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Old July 9th, 2010, 07:28 PM   #16
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David Heath

"Canon have followed Convergent Designs lead and proved that you don't need P2 or SxS to record a fully endorsed broadcast standard codec."

Exactly. And thank Heaven's for that. It's finally time to jump into solid state recording.

Dan Brockett

"I am a big fan of P2 myself, I own eight cards."

If i owned 8 P2 cards i'd be a fan too. Otherwise i'd be a very angry man and life's too short for that.

But seriously, It does seem strange that panasonic have not updated the 170, I think it unlikely any newcomer would buy into this system with the current competition available. I also think Dan may be right that Panasonic could be dropping the P2 system for their smaller cameras.

The good news is the new Canon XF300, while relatively expensive in the UK, uses cheap media, and the camera has been given a thumbs up from the BBC, which neither the EX1/3 (without nanoflash) nor the HPX 300 have.

Ken Hull

"I like the look of Panasonic video, and would really like to get a Panasonic. But unless Panasonic comes out with an AVC-Intra camcorder having a form factor similar to the XF300, I'll be getting the Canon."

Then you'll get a camera that can be tweaked/graded to look pretty much identical to the Panasonic, and get a superb manual lens in the package with cheap media too.

Sanjin

If you're intent on sticking with Panasonic then you'll have to wait for the 4/3 camera. And lose the AVCIntra. And your P2 cards. Unless something else comes up in the meantime which is perfectly possible.

But if Dan proves to be right, and Panasonic no longer supports videographers with p2 cameras at this price range, there will be a lot of people who've bought into the P2 workflow at great expense having to sell their now useless cards for peanuts. This was the chief reason many of us avoided P2 in the first place.
In fact it's hard to see how Panasonic could get away with treating their customers like that, so fingers crossed for the Panafolks.
Personally, i can't tell the difference between 170 footage shot to p2 and 150 footage shot to SDHC, so there is no good reason to buy into P2 at that price range anyway.

Good luck.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #17
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Dom,

I think it's fair to mention that AVC-Intra 100 at 10-bit, 100Mbps should out perform the Canon 8-bit, 50Mbps codec, ditto DVCPRO HD via P2 vs. AVCHD, the former being 100Mbps, 4:2:2, I-frame vs. the latter being 24Mbps, 4:2:0, Long GOP. You might not notice a difference, but it doesn't mean the differences don't exist.

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Old July 10th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #18
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Jeff

Yes, i'm well aware of the differences. My point is i've seen 170 footage next to 150 and haven't been able to tell the difference. There are clips on vimeo proving just that. I also realsise that technically the Panasonic codec's have other advantages over the competition, but since the HPX170 has not yet been updated it doesn't mean much to people like Sasnjin. The question is, what are the people who wish to upgrade their small p2 camera, but can't, supposed to do with all their P2 cards that cost them a fortune to buy?
Or is an upgrade on the way?
If i'd invested the kind of money Panasonic have been charging for media over the years, i'd want to know the cameras were still going to be made to use them. If Dan's speculation proves correct, there will be some angry P2 card customers about. It might be good if one of the Panasonic people came over to DVinfo to assure p2 card owners that they are not going to be left high and dry. I don't think they will, but i can see why some people may be concerned.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 05:36 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
I think it's fair to mention that AVC-Intra 100 at 10-bit, 100Mbps should out perform the Canon 8-bit, 50Mbps codec,
Oh that life were that simple......

One point that was made to me recently is that 10 bit *recording* doesn't have much point IF THE NOISE LEVEL OF THE SOURCE IS MORE THAN THE BITDEPTH OF THE CODEC. Apologies for capitals, but it's a highly significant fact. And one which, I confess, hadn't occurred to me until I was very recently corrected.

In practical terms, what it means is that 10 bit recording is very valid for the high end cameras - the two least significant bits may be faithfully recording real information. Move down the scale, and any camera with less than 2/3" chips (and quite a few with 2/3"!) will have a worse signal-noise ratio. High enough noise to swamp the differences between an 8 and a 10 bit codec. So AVC-Intra 100 may be very worthwhile due to it's 10 bit nature in a camera like the 3700, but not show any practical difference between it and an equivalent 8 bit in a far more noisy camera like the HPX300. In the latter case, all 10 bit is doing is wasting 20% of the 100Mbs - all else equal, the HPX300 would be more sensible if it was an 8 bit codec and 80Mbs, same compression quality, but gain an extra 25% of recording time per card.

