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Old July 7th, 2010, 04:10 AM   #1
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Any chances of a smaller AVCintra P2

Hy all!

I was just thinking about with which camera would I replace my HPX171 (that's not my intention at the moment - just thinking about it). If I WAS to replace my HPX I would definitely go for a AVCintra codec but the only cam in a sub 10k range is the 371 and I really don't need an ENG stile cam.
So my question goes: does anybody think a smaller form AVCintra cam is a near future possibility? Or is Panasonic putting all there efforts in the new 4/3 cam... There has to be a new HVX200/HPX171 cam on the way, yes?
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Old July 7th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hard to say, but it seems like Panasonic is positioning AVCHD as the palmcorder codec of choice. A pity since DVCPRO HD and AVC-Intra 100 were great differentiators over Sony's XDCAM EX, which Sony uses to protect its higher end cameras(over $20K). Panasonic now offers no advantage codec wise with their new offerings, in fact Canon offers a better codec, JVC a more convenient codec.

The AF100 could have been a giant killer with AVC-Intra instead of AVCCAM. I'm sure AJA and Convergent are happy about it though.

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Old July 8th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #3
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Technology changes all the time. Today might be AVC-Intra 100. Tomorrow, who knows. I won't think about what camera to replace my HPX172 as well. When the time comes to get its replacement - I look around and see what the best camera available at that time - and make a decision. Not now. For now, my HPX172 is the best tool for me at the moment.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 04:36 AM   #4
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Yeah, I like my HPX to and there's lot's of people who aren't in the market for selling theirs to. But still, the cam is getting outdated pretty fast by the competition.

@Jeff Do you think that AVCHD is going to be the codec of choice for panasonics sub 10k market? I don't think so... A cam in the price range of 5k with a 24Mbit codec... I don't know, the times of HDV are over. To me a smaller form cam with AVCintra seems plausible plus why would the HPX300 and then 370 be released with AVCintra if they don't have intentions to further pursue this path?
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Old July 8th, 2010, 05:10 AM   #5
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I heard that the chip used to compress AVC-Intra runs too hot to put inside a small casing of the HPX172. Outdated to competition, well .... we aren't buying video cameras by the hour, right :-)? 3 years - 5 years to pay off ... then go and hunt for another one (unless Panny produces a successor to HPX172 that is so compelling - like the upgrade from HVX200 to HPX172).
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Old July 8th, 2010, 07:44 AM   #6
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I heard that the chip used to compress AVC-Intra runs too hot to put inside a small casing of the HPX172.
Really? Than install heat vents:) I don't know...
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Old July 8th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #7
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Based off of what I see coming from Panasonic, I think that they think that the AF-100 will be a sort of heir apparent to the HPX170. Same price range, much more sophisticated lens and DOF choices, similar functionality and a lesser codec/card system. I personally doubt that Panasonic will continue with P2 in hand held cameras and I can't say I blame them after the endless whining about the cost of P2 cards for the past four years. And the whining was coming almost exclusively from owners of cameras like the HPX170/HVX200, not from the HPX2000 owners.

It makes a good differentiation, P2 for people who use shoulder mounted cams, SDHC/SDXC for people who use hand held cameras.

I could be totally off base here but it wouldn't surprise me to see this moving forward. The two newest small cameras, the AG-3DA1 and the AG-AF100 both use AVCHD with SDHC cards. Seems to indicate a direction to me. Could be that the HPX170 will be the last hand held P2 camera?

Dan
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Old July 8th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Dan,
While I agree with some of your statements I disagree that Panasonic should write off P2 for the smaller cameras from a marketing or operational point of view. It was a big lift to the P2 system that they had the smaller cameras and I could see the market place shifting away from them if they don't support a smaller version.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #9
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I actually think that Panasonics marketing and strategy people have boxed their technicians in. The former seem to have specified that the codecs to be used in future products MUST be AVC-Intra or AVC-HD, and the memory MUST be P2 or SDHC. The rationale presumably because all four are Panasonic technology - use them.

It follows that AVC-Intra has to be used with P2, AVC-HD with SDHC. Hence, if you buy in to Panasonic and you want a fully approved broadcast codec, you also have to buy in to P2. Maybe not a problem if your pockets are big, and you can afford a 3000 series camera, but if the memory is going to cost you almost what the camera did......?

And the problem for Panasonic is now compounded by the new Canons. Front end aside, Canon have followed Convergent Designs lead and proved that you don't need P2 or SxS to record a fully endorsed broadcast standard codec. An endorsement that no AVC-HD camera will ever get. The pragmatic thing to do would be for Panasonic to accept Compact Flash as the memory for their handheld cameras, and there would be no trouble recording AVC-Intra 100 to it. They COULD stay with P2 - but put themselves at a market disadvantage in terms of cost.

However good the AF-100 is - and if it will use standard still camera chips it remains to be seen if they can overcome the aliasing problems - it has to be realised that using AVC-HD will limit it's acceptability. And the Canon is giving rise to an expectation that paying that sort of money entitles one to a fully approved codec.

