December 17, 2016 at 1:34AM


Is Panasonic AC-90 is good for Professional Filmmaking ?

I'm planning to make a movie and want to release in regional movie theatres, So I wanna ask that is Panasonic AC-90 is good for Making a movie or not ??


If you have directing talent like Steve Buscemi and acting talent like Ben Affleck, a DVX100 (with 480p24 mode!) will get you a theatrical release:

A low-end camera like an AC-90 forces you to focus on story, acting, lighting, wardrobe, makeup, editing, audio, etc. A high-end camera is not going to make a movie for you. It can give you quality and polish above and beyond the basics. You cannot make images like you see in Downton Abbey with an AC-90. But you cannot make those images without spending millions on all the other things that go into such a production. An AC-90 might be fine for making a movie that has a strong plot, good characterization, good dialog, exciting music, and great chemistry among the actors. That is surely 90% or more of making a good movie.

December 17, 2016 at 4:27AM


The Panasonic AC-90 camera has been discontinued and has been replaced with the brand new Panasonic UX90.

There is a HUGE difference in the image quality of these cameras, with the AC90 using three 1/4 inch sensors to capture it's image ( great color but quite poor in low-light situations ), while the new UX90 uses a single 1 inch sensor to produce it's image. ( good color with much better performance in low-light, and shallower depth of field because of it's larger sensor size )

December 17, 2016 at 10:07AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

I had one of the Panasonics for about a week, 16 ISO native, useless in anything other than broad daylight. I replaced it with a Canon G20 which isn't quite as sharp but otherwise superior in every imaginable way. The AC90 has 1.5uM pixels. Even a 1/3" 2.1 MP sensor has more than 3x the light gathering area and yields not only 50 ISO but also has three stops greater dynamic range (9 instead of 6).

December 19, 2016 at 4:33AM, Edited December 19, 4:46AM


Since you mention specifically the Panasonic AC90 I understand you or a friend (or DP) own that camera. So the only questions are: are you happy with the images you (or DP) can create with this camera and if not how skilled are you (or DP)?

Maybe the camera won't suit the kind of story you want to tell. The camera doesn't have shallow depth of field. Most things will be in focus, or slightly out of it. That means that dreamlike images are more difficult to create. Things will look - for lack of a better word - more real, like a news item. It also doesn't work well in low light. Your story will have to take place entirely during the day, or must be lit very extensively. Lastly it doesn't have great dynamic range, meaning dark parts of your shots will quickly become entirely black and light parts entirely white with no way to fix it in post. Maybe this extreme contrast fits your story, else you must go through great pain to create the perfect lighting that alleviate these issues.

There are also pro's to using this camera. Everything you need is on board. It has a zoom lens, meaning you can switch between focal lengths with just the flick of a switch. That saves you a lot of time. It has two XLR inputs, meaning you don't need an external recorder. You can plug in two boom-poles (or one recorded double with different amplifications) or two lavalier mics directly into the camera (or a combination). The question of is my audio being recorded is one less thing you have to worry about. For the love of god don't use the added mic on the camera and if you do, do it somewhere where there's no noise and don't stand farther away than 1 meter. This has another backdraw, the camera-operator not only has to worry about the shot, but also the levels of the audio. It has Auto-Focus. This is kind of a no go in cinema, but... You know... Yeah... Lastly are the ergonomics. This is a camera made to feel good in the hand. It won't kill your back and you don't have to sit in strange angles to get that shot. All the buttons are in logical places (looking at you Black Magic).

Thing is, the camera can be perfect for the movie you want to make or be a huge burden. Styles I would accept using this camera with are: Found Footage, Documentary, anything Gritty - and maybe Neo-Noir, but only if you (or DP) really know your lighting. Anything epic won't work at all (Fantasy; High-Concept Sci-Fi). Basically the only way you can do that is with a ton, a shit-ton, of money. Anything that needs to be pretty won't work either. Anything set before 2000 will just look entirely out of place on this cam. Future might work, if it's gritty.

One of your friends must have a DSLR with video capability, if you want it to look more shiny or dreamlike, that's the better choice. Maybe then you can use this one as an external audio recorder, but that's just plain silly. In the end you are going to need skilled people and a visionary tale to make this thing work out good. Else you're just going to have to do it for the experience alone.

December 19, 2016 at 2:57PM, Edited December 19, 2:59PM

Auke-Jan Weening

Do some test with your DP to see if it will give you the Look you want. I've Shot on it.. aahhmm i wouldn't use it to shoot a narrative though. The focus does get a little soft from especially when fully zoomed in. I wont get into the mathematics of it because you just want to know if you can shoot on it. As i said, for me... i would not shoot a narrative on that camera.. Docu and that kinda Journalistic Film making yes but not Narratives. Preference wins!

December 20, 2016 at 3:58PM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

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