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Old August 23rd, 2010, 05:17 PM   #1
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Lost a job...

..because my HPX500 doesn't record in AVC-intra 100. I lost a job to a guy with an HPX370. Talk about an eye opener.

So...
is it time to consider moving on to a newer technology Panasonic? I like the 2/3" CCDs on my 500, but does the 370's other features off-set it? It sure did to this client. Since the 370 isn't too far off in price from a 500, maybe it makes sense to switch? I could still use all of my P2 cards.
Does anyone know how the broadcast world reacts to the 1/3" CMOS cameras?
How is the 370's low light sensitivity compare to the 500?

Hmm...the 370 can take 2/3" lenses? How does it do this?
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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It depends who the broadcaster is I suspect, but in general NO 1/3" cameras are generally accepted for HD broadcast except the new Canon, and even then bigger chip cameras are likely to be preferred.

The issue is obviously not codec - AVC-Intra 100 is regarded as fully acceptable - but it can't make a front end better than it really is, it can only record what it's given. Personally, I'd find the 960x540 chips of the HPX500 more of an issue than the codec, but......

At the moment, no shouldermount camera from any manufacturer below 15,000-20,000 (?) really ticks all the boxes for true, full acceptance. Cameras like the 371 have a fully acceptable codec - but not a good enough front end. Cameras like the PMW320/350 have a good enough front end - but XDCAM 35 Mbs is not fully accepted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen
Hmm...the 370 can take 2/3" lenses? How does it do this?
A physical adaptor which enables them to mount - but which will mean a 2x magnification factor. So a 2/3" lens which is an extreme w/a zoom on a 2/3" camera becomes a so-so average lens on a 1/3" camera. Added to which their resolution will be optimised for 2/3", and they may well be soft on the 1/3".

You may be able to physically mount them, but there's not a lot of point in doing so.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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I've never been a big fan of 1/3" CCD HDV cams, basing this on my experiences with the JVC HD200 and the Sony Z1. Obviously 1/3 cameras have progressed tremendously since then, especially with the CMOS' better sensitivity to low-light.

Now, the Canon XF line has been accepted for full acquisition by the BBC - a 1/3" 3MOS camera having full HD broadcast acceptance. Obviously, this has a lot to do with the codec, but the imaging technology has improved as well. Can Discovery HD (Silver) be far behind in accepting 1/3" 3MOS cameras for full acquisition, provided the codec is strong? What about ESPN? CNN? National Geographic? Will the big networks re-think their reluctance to use smaller chip cameras?

I'd love to have an XF or a Sony EX alongside my HPX500, but finances dictate I stick with one format. I've always been confident my HPX500 would get me the freelance jobs I need - until now. I get some work with Fox News, and they use P2, so I think I should stick to P2 for now. So, for right now, is there any job the 370 can't do that my 500 can? The 370 is a lot lighter, form wise.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 09:49 PM   #5
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Thanks Matt, I saw that camera in another forum topic.
It looks great, but...how much does it cost? If it is the replacement for the HPX3000, will it also have the $48,000 price tag? I think, because it's in the smaller HPX370 body with just 2 card slots, it might be cheaper. I don't think it'll be anywhere near the $9,000 price tag for the 370, and that's at the limit of my budget.

Oh, and I just found out the HPX300/370 cams are the main cameras for NBC News, so I guess that does make them full-broadcast accepted. The AVC-i 100 codec is good enough for Discovery Gold. Is the rest of the camera good enough as well?
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Old August 24th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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"Broadcast" grade is diffuse term....it will always come down to what you are shooting and on what budget.

There are much more to a large 2/3" cameras than just chip size. There`s no way you can pack as advanced internal processing into a cheap 1/3" camera as even mid range 2/3" cameras. Ofcourse the Hpx370 offers more than a small 1/3" camcorder, but it`s still 1/3" cmos.

A 370 offers 10-bit and full raster chips over the 500`s 8 bit pixelshifted solution. So if the client requires a sharper image, then a 370 might offer more than a 500...as long as there`s light. The 500 is better in low light, no cmos artifacts, better dynamic range and the handy 2/3" DOF. Also there are more lenses available for 2/3".