So, compare 50Mbs XDCAM-HD with AVC-Intra 100 for all cameras except the very top end, and you are really comparing 50Mbs with 80Mbs in compression quality terms. Obviously there's far more than the simple numbers may suggest - long-GOP nature will benefit the 50Mbs codec, the AVC-Intra nature it's rival.

Whatever the bit depth of the codec used for recording, there may be benefits in editing in a 10 bit timeline IF a lot of post manipulation is to be done - if the editing is fairly straightforward it may make more sense to edit native.

I confess I was surprised at the time of the EBU codec trials why they gave the 8 v 10 bit issue relatively little significance - "The 8-bit bit-depth is sufficient for mainstream programmes, but 10-bit bit-depth is preferred for high-end acquisition." - but when you take the noise performance of most cameras into account it becomes obvious. Why increase your bitrate by 25% for no benefit? Spend $50,000 on a camera and yes, 10 bit is sensible. On a sub $10,000 camera it's pointless.

Well, pointless in a technical sense, but may be a good marketing line ...... :-)
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Old July 10th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #20
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Just this winter P2 as a uniform recording media was almost a life saver. Traveling around Norway quite a bit, me bringing my Hpx500 and the rest of the crew with hvx200/hpx170, itīs very convenient to just swap card when youīre in the field and suddenly one camera needs more rec time than others. Great for flexebility. Yes it costīs money, but all pro broadcast gear cost money. It should have paid for itself in say max 3 years time anyway, if not you should look into youīre business model.

I wonīt go into the "what p2 has that other memory cards donīt" debate...again, but the robustness is a key future of P2.

As David wrote, smaller cameras donīt always benefit from higher end codecs, theres more to quality than numbers in the codec. Just take a look at Top Gear in HD, at least from some of the images behind the scenes from the longer films, shot on HDX900. Thatīs a boring 2/3" tape based monster with the stonaged codec called dvcprohd, 8-bit. Still some of the best HD programming out there...

But maybe Panasonic should bring out the avc-ultra they mentioned some time back....that would be interesting.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
One point that was made to me recently is that 10 bit *recording* doesn't have much point IF THE NOISE LEVEL OF THE SOURCE IS MORE THAN THE BITDEPTH OF THE CODEC.

In practical terms, what it means is that 10 bit recording is very valid for the high end cameras - the two least significant bits may be faithfully recording real information. Move down the scale, and any camera with less than 2/3" chips (and quite a few with 2/3"!) will have a worse signal-noise ratio. High enough noise to swamp the differences between an 8 and a 10 bit codec. So AVC-Intra 100 may be very worthwhile due to it's 10 bit nature in a camera like the 3700, but not show any practical difference between it and an equivalent 8 bit in a far more noisy camera like the HPX300.

edit

Whatever the bit depth of the codec used for recording, there may be benefits in editing in a 10 bit timeline IF a lot of post manipulation is to be done - if the editing is fairly straightforward it may make more sense to edit native.
David,

I agree that noise is a great way to waste codec compression horsepower. Panasonic has addressed noise with the HPX370, presumably. I shoot -3db with my HPX2700 as much as possible. Interestingly, because of the lower noise floor of AVC-Intra vs. DVCPRO HD, you gain an additional stop of latitude when using that codec given the same camera. My editor was amazed the first time he graded and color corrected test footage I shot in both DVCPRO HD and AVC-Intra with my 2700 of the same scenes. He was able to push the latter much further before he had banding or noise artifacts.

Regarding shooting in 8-bit and editing on a 10-bit time line, my opinion is that if you only capture 256 shades of gray, you'll never get 1024 shades of gray later. 10-bit is 4X better in tonality, but this assumes 10-bit capture. There's a reason why HDCAM SR is used for acquisition besides 4:4:4 color space, and those technical benefits apply to AVC-Intra 100 as well.

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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:09 PM   #22
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Christian magnussen

"Just this winter P2 as a uniform recording media was almost a life saver. Traveling around Norway quite a bit, me bringing my Hpx500 and the rest of the crew with hvx200/hpx170, itīs very convenient to just swap card when youīre in the field and suddenly one camera needs more rec time than others. Great for flexebility. Yes it costīs money, but all pro broadcast gear cost money."

But you could say that about any "uniform recording media". Including SDHC/CF etc at a fraction of the price of P2. And in BBCland, neither the HVX200 or the HPX 170 are considered Broadcast quality, or indeed the HPX300. Even the larger chip EX1/3 don't make the grade without the nanoflash. Which leaves the new Canon which shoots to robust and affordable CF cards and has a thumbs up from the BBC.

