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Old April 13th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #1
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Panasonic AG-HPX 170 - Official Press Release

PANASONIC DEBUTS AG-HPX170, A NEW FULLY
SOLID-STATE P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER

** Records in 20 HD and SD Formats, Offers Benefits of a Tapeless Workflow **

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 13, 2008) – Panasonic unveiled here at NAB the AG-HPX170, a fully solid-state P2 HD handheld camcorder. A full production quality tool, the solid-state handheld camcorder enables high definition and standard definition recording, the widest zoom lens in its class, and a HD-SDI interface for connection to baseband production and distribution infrastructure, all in a lightweight 4.2-pound body.

Fully solid-state, the two-slot HPX170 is a 1080p capable camcorder that offers the compelling advantages of P2 technology including: no moving parts unlike tape, hard disk drive, or disc-based systems; instant random access to recorded HD or SD content; a faster IT compatible file-based workflow; and the ability to operate in harsh environments with resistance to temperature extremes, shock and vibration.

Building on the success of the AG-HVX200, the HPX170 is equipped with new advanced 1/3-inch 16:9 3-CCDs and a high-performance digital signal processor with 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit processing to deliver broadcast-quality, independent frame recordings. The HPX170 offers a 13X Leica Dicomar zoom lens with a 28mm wide-angle setting (the widest in its class) and a cam-driven manual zoom for smooth, easy and precise operation. For added flexibility, the camera provides auto or manual focus and iris.

The multi-format camera records in 20 HD and SD formats; in a variety of 1080i and 720p formats in DVCPRO HD, in 480i in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO, and in 480i in DV. It’s switchable between 16:9/4:3 aspect ratios. The HPX170 offers a 20-step frame rate selection in 720p mode for variable-speed shooting in the 12fps to 60fps range to acquire fast- or slow-motion in-camera effects. For added creative flexibility, professionals can select from a variety of advanced gamma functions and settings including a CineGammaTM mode.

With its two P2 card slots, users can record up to 64 continuous minutes of the highest quality DVCPRO HD recording using currently available 32GB P2 cards. Record times will double with the release of Panasonic’s 64GB P2 card in the fall. Other user-friendly recording modes include hot swapping for non-stop recording, loop record, pre-record, interval and one-shot recording. A time/date stamp function makes it ideal for use in law enforcement environments.

The HPX170 is equipped with an HD/SD-SDI output standard for live feed productions as well as for editing and monitoring. It also has IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces for fast P2 content transfer into NLE systems, and offers a composite output, component output (mini D-terminal) and a time-code setting via IEEE 1394. The camera also features a built-in stereo microphone and two-channel XLR audio input terminals supporting 48V phantom power supply with a selectable mic/line; and manual audio level volume (two-channel). Other convenient operational features include clip preview on the camera’s 3.5” color LCD monitor; instant recording startup, scene files, assignable user buttons, focus assist and a camera remote function.

The AG-HPX170 will be available in fall 2008. It will be covered by Panasonic’s five-year limited P2 HD warranty*.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 02:31 AM   #2
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I wonder if the 1080p recording is through the HD-SDI or also to the P2 media? I guess the latter as they don't mention it further on in the article anymore. I think this is a nice upgrade. A HVX-200 without a tape mechanism but with the ability to record SD to P2 media. Also, it looks light, and Panasonic claims that the CCD's hold up against the CMOS sensors out there (read: EX1). They switched to bigger, higher resolution CCD's as well.

I wonder what the price will be for this one.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 03:07 AM   #3
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Also, it looks light, and Panasonic claims that the CCD's hold up against the CMOS sensors out there (read: EX1). They switched to bigger, higher resolution CCD's as well.
Where have you read this? they've mentioned better ccds, in regards to the signal to noise ratio.. but i havent read anything yet about a high res ccd...
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Old April 14th, 2008, 04:01 AM   #4
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http://www.panasonic.com/business/pr...2008/index.asp

On the left part of the page, there are product videos, if you choose the P2HD Jan Crittenden Livingston (Panasonic Product Manager) will talk about the new camcorder and the chips that are used in the HVX-200A and HPX-170.

