Is an SD Lens on an HPX-502 acceptable if shooting in SD mode? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 20th, 2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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Is an SD Lens on an HPX-502 acceptable if shooting in SD mode?

Hi all,

I am not familiar with shooting in HD at all. I haven't had to be. All I shoot is mainly news in SD which is captured (or transferred from a Firestore) into a Mac Laptop, edited, compressed, and sent to the network via FTP.

But a recent write-off of the camera means I am considering all that are available to replace my trusty DSR-570.

The only thing I can find suitable is a Panasonic HPX-502. Suitable, I say, because it uses 2/3" chips to suit my lens and it is available immediately - unlike the sony XDCAM (which uses 1/2" chips anyway) or DSR-450 (2/3") cameras that have a 4-6 week wait.

I would, for probably the next 12 months if not more, be shooting on the P2 in SD. No need to shoot HD at all at this stage.

But among several other things, the issue I am dealing with in my head now, is whether or not my Fujinon SD lens is suitable for this camera. I hear all these horror stories about SD lenses causing all sorts of problems on HD cameras. But I ahve to ask: do these problems arise only when shooting in HD, or when shooting in SD on these cameras as well?

In other words, if the P2 is the only camera available to replace mine via insurance, and if my lens is unsuitable for this camera, should I therefore be demanding the insurance company replace my lens as well because it is, pretty much, obsolete? Would I have to accept my lens back if it doesn't suit available cameras, or is this just my problem and I would have to buy my own suitable lens?

But I guess my main question is this:

If I shoot SD with an SD lens on a HD camera, will I experience any problems? Can I do this successfully until I need to shoot in HD, and only then go and buy an HD lens?

I appreciate any advice. This changeover is indeed confusing in this transitional time of SD to HD. And, let's face it, I want to make sure the insurance gets the right gear for me.

Cheers,

David

Last edited by David Cleverly; September 20th, 2008 at 06:54 PM. Reason: making the message more understandable.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 02:59 AM   #2
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Check the threads, there has been quite of bit of discussion about this. The general feeling is that decent SD lenses are not that much worse performers than HD ones, and so are suitable even for HD recording let alone SD. And on a camera like the 502, which doesn't have the highest resolution in the first place, I'm sure it'll be more than adequate. If you do side by side shots on something like a PDW700, HPX3000 etc. with tons of resolution then it does start to show some difference, but again only in side by sides.
I did tests on a Varicam with an old Canon J14 vs an HJ11 and I couldn't see any difference at all.
Also note that your 2/3" lens will work on the XDCams as there is an adapter available off the shelf.
Steve
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Old September 21st, 2008, 04:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
Check the threads, there has been quite of bit of discussion about this. The general feeling is that decent SD lenses are not that much worse performers than HD ones, and so are suitable even for HD recording let alone SD. And on a camera like the 502, which doesn't have the highest resolution in the first place, I'm sure it'll be more than adequate. If you do side by side shots on something like a PDW700, HPX3000 etc. with tons of resolution then it does start to show some difference, but again only in side by sides.
I did tests on a Varicam with an old Canon J14 vs an HJ11 and I couldn't see any difference at all.
Also note that your 2/3" lens will work on the XDCams as there is an adapter available off the shelf.
Steve
I was a little concerned to read "And on a camera like the 502, which doesn't have the highest resolution in the first place, I'm sure it'll be more than adequate."

I might be reading into it too much, but are you hinting at the 502 is pretty ordinary?

Would I be correct in assuming that the 502 is going to present me with superior quality SD pictures to the DSR-570?

And I understand the XDCAM with 1/2" chips can be adapted to 2/3" lenses, but I had heard this would affect the images/DOF in a negative way.

Also, the XDCAM cameras aren't available for 6 to 8 weeks.

Cheers,

David
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Old September 21st, 2008, 08:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cleverly View Post
I was a little concerned to read "And on a camera like the 502, which doesn't have the highest resolution in the first place, I'm sure it'll be more than adequate."

I might be reading into it too much, but are you hinting at the 502 is pretty ordinary?
This is a touchy subject. Proceed with caution!

The going theory is that the HPX-500 can operate well with an SD lens because the imaging chips pixel shift the image after the optical path.

