Panasonic HPX3000 vs. Sony F900 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 3rd, 2008, 07:42 PM   #1
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Panasonic HPX3000 vs. Sony F900

Is there a definitive comparison between these two camcorders using the same lens and does the CAC feature offer any real world advantages?

Is the HPX3000 a half-price F900? Not cheap! but a bargan.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #2
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I doubt you'd ever see a direct comparison between these cams since they are so drastically different. The imaging system in the F900 is several years old while the HPX3000 is less than a year old.

There are some significant differences between the cams: The F900 shoots HDCAM which is only a 3:1:1 color space, the HPX3000 is 4:2:2; the Sony is a tape-based system, the Panny is P2, tapeless - completely different workflows and system costs. You need a really expensive deck to watch HDCAM tapes, you don't need a deck at all with any P2 camera.

The HPX3000 will outperform the F900 by leaps and bounds visually and in overall system/recurring costs. However, depending on which version of F900 you're looking at the only thing the Sony can offer is VFR (variable frame rates) whereas the Panny doesn't. We're all hoping Panny will finally announce a P2 Varicam at NAB, so it's a wait-and-see thing.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 09:42 AM   #3
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I'm very curious to see some screen grabs or some footage from the HPX3000... i like the idea of being able to get footage of this caliber directly onto my P2... obviously with one expensive rental. For most applications, I suppose it wouldn't be practical. The very notion of not having to deal with all the work-flow issues of getting high quality footage from tape using expensive decks... that's very appealing.

I've read some great articles about the camera and there is one really small video online from panasonic showing it in action, but it thought it was a pretty bad example. 1920 x 1080 grabs would be really cool to see. Maybe it wouldn't do the camera justice? bleh who knows. These super expensive broadcast quality cameras are only being used by professional for the most part, and there is no reason any of these people would benefit from posting footage online. I think that's the major issue, they are prolly too busy working on their kick-ass HPX3000 productions. ;)
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:34 PM   #4
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Sony is still actively selling the HDCAM line including the 900R, 730s and 790. It is a costly workflow to engage in. I am a big Sony fan but there does not seem to be anything Sony that can compete in this price range, resolution and color space. HDCAM SR certain meets or exceeds in terms of 4:4:4 color space but at a price point only George Lucas can afford.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #5
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I too are very interested in seeing some screen shots and feedback on this system. I am seriously considering it with the Canon HJ17ex7.6 CAC lens. Still a large chunk of change. Add view finder, batteries tripod mount and so on, and you're well over $60k.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #6
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We were involved in a camera test between the 3000, F900R and Red. The test material was converted to ProRes with 3 sequences cut together and projected.
The lens used on the F900R and 3000 was the Canon HD-EC HJ21x7.5B KLL-SC
Cine Zoom. Material was graded through Park Road.

The end result was the client went with the HPX3000 for their project.

The HPX3000 is an excellent camera and offers tremendous value for money. But like others, we are waiting for the next incarnation of the Varicam.

If the producers allow it I will try and get release of some material but due to talent involvement this may not be possible.

Disclaimer: We own, Red's and the Sony F900R cameras for rental. The client in this case went and bought their own 3000!
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Old March 5th, 2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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I believe the PDW-700 XDCAM is competing against the HPX3000 as they are both tapeless cameras, roughly the same price, both 2/3rd inch images, have a 422 colour sequence and also very new. The F900 and the F900R can still produce beautiful images they are getting on abit, back in the days they were the stuff, we still send them out, daily actually.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #8
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The hope is for a new Varicam replacement to be introduced at NAB, hopefully this will happen. While both the 2000 and 3000 offer beautiful images at great prices, the lack of VFR in either turns me off. Heck I have great VFR in my little HVX-200 and the HPX-500 has it as well. Couldn't ever own a camera again that doesn't feature VFR, it's that important to my work and style.

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Old March 5th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #9
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still, VFR or no VFR, it would be really nice to see how the camera fairs in real world scenarios...
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Old March 5th, 2008, 08:23 PM   #10
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VFR is very nice, but it is worthy noting there are a number of very affordable software products that do a nice job. If you realy need to slow things down big-time, there still is no substitute for film running at 180 or more FPS.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jerry Matese View Post
VFR is very nice, but it is worthy noting there are a number of very affordable software products that do a nice job. If you realy need to slow things down big-time, there still is no substitute for film running at 180 or more FPS.
Agreed, but I have a client that I just shot a huge project for with almost all variable frame rate footage and time lapse. The ability to shoot repeatable events with VFR, then instantly review the footage and get the client's thumbs up or down was a lifesaver.