Meanwhile the new Panasonic 4/3 camera, viewed by many HPX/HVX owners as the next step in the company's progression of small cameras is not even a P2 camera. The camera may well be superb, but those who've dug deep to pay for P2 cards and the accompanying codec may well feel let down.

After all, Panasonic salespeople have been promoting P2 as a system that would be a sound investment long into the future. I've heard this marketing spiel several times myself when toying with the idea of buying the HVX, and later the HPX.

I have to say as someone who almost bought into the Panasonic P2 system, i'm very happy to have taken the Canon route instead.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #23
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Dom,

I'm trying to figure out why a 1/3" palmcorder with 50Mbps MPEG2 codec is accepted by the BBC, but not a 1/3" ENG camera with 100Mbps AVC-Intra codec? Doesn't seem to make sense.

Regarding CF cards, I'm concerned by their lack of a write protect switch. A 32Gb CF card at $390 isn't that much less money than a 32Gb P2 card at $579. If $189 per memory card price difference stops you from buying your camera of choice, especially since the P2 card offers scalability of different codecs, works in cameras from $4K to $60K, is proven in mission critical field applications world wide since 2004, and has a huge family of accessories, we have different priorities in acquisition equipment. The throughput of the CF card is 90Mbps vs. 1.2Gbps for the P2 card, which means that P2 cards can be used with upcoming AVC-Ultra codecs that should offer 4:4:4 and 3D acquisition.

I think the Canon XF300 is overpriced, personally. Panasonic represents proven pro gear at all production levels, Canon is known for HDV palmcorders.

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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:05 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
Panasonic has addressed noise with the HPX370, presumably.
A lot would depend how they did it. If with inherently lower noise chips and first stage, then it would be unquestionably good, though it seems the noise level is such that the improvement would have to be large to make a difference to the point about 8 v 10 bit.

If they achieved the noise improvement via software noise reduction techniques it's a different story. The algorithms are as likely to be "correcting" the smallest subtleties, so although these subtle bits are detail are no longer swamped by noise, they wouldn't be there at all any more!
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Interestingly, because of the lower noise floor of AVC-Intra vs. DVCPRO HD, you gain an additional stop of latitude when using that codec given the same camera. My editor was amazed the first time he graded and color corrected test footage I shot in both DVCPRO HD and AVC-Intra with my 2700 of the same scenes.
But what was making the difference? Was it 8 bit v 10 bit - or other aspects in which AVC-Intra 100 is better than DVCProHD? Maybe he would have also noticed an improvement with XDCAM-HD 422 50Mbs versus DVCProHD? And we are talking about a relatively expensive camera here - maybe it's just reinforcing the point that 10 bit has more point the higher up the price ladder you go? This thread is predominantly referring to cheaper cameras, full 1080 chips better than DVCProHD replacement for the HVX171.
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Regarding shooting in 8-bit and editing on a 10-bit time line, my opinion is that if you only capture 256 shades of gray, you'll never get 1024 shades of gray later. 10-bit is 4X better in tonality, but this assumes 10-bit capture.
I disagree. A 10 bit post timeline may help in avoiding rounding errors, which may build up down a chain. So if in the 8 bit world we're dealing with level "171" and it has to be halved, then will the result be 85 or 86. Translate the 171 to a "10 bit world" and it becomes 684. Halve that and it's an unambiguous 342 - 4 times 85.5.

I looked again at the EBU codec trials and they have even more to say about the relative unimportance of 10 bit - even in the post world - than I previously remembered,
Quote:
Furthermore, the expert viewing tests have revealed that:
�� A 10-bit bit-depth in production is only significant for post-production with graphics and after
transmission encoding and decoding at the consumer end, if the content (e.g. graphics or
animation) has been generated using advanced colour grading, etc.
�� For normal moving pictures, an 8-bit bit-depth in production will not significantly degrade the HD
picture quality at the consumer’s premises.
Full reference at http://tech.ebu.ch/docs/techreview/t...rod-Codecs.pdf

