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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #1
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HPX-170 Impressions

I did my first shoot with the HPX-170 this last week, and I was very pleased with the camera. I've used the HVX-200 for about two years, and wasn't sure if the improvements were worth buying the HPX-170, but I'm now a believer. For me, the most important improvement is better low-light sensitivity. Shooting indoors in fairly good lighting was iffy at 1/60 sec shutter speed with the HVX-200 and I frequently needed 3-6 db additional gain, but with the HPX no extra gain has been needed. The EVF viewfinder seems brighter, and focusing is much sharper with the focus assistant and EVF detailing compared to the HVX. The focus histogram has been of limited use in my work, and the horizontal peaking line focus device seems to me to be of no use at all. I have not yet played with the vectorscope, but am looking forward to learning how to use that as well. The HPX is a significantly smaller and lighter camera, and is easily transported in a carry-on bag on airlines. The clip erase function is faster on the HPX compared to the HVX. I was a bit disappointed at the limited options for assignment of the three user function buttons - I would have liked to be able to turn the zebra patterning on/off with one of the buttons, and the option to turn the vectorscope on/off with another button would have been nice. Anyway, I highly recommend this unit for those who want excellent color, HD, the advantages of the P2 system, and a light-weight camera.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
I did my first shoot with the HPX-170 this last week, and I was very pleased with the camera. I've used the HVX-200 for about two years, and wasn't sure if the improvements were worth buying the HPX-170, but I'm now a believer. For me, the most important improvement is better low-light sensitivity. Shooting indoors in fairly good lighting was iffy at 1/60 sec shutter speed with the HVX-200 and I frequently needed 3-6 db additional gain, but with the HPX no extra gain has been needed. The EVF viewfinder seems brighter, and focusing is much sharper with the focus assistant and EVF detailing compared to the HVX. The focus histogram has been of limited use in my work, and the horizontal peaking line focus device seems to me to be of no use at all. I have not yet played with the vectorscope, but am looking forward to learning how to use that as well. The HPX is a significantly smaller and lighter camera, and is easily transported in a carry-on bag on airlines. The clip erase function is faster on the HPX compared to the HVX. I was a bit disappointed at the limited options for assignment of the three user function buttons - I would have liked to be able to turn the zebra patterning on/off with one of the buttons, and the option to turn the vectorscope on/off with another button would have been nice. Anyway, I highly recommend this unit for those who want excellent color, HD, the advantages of the P2 system, and a light-weight camera.
Hi Mark:

I agree with most of your comments but what would be the big advantage of mapping the Waveform/Vectorscope to a user button when the dedicated button is less than 4" away?

I guess its horses for courses but I find the additions of the new focus bar and focusing histogram immensely useful for hand held and following subjects. Also, the LCD peaking has been increased and even though the screen itself was not changed from the HVX, the enhanced peaking does make it easier to see when objects snap into focus.

Not sure if you read it but I did a pretty good sized article about the 170 Panasonic's HPX170

Dan
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Old December 17th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #3
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Hi Dan ! Yes, I greatly enjoyed your article on the HPX. With regard to the vectorscope, I had forgotten that it had a dedicated button. For me, the peak summation bar is too insensitive to be used as a focusing device, but I'm very happy with the EVF detail plus the focus assistant. Just out of curiosity, what functions did you decide to assign to your three user buttons ?
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Old December 18th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
Hi Dan ! Yes, I greatly enjoyed your article on the HPX. With regard to the vectorscope, I had forgotten that it had a dedicated button. For me, the peak summation bar is too insensitive to be used as a focusing device, but I'm very happy with the EVF detail plus the focus assistant. Just out of curiosity, what functions did you decide to assign to your three user buttons ?
1. Backlight
2. Delete last clip
3. VFR up

D
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:48 PM   #5
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in terms of outright usability and functional features, i absolutely love the hpx170! I think it blows the z1's , xlh1's away etc.

The ONLY gripe I have is that the scene settings don't have as detailed option as, say, the xlh1...
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Old January 9th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #6
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I just acquired a HPX172 (PAL version) - and compared it with my old HVX202 ... I have to completely agree with what your article states ...

HPX172 is much better in low light, no visible noise in dark areas in good light, and more sensitive than HVX202.

The camera is also lighter than HVX202. And to my surprise, it uses a 72mm filter size. Great.

I found the manual focus aids (plus the EVF enhancements) to be so good that I don't need to carry my external monitor anymore to ensure accurate manual focusing - even in low light.

A terrific tool - to be sure. I have no regrets upgrading to HPX172.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #7
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Hi TingSern:

Glad you picked one up. I too have been saying the same things, I have crossed buying an expensive field monitor off of my list as I feel that with the new focusing tools, the LCD screen is now usable.

Enjoy it!

Dan
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Old January 9th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #8
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Good article! I wish they included the HMC150 review too :(
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Old January 10th, 2009, 08:20 AM   #9
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I found something VERY interesting

Today - I took the HPX172 out for a full day outing - the first for my camera. Was doing manual focusing for 90% of the time. I am not sure if you have observed this -

The focus aids (not the EVF) - but, both the focus histogram and the peaking line ... ARE influenced by the amount of light coming into the camera. For example -

Suppose the optimal aperature is f/4 at 1/60 for given lighting. If you set the camera at the optimal aperature, and manually focus on something contrasty - the histogram and peaking line will all move to the right. Nothing spectacular here, right?

Now - don't move the focusing ring nor the zoom range. Set the aperature to f/8 - the screen will be darker than normal ... that's fine. Observe what happens when you do that - to the histogram and peaking line? On my camera, it consistently recedes to the left.

I haven't changed the focus, nor the zoom here. I merely vary the aperature. On the other extreme, move the aperature to f/2 .... you will find that the histogram and peaking line will move even further right than the optimal aperature setting.

My conclusion is this - if the peaking line and histogram don't move very much to the right - it does NOT mean the camera is not in optimal focus - it could mean the exposure is also not optimal.

You folks try it out and see if I am right? Thanks.
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