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Old October 15th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #46
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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Regarding pricing -- is it to anyone's surpise that an SxS card costs exactly the same as a P2 card does?

We may not understand what goes into the pricing of these things, but there is an open market for competition. If the pricing was really just inflated profit, don't you think other manufacturers would want a piece of that pie? If Sony had put out their SxS cards at, say, $200 apiece, then we could all rightly say that panasonic was overpricing their P2 cards. But because the only other memory device on the market that has comparable performance has *exactly* the same price, how can anyone say that one of them is overpriced?

We can say we don't like that price, but we can't say that it's overpriced because we don't know all that goes into it.

The day an alternative manufacturer substantially undercuts the price, that's the day that we can say that the original manufacturer has overpriced. That day hasn't happened yet, although Hoodman has promised something on the order of a 20% price advantage vs. Panasonic pricing.

As a businessman, I'd think that if there was such a grossly inflated price (as so many people want to believe), combined with a global shortage, combined with massive acceptance by major customers, well, that's a "perfect storm" for a successful business model for another manufacturer to adopt. So why haven't other manufacturers stormed in to grab some of that massive profit margin? The patent expired years ago, so that's not the reason. The only reason that seems to hold up is that the idea of such an inflated profit margin is simply not accurate. If it was there, you can bet other companies would be filling the gap.

If I could hire a company to develop and sell a CheaP2 card today, spending maybe $100 in parts and pricing it at $799, undercutting Panasonic's price while still reaping a huge profit margin, and facing the heavenly prospect of a huge marketplace starving for product, I'd do it today. In a new york minute. You have to expect that the companies who are in the business have looked at this, and the only justifiable reason for not leaping into it must be: the profit margin isn't that inflated.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #47
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... "CheaP2"... have you copyrighted that already Barry? I was looking for a good name for the $199.99 32GB P2 cards my cousin is making....
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Old October 15th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #48
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I for once agree with Barry, P2 cards might be expensive but they're not overpriced. Top shelf cine glass is damn expensive but when you're using it day in, day out to capture images on a shoot costing $1M / day it sure doesn't seem overpriced to me. In the end P2 cards are a capital cost that you just factor into the price of the camera, same with the SxS cards. You don't like it, don't buy the camera. You think 35mm cine glass is too expensive, don't shoot 35mm, simple.

What I really don't get is the whole thrust of this thread. So what if by some miracle Panny decided to switch from P2 to SxS?

Is the sky really going to fall down, will P2 cameras suddenly stop working, will Panny stop production of P2 cards? Think of all the tape formats that are 'legacy' and yet you can still buy stock, you can still play them, even 2" quad is still playable. And after all I don't see anyone archiving to P2 cards, it like SxS is a transient storage media, so all that matters is that you've still got enough P2 (or SxS cards when that too goes the way of the dodo) to keep your camera running. If Panny did jump tomorrow I'd wager there'd still be a supply of working P2 cards around long after the last HVX200 has gasped it's last breath. Any part of any camera can fail and if there's no spares that's the end of the camera. And yet there's still guys out there shooting on VHS.

If you want something to panic about, how about batteries. They don't last even if you don't use them and every dang camera manufacturer seems to come up with yet another battery for every second camera model. That's more of a worry than the future of P2 cards.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 11:52 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
P2 card price was never a valid issue.
Most people I know would say it's one of the two main reasons why they've passed on buying P2 cameras - that and the challenges of doing long-form recording. There's a market opportunity here for HD cameras using more affordable flash memory, and I hope we'll see Panasonic develop a series of such cameras (e.g. the HSC1U). P2 can live on as a high-end format for producers with deep pockets, but hopefully we'll see more affordable solutions become common now that that's technologically feasible.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 07:02 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Grant View Post
I for once agree with Barry, P2 cards might be expensive but they're not overpriced.
I also agree with Barry, and the above sentiment. They're not overpriced for what they are, and same for SxS.

But I also agree very strongly with Kevin:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
P2 can live on as a high-end format for producers with deep pockets, but hopefully we'll see more affordable solutions become common now that that's technologically feasible
Along the same lines, I earlier asked the question ".........at the sub $10,000 level the big question to be asked is what P2 OR SxS offer that user that CF or SD don't?", and I've yet to hear an answer to that.

When the HVX200 was developed, P2 made obvious sense because it was there and available, and CF speeds were only just getting to what was needed. SxS may make sense for deep pocket users, but surely Panasonic could regain the initiative in this market by making their next gen HVX200 use a simpler and cheaper memory? (Higher end cameras continuing with P2.)

There will be drawbacks, max download speed being obvious, but as said before, in the sub $10,000 market is this not a more sensible price/performance ratio for most users?
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Old October 15th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
the big question to be asked is what P2 OR SxS offer that user that CF or SD don't?", and I've yet to hear an answer to that.
The standard CF and SD mass market cards get memory chips that aren't spec'd as rigorously. It's not really about transfer speed.