So input with an SD lens will still take advatage of the imaging sensors, then the processing achieves HD resolutions.

About the DSR-570, the main image difference would be the HPX-500 would record 4:2:2 color while the DSR-570 would be recording 4:1:1.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 10:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by David Cleverly View Post
I might be reading into it too much, but are you hinting at the 502 is pretty ordinary?
By and large, you get what you pay for. In the Panasonic range, the HPX500 costs far less than a HPX3000, so it really shouldn't come as a surprise to find it isn't as good as a HPX3000. That applies not just to picture quality, but ability to take radio mic receivers, ability to set double zebras (as with a DSR570), input/output capabilities etc etc.
Quote:
Would I be correct in assuming that the 502 is going to present me with superior quality SD pictures to the DSR-570?
No, worse. That's the trouble with taking an HD camera and using it to produce SD. Unless you spend a lot of money on the downconvertor (probably more than the entire cost of the HPX500) the fine HD detail won't get filtered off, but will instead produce aliasing.

Far and away the best review of the camera I've seen done was by the BBCs R&D labs, available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp...ic-HPX5003.pdf . That also gives suggested settings if you do go for this camera.

Maybe of most interest to you is the image on the last page, Figure 5. Basically, circles centred on the bottom left corner are genuine resolution, anything with a centre elsewhere is an alias, to be considered a *bad thing*! The reviewer sums the SD performance up with "While not up to the standard of a genuine SDTV camera, these images are not as bad as they might be."

In terms of what I said previously about the HPX3000, that gets the same treatment at http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp...c-HPX30002.pdf . Astonishing the difference 1920x1080 chips make, isn't it!? As I said before, you tend to get what you pay for.
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster
About the DSR-570, the main image difference would be the HPX-500 would record 4:2:2 color while the DSR-570 would be recording 4:1:1.
Not so, Tim. Australia is PAL for SD, and a DSR570 therefore is 4:2:0. The only PAL 4:1:1 system is DVCPro - DVCAM and DV are both 4:2:0. In practice, David would have the option to record DV and DVCPro at 25Mbs in camera, and I'd recommend the former, to get 4:2:0 rather than 4:1:1.

Have you investigated a secondhand DSR570 at all, David? To tide you through until you actually NEED HD?
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Old September 21st, 2008, 10:57 AM   #6
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Sorry if I was incorrect.

I thought DVCAM was a standard that did not involve color space differences.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 11:09 AM   #7
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Yes, David, the HPX500/502 has pretty low res chips (something like 600,000 pixels I think) as opposed to 2.2 million for the top end cameras like the HPX3000, and the XDCam PDW700. The XDCam F355 has about 1.7 million I believe, so it's quite a jump, and certainly the HPX500 I used once looked fairly softish, though the look of the image re colour etc. looked very nice - full of good features too.
As for 2/3" lenses on the 1/2" cameras, there's not much effect really, I suppose you get more DoF at the same aperture/magnification, but you can always put in NDs and use a wider aperture.
Steve
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Old September 21st, 2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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As for 2/3" lenses on the 1/2" cameras, there's not much effect really, I suppose you get more DoF at the same aperture/magnification, but you can always put in NDs and use a wider aperture.
If there is one big difference, it's in angle of view. Angle of view depends on focal length and size of chip, use a 2/3" lens on a 1/2" camera and there will inevitably be a magnification effect. Since the normal complaint is that lenses don't zoom wide enough rather than tight enough, this is normally reckoned to be a bad thing. Your wide angle zoom becomes a standard.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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So wait you really think the hpx 500 will look better than a dsr 570 on SD broadcast.
Say converted through final cut, or say shot originally in camera in SD mode?

That's not cool at all considering 90% of the final output (for most of us here) is SD one way or another. I kinda thought the hpx 500 would school the dsr especially since I have some DSR's and am not thrilled with the final output.

"write off" so what happened to it? if you don't mind me asking.

If looking for a second hand get a dsr-500ws might be a little cheaper. (look for the fire wire though)
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Old September 21st, 2008, 03:46 PM   #10
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Ok, so to outline my problem:

The insurance company has to replace my DSR-570 with a new camera, something of similar value to what I had. I have a 2/3" lens.

