Kit: Decided Against The 500 at

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Old January 10th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #1
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Kit: Decided Against The 500

Hi Kit... and anyone else interested.

After much consideration we decided, sadly, not to go with the HPX500 (we also considered the very nice 900). Our decision is based on our "own" commercial business requirements and budgets we set on product purchase throughout the year.

"Chip Set" and other such arguments aside, on balance I could not get this camera system to work out for our business needs at this time. I love the organic look and the depth in the colour, from a commercial business point of view I liked the idea of buying into a 2/3" lens system and change the body as and when needed, but P2 as it stands at this moment in time is just not going to work out for us, and that's a pity since it looks easy to edit, and along with DVCpro50 for SD work that would have been very useful for us. It's not that we don't have lap tops and drives to dump the cards onto.... we do. With some of our work where we have a number of crew doing specific jobs, I could alocate someone to manage the media and that would be fine, but we also have a lot of work where we are on the move with a small crew (2) and there is no time or budget to faff around with card off loads. Of course storing all this digital info is another issue. From my point of view, I'm afraid it all adds up to more time/expense.

Sony EX1:
We went to our EX1 demonstration on Wednesday, and while it's certainly a great little camera for the money, it's of no interest to us. Although having said that, we are due to be filming in the Middle East shortly and I could see that little chap coming in very handy, having been on the sticky end of security checks and sensitive zones when using larger kit. I know the camera is at a price point, but I can't help thinking Sony could have done a better job with the way they laid things out, the tiny buttons, the types of connectors used, really don't like the audio inputs where they are, bit of a hassle with a breakaway cable attached, the intrusive inbuilt mic extended over the hood and as for hand holding.... great for certain viewpoints. I'm not knocking the camera, it has its place amongst all the other tools, and will and "is" proving to be a real joy for many people, course a good companion to the larger Sony cams.

So... we ended up getting a nice deal on an F350 with HD Fujinon Glass, did not see the point in spending the extra dosh on the F355, hopefully firmware upgrades may help out with some of the noise issues encountered under certain circumstances. I can always stick filters on the front if I want a softer look, or of course do it in post. This of course gives us the ability to shoot other work that requires a sharper look rather than be stuck with the softer look of the 500. The deciding factor really was the XDCAM HD workflow which is more suited to our needs. Clients pay for their discs and a fee for length of storage, and so this method is as managable as tape.... I like that. We have been doing this in digital stills photography for about ten years.

Sony422 / Red:
We are also in the market for the Sony422 Cam or the Red for feature work, but we will need to see how all that pans out.

Kit.... all the best with your 500/555 purchase, if the workflow won't prove a problem for you, then I'm pretty sure your going to just love the image they will produce for you.

Regards: Stu
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Old January 10th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Hi Stewart:

After reading your post, I checked out your website. You have some nice looking work. Which camera was used for most of the clips on your reels?

Your post caught my eye as I was in Scotland over a few weeks in the Summer to shoot a documentary tracing the life of William Wallace. I pretty much covered the entire country other than the Highlands in about two weeks time. You are so lucky to live in a such a beautiful country with such amazing history! I was able to see a pretty good chunk of it on my trip and I can't wait to go back.

I would have had a difficult time making your decision, both the HPX and the F350 are fine cameras. Since I already have an HVX, I have totally adapted to the P2 workflow. I was able to shoot about five hours of footage a day on my Scotland trip by just bringing along 6-8 16GB P2 cards. I would then dump the footage at night to drives at my hotel. With my MBP and the Duel adaptor, I can dump a 16Gb card in about 8-9 minutes so it wasn't too bad. But I totally understand your point of view, long term archiving and delivering camera masters to clients can be a challenge with P2.

Enjoy your 350, it makes nice pictures.


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Old January 10th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #3
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Well thank you Stewart.

I appreciate the reviews and the pros & cons of each of the cameras I have jumped around so many times that it's not even funny - first the EX1 was it, then to the HPX500, then to the XDCAm, and back to the EX1. I have researched my brains out (literally like 10 hours a day reading posts and looking at specs, footage, features, price, etc.)

What I have found is that the P2 workflow isn't necessarily going to be our ideal choice either. We use Vegas to edit, which I have been completely happy with as we edit pretty much exclusively from the timeline. Easy, quick, and it looks quality. Typically we would go to a modified firestore on the HD110's we used to have and would just edit natively (.m2t) on the "suped up" computers that we built. Always turned out perfect. We do a lot of live stuff and typically don't have the need to use a lot of effects since we're just selling or producing a couple hundred DVD's per event.

