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Old October 7th, 2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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Panasonic HPX-170 first impressions

Hi all,

Please share Your ( who has camera in use) first impressions about HPX-170.
I haven't yet camera in my hands.

Best
Sulev
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Old October 7th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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I love it.
Smaller, lighter than my HVX200. It has a better image, lower light capability. Don't regret trading up one bit.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 08:19 PM   #3
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I echo Kevin, I love it for the same reasons as well as no more crappy D4 connector, metal headphone jack instead of plastic, Waveform/Vectorscope, SDI, better LCD picture with more detail for focusing, new focusing aids, etc.

Dan
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Old October 9th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #4
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How does the 170 compare to the Sony EX-1? The build looked better on the Sony.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:52 AM   #5
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Having just seen a HMC151, I'm a bit curious as to whether the HVX170 offers any significant advantages over it, or at least any to warrant the price differential? My understanding is that the front end of each camera is substantially the same?

As far as I can see, the main differences are that the 151 uses cheap SD cards for memory, the 170 uses P2, and that the 151 records AVC-Intra, the 170 records DVCProHD.

Whilst the 151 basic price isn't much different to the 170, the difference is when you start to buy enough memory for a hour or two or recording. It becomes viable to own storage for several hours of 151 recording, it isn't for the 170.

The impression I got was that recording quality wise there wasn't that much in it - the long-GOP AVC-HD virtually offsets the higher bit rate of the 170. The price to be paid seems to be AVC-HD not being at all good to be natively edited, but transcoding seems to be a small price to pay for the memory cost savings.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 05:49 AM   #6
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Well, you get a 16 gig P2 card in the box for US 170's so that helps a bit.

P2 cards continue to fall. I think we should be seeing another price drop soon with the release of a bigger card yet this year.

I love working with P2.
I pop the card in my Mac and I'm editing. Can't get too much easier than that. :)
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Old October 10th, 2008, 08:59 AM   #7
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Kevin,
Don't you have to use an adapter to "pop" the P2 card into the Mac? I have a Mac Book Pro, and was under the impression a dual adapter or pricy Panasonic reader was necessary. I know Sony's SXS cards connect directly into the PCI slot.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #8
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Chuck,

I still use an older 1.67GHz 17" Powerbook to do all my editing and take out into the field.

Since it has a PCMCIA slot, it plugs right in.
I use Raylight for Final Cut Pro and I'm good to go.
Just got in from shooting this morning, popped in the 16 gig P2 card and I've got stuff on my timeline. :)

But for the newer Macs. you do need the Dual Adaptor since the new Macs have Express card slots.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
Well, you get a 16 gig P2 card in the box for US 170's so that helps a bit.
Nowhere near enough for me, I'm afraid. My own interest in such a camera is long form interviews, but a similar feeling came from people who do such as wedding etc work. A big advantage was perceived of having enough memory to be able to record in my case for up to 2 hours, whilst others were talking of 3-4 hours.

Two hours with P2 equates to 128GB, and 4 32GB cards cost over 4,000 in the UK. Well over 2 hours with AVC-HD and SDHC equates to a single 32GB card at around 150!
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P2 cards continue to fall. I think we should be seeing another price drop soon with the release of a bigger card yet this year.
No doubt, but it's got a long way to fall! If you want up to 4 hours of recording before a download, that's around 8,000 - several times the cost of the camera.

And whilst, yes, we should see a bigger P2 card, we'll also see such as 8 or 16GB SDHC cards becoming VERY cheap. You can already get an 8GB card for around 20, a 16GB for around 40, and in the highest quality mode of an HMC151 they run for about 40 and 80 minutes respectively. At even those costs, you simply give the media to the client - no downloading, laptops or hard drives.

Ever bigger P2 cards are promised, but I believe you'll NEVER get a cheap 16GB P2 card.
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I love working with P2.
I pop the card in my Mac and I'm editing. Can't get too much easier than that. :)
I think what you really love is solid state, isn't it? And yes, my PC laptop and Mac both take SD and ExpressCard natively, P2 would need an adaptor. Not the end of the world, but extra expense, not as neat, and possibly a speed bottleneck.

The comparisons earlier in this thread seem to have been between the HPX170 and the HVX200. What I'm curious about are any differences between the 170 and the HMC151 other than memory type and codec. My understanding is that all the things Dan is happy about ("...no more crappy D4 connector, metal headphone jack instead of plastic, Waveform/Vectorscope, SDI, better LCD picture with more detail for focusing, new focusing aids, etc") apply to the HMC151 as well?
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Old October 10th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Nowhere near enough for me, I'm afraid. My own interest in such a camera is long form interviews, but a similar feeling came from people who do such as wedding etc work. A big advantage was perceived of having enough memory to be able to record in my case for up to 2 hours, whilst others were talking of 3-4 hours.

