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Old July 11th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #31
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I should clarify that my speculation is exactly that, speculation, I have no knowledge if Panasonic will or will not introduce a successor to the HPX170/HVX200A or if they feel that AF-100 IS that successor. It would be nice if they kept making a P2 palmcorder with AVCINTRA, I would probably buy one, but I may buy an AF-100 as well.

Some things I have discovered over the past few years as codecs have improved that changed my thinking somewhat...

1. P2 is a great format. If it turns out that Panasonic never does introduce another P2 palmcorder, I will still be very happy with the performance, security and savings that my P2 cards have given me over the past 5 years. I don't know why several of you think that P2 users will all of a sudden rebel and be mad at Panasonic? That is our business, gear changes constantly. Did all of the owners of tape-based cameras become furious when the same companies introduced all of the flavors of SS media on the market now? I don't think so. I still don't get all of the furor from the greater market about how P2 is a rip off. Those who think that just don't know what they are talking about. P2 is better than any SSM out there, is more accepted and worked with by more broadcasters worldwide than any other media. Doesn't that sort of say it all?

2. There is still this camera on the market called the HPX370. If you are crazy about P2, on a low budget and want AVCINTRA, buy it. It is an amazing value for the money, only a few bucks more than an EX1R. If you want a shoulder mounted camera. Which some of us do and some us don't. For the past couple of years, I have been flying a lot so personally for me, at this time, I would not prefer a shoulder mounted camera but that changes by the month.

3. I don't feel that 4:2:0 and CMOS imagers rolling shutter artifacts are that big of a deal for the vast majority of projects and people shooting. People obsess over specs far too much. It is getting to be boring and pointless to decide that you MUST have this feature and that feature, there is no perfect camera for everyone. So much great work is being shot with such substandard video cameras like DSLRs. It doesn't kill you to work with gear that is a compromise most of the time. I think too many people in our business are spoiled and want a single camera that does everything perfectly. I wish more of these people had experience shooting with 16mm film, tube cameras with separate 3/4" recorders, etc. Even the cheapest consumer Canon Vixias are capable of absolutely high-end beautiful looking HD images. Do people really give a crap about AVCHD vs. MPEG 2 vs AVCINTRA vs. XDCAM EX vs DVCPRO HD vs H.264 vs. RED 4k or is this mostly just idle chit chat by gear geeks?

For the few who 4:2:2 and CMOS rolling shutter are issues for, they should be buying more expensive 4:2:2 CCD cameras, the writing is on the wall. I have shot plenty of quality green screen footage with the EX1 and have seen some astoundingly good green screen shot with the 5D MKII. Is 4:2:2 better? Definitely, but how many of us shoot a LOT of green screen? For me, it is a couple of times a year usually. I used to think that 4:2:0 and CMOS were a deal breaker for me, but the market is changing. Client requirements are different but most of them involve much lower budgets so if you can swing a high-end CCD 4:2:2 camera, go for it. But for many of us who can't, we can still accomplish high-end work with cheap cameras like the 5D MKII, the 170 and the EX1. It's the skills kids. If you have a clue about how to light and do a good job, that is leagues more important that whether or not your camera is 4:2:0 or 4:2:2.

I do agree that SD cards are inherently less reliable than CF or P2 cards, I have experienced that. I have a Nikon D80 and shoot with a friends Vixia that use SD cards. My 5D MKII uses CF cards and my HPX170 uses P2 cards. All work but the SD cards are definitely the flimsiest and least reliable.

I really hope that Panasonic does come out with a new P2 palmcorder that shoots AVCINTRA. But based upon the buzz around the AF100 and the 3DA1, it doesn't look as if that is happening anytime soon. But you never know, Panasonic has surprised us before.

Dan
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #32
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Dan

"I don't know why several of you think that P2 users will all of a sudden rebel and be mad at Panasonic? That is our business, gear changes constantly. "

Then perhaps you'd like to explain why for 5 years Panasonic reps have been justifying the extortionate price of these things on the grounds that the customer is buying into a rock solid long term commitment?

"If you have a clue about how to light and do a good job, that is leagues more important that whether or not your camera is 4:2:0 or 4:2:2."

Agreed. So perhaps you could explain why the Panasonic P2 Fanboys have been insisting that 4:2:2 is vastly superior, when for most people most of the time, it's not that important.

"Do people really give a crap about AVCHD vs. MPEG 2 vs AVCINTRA vs. XDCAM EX vs DVCPRO HD vs H.264 vs. RED 4k?"

Broadly speaking no. However in my experience the main offenders of peddling this kind of format one-upmanship have been Panasonic dealers shifting over-priced P2 cards.