I would consider to look for used hpx2000 if the hpx500 continue to get turned down.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 04:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
Oh, and I just found out the HPX300/370 cams are the main cameras for NBC News, so I guess that does make them full-broadcast accepted. The AVC-i 100 codec is good enough for Discovery Gold. Is the rest of the camera good enough as well?
Right at the start, in answer to the question of "are 1/3" chips good enough for broadcast?" I said "depends who the broadcaster is". I could have added "and the type of work".

You say the NBC are using 300/370s for news - that is not the same as general broadcast acceptance. The problem is not the codec, and a good codec doesn't make a good camera by itself. At present it is extremely difficult to make a camera meet full requirements with 1/3" chips, and only Canon have managed it. Part of the problem is the optical requirement, and I suspect Canon may have had an advantage with a non-interchangeable lens design.

This is not to say the 370 is a "bad" camera - but compared to your 500 then OVERALL it seems a bit like taking two steps forward, two steps backwards. Better in some ways, worse in others.

If you have to stay with P2 for compatability, there's a lot to be said for what Christian recommends - look for a secondhand HPX2000.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 07:50 AM   #8
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Glen,

You could use an external recording device over HD-SDI to improve your HPX-500 like the Nanoflash or Panasonic type model or look at your books and determine how many jobs you lost or might lose by staying with your current camera.

As freelance owners, there is only so much of this 'format of the week' approach from the HD era we can afford. When you buy the HPX-370 and your next client says "we don't want 1/3" chips" where will you be?

NLEs can edit almost anything these days on the same timeline.

BTW, was the job you lost going to pay enough to consider buying a new camera for? Personally my willingness to participate in the HD tech run has been exhausted. Most every camera from $1,000 upward can create a really nice image. Not every shoe fits, but the images are better than the codec arguments imply. If somebody ask me to shoot something but only from a certain format I would have to ask them to explain themselves. And if that format is the high end like AVC-Intra they better have a budget that is high end to justify their lofty needs. --end of rant!
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Old August 26th, 2010, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Glen,
You could use an external recording device over HD-SDI to improve your HPX-500 like the Nanoflash or Panasonic type model or look at your books and determine how many jobs you lost or might lose by staying with your current camera.
To my knowledge as an HPX500 owner the HD-SDI output is 8-bit, not 10-bit. So not too much gain there, appart from higher bitrate. The dvcprohd codec ain`t the shortcoming, take a look at what the old varicam or hdx900 delivers. For what it is the 500 is a good camera, the trade of will always be the chip resolution and SD vf, but also you must take if for what it is. It was never meant to compete with high end cameras, or 1080p razor sharp ones...

As I said, look for a used Hpx2000 if you have all the other gear, that`s a completely different beast...which will leave both the 500 and 300/370 trailing in the dust behind.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #10
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Why do you have to own? Unless you shoot for spur of the moment clients who need you there in 10 minutes, renting saves you from all of these difficult decisions. I own the AG-HPX170 but when clients are vacillating between XDCAM EX or AVC INTRA or 2/3" 1080 native full raster vs. 1/3" AVC INTRA, I just rent. There has never been a more intelligent time to rent. When the market is so fluid and technology is outdated in a few weeks or months, why on earth would you own? As much as I think the AG-HPX370 is a great camera, it is 1/3" and that will be a limiting factor for a number, not all, but a significant number of my clients. I am fine with clients who want to shoot on the best camera on the market, AS LONG AS THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT. If they aren't, shop elsewhere or lower their expectations.

If your clients are hiring you because of your gear anyway, you need different clients. Hopefully clients are hiring you because of your skill and intelligence as well as your artistry. I am always suspicious when clients call and ask, "do you have a (insert flavor, format or codec of the month)?" and they don't care about seeing your reel or asking your opinion or strategy about how to best overcome the challenges of their project. That is seldom a good call or a good project.