Two hours with P2 equates to 128GB, and 4 32GB cards cost over 4,000 in the UK. Well over 2 hours with AVC-HD and SDHC equates to a single 32GB card at around 150!

No doubt, but it's got a long way to fall! If you want up to 4 hours of recording before a download, that's around 8,000 - several times the cost of the camera.

And whilst, yes, we should see a bigger P2 card, we'll also see such as 8 or 16GB SDHC cards becoming VERY cheap. You can already get an 8GB card for around 20, a 16GB for around 40, and in the highest quality mode of an HMC151 they run for about 40 and 80 minutes respectively. At even those costs, you simply give the media to the client - no downloading, laptops or hard drives.

Ever bigger P2 cards are promised, but I believe you'll NEVER get a cheap 16GB P2 card.

I think what you really love is solid state, isn't it? And yes, my PC laptop and Mac both take SD and ExpressCard natively, P2 would need an adaptor. Not the end of the world, but extra expense, not as neat, and possibly a speed bottleneck.

The comparisons earlier in this thread seem to have been between the HPX170 and the HVX200. What I'm curious about are any differences between the 170 and the HMC151 other than memory type and codec. My understanding is that all the things Dan is happy about ("...no more crappy D4 connector, metal headphone jack instead of plastic, Waveform/Vectorscope, SDI, better LCD picture with more detail for focusing, new focusing aids, etc") apply to the HMC151 as well?
If I shot events or long form, I would put up with the transcoding hassles with the HMC. These transcoding hassles will soon be mitigated with FCS3 so it won't be a long term factor. Barry Green's latest tests with the HMC show that it has superb picture quality at its highest data rates.

I personally own two 16GB P2 cards and two 8GB P2 cards. If I shoot 720/24PN, I have a run time of 126 minutes at present. For shooting interviews, dumping the cards as you shoot is no big deal, I do it all of the time. For events and run and gun, it is a bit more of a hassle but can be done.

If you are concerned about need hours and hours of running time without dumping, the HMC is the camera for you.

Dan
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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:42 PM   #11
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Barry Green's latest tests with the HMC show that it has superb picture quality at its highest data rates.
I was a bit sceptical at first to be told that at 21Mbs it rivalled or bettered DVCProHD at nearly 5x the bitrate, but they made some interesting points. The claim was that the native camera resolution was about 1280x720, but recording P2/DVCProHD at 720p meant you were losing a quarter of that due to the sub-sampling down to 960x720. Hence the popularity of using the 1080 mode on the HVX200/170 just to be able to record a horizontal resolution of up to 1280.

Enter the 151 and AVC-HD and the 720p recording mode doesn't subsample, it records the full 1280x720 raster, so much less reason to ever bother with the 1080 mode, the detail isn't there to begin with. Devoting the entire 21Mbs to the 720 raster therefore means less work for the compressor - 720p is a much sweeter mode for this camera front end.

In respect of recording full-raster 720, it's actually better than the 170.
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If I shoot 720/24PN, I have a run time of 126 minutes at present. For shooting interviews, dumping the cards as you shoot is no big deal, ...........
I'm afraid 24fps is no good for me, I'm really looking for something to shoot 720p/50. In many respects I'd really like to be going for a Z7 because of the SD/DVCAM legacy aspects, using cheap Compact Flash, and being able to shoot tape and/or solid state, but it's the absence of a 720p mode that's turning me off that.

I also like the idea of being able to give away (and charge!) SD cards like tape, something you can't feasibly do with P2 or SxS.
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If you are concerned about need hours and hours of running time without dumping, the HMC is the camera for you.
As said, first choice would have been a Z7. (It's that manual lens......) But in the absence of 720, I looked towards the HVX170/200 and the EX1.

The EX1 seems a much better camera than the 170 (higher resolution, much better v/f etc, and oh that manual lens again.....) - but about 50% more expensive. You get what you pay for. I then started thinking about media, and whilst SxS is still about 80-90% of the cost of P2, the cost/minute is only about 25% due to the lower data rate at 720p/50. On the basis of needing 2 hours of media, that actually meant the EX1 package was cheaper than an HVX170, so goodbye HVX170!

Next came the HMC151. Slightly cheaper still than the 170, but without the media costs of the 170, and even cheaper media still than SxS. At 720p I'm pretty happy about the quality, and Edius will handle it editing wise, though it really needs transcoding to HQ for speed. (Do you know when FCS3 is due out?) The only real concern is whether the camera section really is comparable to the 170 - can I take that as a "yes"?

If anything is making me waiver now, it's hearing about the success being had using an EX with SD cards and an adaptor, the SDHC solution. An HMC151+SDHC package is much cheaper than an EX1+SxS package for 2+ hours. Use SDHC and the difference is much reduced, effectively back to little more than the relative costs of the camera bodies. Both packages are then based on SDHC cards, so in both cases the option of giving media away is viable. Fortunately, I don't need to make a decision immediately. :-)
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