/3” sensors. It’s lens is huge and gathers lots of light. It is going to shine in moderately low-light. It’s 4X the price of the other two pro-sumer cameras. That said, at +18DB gain, it really shows it’s noise.
The Canon Hf-G10 is a super performer in low-light. Strangely, it does significantly better than it’s Pro brother the XF-100. Obviously, Canon has the noise-reduction cranked up in the G10. It has significantly less resolution than the AG160 (or X900 in 1080P). One 1/3” sensor with a 1080 x 1920 pixel array cannot resolve 1000 lines with a bayer filter in front of it (required to separate the colors in a one-chip cam). On the up-side, it delivers a richly saturated picture with great blacks. No adjustment setting on the AG160 will allow for blacks this good. The X900 shares some family traits with the AG160. It’s noise is similar. And it’s good noise…nice and even.. like film. The Canon doesn’t fall-apart until over +18DB gain. When it does, it’s horrendous looking. The X900’s 17MBS 1080i AVHCD mode (shown here) isn’t stellar. When you move it up to it’s 1080P 28MBS mode, it is a BIG jump in quality. One never uses the lesser modes in the X900. The Pana AG160 doesn’t have this jump up. It’s lower MBS AVHCD modes are excellent. The 160 just looks neutral and high-quality across the board. Thank goodness – I bought one!
In conclusion: I own all three because I really like the feel of the G10 (in your hand) and it’s picture is gratifying in normal and medium-low lighting conditions. I use the AG160 when you need to “be the professional”. I need a “B” cam with the same tonal characteristics- and thus the X900. The X900 produces almost the same video as the AG160 in 1080P – in full light. Pana’s little 3MOS sensor chips perform superbly. (TM900 /X900 /X920 /X90) Sure, they fall-apart quicker than the Canon or AG160 in very low light… and are no match for the Canon G10 in very low light. I don’t think there is a camera out there that does it all well (under $25,000). When people ask me what camera to get, I tell the G10 if they are on a budget. If not, the AG160. The AG160
just produces better video than it’s exact rivals. (Sony NX5U, Canon XF-300)
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