"I will still be very happy with the performance, security and savings that my P2 cards have given me over the past 5 years."

And those who bought them this/last year?

Sorry Dan. Not convinced, and i can't help thinking Panasonic are moving the goal posts to suit themselves. But as you point out, we're speculating, and there could be an AVCintra palmcorder on it's way.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:33 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger View Post
That's correct but the hardware in it is old (some of it, most importantly the chips).
The chips are new as of the HVX200A, circa June 2008, but yes, the basic architecture is from the HVX200.
Reality is that if you want full raster, you're into CMOS. The only full raster CCD camera Panasonic offers is the HPX3700 and it's limited to 30 fps.

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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #34
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The consensus amongst still photographers over quite a few years is that CF cards are anything but fragile. For a sub-$10,000 camera such as the new Canon I'd argue CF was the best compromise with current technology.
I was speaking of the small size as well, but a P2 card is very robust and I'd argue that the HPX370 for under $10K is the best compromise for those that value 10-bit, I-Frame, high bit rate format with a true ENG zoom lens and ENG body. Three different codecs, slot for a wireless mic. receiver, waveform, color viewfinder and lcd display, genlock, ext. TC.

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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.

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?
MPEG2 is old technology, half as efficient assuming the same frame structure, bit depth, color space.
Long GOP is not considered high-end, computers get more and more powerful for less money every year.

In LA, 8-bit codecs aren't taken seriously in production, P2 wasn't even considered until the advent of AVC-Intra 100 by many. Point is that 10-bit can potentially offer real advantages at a lower price point, why go 8-bit, Long GOP when there's a better alternative? Until I hear otherwise, the HPX370 is fully capable of taking advantage of AVC-Intra 100. An HPX2000 or 2700 don't have prices that are considered
"very high end" and I know what 10-bit offers over DVCPRO HD.

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Old July 11th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
Dan

"I don't know why several of you think that P2 users will all of a sudden rebel and be mad at Panasonic? That is our business, gear changes constantly. "

Then perhaps you'd like to explain why for 5 years Panasonic reps have been justifying the extortionate price of these things on the grounds that the customer is buying into a rock solid long term commitment?

"If you have a clue about how to light and do a good job, that is leagues more important that whether or not your camera is 4:2:0 or 4:2:2."

Agreed. So perhaps you could explain why the Panasonic P2 Fanboys have been insisting that 4:2:2 is vastly superior, when for most people most of the time, it's not that important.

"Do people really give a crap about AVCHD vs. MPEG 2 vs AVCINTRA vs. XDCAM EX vs DVCPRO HD vs H.264 vs. RED 4k?"

Broadly speaking no. However in my experience the main offenders of peddling this kind of format one-upmanship have been Panasonic dealers shifting over-priced P2 cards.

"I will still be very happy with the performance, security and savings that my P2 cards have given me over the past 5 years."

And those who bought them this/last year?

Sorry Dan. Not convinced, and i can't help thinking Panasonic are moving the goal posts to suit themselves. But as you point out, we're speculating, and there could be an AVCintra palmcorder on it's way.
Dom,

It's clear you have a P2 axe to grind. If Canon HDV palmcorders do what you need them to do great! We know why Panasonic has claimed P2 as the only memory media ever needed--sales, but to be fair, it's already had a decent run and they have fleshed the work flow out with all kinds of tools and options, well beyond any other manufacturer.

Regarding 4:2:2, if you're a broadcaster, that's been pretty important. I also think 10-bit is valuable, it certainly seemed to be in the days of Digital Betacam, the best SD format available, better than DVCPRO 50, IMO.

One upping formats is what manufacturers do, always have done. Sony has thrown more formats at the wall than I could ever count and each time there were new tape decks to buy. Because Panasonic came out with the first broadcast quality solid state memory to take hold over five years ago doesn't mean they're trying to rip you off.

This whole concern about the cost of P2 cards isn't part of my reality, I have to pay off any new camera in a year, more so now than ever. If Panasonic is turning their backs on low-end P2 users-and as you've said, we don't know-it's due to market pressure realities and to be honest, people like you always complaining about the cost of P2 cards.

As a rental facility, rock solid reliability, flexibility, worldwide acceptance, scalability of codecs and the ability to use the same media with my $5K cameras as my $40K cameras are much more important than a couple of hundred dollar price premium on a memory card.

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Old July 11th, 2010, 11:59 PM   #36
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Dom:

I have to agree with Jeff, you obviously have issues with P2 and that's fine. I bought all seven of my P2 cards with my own funds and each card paid for itself in one or sometimes two jobs. For working pros, the cost of P2 cards have never been exorbitant. If the costs were exorbitant, P2 would have bombed and as we all know, P2 is the most successful professional SS memory format on the market by far. I am an avowed capitalist and the market has spoken, P2 was and is a success. If all of the things that the P2 naysayers say about P2 are true, then P2 would have tanked like MII or Beta SX or HD DVD or Philips DAC or any of the other formats that have flopped during my professional career. Like the old saying goes, "you can't argue with success".