Enjoy!
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Old April 14th, 2008, 04:46 AM   #5
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Will they tell us the actual resolution this time or will it be another guessing game before revealing more pixel shifting trickery?
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Old April 14th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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Will they tell us the actual resolution this time or will it be another guessing game before revealing more pixel shifting trickery?
It's almost certain to use pixel shifting. Just how much is the question.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #7
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Jan says in the video on Panasonic's website that the new chips have over 1,1 million pixels. 1280x720 equals 921,600. So with overscanning/underscanning I think we can safely say that these camera's have 1280x720 CCD chips.

There is a first look here at the HVX-200A (same chips):
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...10#post1250010

- Better low-light
- Cleaner image (less noise)
- Wider field of view
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Old April 14th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
http://www.panasonic.com/business/pr...2008/index.asp

On the left part of the page, there are product videos, if you choose the P2HD Jan Crittenden Livingston (Panasonic Product Manager) will talk about the new camcorder and the chips that are used in the HVX-200A and HPX-170.

Enjoy!
Everything says they have an "effective" resolution of 1.1 million. I would love to be wrong, but that smells to me more like Panasonic double talk for not being a full raster chip. I do believe if it was they would have thrown that right up in the specs for the camera rather than once again not noting the actual res of the chip.

Again I would love to be wrong, but it just looks like the same circle we had when they wouldn't cough up the actual chip res of the 200.

Sadly I waited to see what was gonna come but I am not interested in another 1/3" chip camera.

K
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Old April 14th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #9
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Sadly I waited to see what was gonna come but I am not interested in another 1/3" chip camera.
Me too.

They seem to be growing on trees.

The 1/2" chip has been left for dead in the HD world as a "value" chip size.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 09:41 PM   #10
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Me too.

They seem to be growing on trees.

The 1/2" chip has been left for dead in the HD world as a "value" chip size.
Unfortunately my choices have been made for me. I've got a project right now where I've been told that I will record at 1080p @ 1920 x 1080. When I pointed out that their in house crews regularly shoot on XDCam 350's and 330's I just got told point blank, "And?".

Looks like I'll be doing a PDW 700 and an EX1 for the B cam. I waited but I don't see anything here thats gonna fit the specs I've been given to work with.

K
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kyle Self View Post
Unfortunately my choices have been made for me. I've got a project right now where I've been told that I will record at 1080p @ 1920 x 1080. When I pointed out that their in house crews regularly shoot on XDCam 350's and 330's I just got told point blank, "And?".

Looks like I'll be doing a PDW 700 and an EX1 for the B cam. I waited but I don't see anything here thats gonna fit the specs I've been given to work with.

K
From the responses I've seen so far from NAB attendees and the emails I've received I'd say the overwhelming response to Panny offerings this year is lukewarm at best for the handheld market. Clearly the big news is the announcement of the P2 Varicams (finally) but in the sub-$10k handhelds it seems Sony is still stealing some Panny thunder. Disappointing really, considering how many voices loudly and recurringly asked for certain features that thus far have gone ignored.

Kyle: You're certainly not stuck with the XDCAM choices; you could very easily use the HPX3000 or 3700 (New Varicam) along with the HVX200A and get exactly what you need. However, if the client is specifying that both A & B cams have native HD chips then you're right, there isn't any choice - assuming the "B" cam has to be a handheld.

Of course nobody (excepting Barry Green) has seen output from the 200A so this attitude of "native-HD chip only" may change as the 200A proves itself over time, but for today.... it is what it is.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:17 AM   #12
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Not worth my upgrade. I would need to go to something more substantial from my HVX. The EX3 is overpriced. WIth a 9900 price tag, however, it would be a contender. At the stated 13k price point it is, for me, out of the question.

Scarlet is a must buy. 3000 USD is peanuts for the performance stated. Of course, we should add 3000 USD for a trully workable Scarlet, but still, its the camera we were all hoping the "next" HVX to be...Lets see if we're going to see, by next NAB, an HPX300 that can address our needs. As of now, I'll keep the HVX. The only available cameras (for the next year) worth my upgrade would be the EX3 and the HPX500. at 13k for the ex and 16k for an HPX with CAC HD lens, however, its way above my budget...