The options:

Sony XDCAM 335 or maybe 350 (1/2") - availability 6 weeks
Sony DSR-450 (2/3") - availability 6 weeks

Panasonic HPX-502 (2/3") - availability now

I would like to see this insurance situation being used to my advantage to future-proof myself somewhat, but the information here is making me think perhaps the P2 is not the way to go.

Is anyone here actually shooting on a HPX 500/502 in SD? Are the pics acceptable for news gathering? Is there any difference between the said 502 and the 500 you guys are talking about here?
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Old September 21st, 2008, 05:00 PM   #11
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500 is ntsc 502 is pal other than that their the same thing. The chips from the sdx-900 where used as the base for the hpx 500 chips. So if you think the very popular sdx-900 is good then the hpx 500 will be great.

Remember P2 is an expensive pain, but it is very fast.

I'd like to know what people think about the SD image quality between the sony and the pana.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 05:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by David Cleverly View Post
Ok, so to outline my problem:

The insurance company has to replace my DSR-570 with a new camera, something of similar value to what I had. I have a 2/3" lens.
Hmmm. So it has to be new? Be easier if they just said "get another DSR570, same as was destroyed"!

One other suggestion. How would you feel about using your own money to get a secondhand DSR500/570 (which should only be a couple of thousand ús without a lens), and using the insurance money to get a smaller camera? An EX3/EX1/Z7, depending how much they'll pay?

That gives you high-def capability, a small camera for when that's useful, and a good second camera, still of use when you have to upgrade your main equipment to HD.

The big advantage of the 502 is it's available now, but if my main client was on XDCAM, and intending to get PDW700s, I'm not sure I'd feel going P2 a good idea.
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Originally Posted by Andrew McMillan
I kinda thought the hpx 500 would school the dsr especially since I have some DSR's and am not thrilled with the final output.
The HD output from the HPX500 is one thing, the SD downconverted output another. (Same with all HD cameras.) If you want really good SD you need a good SD camera, or pay for a conversion done with a broadcast convertor. That said, the SD from a 502 or a Sony 350 will be quite adequate the majority of the time, it just won't be as good as from a dedicated SD camera.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 07:28 PM   #13
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so your saying if I should get some old dsr 500's for my fly pack instead of paying out of my nose for an all hd sdi system based around hpx 500's, because it will look better to the viewer at home!

At that rate I might as well keep getting dsr 300's for 2k with lens. Could have a six camera system under 25 k!!

This stuff just drives me nuts! Well back to the original question? how would the hpx 500 do in SD mode. I've heard it's supposed to be super clean, noiseless image in SD.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 10:37 PM   #14
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The HPX-500 shoots DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 which is SD and 4:3/16:9 switchable.

Why couldn't you run the camera in one of these modes to get SD?

I would think these modes would look great and compare to or better the DSR-570
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 03:17 AM   #15
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The HPX-500 shoots DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 which is SD and 4:3/16:9 switchable.

Why couldn't you run the camera in one of these modes to get SD?
Absolutely no reason at all, but the camera is still downconverting internally to get these modes and as such they won't be as good as a good SD only camera in the first place.

In the PAL world the choice is DV, DVCPro, or DVCPro50 and there is little point in using DVCPro. Like DV, it's 25Mbs, but it's 4:1:1 whereas (in PAL) DV is 4:2:0.
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I would think these modes would look great and compare to or better the DSR-570
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McMillan
Well back to the original question? how would the hpx 500 do in SD mode. I've heard it's supposed to be super clean, noiseless image in SD.
I can only refer you both back to the BBC R&D link I posted earlier - http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp...ic-HPX5003.pdf and in particular the last page, giving the zone plate results in 576i downconvert mode. I wouldn't expect a DSR570 to give anywhere near that level of horizontal aliasing. That's not a criticism of the 500 in itself, just that HD cameras don't generate the best SD images.

Read the conclusions regarding SD in that test:
Quote:
"While not up to the standard of a genuine SDTV camera, these images are not as bad as they might be."
and
"Down-conversion to 720p is surprisingly good, but the SD pictures at 576i were rather soft"
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