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Old January 6th, 2008, 12:01 AM   #16
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
We do event production, advertising and some corporate training videos and documentary style films. The form factor does matter to us as we have always had shoulder mounted cameras, but the price and features of the EX1 are very enticing. Thyat's why we are even considering the EX1.
Okay, I see where you're coming from now...

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But with all of that said, what do YOU think the next step up from an EX1 would be? In my opinion, you'd be looking at a full size XDCAM or going to the HPX500. It's that simple.
Logically, yes, the HPX500 would be the next step, as it's the lowest-cost 2/3" HD camcorder. On a simple basis of what's next-most expensive, you're looking at the XLH1 or HD250, both of which are 1/3", and then the HPX500. But the HPX500 is such a large jump in price, it just seems strange to me that someone would consider a camera that costs 1/3 as much to be an alternative, that's all.

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What we are concerned with is image quality at 1080p. Period.
If that's all you care about, you'll probably find that the EX1 and HPX500 are about the same sensitivity and the EX1 will resolve somewhat more detail with less noise. The HPX500 is most likely going to have wider dynamic range and it's probably going to exhibit better contrast and it's definitely going to have shallower depth of field. The HPX500 is going to be immune from rolling-shutter issues and the EX1 is subject to them; you'll have to decide whether that's a factor, a big factor, a dealbreaker, or a nonissue to you based on how you intend to use the products and what type of footage you intend to be acquiring.

These predictions are based on having extreme familiarity with the HVX, quite extensive familiarity with the HPX500, and recent fairly in-depth experience with the EX1. But it is not based on a side-by-side because I haven't put an HPX500 against an EX1.

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We can adapt to the workflow as you have to with most new camera purchases these days. But we need to shoot, edit and deliver in 1080p for 90% of our projects with our advertising systems.
I would strongly recommend trying to spend a few hours with each system, especially under the tutelage of someone who knows how to use them, so you can see how the workflow will work (or won't work) for you. The workflow and workability of the footage is perhaps the biggest differentiating factor between these two systems (SxS and P2).

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but I want to know about image quality, plain and simple.
But what you ask is not so easily answered. It seems easy, but there's so much that goes into it. Image quality for what? Shooting a talking-head interview in a controlled environment? The EX1 would shine at doing that (as would an HPX500). Shooting a press conference with photographer's flashes going off all around you? The EX1 is going to show a lot of black bands that the HPX500 just won't -- the HPX500 will perform consistently, but the EX1 performance may vary based on what it's asked to shoot. Shooting fine-detail scenes? The EX1 looks great in still shots, but there are circumstances that can result in overloading an MPEG-2 codec such that what you're seeing live on the monitor isn't the same as what you get in the recorded footage. So you have to know how these systems work, and whether what you intend to shoot will work well with the new developments of CMOS/rolling shutter and MPEG-2 long-GOP. Some things work flawlessly with them. Some most definitely don't. With a CCD and an intraframe compression system you'll never run into any of those types of issues. With a rolling-shutter long-GOP system, you may. You may not, or you may, it all depends on the type of things you're shooting. These new technologies have changed the way shooters have to work with their gear, and some shots that you'd think would be just fine may instead turn out to be difficult or even not possible under certain conditions.

So you can't just say "which has better image quality". (well, I mean, of course you can ask that, but giving a comprehensive answer is very difficult.)

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As far as getting the HPX500 for $14kish, If you do your homework, the deals are out there.
But from who? That's the point -- there are liars and scam shops all over the place who advertise preposterous prices. I've seen scam shops listing the HPX500 body for under $9,000. Sorry but that just isn't legit, there's no way you're going to get the body only for a price like that. So -- have you at least verified that the resellers you're researching are legitimate authorized Panasonic resellers? If not, you may be setting yourself up for an unpleasant transaction.

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The point to all of this is, if I want to take the next step up, it looks like the HPX500 is the way to go. But I want to be convinced of why I should go either route. Will the image quality of the EX1 be just about as good as the HPX500? I don't know. That's why I am asking.
On a still-life, yes it probably will, maybe even better. In your real-world shooting circumstances? It depends. I know people hate that answer but it's the only answer that can be given.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 12:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
The point to all of this is, if I want to take the next step up, it looks like the HPX500 is the way to go. But I want to be convinced of why I should go either route. Will the image quality of the EX1 be just about as good as the HPX500? I don't know. That's why I am asking.
You also have the F335 which will come in at around $15K without variable frame rates. If you need variable frame rate, then this wouldn't be an option.

-gb-
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Old January 6th, 2008, 02:48 AM   #18
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You also have the F335 which will come in at around $15K without variable frame rates. If you need variable frame rate, then this wouldn't be an option.

