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Old October 8th, 2010, 08:47 PM   #1
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Imagine a future HPX500....

If Panasonic decides to upgrade this ol' warhorse, what do you think they'll do to it? All conjecture, of course.

I see an HPX590 or 600 as:

HPX3100 body, including the two P2 slots.
2/3" CMOS chips, to save costs - maybe even 1/2"?
AVC-intra 100 codec.
Hopefully, a true HD EVF. Doesn't the 370 have an HD EFV?
Menus very similar to the HPX370.

Basically, a 2/3" version of the 370s. I think it'd be a terrific camera.

Since the current 500 is priced at $15,000, I figure a price point of about $20,000. Still a lot of camera for the money, way less than the 3100. Packaged with an inexpensive HD lens, ala Sony PMW 350, and the price goes up a bit. In fact, it'd be a direct competitor to the Sony, but with a far superior codec.

In spite of the new large sensor cameras coming out, I still think there's a big market for 2/3" cameras.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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I agree. The only open segment in Panasonic's line would be a direct PMW-350 competitor. If you put a CCD in it you would have an HPX-2000!

The only hangup is if the CCD is full 1080p, it would be one of the few cameras they make that is full raster. That give pause to offer the camera at a sub $20,000 pricepoint.

Personally, I don't care too much about 1080p but I do wish Panasonic would become less stingy with their menu options in the sub $20,000 cameras. The HPX-500 is completely limited imho for image control (by design I'm sure).

I think buying a used HPX-2000 will be a viable alternative well into the future even after new models have been released.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:13 AM   #3
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Most of their big cameras are "full raster", just that some are full raster 1280x720.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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Now that the technology is nearly there with the AF100 could we now see an HPX600 with some of the following:

4/3 sensor and AVC Intra 100 codec in a 370/3100 eng style body form?

So basically a 4/3 version of the 370?
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Old October 20th, 2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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We might see the AF-100 shoulder mount but I wound not consider it an HPX-500 replacement. Lenses would be the main reason.

Folks who buy a camera like an HPX-500 have or need servo-driven 2/3" large zoom range lenses. Shooting with primes or slower manual zooms just does not fit the bill for a lot of "video" work.

The AF-100 is really intriguing but it really is a cinema style camera.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #6
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Discounting everyone's wishes for a 2/3" low end camera and something to compete against the Sony PMW-350, if you look at the market objectively and where the market seems to be heading, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Panasonic never comes out with a successor to the HPX-500. They have the new high-end in the 3100 and they have the low end covered with the HPX-370. It would seem logical to introduce a successor but I know that the president of Panasonic USA was recently quoted as saying something like, "the HPX-370 is the new mid-range camera". They sold a boatload of them to NBC and have done pretty well selling them to other users as well. It would be really interesting to see if the market for $15k to $20k 2/3 ENG form factor cameras is stagnant, growing or shrinking overall?

Perhaps they will wait to see how the AG-AF100 sells before deciding upon a strategy? Think about it, the HPX-500 wouldn't have existed if the HVX-200 hadn't have been a huge success, right? If the AF-100 removable lens 4/3 lens strategy does as well as we all think it will do, perhaps instead of the replacement for the HPX-500, perhaps there will be an AF-200 with the same sensor but AVC-Intra with P2, 10-bit HD SDI out, etc. Yes, I know, not everyone wants a cine video camera, but look at how many news outlets are shooting with HDV and yes, even Canon DSLRs.

If I were them, I would be waiting to introduce the successor to the HPX-500, the market is evolving and changing radically, almost weekly. When a more clear direction is indicated, then I would move on introducing the successor.

Just speculating, I don't anything about strategy for Panasonic, but it just seems like the market is changing so quickly that I don't know if there is a large enough demand for a replacement worldwide.

Dan Brockett

Last edited by Dan Brockett; October 21st, 2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #7
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The HPX370 the eventual successor to the 500? Interesting concept. I'm sure the images it takes are sharper than the 500's, even with 1/3" CMOS sensors. I could see swapping my 500 for a 370, if it can bring in work for me. I like the AVC-intra codec.

Perhaps the new reality is that 2/3" sensors are not necessary on a modern broadcast camera. The smaller cameras are taking such amazing images, and with a strong codec maybe there's no longer justification for the higher expenses of the 2/3" cameras. The 1/3" Canon XF300 is cleared for full acquisition from the BBC - that's quite an endorsement.

Has any HD network accepted the 370 for full acquisition?
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Old October 20th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #8
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These financial times are not the best situation to be introducing new expensive cameras. Like Dan said everything is changing so rapidly that it is quite a risk to allocate the resources.

Panasonic sort of painted themselves into a corner by going with pixel shifted image sensors from the beginning. This skewed their lineup. While the images don't reflect the numbers, their CCD cameras are all a notch down from their Sony counterpart. If they were to upgrade the HPX-500 what would they do without stepping on an exisiting camera? As I mentioned before in this thread, the HPX-2000 is a native 720p camera and it costs $20,000 for the body only. The HPX-500 for all intensive purposes is a 720p camera. There is nowhere to go outside of a CMOS variant or a 1/2" chip model which Panasonic for some reason has sworn off.

So I agree with Dan. I think they are going to ride this one out.

