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Old March 11th, 2011, 10:57 PM   #1
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HPX370 vs. HPX2000

Hello,

I've been recently thinking about upgrading from a HPX170 to a HPX370. The 2k rebate was the tipping point for me. I was all set to list my 170 on ebay and place my order for the 370, when I got a line on a HPX2000 that someone is liquidating from a company. It has the AVC-Intra card already install and I might be able to swing the price (around 15k)

I've been looking to move to a more full size camera for sometime. I've used the 500 a few times and really enjoyed shooting with a 2/3 camera (dof shots have been a breeze) With the 170, I had to play with it quite a bit to throw the background out of focus and I'm afraid that the 370 will be no better. Shooting 1080p 10-bit is very appealing to me - but 720p 10-bit on a 2/3 camera is very intriguing too.

If it was just price, I would go with the 370. (HPX2700 is just a little too rich for me right now.) The HPX2000 seems like a good in between camera until I can afford (or have the client base) for a higher end camera.

It's a classic a 1/3 chip, cmos, 1080p, 1920 x 1080, AVC-intra vs. 2/3 chip, CCD, 1080i/720p, 1280 x 720 AVC-intra kind of question.

Which would you go with?
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Old March 11th, 2011, 11:35 PM   #2
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

I was in the same position as you recently.
I had a 500 and wanted to upgrade to a 2000. But I just couldn't justify the costs for my needs. I wanted a sharper image than what the 500 delivered, so I looked at the 370, but finally decided on a Canon XF305.

If you can get the clients, the 2000 is a very good camera. You'll have more control tweaking the image. But it's not a full raster cam, and all the newer cameras have this feature. I'm wondering - will the lack of 1920x1080 quickly date the 2000? Who knows?
I would guess the 2000's images would beat the 370 or the 305, but...maybe not, I dunno. It will have better DoF and better low light ability.

I can't get over the feeling that big-bodied, non-full raster 2/3" cameras like the 2000 are becoming dated. I can see the new trend in smaller bodies, like the new 3100. I think 2/3" cams will become smaller still.

If you can wait a bit more, Panasonic has announced that they'll be releasing some new ENG style cameras at NAB 2011. Panasonic said news organisations have asked for a lighter, cheaper ENG camera, and Panasonic hints that they'll fulfill this need. I'm betting any new cams will be full raster 1920x1080, AVC-i capable. Just a guess.
Unfortunately, NAB is after the $2,000 rebate on the 370. You still have some time to choose.

Just to add - have you looked at the XF305 and Sony EX1R/3 cameras? These might be good alternatives.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 04:54 AM   #3
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

I agree the first generation P2 camera's are now getting dated and whist the 2000 is a very good camera a new 370 or the latest from panasonic (HPX-600?) will give you five years warranty and the latest technology.

Wait till NAB as it may be that the new ENG style camera could be the long awaited replacement for the 500 and will be pitched to compete with the sony 320 and 350.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #4
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

Just thought of something:

If the 2000 deal includes the lens, batteries and viewfinder, then that's a killer deal. Because if it doesn't, expect to pay many thousands for a good HD lens, at least a thousand for batteries and about 2 thousand for the HD viewfinder. And you will probably have to update your tripod to a stronger unit - the 2000 isn't light. Expect to pay another several thousand for that.

So the $15,000 HPX2000 deal can quickly become a $25,000 investment, depending on what it comes with.

The 370 will include the lens and EVF, and you already have the P2 cards, but you're still going to have to invest in large batteries. Add another 1.5 - 2 grand or so for at least 3 batteries and the recharger/ power unit. Your tripod may or may not need to be updated.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

John:

You have answered your own question and it all has to do with your clients. Do you have a client or client(s) right now how will give you enough work to pay off either camera within a month or two? If not, "buy it and they will come" is the worst business model imaginable. I own the 170 also, great camera, but it was paid off two months after I bought it.