Twixtor is good but it is no substitute for native VFR in my experience.

I wish I could even afford an HPX but I need a lot more large projects before I can stop renting them and just buy one.

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Old March 6th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #12
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I guess this beacons the question: What will the HPX3000 do better than the upcoming Varicam replacement? Will it just be "This one if for news and this one if for other stuff"... From all the literature i've read, they are really pushing this camera as a solution for high deifnition broadcast, digital features, etc. It seems to be an f900/f950 (without the 4:4:4) competitor. Since the Varicam is also a direct competitor with these cameras, yet has the added bonus of VFR at the expense of slightly lower resolution, I feel something has got to give.

Maybe it won't feature the 2.2 mp sensor? Would it still have a tape deck or will it only be P2HD (that i hope is a no brainer.)? What type of technology would be needed for VFR to be possible on a camera that's not possible on the HPX3000? What about Senstivity, maybe that will be something to take into account? Size and Weight?

I think the HPX3000 would be really viably hamstrung if the new Varicam came out with the same size/density sensor but could also do 60p with VFR. The only other scenario I can think of is that it would end up being very very expensive... or the 500, 2000, and 3000 would have to drop in price respectively to keep all of them viable as solutions at various price points.

My guess is the new Varicam will not have a sensor with as high of a reslution as the 3000, relatively to the rest of their product line, but feature all the VFR bells and whistles of using the Varicam.

Lately i've been shifting my focus away from the RED and thinking about how much ease-of-use and workflow can factor into renting these expensive cameras. If I only have a limited budget, I want to make sure the footage I get with one of these rentals is not only good and can be cut quickly. I really wish I could sit down with the RED workflow and the 3000 workflow and see the difference. I think all the auto settings from a more standard-style ENG camera could be very very helpful on a lot of projects. It would depend on the project obviously, but in my fantasy world, if I had to buy one system, i'm not sure what i'd do anymore. That's a good thing!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kyle Doris View Post
I guess this beacons the question: What will the HPX3000 do better than the upcoming Varicam replacement? Will it just be "This one if for news and this one if for other stuff"... From all the literature i've read, they are really pushing this camera as a solution for high deifnition broadcast, digital features, etc. It seems to be an f900/f950 (without the 4:4:4) competitor. Since the Varicam is also a direct competitor with these cameras, yet has the added bonus of VFR at the expense of slightly lower resolution, I feel something has got to give.

Maybe it won't feature the 2.2 mp sensor? Would it still have a tape deck or will it only be P2HD (that i hope is a no brainer.)? What type of technology would be needed for VFR to be possible on a camera that's not possible on the HPX3000? What about Senstivity, maybe that will be something to take into account? Size and Weight?

I think the HPX3000 would be really viably hamstrung if the new Varicam came out with the same size/density sensor but could also do 60p with VFR. The only other scenario I can think of is that it would end up being very very expensive... or the 500, 2000, and 3000 would have to drop in price respectively to keep all of them viable as solutions at various price points.

My guess is the new Varicam will not have a sensor with as high of a reslution as the 3000, relatively to the rest of their product line, but feature all the VFR bells and whistles of using the Varicam.

Lately i've been shifting my focus away from the RED and thinking about how much ease-of-use and workflow can factor into renting these expensive cameras. If I only have a limited budget, I want to make sure the footage I get with one of these rentals is not only good and can be cut quickly. I really wish I could sit down with the RED workflow and the 3000 workflow and see the difference. I think all the auto settings from a more standard-style ENG camera could be very very helpful on a lot of projects. It would depend on the project obviously, but in my fantasy world, if I had to buy one system, i'm not sure what i'd do anymore. That's a good thing!
If you come from a video background, using the 2000/3000 feels very familiar. If you come from a film background, using the RED would feel more familiar.

I think a lot of us are going through the same thing as far as RED vs. a regular video camera. Honestly, for the type of work I do, I don't think I would recoup the cost of a RED, my clients, while they would love the picture, probably wouldn't respond well to the greater crew requirements of the RED.

If I was buying something today, it would be an HPX-500 with killer glass. If I was buying at the end of this year, it would probably be the new Varicam. BTW, the new Varicam will only use P2 media, no more tape cameras from Panasonic.

Best,

Dan
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Old March 6th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #14
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just out of curiosity, are stations like Discovery accepting the HPX500 as a camera or is it in the 15% bracket like the HVX?
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Old March 6th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #15
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Varicam II has to offer 1-60 or higher vfps in 1080. Anything less is going to result in a 'me too' camera.
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