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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:42 PM   #1
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Panasonic AG-HPG20 Review Goes Live!

Hi all:

If you use or are interested in Panasonic's P2 technology and workflow, you may find my article on this new device to be of interest. The AG-HPG20 features AVCINTRA 100 recording technology that just a couple of years ago was only available in a D5 video recorder that cost upwards of $75,000.00 is now available in a small, handheld unit that sells for around U.S. $5,000.00. It is very compelling technology for the money.

Panasonic's AG-HPG20 Portable Recorder

Enjoy!

Dan Brockett
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Old October 5th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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Nice review- like the photos too. :)

Noah
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Old October 5th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #3
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Thanks Noah, glad you liked it.

I have an article coming out in the next issue of HD Video Pro that compares the AG-HPG20 with the Aja Ki-Pro, the Convergent Design NanoFlash, The Focus Enhancements HS-200 and as a wild card, we took a look at the new S.two OB-1. All of this new outboard technology is pretty amazing stuff, we live in exciting times.

Dan
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Old October 5th, 2009, 07:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing your review with us Dan. Too bad the Sonnettech QIO wasn't out when you did your comparison for HD Pro Mag, I'd like to see how it stacked up with the others.

Unfortunately, I don't have much hope for the HPG20. That USB2 limitation is the killer. Transfering AVC Intra with verification on takes nearly twice real time. With the recent introduction of USB3 at ten times the speed of USB2 and with Light Peak on the horizon at twice (with the potential of 20 times) the speed of USB3, it makes that $5,200 price tag hard to swallow. Hopefully Panasonic is on the case and will be bringing out a faster model at NAB.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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I spoke with Panasonic about this and the reply back was "The 1394 drives are not very standard in what they expect in the terms of power and thus it makes it difficult offer power over the 1394. Plus they had only developed 1394 400 not 800, USB falls in-between somewhere in the speed of things. The issue with the HPG20/10 is the surety of transfer and the ability to name the partitions on the drive, not necessarily the speed."

I agree, for certain workflows, particularly when you don't have enough P2 cards, speed is the most important thing. For other situations, having better verification is more important and we live in a PC world so from a market viewpoint, I guess USB made more sense.

Regardless, if I were traveling and size and weight were at a premium, the AG-HPG20 is a dream, much easier to carry than a laptop, video monitor and a waveform/vectorscope.

Best,

Dan
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:58 PM   #6
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Wow

Nice review!

I have a Canon XHA1 - if I used this P2 device would I be able to achieve a broadcast standard of image going straight into Final Cut Studio?

I'm planning to shoot and direct an independent movie next year, and if this P2 device will greatly improve the quality of image I receive from my XHA1 I will seriously consider it!

I have encountered some tape drop-outs from time to time, and having to capture 118 sixty minute tapes is an unbelievable drag.

Please could you give me an off-the-cuff estimate of how much of a percentage *better* quality image could this P2 device offer me, over my HDV MiniDV tapes?

Excited!

Peter
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Old October 18th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #7
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Hi Peter:

I am afraid that your model camera could only be used with DVCPRO HD and Firewire. If you had the XH-G1, you could output HD SDI, which would improve your picture quality immensely. But since you are limited to FireWire output, you are limited to recording in DVCPRO HD. This codec is better than your HDV codec as it features less compressed intraframe encoding with 4:2:2 color space versus the long GOP and 4:2:0 color space that your HDV codec has. But you would still be limited to reduced raster images of 960x720 when shooting 720p and 1020 x 1440 when shooting 1080.

The AVCINTRA 100 codec that you can use with SDI with the AG-HPG20 is a full raster codec, allowing recording at 1280 x 720 for 720p and 1920 x 1080 for 1080 recording.

So you would gain some benefit but not as much as you would gain if you had a camera with HD SDI output.

Dan
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Old October 18th, 2009, 09:18 PM   #8
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Great review.

I love my HPG-10 P2 Gear.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #9
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Thanks Matt! The P2 outboard gear all seems pretty cool, I just wish that it was less costly.

Dan
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Old October 19th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Hi Peter:

I am afraid that your model camera could only be used with DVCPRO HD and Firewire. If you had the XH-G1, you could output HD SDI, which would improve your picture quality immensely. But since you are limited to FireWire output, you are limited to recording in DVCPRO HD. This codec is better than your HDV codec as it features less compressed intraframe encoding with 4:2:2 color space versus the long GOP and 4:2:0 color space that your HDV codec has. But you would still be limited to reduced raster images of 960x720 when shooting 720p and 1020 x 1440 when shooting 1080.

The AVCINTRA 100 codec that you can use with SDI with the AG-HPG20 is a full raster codec, allowing recording at 1280 x 720 for 720p and 1920 x 1080 for 1080 recording.

So you would gain some benefit but not as much as you would gain if you had a camera with HD SDI output.

Dan
Hi Dan

Thanks for explaining that so well - hmmm perhaps a camera upgrade will be in order!

Thanks again :o)

Peter
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Old October 19th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #11
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Doh! I meant to type "1440 x 1080" not "1440 x 1020" Typo.

D
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:55 PM   #12
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Dan-
It's my understanding that although the HPG20 works with 1080p60 it won't work at 1080p24. What's been your experience?
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 06:55 PM   #13
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The P2 Portable does 1080/24P, 30P, 60i, not 60P. It does NOT do Native frame rates in DVCPRO HD or AVC-Intra, I believe. Cameras that do AVC-Intra internally have Native frame rate capability in 1080/24P and 30P, whereas with DVCPRO HD, Native is only available in 720/24P and 30P.

Jeff Regan
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 12:11 PM   #14
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No 1080/60p.

As far as "native", understand that it can play back footage that has been recorded in a PN mode. But it can't make PN recordings of its own. It will always record 720/50p, or 720/60p, or 1080/50i or 1080/60i.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 10:25 PM   #15
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Barry,

The lack of Native modes and only two P2 slots really hurts the P2 Gear's usefulness for me. I guess no Native modes means the HPM110 and its successor will still be viable.

Jeff Regan
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