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Old June 16th, 2005, 03:21 AM   #1
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I'm buying the HVX 200-Here's why

I've been following for the last couple of months the appearance of the new wave of prosumer cameras- from Sony's Z1, the little brother A1 to the new JVC HD100.

I've decided to go with the HVX. The main reason i'm going for this camera is not the P2, the dvcpro vs HDV, etc. What I'm about to say may not make any sense at all, and probably the professionals in the board are likely to jump on me for this. The main reason is, here goes... the feel.

My first dv camera was a sony trv900- bought it in 1999- a war machine, never broke, and survived even trough the worst conditions, may it be high humidity, small rain, rough event coverage... It could take all I wanted from her. (It was because of a couple of projects done with this camera that I made it has a director in my local TV station- two years ago)

After this camera(trv 900), I've worked with the PD150, 170 (they are just like my 900 in every aspect, but with a bit more control). Both these cameras where good, but I was feeling like I was using my trv 900, only with slight better picture. The feeling was the same. Then I decided to buy the DVX100.

The thing is, with the previous sony cameras, I felt them has a tool, heartless- it was my passion for filming that was pushing me to go trough the menus, to imagine the post production shots, possible future color rendition...I would have to look at the bland "plain"video quality footage with video like colors and imagine my short film's ending look. This really wasn't a problem untill the day I got a hold on the DVX. After I bought the dvx, I felt compeled to go out and shoot. I felt I was discovering a hole new level of filming, that there was a barrier that I was crossing over.

Having gone to a 5 year degree in film and TV production, I felt that all the theory behind directing didn't teach me at all about how to capture what I wanted when I was behind the camera. That was why I decided to buy my own camera and go explore and shoot material myself- I believe that was the best decision and investment i've made in my life...Ok, back to topic, now.

With my own trv900, and with the pd's, I was guessing beyond the automatics of the camera, sometimes struggling to take control of the picture- With the DVX, I was actually learning-and I really started to understand the basics of exposure/framerate, progressive, interlaced, and gamma control.

With the DVX, I could see the results and I could actually control completely what I was going to get- the cinegamma was beautiful, and it helped me to get inspired while filming certain things that I would probably have looked differently. I'm not saying that the dvx is or was perfect, however. It has lots of grain, the picture doesn't look as "solid" as my sony's, and, interlaced, the picture doesn't look has "broadcast"as a PD150/170. But the lens and the colors, they really make the picture shine, and give it a completely different dimension. For a prosumer camera, it really made me have fun filming, and it made me a better cameraman- I believe knowing how to operate a camera and how it works in order to get the picture you imagine is essential to being a good director- the same goes for knowing about lighting, sound and post production (and of course the sensibility and knoledge in art, directing actors, etc.).

I've seen and played around with a z1- the picture is amazing, just as I expected, and certainly good enough for broadcast. However, the camera once again feels like a PD- naturally- and the colors and picture go pretty much in the same direction... (the cine like filters, colorwise, didn't add much cinema feel at all...)

The HVX will certainly have the same feel the DVX has- The colors and picture control will certainly be similar to the DVX- and the picture will certainly be on par with the z1- I don't expect more, or less. This time, I believe the camera will not have that much grain and will be more solid in interlace mode (the motives for some PD170 shooting from my part- it is a better interlaced camera than the dvx). I know iwill be surprised and I will learn even more about camera control this time around, with the variable frame rates and possibly more camera settings control. And I will be able to fully work with the footage on my upcoming mac g5 2.7 with fcpstudio, like I work with my dv footage. And, I just feel like this will be a joy to work with... Unereasonable? Perhaps. Genuine? You betcha!

(In case you are wondering, the tv station here does have studio cameras, and a fairly large amounth of sony IMX cameras- as well as some fairly old betacam sp cams- These cameras, however, are ALL assigned for news gattering, and due to very archaic production structure, in house production is restrained by very big burocratic measures- yes this is indeed, a public tv station!- And let me tell you this- I'm getting better results with the dvx and the pd's than the internal old staff with the expensive stuff... Can you IMAGINE that!?
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Last edited by Sergio Perez; June 16th, 2005 at 03:44 AM.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
I've seen and played around with a z1- the picture is amazing, just as I expected, and certainly good enough for broadcast.

The HVX will certainly have the same feel the DVX has- The colors and picture control will certainly be similar to the DVX- and the picture will certainly be on par with the z1- I don't expect more, or less.
HVX has 720/24-60p, should be better in 1080i, will cost more. As to quality 1080p, I'm waiting for Panasonic to clarify why there no 1080p uncompressed analog available, only uncompressed 720p/1080i. There was argument that progressive gets written to interlaced structure, but that always happens after compression.

Radek
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
I've decided to go with the HVX. The main reason i'm going for this camera is not the P2, the dvcpro vs HDV, etc. What I'm about to say may not make any sense at all, and probably the professionals in the board are likely to jump on me for this. The main reason is, here goes... the feel.
Sergio,

You might be surprised to know that most of the time when people ask which camera to buy, the answer is, "Go try them all and buy the one that feels better in your hands."