But having said all that, we still had to transfer all the footage from the Firestores to the computer - it was fast enough, but it's just more time. The XDCAM discs look like we'd be in about the same boat, which would have been fine, but I think we're trying to get all of the best within all worlds. I love the XDCAM look and functionality (full size cams) but the EX1 just seemed like it would not have the same workflow. Everything is so "preliminary" with that camera right now. Accessories are hard to come by, there are some noted problems and I definitely cannot be without cameras for a length of time. Been there, done that. Not a lot of local places around and can't afford to drive 3 hours to LA or San Francisco every time I need a camera. But it's also a prosumer style camera and I don't think that necessarily works for a professional company. It also lacked a number of features, including professional focus and zoom control, which was going to be hard to deal with. Current record times on the camera don't permit us to do some of the things we need to do and going to a firewire drive on the EX1s were out of the question. Been down the HDV road and won't be going that direction again.

Stewart, I'm glad the full size 350 will work for you. It is an excellent choice. But we decided against the XDCAM's because of the price and workflow. Ultimately, they were not going to be as quick as we would like them to be with respect to workflow and the price was going to be difficult for us to get multiple units, especially right off the bat.


After much consideration, we decided on the HPX500. Albiet, we'll be changing NLEs from Vegas to either Edius or Newtek's Speededit, but they both edit P2 right from the card and natively. The added bitrate and codec on the 500 is very appealing to us. It's going to cost a little bit for the P2 media, but we're getting a FANTASTIC deal on the body & 32GB card from a site sponsor. We thought about going with the 555's from another company and saving $1500 per camera, but our new deal from the site sponsor will get us the 500 and 32GB card for not too much more. We were also looking for a solution where we could "grow" into lenses, so we'll be starting by purchasing used, High quality SD lenses. We have seen very compelling evidence that there is not a substantial difference in quality, definitely not a multi-thousand dollar difference. I can live with up-resed chips and P2.

So we'll start that way, and with Body, lens, 32GB P2 card, Nnovia QC HD Deck (removeable media packs), IDX quad battery system, quad charger and bag, we'll be out the door for about $13 - $14k per camera setup. Pretty reasonable full size HD camer aquisition if you ask me. We may add on another few P2 cards jsut in case, but it should give us sufficient time for what we're doing for the HD stuff.

I wish you all the best, Stewart. Thanks again for the comments.

Kit Hannah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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Hey Kit.... when shopping batteries, keep in mind the new FAA regs on LI-IONS before you purchase....
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Old January 10th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #5
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We're going for the IDX E7's. On their site, they give a chart that shows they are within regulation. Even the E10's are just shy I believe, so I should be good there. We don't do an incredible amount of flying with the cams, but in the future, it is possible. I may just elect to ship the camera ahead of me wherever I go.

Thanks for the heads up though, Bob.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 04:31 AM   #6
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Dan Brockett: Which camera was used for most of the clips on your reels?

Hi Dan -
Thank you.... the clips on the site were shot using the JVC HD101E,

Yes Scotland is a pretty place and if you get lucky with the weather you can get some really dramatic lighting, particularly up the West Coast. Yes it's full of history but don't take in all your told by the locals.... always love to have a laugh with some of our overseas freinds about the roving Haggis on the hills :-) If you find yourself back in Scotland and your near the Forth Railway Bridge, please do drop in for a wee chat and wee dram - our phone number is on our site, and all the best with the doco on Mr Willie Wallace.

Hi Kit -
Yeh I know what you mean regarding equipment choice etc.... In all my 25 years of imaging I have never had to reasearch equipment replacement so much as I do now, and while the new advances in technology are great, it can be a real pain when you have got work to get on with. Smart move sticking with a dealer... when you run a business and your spending mucho dollars on this type of kit it's a bit of a risk not having the support of a good dealer. We had three JVC101E replacements and all I can say is that I'm really glad I have a good relationship with our dealer. Enjoy the 500s kit and all the best with your business.

Regards: Stu
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Old January 15th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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Hi Stu, Looking at your list of potential cameras... did you also consider the HPX2000? I think it's around the same price as the F350...And with the AVC-I Board you would get alot more record time.... or was the P2 workflow the main reason for you not deciding on a P2 camera?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Hi Brian

Yes we did look at the 2000, even considered a very nice used 900 but at the end of the day in regard to the P2 format, it was not going to be the best way to go for the various types of jobs we undertake and the storage requirements needed. I love the image of the Panasonics I really do, it's just not going to work for us at this point in time.... that may change depending on future developments.

Regards: Stu
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