And having invested in P2 means abandoning the workflow would be costly...
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Old April 15th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #13
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I agree with all of the above.

The EX3 is expensive especially when one factors in another lens.

That is close to $20,000 for a half shoulder mount 1/2" CMOS camera.

I know the images are nice, but $20,000 for basically a handheld with the option to change a lens, come on.

So far, I have been quite let down with the NAB announcements.

So much of the same with an "A" or a "B" added to the model number.

The best news for me was the $2,000 rebate on the HPX-500!

This brings that camera more into play for me.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #14
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I don't get it

I must say, this camera makes no sense to me and with respect to the handheld cams Panny has really disappointed this year.

One of the major complaints about the HVX200 was/is the lackluster LCD and viewfinder compared to other handheld cams; we always knew that the HVX as a version "A" would not get a new LCD because it would require a physically different form-factor for the camera body, because a high-res LCD would have physically different dimensions. So it's no surprise at all that in fact the HVX200A is using the exact LCD as the original. Indeed this same LCD module is being used across the board in all Panny P2 cams.

However, the HPX170 *is* a completely different form factor thus Panny had a great if not GOLDEN opportunity to give people one of their most requested changes for the 200 - a better flip-out LCD and viewfinder! Which by the way would have completely swayed people away from the competition (Sony) but sadly, they missed the mark completely on this one and instead ignored the single-most asked for change on the 200. All the engineering that went into creating a totally new camera and still a dinosaur LCD exists - for shame Panasonic. They could have also updated the lens controls and made the focus ring mechanical/repeatable but it's still virtual-servo controlled, so no change there either.

So exactly what is the the HPX170?

It's an HVX200A minus the tape drive, adds an HD-SDI out, a slightly different lens and re-arranged camera controls in a smaller form factor. Stop the press.

To some the HD-SDI out will be a welcome addition however considering the high cost of actually capturing footage from an HD-SDI source almost nobody who buys the HPX170 would have the budget for direct HD-SDI capture anyway, so to me it's a misplaced and illogical feature-addition. If I've got the budget for an HD-SDI workflow I'm certainly not going to use any 1/3" inch camera, I'm going for the big-guns to fully take advantage of the full-raster output.

Would I buy an HPX170? Absolutely not, the HVX200A would be a better bet; for the market it was intended for the tape-drive is far more useful than an HD-SDI out.

This really creates a conundrum for the guy who, "wants a better camera than what I have now". The new Sonys' the EX1 and EX3 have by far much better camera controls and of course those gorgeous viewing LCD's... BUT, they're still shooting a long-GOP 4:2:0 format (XDCAM) - and those who know me know how much I loathe anything long-GOP. The HPX170 and HVX200A are shooting a far superior codec and now *should* match the Sony EX's for noise - but not sharpness.

So if you want the best codec/color space possible in a handheld camera then either the HPX170 or HVX200A is the *only* choice, you'll just have to live with the poor performing LCD and now inferior lens controls. If you just-gotta-have better LCD's and better lens controls then the Sony's would be the way to go - but ONLY the EX1 (the EX3 is far too pricey for what you get) and you'll have to put up with long-GOP nightmares in post including the all-consuming *conform* at the end.

If you have the HVX200 or any other handheld HD cam and are looking to make a significant move up then the HPX500 is the natural choice; the HPX170 is a non-contender as far as I'm concerned from any perspective.

Last edited by Robert Lane; April 16th, 2008 at 10:39 AM.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kyle Self View Post
Unfortunately my choices have been made for me. I've got a project right now where I've been told that I will record at 1080p @ 1920 x 1080. When I pointed out that their in house crews regularly shoot on XDCam 350's and 330's I just got told point blank, "And?".

Looks like I'll be doing a PDW 700 and an EX1 for the B cam. I waited but I don't see anything here thats gonna fit the specs I've been given to work with.

K
Just to follow up: Did you know that the PDW700 does *not* have 24p? That could be a deal-killer depending on what you have to shoot.
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