The P2 card has 4 ZERO DEFECT SPEC memory chips inside. They use 4 in a RAID configuration. The specs for the memory to the supplier command a top tier price because they are in shorter supply and require a lot more environmental testing in the QC process.

-gb-
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Old October 16th, 2007, 05:29 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
The P2 card has 4 ZERO DEFECT SPEC memory chips inside.
I don't dispute that, but my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) was that chips with defects don't produce errors in data handling, but that the errors are "mapped around" - slowing the chips performance overall, but maintaining data integrity. Put a MB of data into two chips, one with defects, one without, and that data will be recovered intact in both cases. Just that the zero defect one will be able to do it with less effort, and hence be faster. (And a lot more expensive!)

In the past, it was difficult to achieve adequate speed to record the video at all, and hence only the highest standard of chip could do. Now, general performance of flash memory has so improved that even allowing for the remapping, non-zero defect memory is still more than fast enough. At least for most customers of sub $10,000 cameras.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 08:44 AM   #53
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How is this?

moved to another thread
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
P2 can live on as a high-end format for producers with deep pockets, but hopefully we'll see more affordable solutions become common now that that's technologically feasible.
That's always been the plan -- P2 for those who need/demand indestructible top-end performance, and SD cards for the masses. AVC-HD has yet to really get fired up. Imagine an XHA1 recording directly to SD cards, or an HV20 at half its size because they drop the tape drive and record straight to a tiny SD card. I expect we'll see an overhaul of all of Panasonic's low-end cameras soon -- the DVX, DVC30, DVC60 etc. are all rather long in the tooth, and Panasonic really doesn't have any sort of HD answer to the FX1/XHA1 etc in the $2000-$3000 price bracket. Obviously they'll have to develop something or watch that entire market segment shift over to their competitors.

P2 isn't best suited to wedding/event guys, or for home users either, and not really for stringers (at least not yet; when 64GB and 128GB cards hit there's really nothing it couldn't handle well). But as for today, it's most suitable for broadcasters and mid-sized to higher-end production houses. And it's moving upscale, not downscale -- the HPX500, HPX2000, and HPX3000 are all P2-based. I doubt we'll ever see a smaller-than-HVX P2 cam; that arena will probably belong to AVC-HD. AVC-HD should deliver HDV to XDCAM-HD quality on a simple/cheap SD card. That's what the large base of small business/prosumer-type shooters will likely find attractive.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 09:36 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
AVC-HD should deliver HDV to XDCAM-HD quality on a simple/cheap SD card. That's what the large base of small business/prosumer-type shooters will likely find attractive.
The thing is that we shouldn't be limited to highly compressed formats like AVC-HD in order to get affordable flash-based video cameras, but it looks like that's the choice we're going to be given.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #56
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But a highly compressed format is *not* a limitation. If the compression engine is efficient and produces nice results, then the amount of compression is a complete non-issue. I was sold on H.264 (the basis for AVCHD) when I saw it projected on a thirty-foot screen at Apple's press conference during NAB2006. And that was an 8Mbps datastream.

If it's done well, highly compressed video is a *good* thing. And the compression efficiency is getting better and better all the time.

There ain't nothing wrong with AVCHD.

The amount of compression doesn't matter. All that counts is how good it is.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
The thing is that we shouldn't be limited to highly compressed formats like AVC-HD in order to get affordable flash-based video cameras, but it looks like that's the choice we're going to be given.
Versus what? A highly compressed format like HDV? Or XDCAM-HD? They're both highly compressed, yet certainly have their adherents and can, in most circumstances, deliver great imagery.

AVC-HD will go to 24 megabits. As Chris points out, 8 megabits of AVC-HD can look fantastic, 12 megabits of AVC-HD should outperform HDV, and 24 megabits of AVC-HD should rival XDCAM-HD toe to toe (assuming an equivalent camera head, of course).

High compression ratios are necessary, but doesn't inherently imply that the footage won't look good (or, at least, good enough). Look at RedCode, that has a massively high compression ratio but still looks plenty fine; they're taking 324 megabytes per second and compressing it down to about 200 megabits.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:36 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
But as for today, it's most suitable for broadcasters and mid-sized to higher-end production houses. And it's moving upscale, not downscale --
And suitable for documentary filmmakers...

And this all goes back to the issue of back-end support. The P2 Store was a good idea (I've never used one, but take this from many here who bemoan it's loss)... It's too bad that there isn't a device like that available that holds, say, 500g - because pros may be able to afford up to 10 cards, but they still gotta reliably off-load 'em eventually - and in the field that can (currently) be a major pain.

P2 will continue to be a viable acquistion tool if filmakers don't have to lug around laptops and hard drives and power supplies.

I know - be patient, there will be sollutions to this in the future - but I'm getting on a plane for NY tomorrow...
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Old October 18th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #59
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To conclude: Panasonic will stick with P2.

Thanks to all who have participated.
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