-gb-
Variable frame rates will not be a necessity, just 1080. For SD, we just currently downconvert in post with very nice results.

As for the 335, from B&H's pricing, it looks like just the body is $15k w/o a lens. Ouch. With the cheapest lens, still comming in around $21k.

And Barry,
Big 10 Media has HPX555's for $9k brand new, which are supposed to be identical to the 500. I'll have to check if they are an authorized dealer, but I have dealt with them before and they are extremely reputable. Throw a lens on top of that and you're in the $14k - $15k neighborhood. We have existing AB Batteries, so no biggie there. Honestly, we would probably skip the P2 and just use a DTE solution for recording. The HPX500 firewire port will output ANY of it's formats (the EX1 will only do 25Mbs out its firewire, don't really want to sacrafice quality). Besides, the P2 media and the SxS media are about the same price, so it's a wash there.

This is a hard decision for me. I think I'm going to do a search for some more HPX500 footage and anylize it again. From what I saw before, it looked great and I do prefer the form factor. Then again, I prefer the price of the EX1 obviously. We'll see what happens.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 06:48 AM   #19
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Kit, my understanding is the HPX555 is the Japan territory/released model. Not sure how the warranty, if at all, is dealt with. Great price!
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Old January 6th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #20
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I see some good comments here about usability, but not much acknowledgement that the EX1 images are obviously clearer in scenes with a lot of detail - which is one of the primary objectives of an HD camera. As far as sensitivity is concerned, the question there for some of us is how dim a scene you can shoot with an acceptable amount of noise, and there again the EX1 appears to have a useful advantage. Add in lower cost of memory per hour of recording time plus faster transfer to a laptop, and the EX1 is looking good for long-form recording. Editing the footage shouldn't be a problem thanks to the intermediate codecs mentioned earlier, but how long it will take to convert to those formats is worth asking.

Overall the EX1 looks very promising for some users but won't appeal to everyone. In any case, more competition is good and will hopefully prompt Panasonic to step up them offerings.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:59 AM   #21
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Kit, my understanding is the HPX555 is the Japan territory/released model. Not sure how the warranty, if at all, is dealt with. Great price!
Yes, I believe it is, but supposedly it is identical to the 500, just the name is different, just like they do with any other camera. It is supposed to do pretty much ALL of the current formats, including 24p. 25p and 30p.

Records in 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p; in 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p; and in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...odel=AG-HPX500

Now the only one thing I would be very mildly worried about is the format of the SD recording. Not that we would probably EVER use it, but I'm wondering if the SD is PAL or if it is switchable. Like I said though, we would probably never use it and if we went with the EX1, it would not have SD anyways. We just downconvert for our SD projects.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #22
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I was doing a search and found out the the HPX500 and 555 are PAL/NTSC switchable. Very nice.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #23
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Problem would be the warranty. I have 555 because I'm in Japan. I checked and Pana says grey marketed 555 won't be covered by the warranty.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #24
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That really is a bummer. I was looking forward to saving a bit of $$$. I guess the $10,500 at B&H might have to do, but I'll call some dealers and see if anyone can do better on the 500. If you guys know of any deals, please let me know.

I still am not 100%, but I have been checking some stores and a few sites and it looks like I may not even be able to get the EX1 by the end of January when we plan to purchase.

I will also most likely call Panasonic and see is the warranty for the 555 will in fact be void if it's out of their coverage area. If they will cover it, I don't mind sending the camera to Japan IF I have to. Big 10 Media supposedly has offices in Japan too, so it may not be "Gray Market" after all.

Thanks
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
That really is a bummer. I was looking forward to saving a bit of $$$. I guess the $10,500 at B&H might have to do, but I'll call some dealers and see if anyone can do better on the 500. If you guys know of any deals, please let me know.

I still am not 100%, but I have been checking some stores and a few sites and it looks like I may not even be able to get the EX1 by the end of January when we plan to purchase.

I will also most likely call Panasonic and see is the warranty for the 555 will in fact be void if it's out of their coverage area. If they will cover it, I don't mind sending the camera to Japan IF I have to.

Thanks
Just remember, we have a policy of directing all where to buy discussion from DVINFO sponsors. If you choose to go elsewhere, that would be a shame because the sponsors make this place available. The other place you mentioned sells gray market. I've seen them discussed on other boards with respect to other equipment (also gray market). Best bet when you're dropping this kind of cash is to do the right thing so that you have warranty coverage without any hassle.

I understand that you might have to resort to other than normal channels to get on the wagon, but it will be painfully expensive if something goes wrong. My F350 had a problem with the shutter control board at 3 months of age. That's when you're glad to have a full warranty to back you up.