For these amounts of money and for how the business seems to be skewing, I think buying any camera is insane right now. We are right before NAB where all of the shiny, new toys will be introduced and the paradigm is shifting to cheap, cheap, cheap. The only people who should buying any cameras right now are the people who have jobs and contracts already booked and signed that will pay for the new gear. Buying gear these days in the hopes of people hiring you because you have said gear is not a wise business move. But most people in production are terrible business people and they buy based off of emotion. Very few production people make intelligent, rational and logical purchases. It is a business.

Dan
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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #6
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

I agree with Dan (as usual!) but I have another angle. In my view, I try not to get caught up in the resolution/mega-pixel race when looking at cameras. To me, the HPX-2000 is an incredible camera and so much more desireable than an HPX-370. I have seen programs on Nat. Geo and Discover shot with the HPX-2000/HDX-900 that were beautiful and in no way lacking resolution. One series was on Nat. Geo and some guys were landing great white sharks on a platform connected to a ship. The image quality of the show was stunning.

With the state or non-state of Blu-ray I would take "full raster" with a grain of salt. 720p looks great to my eyes. The HPX-370 might be more affordable but I see the HPX-2000 as a better investment and a better camera.

You have to also ask, will your clients say, "wow, I am gald you are shooting full raster now because before you just were not with the program!" If they do then your decision is made.:)
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Old March 14th, 2011, 09:47 PM   #7
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

Thanks for the input everyone.

I am curious to see what is going to be released at NAB this year, but any
announcements now means the products will not be shipping until fall. I would
like to go ahead and move on this soon. Both cameras are excellent deals. I just have to figure out if the 2000 will hold its own for the next few years (like the HDX900) or hope that the 370 doesn't become another camera of the month.

I think the 2000 is a good deal. It comes with a viewfinder, 2 dionic 90s, a
charger and camera plate. No lens, but I have a friend who has a 10 year old
canon J series lens he would lend to me until I'm able to afford a HD lens. If I
get project with a budget, I can always rent an HD lens. I have found myself lately renting the 500 for larger projects and the 2000 can certainly replace that camera. I also picked up a used Vinten 8 a few years ago thinking that I would eventually go to a larger camera - that should be able to handle it.

As far as paying it off, I wish I was busy enough to pay for it in a few months.
If I was I would just get the Varicam. (: I can probably have the 2000 paid off in little
over a year (the 370 would be paid off in a few months). That's not too long of a period, but my fear is that a 720p non full raster camera my not be in demand in a few years. The only thing that gives
me pause is the popularity of the HDX900. Many shooters say it's because of the demand for tape by some producers, but it really does have a very nice image and that has to be an influence too. I just wonder if the 2000 would have the same legs as the 900. It's a gamble.

I have noticed in the last year getting specs sheets from producers specifying 1080p 10-bit, but they seem to be looking for someone with the right gear, rather than the right reel. The 370 can certainly fill that bill, but I'm still not crazy about going with another 1/3 camera. The image looks great online and on DVD, but I really want to start pushing into other areas. Dan is right, I don't want to have the mindset of buy it and they will come, but the price is such that I could charge a little more than a 500 and my clients would accept it.

I'll probably pop on one these cameras tomorrow. Thanks again for being a sounding board.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 09:44 AM   #8
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

John, one last bit of input from me. In my view, if a client is of the stature to request a higher end HD camera as well as 1080p 10 bit I think you can safely bet on this being a professional production which will involve decent wages and room for rental of the expensive camera.

I do not know what kind of work you do but in this era I think it is insane if people expect businesses to own $30,000+ camera setups just for the asking. In other words, if they need the high dollar cameras they better be paying the high dollar wage.

So if you are chasing formats, expectations and requests I would lean towards owning cheaper and renting more expensive.

As far as the HPX-2000 lasting into the future, I know I will be shooting 720p60 until they come out with 1080p60 that can be delivered on a Blu-ray (basically the end of time!) But I am a closed house and make my decisions solely based on the image I want to produce for my work and I do not shoot much 24p.

Good luck and let us know what you end up doing.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 11:39 AM   #9
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

I agree with Tim and suppose it is what I have done too, I bought the HPX301 two years ago as it was a good sub 10k camera inc P2 cards and with the choice of codecs it was great value for money for most of my shooting.

