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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old June 16th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Is the P2 going to become a dinosaur?

I'd better duck, but there are a number of things that make me wonder if the P2 won't soon be falling out of favor. Here's why:

Looking at the quality of AVCHD, particularly the Panny HMC150, which uses SDHC, P2 card cameras seem to offer little in the way of advantages. And the HMC150 is just a first generation AVCHD camera at its level. Future versions will no doubt be even better.

Also, the Sony EX1, which used to require SxS cards that were nearly as expensive as P2 cards, can now also use relatively cheap SDHC media.

I'm also seeing a marked increase in the number of HVX200's for sale here, in other similar forums, and on Ebay. Prices seem to be falling too.

Looking at all of these factors together, and I think that either the P2 format will soon be far less popular, or we'll see a huge drop in price on P2 media.

What do you think?
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Old June 17th, 2009, 08:24 AM   #2
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You can count on the cost of the media continually dropping.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #3
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Class 6 SDHC is too slow to compete with P2 directly. Good enough for consumer AVCHD with its 24Mbs max bitrate when P2 was designed for professional formats like DVCProHD at 100 meg per second.
When Class 10 will become available then we can talk P2 vs SDHC.
P2 price drop forced by SDHC is a good thing though.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #4
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Has anyone actually done a side by side image quality comparison of 24mbps AVCHD compression vs DVCPRO HD compression? I'd be mildly surprised if AVCHD images didn't look better, for most purposes (aside from very high motion sequences, where everything looks like a blur perceptibly when played at real time speed anyway, and chroma key).
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Old June 17th, 2009, 11:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stas Bobkov View Post
Class 6 SDHC is too slow to compete with P2 directly. Good enough for consumer AVCHD with its 24Mbs max bitrate when P2 was designed for professional formats like DVCProHD at 100 meg per second.
When Class 10 will become available then we can talk P2 vs SDHC.
P2 price drop forced by SDHC is a good thing though.
Sorry, but you are comparing apples and oranges. P2 is MPEG2, long GOP and AVCHD is MPEG4. Therefor you can't compare the two the way you did. Also XDCAM is 35Mb/sec max bite rate, but the codec is way more efficient then DVCPROHD.
BTW I don't think it's 100meg per second. Since it is possible to record it to Firestore over firewire it's more like 17Mb/sec, but please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #6
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We compare two types of media, P2 vs SDHC, all we need to know is what their maximum read/write speeds are. For P2 theoretical maximum access speed, if I'm not mistaken, is 640Mbs when a Class6 SDHC can handle only 48Mbs which is more the 10 times slower, and that's it, this is the limitation of this type of memory cards no matter what codec you use, weather it's MPEG2, h.264 or uncompressed.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Robert Rogoz View Post
BTW I don't think it's 100meg per second. Since it is possible to record it to Firestore over firewire it's more like 17Mb/sec, but please correct me if I am wrong.
DVCPro HD can be 50 or 100 mb/sec. The new AVC Intra is 100 mb/sec but with more efficient coding.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #8
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Part of what the OP was talking about is AVCHD eroding the demand for P2. It has to be. The HMC150 is being purchased by a lot of folks that otherwise would have purchased an HVX (and P2 cards). He's right, that for a lot of people, there just isn't any reason for owning a camera that uses P2 cards anymore, now that the HMC150 is out.

Frankly, even if P2 cards were cheaper than SDHC cards, I'd still rather shoot AVCHD than DVCPRO HD. I'd much rather shoot 1920x1080 at 4:2:0, and convert to an intermediate for editing, than shoot 1280x1080 at 4:2:2. Way less storage space needed for archiving original footage too.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #9
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"Sorry, but you are comparing apples and oranges. P2 is MPEG2, long GOP"

What? since when P2 is mpeg2, long GOP...??
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Robert Rogoz View Post
P2 is MPEG2, long GOP and .......
P2 is a solid state memory format, so theoretically it could record whatever format is thrown at it. Practically, it's used in Panasonic cameras, so can be associated with Panasonics preferred formats - DVCPro and DVCPro50 for SD, DVCProHD and AVC-Intra for HD. None of which are long-GOP.
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BTW I don't think it's 100meg per second. Since it is possible to record it to Firestore over firewire it's more like 17Mb/sec, but please correct me if I am wrong.
DVCProHD is 100Mbs (MegaBITS/sec), I suspect you're confusing bits and bytes, since it could also be said to be about 13MBs (MegaBYTES/sec). The only caveat is that it always codes the same data per frame, so the 24fps version of 720 (720p/24) is only 40Mbs.

In terms of the wider question, then yes, I see it disappearing from cameras in the price range of the HVX200, 171 etc. True pro cameras are a different matter, and for the next generation only AVC-Intra 100 and XDCAM-HD422 50Mbs are fully broadcast approved. You should be able to get the latter on to a current SDHC card (just), but I doubt the latter.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #11
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I know the HMC150 is selling faster than Panny can make them. Does anybody know if HVX sales are doing well? My guess is that HVX sales maybe pretty weak, given the competition from all sides.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #12
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HVX is more expensive and it's been around for quite some time now (4-5 years?). There is also a short version of it - HPX170. So, these cameras are still popular, I guess.

If a camera is selling fast it's great. The question is, who's buying. Has anyone heard of HMC150 used in broadcast?
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Old June 18th, 2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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Are HVX200s or HPX170s being used in broadcast much? (I really don't know.)
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Old June 18th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #14
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Why wouldnt they?

DVCProHD is an intra-frame easy-to-edit codec developed specifically high-end post-production. HVX200 inherited all good features of DVX100 which was and still widely spread among low budget studios and local tv stations.

I was actually surprised to know that after so many years these two cameras are still selling, and B&H is asking almost 6 grand for HVX200 today!

Direct competitors to HVX could probably be Sony's EX1/3.

HMC150 is not a bad camera at all, a high end consumer one. Will AVCHD be ever adopted in broadcast, who knows, it was originaly developed to make HD cameras popular among housewives but everything changes quickly.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #15
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Calling the HMC150 a consumer camera destroys your credibility. You wouldn't have an HVX200 you're trying to sell, would you?
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