Just a thought,

-gb-
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:59 AM   #26
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Just remember, we have a policy of directing all where to buy discussion from DVINFO sponsors. If you choose to go elsewhere, that would be a shame because the sponsors make this place available. The other place you mentioned sells gray market. I've seen them discussed on other boards with respect to other equipment (also gray market). Best bet when you're dropping this kind of cash is to do the right thing so that you have warranty coverage without any hassle.
Agreed. And if I were to purchase a US product, it would most likely be from one of the sponsors, as they pretty much all have been in the past. If you say they are gray market from this company, then I believe you and it ends there. I'll have to resort to other means of getting a deal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
I understand that you might have to resort to other than normal channels to get on the wagon, but it will be painfully expensive if something goes wrong. My F350 had a problem with the shutter control board at 3 months of age. That's when you're glad to have a full warranty to back you up.

Just a thought,

-gb-

HD aquisition is very tough and pricey right now. Is this camera going to be good enough in the coming years? Honestly I don't know. That is why I am thouroughly investigating everything. But if I could get a product and all I had to do is send it to Japan instead of the US to save $3000 (we're planning to purchase 2), it seems like it would be worth it IF something went wrong. Shipping to Japan would'nt be so bad to save $3000. But if it is ifact a gray market product and I won't have a warranty, there is no way I would do it.

I'm just honestly to the point where I don't know what I'm going to do, but I do have to do something by the end of the month here. All the cameras have their ups and down, their good and bad. The EX1 does not give me all the features and shooting style that I really want or need (although it will usually work). And their availability is questionable. The HPX500 or 555 seems like it would be the way to go but will obviously be more expensive, but I hear so many pros and cons to the sensors and the image quality. IMHO, it looks great and I would most likely be very happy with it, especially that it's a full size camera like what I am used to. And the full size XDCAM looks great, would probably work perfectly, but it seems like it's even more money than the Pani ($5k - $6k more). I wish I had $20k + to spend per camera but I simply cannot afford that. We need multiple cameras (minimum 2) and I just want to make sure I'm going to at least have something left in the bank when I am done.

So I really just don't know. I'm fresh out of ideas. I just think it's really unfortunate that there is such a large gap going from a "handicam" size to the pro stuff. I've done the JVC route for long enough and really was not satisfied with the image quality. Looking to upgrade but like everyone, looking for a good deal on something that can last me a long time.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #27
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Gray Market means it's imported into a territory for which it was not intended. So if that company has offices in Japan, and they're authorized dealers in Japan, and they sell HPX555s in Japan, that's all fine and dandy.

But if they bring those same units here and try to sell them here (in the USA) then they'd be gray-market imports. No warranty coverage by Panasonic USA, although you may have warranty coverage in Japan. Panasonic USA offers a five-year warranty so it would seem a good idea to get it from a USA-authorized dealer if you're a USA customer.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 12:39 AM   #28
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Hey Barry,
Yeah, that's basically what they told me. They have an office here and in Japan and said there is still a 5 year warranty on them if I were to purchase, the downside being I would have to ship it back to Japan IF there was an issue. I'm somewhat torn right now....I have decided to go with the 500/555, but my thinking is that I can save $1500 per camera (buying 2 for the time being, possibly more in the future), which is a total savings of $3000. I know the chances of something going wrong are pretty slim, especially that we really take care of our gear and it lives in it's case unless being used by myself or one of my very trusted and experienced staff. To ship it back overnight to Japan, it's aout $150 each way via Fed Ex, so I feel like I can live with that for the cost savings. It would cost $$$ to ship it in the US anyways, so to me, the money saved is worth it. It's a fairly well established dealer, So I dunno....
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Old January 8th, 2008, 02:16 AM   #29
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Matt:

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this - very nice job.

However, I'm obviously confused about comments on quality. In every aspect of image quality (resolution, dynamic range, noise), the EX1 is not just better but substantially better. The only area of debate could be color rendition but given how configurable each cam is, I don't see this would be an easy matter to resolve without deep testing for days. Plus, it's a trivial matter to correct in post whereas resolution, dynamic range, noise are non-trivial issues.

The EX-1 does have the rolling shutter issue - certainly something to consider for event and news shooters. Also, for those that like to shoot with one hand handheld, it's off balance (but I find anything larger than a HV20 not ideal to shoot with one handed, so that's minor in my book).
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Old January 8th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
If you took 'em both outside and pointed 'em at the same scene, at 0dB, the EX1 is going to stop down 1/2 stop more than the HVX. That's the obvious, easy-to-see distinction.
Well isn't that weird because the EX1 is slightly better in low light than the king of low light the PD170.
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