4:2:2 is superior if you are doing keying or compositing. But most people, most of the time are not. That was my point, how often do you shoot green screen or do heavy multiple layer compositing? For most users of low end to mid-line cameras, the answer is not very often. Occasionally I read about DPs who do regularly shoot a green screen based show, they should own or use a 4:2:2 camera but for most others, if you just do an occasional green screen shoot, perhaps a 4:2:0 camera will suffice? Same with color correction. My 4:2:2 material from my HPX170 holds up to color correction better than the 4:2:0 material from my 5D MKII. But I think a LOT of users don't color correct or do very deep color correction with their material. Some do, but a lot of people don't.

I don't understand your correlation between people's obsession with codecs vs. evil Panasonic dealers selling P2 cards? What does one have to do with the other?

People who bought P2 cards this year or last year obviously did because it is an excellent SSM. Nobody is coming to their offices and houses and making it so their P2 cards no longer function. It just might be that if their next Panasonic camera costs less than about $7,500.00, they MIGHT have to switch to SDHC. So what? If I keep my HPX170 after I buy an AF-100, those P2 cards still work. And if I sell my 170 to finance the AF-100, I will sell the P2 cards in addition to the 170. So what's the problem? Last time I checked, used P2 cards still enjoy a pretty thriving market and there are still many, many thousands of P2 users worldwide that will be interested in buying my used P2 cards. I just don't see the logic of this supposed insurrection that so many are saying is coming with disgruntled P2 card users. Isn't going to happen.

It's the pro video market, the only constant is change. Formats, codecs, trends, media, computers... P2 is great but with every card that I have bought, I have known that it was only a matter for a few years until the cards would not be the state of the art or the most modern. They all paid for themselves years ago so what do I care? Every time I charge a client now for P2 card rentals, that is pure profit. Plus I haven't had to by camera stock for four years now, love it. So what is the issue with that?

Dan

Last edited by Dan Brockett; July 12th, 2010 at 12:49 PM.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 04:30 AM   #37
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Jeff and Dan

Ok guys. I'm baling out of this discussion. You've both made very good points that i broadly agree with. However i feel i've raised important issues regarding P2 that do apply to some owners if not yourselves. For the record i love the images these cameras capture, but until we hear news of the new AVCintra P2 palmcorder Sanjin is hoping for, this discussion is based on speculation. If such a camera does not materialise ill happily re-join the debate, but in the meantime i accept my posts on the subject could be construed as borderline trolling. No offense intended. Let's wait and see what Panasonic come up with.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #38
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No offense take Dom, it is just discussion. And you are right, all we are doing is speculating. I have no idea what Panasonic is going to do other than introduce the AF-100 and the 3DA1. Time will tell.

Dan
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Old July 12th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #39
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No worries Dom, P2 is just a memory media when it comes down to it. The look of the cameras is much more important to me as a DP--and I've seen some beautiful imagery from Canon HDV cameras. Tomorrow I've got five cameras out on rental, two Panasonic and three Sony. The only thing that really matters to me at the end of the day is which ones my client's want to rent!

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Old July 16th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
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.
Yes, but at the moment not one manufacturer offer SD/CF cards in both handheld 1/3" and 2/3", nanoflashes and other addon recorders wasn´t an option in the conditions and budget we had to operate within.

"Broadcast grade" is a variable definition, for us and NRK 1/3" was fine, there was no budget to go beyond one 2/3" camera. A lot of popular HD programming have been shot on 1/3" HD cameras, it all comes down to what kind of project and budget you have to operate within. Also there are sometimes a safety aspect regarding camera size.

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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
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.
I feel the AF100 is kind of a dumbed down camera to meet a specific market price...thus dropping avc-i. Also the AF100 is meant for a different market than the hvx/hpx170, or a market that uses 35mm adapters or dSlrs today.
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Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
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.
I see that the move from expensive memory cells to cheaper ones(and faster) have made some people doubt, but would really P2 go down as well with broadcasters as it has if Pana was larking about?

Regarding Canon, never really liked their cameras down to the build quality....I have a tendency to use pro gear quite hard and the earlier SD/HDV models where a bit to plastic for my taste(and use). Of course comparing small budget camcorders with larger 2/3" camcorders is a bit unfair, but what my poor little Sony Z1 have gone trough would probably have killed of one or two similar canons in the past.
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