My .02,

Dan
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Why do you have to own? Unless you shoot for spur of the moment clients who need you there in 10 minutes, renting saves you from all of these difficult decisions. I own the AG-HPX170 but when clients are vacillating between XDCAM EX or AVC INTRA or 2/3" 1080 native full raster vs. 1/3" AVC INTRA, I just rent. There has never been a more intelligent time to rent. When the market is so fluid and technology is outdated in a few weeks or months, why on earth would you own? As much as I think the AG-HPX370 is a great camera, it is 1/3" and that will be a limiting factor for a number, not all, but a significant number of my clients. I am fine with clients who want to shoot on the best camera on the market, AS LONG AS THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT. If they aren't, shop elsewhere or lower their expectations.

If your clients are hiring you because of your gear anyway, you need different clients. Hopefully clients are hiring you because of your skill and intelligence as well as your artistry. I am always suspicious when clients call and ask, "do you have a (insert flavor, format or codec of the month)?" and they don't care about seeing your reel or asking your opinion or strategy about how to best overcome the challenges of their project. That is seldom a good call or a good project.

My .02,

Dan

I do have some spur of the moment clients. I have several calls a month where the client calls and wants a shoot that day or the next, and I can always say I'm available. I do use my HPX500 camera a great deal. Like I said, it has been profitable for me.

I dunno how much clients are hiring me for my skills, certainly not for my intelligence.

This particular client wanted to rent an AVC-intra 100 capable P2 camera. 1/3" chip size was OK with him, he needed the AVC-i camera as a b-cam to a Varicam. Mine is not, I lost the rental fee. I rent my camera, not often, but it's a tool for my company, it makes me money. I prefer clients rent me with it, but whatever.

I guess I was surprised because my 2/3" camera lost a job to a 1/3" camera. I agree the 1/3" size will probably limit the 370's usage - maybe. In this case, format won over chip size. If AVC-i is the coming HD format, it'd be nice to have the gear necessary to grab those jobs.

It'd be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison between the 500 and the newer 1/3" 3MOS cameras, like the 370 and the Canon XF line. I would not be surprised if the newest 1/3" cams make a better, cleaner picture, depth of field notwithstanding. I'm guessing sensors have come a long way even since the 500 was released.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #12
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Sorry, I did not know this was a rental situation. At 720p the HPX-500 will hold its own. In 1080p the higher resolution chips will show their larger pixel count.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #13
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BTW, the HPX3100 should be about $29,800. Add another $4,000 for the viewfinder.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #14
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Me too Glen, I didn't realize that you rent your camera out, I thought it was for you as a DP/owner/operator.

It is a tough time to own cameras as an occasional rental facility. The 370, while I have not shot with it, is a better version of the 300, which I have shot with quite a few times. The 300/370 are both leagues sharper than the 500. But the 500 is better in low light. To me, the 370 is cheap enough that if I were in your position, I would consider buying one, not as your A camera but perhaps for those times when the clients have to have AVC INTRA. With everything needed, you are well under $10k.

In the long run, I agree Panasonic needs a contender to the Sony 350 and a replacement for the 500. It will undoubtedly be full raster 2/3" CMOS, will shoot AVC INTRA to P2 and hopefully can be bought with a kit lens and VF for around $20k. The 2700 on the U.S. market $19.5k special is a screaming deal but with a good lens, AB battery setup and a worthy tripod head and cases, you are still around $35k to $45k, still broadcast outlet territory more than small production company territory. Right now, a used HPX2000 with the AVC INTRA board and good used broadcast HD lens is the only thing in that price slot.

Dan
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Old August 27th, 2010, 10:53 PM   #15
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To clarify, I lost the job because I did not have an AVC-i camera. Since my conversation never got beyond "do you have an AVC camera." I don't know if they needed a shooter as well. It might have been a shooter/camera package deal. Someone had to work the camera, right?

I have seen used HPX300s going pretty cheap, considering they're only one year old. I think the 370 has, unfortunately, decreased their resale value. That's a possibility as a b-cam.
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