Last edited by David Heath; July 8th, 2010 at 01:39 PM.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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It follows that AVC-Intra has to be used with P2, AVC-HD with SDHC. Hence, if you buy in to Panasonic and you want a fully approved broadcast codec, you also have to buy in to P2.
That sounds logical yes. Don't want it to happen though... And I can imagine lot's of people not wanting ENG form cams and wanting AVCi or some other strong codec. Put the AVCi in a smaller form cam and raise it's price, I don't know...
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Old July 8th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #11
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In about 6 months I'll get the money to buy a new camcorder with 4:2:2 encoding (I do a lot of green-screen). I was planning on the HPX300 with AVC-Intra, even though it was a bit bulky for my uses, and required me to spend significant extra money for the battery/changer and a tripod plate. But then Canon had to throw a monkey wrench into my plans by coming out with the XF300. It has 4:2:2, a more compact form factor, didn't need a tripod plate, and included battery and charger. (Darn you, Canon!)

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.

Come on, Panny! Get with it before I have to go with Canon!
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Old July 8th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #12
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In the case of the AF100, going P2 would have added $2K to the price point, supposedly. This is a competitive disadvantage in a highly competitive sector. I agree that Panasonic has boxed themselves in.

Sony is also looking a bit silly with a $19K 2/3" camera that is stuck with XDCAM EX, in light of what Canon has offered codec wise. Things are moving very quickly, RED and the 5D have turned the industry upside down.

As a rental house, I can't remember things ever moving this quickly nor clients accepting the compromises of DSLR's. A few years ago, most of my clients wouldn't have even considered a palmcorder for their projects.

It's telling that AJA and Convergent are making hay out of this codec chaos--the average producer doesn't want to hear about work flow issues(even though the RED and DSLR's are the most difficult in this respect). I long for the time when there was a standard format--those days are truly gone.

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Old July 9th, 2010, 03:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Regan
In the case of the AF100, going P2 would have added $2K to the price point, supposedly. This is a competitive disadvantage in a highly competitive sector. I agree that Panasonic has boxed themselves in.
Does that $2k figure apply to the cost of the camera itself? I wouldn't have thought that a P2/AVC-Intra version of the AF100 would cost much more than an AVCCAM/SDHC version - it's more the difference between P2 and SDHC prices that would make the difference?
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Sony is also looking a bit silly with a $19K 2/3" camera that is stuck with XDCAM EX, in light of what Canon has offered codec wise.
What can I say? If you're talking about the PMW350 then I've said from the start that it's a great camera - which would have been even better with the 50Mbs codec built in. So I agree with you.

But for the future, life could be far easier for Sony than Panasonic. It would be no big deal - no loss of face - for them to announce some new version at IBC which has the 50Mbs codec, and I certainly hope they do. Conceivably the next revision of the EX 1/3 could be 50Mbs as well? I don't know how difficult it would be technically, but it wouldn't give them many marketing problems. For Panasonic to announce that the AF100 was going to be AVC-Intra and Compact Flash would be far more difficult. Not just technically, but because that WOULD involve an admission that their strategy had been wrong.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #14
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Hi Daniel:

I am a big fan of P2 myself, I own eight cards. I wasn't stating that they SHOULD move away from P2 in their hand helds, I was just observing that they ARE moving away from P2 in their hand helds. That is the sad part, at some point in the future, they will move to SDXC or CF or something new and my precious P2 cards that have recorded hundreds of shows will be relics and I will sell them or throw them away.

P2 and I have a lot of good memories since 2006.

Dan

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Dan,
While I agree with some of your statements I disagree that Panasonic should write off P2 for the smaller cameras from a marketing or operational point of view. It was a big lift to the P2 system that they had the smaller cameras and I could see the market place shifting away from them if they don't support a smaller version.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #15
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David,

I believe the $2K premium for P2 recording meant camera hardware cost, separate from media cost. We know the AVC-Intra board on the HPX2000 was pushing $2K as an option, this goes back a few years, and aimed at high camera clients, so may not be comparable.

Yes, I was speaking of the PMW350--great front end, fatally flawed codec for the price point. I said it in the 350 vs. HPX2700 thread and I believe it even more now. The HPX2700 has been a big success for us--doing more days of rental per month than our HDX900 ever did(and it paid for itself in the first year).

I'm not convinced Sony will cut the throat of the 700 and 800 and F900R anytime soon to modify XDCAM EX. I believe the 350 to be a non-starter in my market, whereas the Panasonic sale on the 3700 and 2700 has brought in a half dozen new cameras into the rental houses in San Francisco. This leads me to believe that P2 is finally getting some traction in the higher end, not just at the HVX200 level, and our HPX170 continues to do well, better than our EX1, although EX3's seem to be popular.

Meanwhile, Panasonic will just say that AVCCAM is as good or better than XDCAM EX, which is good enough for cameras that cost $5-6K or less. Not saying I agree, but that's seems to be their position.

Jeff Regan
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