It just got it's first NTSC hire job so it even has that capability, as for the high end broadcasters I hire in my HPX2700 / 3700 camera's as needed and then also use the 301 as a b-camera.

The 2000 is a great camera too but the 370 would be brand new and with a lens all covered by a five year warranty.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 04:13 AM   #10
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

Dan Brockett

Good post, but i've often noticed different people have different ideas about what "paying off" a camera purchase entails. Some think that because they have a 5k job their new EX1 - for example - has been paid off after one job, when of course they could have rented one for less than 500 and put 4.5K in the bank.

A more realistic approach would be to work out how much rentals are going to cost, and what the resale value of the camera is likely to be when you part with it. Working on this basis, most people are going to have to have a significant period of guaranteed work to justify buying the camera's being mentioned above.

If, like me, you're in the sub 5k camera area, it makes less difference, because i like to own these camera's for personal projects too and am prepared to pay for the privilege. But when it comes to the pricier models, you really need to know the cash is going to be forthcoming. Especially in these very tough times when there seems to be far less work about than there was a couple of years ago.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #11
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

That's a very good point Dom. I used to own a $75,000.00 BVWD600 back in the day and with the lens and tripod, this package was over $100k. Those days are gone for me, I would never buy any camera over $10K anymore, it's not worth it when you can rent the best if you have a need for it for a broadcast or film project for a very reasonable cost. The technology changes too quickly and is outdated too quickly for me to pump tens of thousands of dollars into new cameras anymore.

I own an HPX170 and a 5D MKII and I feel the same way, I am prepared to pay for the privilege too as you are, because I use both cameras mostly for clients but also for some personal projects. To me, a camera is paid off when I have billed it out as a line item enough to pay for the camera, I tend to just keep my cameras long term and not sell them off used but if I was using expensive cameras, I would.

Unless you are a working pro, making a living on either billing out your camera to clients or renting it out to other DPs, this is one of the worst times in decades to buy a camera. The technology is getting better and better and cheaper and cheaper, leaving previous buyers at a decided disadvantage.

Dan
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Old March 17th, 2011, 03:59 PM   #12
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

These are good points and outline the difficult situation that is today.

I am a big fan of owning. A couple points I see about owning is that you can sell the camera at any time which of course will be less but makes up for your purchase price compared to rental. All of the while you have a tool that you have time to learn and get the best image out of. When you roll into the rental shop, pick up a camera and shoot the next day you are kind of at the mercy of how well it is setup as you have no time to test settings etc...

All of this depends upon work flow. If you do not have the work then it does not pay to buy a camera.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 03:30 AM   #13
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

Tim

Good points. There's a lot to be said for owning a camera, knowing how to get the best out of it, and knowing where everything is without having to think about it.

I think there is a great case for buying used in this climate. There are loads of EX1's around at half their retail price, often including media cards, batteries, filters bags etc. Of course there's a certain risk involved, but you can buy them for a couple of jobs and put them back on ebay and if you"re lucky get more than you paid for them. If you buy new, you're always going to lose 25% before you've done anything.

Camera's are a bit like expensive musical instruments. People with lots of cash to spend buy them thinking they're going to be putting them to good use. A year later they find they've barely taken them out of their bags and they have something new they want to spend money on, so off to Ebay they go. Some of the usage hours on Ebay cameras - and guitars - is amazing. Quite often, these items are virtually brand new.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #14
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

For me the biggest reasons to own are:
- I live in Vermont, many hours from the nearest rental house.
- I work overseas a lot, and sometimes with days of downtime.
And I like to stay on after a shoot and holiday when I travel overseas.
A rental would get very expensive.
Ed
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Old March 18th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #15
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Re: HPX370 vs. HPX2000

I also agree, buying used (sorry to say for the manufacturers) is probably the best route right now. One advantage to buying broadcast gear is it is not as common as consumer gear and the users are more serious. This leads to a little more trust and information about the equipment.

Although I will admit, I will buy new if the tech is so improved that there is a longevity increase. For example, if the RED Scarlet turns out to be what they say it will be I will be in line to buy. It might just take the place of a lot of 2/3" cameras on the market.
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