With regards to 1/3" chip cameras taking over the world. I think it is a shame but things cost what they cost. Cameras like the AF-100 and the DSLRs are breaking down barriers because in the past the 2/3" chip cameras where the only way for non-film shooters to get some more selective focus. The presence of the AF-100 kind of diminishes the "king" status of the 2/3" chip cameras a bit.

But they can not change physics and the 1/3" chip cameras do suffer from diffraction a lot earlier in the aperature range as well as suffering in light gathering. We will see. But I bet when/if Scarlet comes out a lot of the news folks will want that 2/3" chip look in a small package. I know if it is right the scarlet might be the HPX-500's replacement for me as it will allow the use of 2/3" chip lenses with the prism adapter.

Between the AF-100, Sony's probable answer and Scarlet dropping the next year or so will quite interesting.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 04:04 AM   #9
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I suppose if I look at my own business and how costs need to be kept low the HPX301 and the AF101 with my nikkor primes will cover most of my shooting needs.

The BBC budget has just beed reduced by 16%-20% and the licence fee frozen for six years so the way ahead for low end production has to be at these levels.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 08:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
With regards to 1/3" chip cameras taking over the world. I think it is a shame but things cost what they cost.
This is very interesting, as it's in exactly this market that I now have a fairly immediate interest. And it's the emergence of 1/2" models from Sony that tends to now make me think that things don't necessarily "cost what they cost". Their real achiement over the last few years has been bringing out 1/2" cameras - at a price point that was previously reserved for 1/3" cameras. In the case of the EX1, it was also at a size/weight point that was previously associated with 1/3" cameras.

As regards the AF100, then I don't see it leading the way to more general purpose cameras, and that's largely down to lens issues. What it brings to the table is less depth of field at reasonably wide angles of view, and that may be exactly what some people want. But it seems a long way off before there's likely to be any sort of decent long zoom range lens with a good wide end, and controls of the type that are taken for granted on 2/3" lenses. There must also be big questions about how much any such lens would cost, and what sort of size/weight it would be.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 01:42 PM   #11
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I think you are the perfect example Gary of this brave new world. All of us are having to do a lot more with a lot less, I know I am. The reality is that budgets in our business are being strangled in all forms of media and entertainment. The DSLR revolution has served to only hasten that. You now have kids and lots of other people who can go and buy a 7D and rig it up for a few thousand dollars and obtain decent looking images.

Yes, I know that for many of us techno-geeks, the images are technically low resolution and fundamentally flawed as far as being perceived as high quality, but the market has spoken and many, many clients frankly don't care and can't see the difference. Do any of you recall the conversations we were having six or seven years ago about web video and how "flickering, postage stamp sized web video would never achieve the mass acceptance of broadcast television?" Well, look where we are now. Web video has taken over a large part of the world, broadcast is in a slow decline and media is being seen everywhere, television sets are just an ever shrinking part of the equation. Smartphones, iPads, iPods and computers are the future of where out work will be seen.

I shot an EPK package a few weeks ago for a music video shoot. Because the set was lit at very low levels, I used my 5D MKII to shoot the BTS footage, came out great. Guess what the A camera was on the music video? T2i. Amazing, I was using a camera that cost three times as much as the A-camera to shoot the BTS. The video is almost finished and I have seen a rough cut and it looks really good. Really good for the concept, very organic. Where do music videos get seen these days? On the web. Is a T2i good enough for web video? Definitely. They had a full G&L package, nice location, great talent, great crew. All shot with an $800.00 plastic camera.

I think that we will go through some of this dichotomy with cameras. Sure, everyone wants to shoot with an Epic or an Alexa but the reality is that few budgets support even renting camera packages that are that expensive anymore. The reality is that a HUGE portion of "professional" work is being done with sub $10k cameras and an even more impressive amount of work is being done with sub $3k cameras. I have shot two PBS Specials this year with just my HPX170. Passed PBS Red Book and were broadcast and looked amazingly good. Would I have rather used a "real" camera like a 2700? Definitely. But traveling extensively on both with a crew of two, low budgets and quick turnarounds meant that my 170 was the only option that made sense and it worked out okay.

I would be very interested to know just how many PMW-350s Sony is selling worldwide and how many HPX2000/2100/2700/3000/3100s Panasonic is selling worldwide as compare to two years ago and five years ago. I bet the numbers have fallen by a massive amount.

It will be interesting to see what Panasonic does but if you go off of past history and statements made this year by senior Panasonic management in the media, I wouldn't hold your breath for a 500 replacement. May happen later or may never happen.

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Old October 22nd, 2010, 03:32 AM   #12
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Thanks Dan that is very kind of you to say that, I just wish I didn't have to bang on to the broadcasters that if they want lower costs then they have to lower their demands for us to invest in high end kit.

I was going to invest in a 2700 earlier this year but I didn't and I am glad I took to continue hiring them as I would not have made my money back. besides I have used the 301's on several full HD broadcast projects and no one queried it as the AVC Intra 100 codec is so good, they also were very happy with the lower daily rate for the 301 but at the end of the day it was me and my DOP skills that brought the highest value to the shoots.

The big worry is though that the broadcasters here in the UK are now looking at self shooting by production staff on cameras such as the canon 305 for most things apart from drama so I may well be redundant like most of the old school technicians.

The BBC are already advertising for the new school of programme makers and they are coming from the graduate world rather than in house or established freelancers, they are all used to shooting with a Z1 type camera making their student films so off they go!
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