Quote:
There's a reason why HDCAM SR is used for acquisition besides 4:4:4 color space, and those technical benefits apply to AVC-Intra 100 as well.
Yes Jeff, but HDCAM SR is only used with the highest end camera heads - front ends that are capable of putting out a quality that merits 4:4:4, 10 bit etc. Nobody in their right mind would think of putting HDCAM-SR recording into a sub-$10,000 camera. It would be overkill - quite apart from meaning the camera could no longer be sub $10,000 anyway!
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:33 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
I'm trying to figure out why a 1/3" palmcorder with 50Mbps MPEG2 codec is accepted by the BBC, but not a 1/3" ENG camera with 100Mbps AVC-Intra codec? Doesn't seem to make sense.
I can only assume that whilst both should be suitable from a codec point of view, the quality of the optics and camera front end must be considered different. The HPX300 does seem to have a problem with such as noise, may be that's one reason why it has failed to get acceptance?
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Regarding CF cards, I'm concerned by their lack of a write protect switch.
This is the only real, genuine negative I can think of regarding CF cards. But CF has been the workhorse of professional still photographers long before the video world even thought of solid state - it doesn't seem to have been a big issue in practice. And does every cameraman or editor always click over the switch when they should anyway? It is a negative, but I feel well outweighed by the positives.
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A 32Gb CF card at $390 isn't that much less money than a 32Gb P2 card at $579.
That's only half the story. If we compare XDCAM 422 with CF v AVC-Intra 100, the CF card will hold twice as many minutes as the P2 card.
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
The throughput of the CF card is 90Mbps vs. 1.2Gbps for the P2 card
Sorry Jeff, you've got the figures wrong. I think you're making the old bits versus bytes mistake. Look at the Sandisk website and you'll see that for their CF range the quoted speeds range from 30MBs to 90MBs. 90 MegaBYTES, not 90MegaBITS.

So the equivalent figures are 240Mbs to 720Mbs. Since AVC-Ultra is due to be about 200Mbs, most of the range should be able to handle it. And even their cheapest cards should be able to handle AVC-Intra 100.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:27 AM   #26
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Jeff

Not sure why the beeb favours the Canon over the competition, but this thread and its links should give you some idea:
BBC approved Canon XF300 & XF305 for Indie Companies

Along with the 50mps 4;2;2 I think the glass is of exceptional quality for this sized camera.

CF cards are not as expensive as you seem to suggest, and from what i'm reading, the camera works fine with the cheaper cards. If you do go for the UDMA range, you can still pick up something like this 32 GB card for 88 quid:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transcend-400x-CompactFlash-Memory-TS32GCF400/dp/B002WE4H8I/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1278846314&sr=8-1-fkmr0
Given David's point that they last twice as long too, P2 still looks very expensive in comparison.

But that's not the point i wanted to make. I'm trying to stay on topic and thinking of Sanjin who started this thread wondering if/when a new AVCinta P2 camcorder would arrive. Dan Brockett thinks they may well drop P2 altogether from the smaller cameras. If that turns out to be true, there will be many angry people about. And rightly so. The fact that the up and coming 4/3 camera will not be a p2 camera suggests to me that quite a few P2 card owners are already going to be left high and dry having been told that they were buying into a system that was going to support them long into the future.

Having said all that, we don't yet know that there will not be another small p2 card camera. Let's wait and see.

And i agree that the Canon is overpriced. In the UK it's over 9000 US. However it is the only camera of its kind that the BBC is giving a thumbs up, which for some people will make it a bargain.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 07:09 AM   #27
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This is an interesting topic indeed. It does make sense to move the P2 sistem to a higher price range cam market yes, but isn't the P2 sistem quite popular in the lower price market and wouldn't Panasonic lose lots of money if they were to cancle it...? Not to mention the angry mob that would form if such a ting would happen. Panasonic would defenetly loose lots of customers.

As for the xf300 and 305 price; I think it's overpriced to. Just wondering; how much skew is there? I for one am realy reluctant of buying a cmos cam...

David, that's an interesting topic (10bit-8bit noise). Is there a site or something where I could read further into this?

Last edited by Sanjin Svajger; July 11th, 2010 at 12:06 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 10:00 AM   #28
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Good discussion.

Yes, sorry, my throughput figures are wrong. However, P2 has the most throughput available, 1.2Gbps is awesome. A 32b P2 E series card can be transferred via a PCD35 reader into a PCIe slot in a tower in only 5 minutes! These same P2 cards will work very well with AVC-Ultra, which as David said is 200Gbps, as well as 12-bit.

Besides the lack of write protection, CF and SD cards are small and fragile compared to P2 cards. I have been on shoots where those little cards were lost or misplaced temporarily--luckily these were used with the B-cameras. UDMA is the type of card to stick with, especially when doing 60P. If one needs more record capacity with a P2 card the options are Native modes, which AVC-Intra is inherently and available in DVCPRO HD for 720/24 and 30PN, and there's AVC-Intra 50, which is still 10-bit, I-Frame, but not full raster or 4:2:2.

Let's also remember that MPEG2 isn't as efficient compression wise as AVC based codecs.