So, your reasoning and logic are very solid on this matter. I don't know if you have had a chance to see and hold the new Panny camera but it looks like a DVX on steriods. So, better get to work on those arm muscles! :)

=gb=
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Old June 16th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #4
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Sergio, I agree with Greg, your reasoning is solid. I was sceptical when I read the title of your thread, expecting an other "the image will blow other cams out of the water" type of post, but you certainly are on the right track. It is important to like how the camera looks and feels. How it operates and can adapt to you, not the other way around.

That being said, I too am looking at a second cam for my business, either an other XL2, a DVX100A or the HVX200. Those are the only ones that speak to me. But I would never commit to anything until I can hold all the models I'm considering in my own hands. There's the specs, then there's the real world thing. Often, both don't match perfectly.

There's also the incertitude regarding the work flow with the HVX. Do I need to upgrade everything else (editing monitor, field monitor, editing station, etc.) and what will I shoot HD on? Nobody can tell yet how much a P2 card will cost and how practical it will be. Will there be focusing issues? Will it be completely impractical to think about shooting an event in HD or even DVCPro50? Will there be a HD Firestore? Etc... There is so much needed info to decide and this info will not come up until the camera does, so I wouldn't pre-order anything just yet if I was you, unless you have unlimited budget and/or do not plan to make a living out of it.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 10:34 AM   #5
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All these cameras arae 1/3" chip cameras, regardless of their recording format. They can't be that different in final picture quality. So, it does, indeed, make sense to go with the one that feels the best to you, whether that feeling is practical, as in weight, balance and control, or emotional. I would, however, want to see each of the cameras in person before getting emotionally committed to any of them.

My only hangup about the Panasonic is the low capacity and high cost of the P2 cards. I shoot a lot of footage, often traveling for days at a time. A recent trip, for example, kept me on the road for 10 days, and I shot about 6 hours of tape. That would be a lot of P2 cards, and I couldn't have stopped every 16 minutes to switch cards, assuming I had a spare set, and transfer the stuff to the hard drive. And even if I could, the 60 gig drive they want to sell for that purpose would have held only one hour of footage, since the DVCPRO HD takes about a gig a minute, so I would have needed 6 of those hard drives. And then, I don't consider a hard drive to be a reliable source for the only copy of my original footage. I keep tapes for years, and just recently dug back into some 15 year old Betacam SP tapes for a client.

On the other hand, the cost of the P2 storage will, no doubt come down in plrice and go up in capacity (one would hope). THEN, I will be very interested in this camera. I'm not a luddite when it comes to new recording technology, but for me going tapeless isn't quite in the realm of acceptability yet.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
All these cameras arae 1/3" chip cameras, regardless of their recording format. They can't be that different in final picture quality.
Sure they can. A number of variables can differ between two chip designs, even of the same size. Also, there are obviously other factors that affect (perceived) image quality -- scanning method (progressive vs interlaced), number of chips, encoding, etc. A lot of people have noted differences -- and developed preferences -- between the Sony HDV cams and the JVC cams. Even between the JVC HD1 and HD10 there are notable differences, particularly edge enhancement. You get the point.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
All these cameras arae 1/3" chip cameras, regardless of their recording format. They can't be that different in final picture quality.
I understand why you say that, and when it comes to the live analog output you may be right, but in order for your statement to be truly accurate they'd have to all be recording to the same recording format. A 2/3" camera recording to DigiBeta is going to deliver a far superior "final picture quality" as compared to that same 2/3" camera head recording to VHS, for example.

So whether HDV and DVCPRO-HD will prove ultimately competitive, picture-quality-wise, is certainly a factor. I did some experimentation with the codecs (removing the cameras entirely from the equation) to see how they compare, and after that testing, I believe even moreso that the HVX will have a huge advantage in final picture quality. Whether HDV is "good enough" for a user's particular needs will be a subjective choice that the end user will make, but whether HDV is as good as DVCPRO-HD is no longer in question, DVCPRO-HD spanks it.

But the recording format alone doesn't dictate the overall image. There are many elements in the imaging chain, from lens to chips to sampling to DSP to compression... they all will have to work together to deliver the final image. And that will only be known once we side-by-side the various cameras to see how they perform in real world conditions.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 03:28 AM   #8
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The p2 really is an issue. I, however, believe that I'll be shooting Probably either dv, or DVpro50- I intend to invest on a 8gb p2 card- this will get me 30 minutes, right? As for HD... I can't broadcast it (probably for the next 5 years, over here), and... Probably a small Sony A1 will fit the bill? The camera seems it will cost the price of a p2 card... I must admit its the dvcpro50 that atracks me the most... That and the progressive modes...
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Old June 17th, 2005, 09:42 AM   #9
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I would guess that some people will be buying the camera and shooting DV or DVCPRO50 and then waiting, hoping the prices of the cards will drop and capacities will increase to reasonable levels. Not a bad idea, really. But it might end up being a chicken/egg sort of thing. The prices won't drop until the market grows big enough and the market won't grow big enough until the prices drop. It's taken several years for the prices of big HD TVs to start to drop so normal people can afford them, so it's logical to assume that while the prices will no doubt fall on the chips, they probably won't fall as fast as everybody would like. Of course that's just speculation on my part.
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