Regarding upgrading an HPX170, if a full raster chip set is wanted, that means only one thing--CMOS. Yes, AVC-Intra could be added, but the 170 is noisy compared to the newest CMOS cameras(and I believe that Sony with the 350 and newer EX cameras, and possibly the Panasonic 370, are using noise reduction), so staying CCD with its noise and sub-sampled resolution could mean Intra is not as useful at this level. It may be with the 370, however.

I fervently believe that shooting 10-bit to begin with is superior to 8-bit capture and just editing on a 10-bit time line from 8-bit footage won't provide the same tonality. Many of the same benefits of shooting with HDCAM SR are available at a fraction of the cost with AVC-Intra 100, that's a breakthrough.

When the last episode of "House" was shot with Canon 5D's, even though they edited on a 10-bit time line(they normally shoot 35mm and transfer to HDCAM SR), they had 8-bit banding issues and had to hide the artifacts by adding noise.

I'm quite sure that the improvements my editor is seeing when using Intra vs. DVCPRO HD in terms of grading and color correction are due to the 10-bit depth. Obviously Intra also pays dividends in resolution and low noise as well, and due to AVC codec efficiency, I see less of the compression artifacts common to DVCPRO HD.

I have no doubt as to the benefits of a 10-bit codec over 8-bit, what remains to be seen is how effective this is with low cost cameras that are noisier than 2/3" high end cameras, which is David's point.

Back to the OP topic, the 170 would have to go to CMOS and Intra for an upgrade. With the upgrade would come CMOS artifacts potentially and we don't know if Intra is practical in a palmcorder size from a heat and power consumption standpoint. The 170 is only 21 months old--not exactly a relic!

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Last edited by Jeff Regan; July 11th, 2010 at 10:52 AM.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #29
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The 170 is only 21 months old--not exactly a relic!
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That's correct but the hardware in it is old (some of it, most importantly the chips).
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Old July 11th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #30
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Besides the lack of write protection, CF and SD cards are small and fragile compared to P2 cards.
The consensus amongst still photographers over quite a few years is that CF cards are anything but fragile. I've personally heard from one press photographer who left a CF card in his trousers when he put them in to wash - the card was fine when he dried it out, and so even was the data! Compared to SD cards, yes, SD cards are fiddly - which brings me right back to the start of what I posted - The Panasonic engineers have presumably been told to use P2 OR SDHC. For a sub-$10,000 camera such as the new Canon I'd argue CF was the best compromise with current technology.

This discussion must surely only be relevant to the next few years anyway? SDXC cards have been announced and it can't be that long before they are fast enough to record a 100Mbs video stream. Come that day and it will be perfectly possible to record AVC-Intra 100 to an SD card.... as long as it's SDXC. Do you really expect to see P2 cards in cheaper handheld cameras come that? It's what happens in the next few years that will be interesting to see. On a similar point......
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Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger
.......isn't the P2 sistem quite popular in the lower price market and wouldn't Panasonic lose lots of money if they were to cancle it...? Not to mention the angry mob that would form if such a ting would happen. Panasonic would defenetly loose lots of customers.
To any manufacturer, it's future customers who are most important - not past ones. You've already got the money from the latter! OK, not quite as simple as that, as you may want old customers to buy the latest and greatest in a few years time, you want to keep them loyal. BUT, if the choice is between ditching an old system because a competitor has gained a market advantage with his system, or keep going with an existing model purely for the sake of past custom, what do you think is going to happen?

In this case, I expect the number of uncommitted potential new customers massively outweighs the number of old customers who may be upgrading soon. Sorry.
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Let's also remember that MPEG2 isn't as efficient compression wise as AVC based codecs.
Ooooh - that needs to have an "all else equal" added to it! And you also need to add that the price to be paid for that efficiency is increased complexity - which can manifest as more computer power needed, more power needed, higher cost for a real time encoder.... need I go on?

And for the two rival codecs, then onto their common base Sony, JVC, and Canon have decided to go with long-GOP to increase the base efficiency - Panasonic have decided to use AVC tools. There is no right or wrong, just different ways of approaching the problem, each system has it's pluses and minuses, that's exactly why the EBU gave them both an "approval" - and left it at that.
Quote:
I have no doubt as to the benefits of a 10-bit codec over 8-bit, what remains to be seen is how effective this is with low cost cameras that are noisier than 2/3" high end cameras, which is David's point.
Well, the EBU didn't seem very convinced about the benefits of 10 bit over 8 bit, except at the very high end. That's good enough for me. Enough said?
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