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Old April 15th, 2011, 11:22 AM   #16
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Re: XF300's new competitor

I have had P2 for two years now and it is a very good system that is worth paying for as I have not lost a single frame of footage, the E-ser cards are now cheaper and faster and the HPX371 is now approved for BBC HD use so the HPX250 will probably join it soon as the AVC Intra 100 codec with 10 bit 4.2.2 is about as good as it gets.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #17
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Re: XF300's new competitor

I would say the 250 is going to be the camera for the Producer shooters who are working in P2 workflows like NBC Universal wanted and freelance stringers as well. There was no smaller camera which matched codec with the 370 type cameras they said they wanted to use.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 03:34 PM   #18
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Re: XF300's new competitor

Why am I thinking that most of the people in this thread who are bagging on P2 have never used P2? P2 is far superior to CF or SD cards, more robust, reliable, faster and the AVC INTRA codec is the most sophisticated camera codec on the market. It is a professional camera. P2 is a professional format. Why would Panasonic want to try to figure out how to try to squeeze that big codec stream onto a cheaper, less reliable, slower form of media?

If you don't like P2, wave goodbye to AVC INTRA and step down to the AVCHD codec and consumer SD flimsy media in the 130 and 160, Panasonic has you covered. Or buy the Canon, it is a good camera as well and I like CF cards better than SD card. Good codec too but I like AVC INTRA better.

Can't believe that people are still complaining about the cost of P2, after the E-Series and all of the price drops. I have been making a living with my P2 cards since 2006 and the complaint has been the same for the entire 5 years, waaahhh, P2 is too expensive. Please. You get what you pay for. I've used SD cards with my audio recorders and consumer camera and CF cards with my Nikons and my 5D MKII. Nothing wrong with either format format but P2 is a league above.

I, for one, am really, really happy that the new higher end 3D camera and the HPX250 DO use P2 cards, bravo Panasonic, that's how it should be, pro codecs using pro media for pros and prosumer/consumer for the "I need to shoot 28 hours of footage a day for weddings and events" crowd. Makes sense. Can't wait to audition the HPX250 on some real projects.

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Old April 16th, 2011, 03:59 PM   #19
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Re: XF300's new competitor

I have used P2 and I am buying the Canon. P2 holds no advantage and the codecs are more than equivalent in my clients eyes.

Any camera, and or the media is uses, are only superior if you see an appreciable gain over the more affordable alternative and I don't with P2.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 04:42 PM   #20
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Re: XF300's new competitor

Different strokes Kirk, nothing wrong with buying the Canon, it is a nice camera. CF cards, while not as robust as P2 cards, are leagues better than SD cards. The Canon has a great screen, killer lens for a fixed lens camera and nice features. BBC-approved if you ever end up shooting for them.

Same with the codec. AVC INTRA 100 is a more sophisticated and higher resolution than the Canon's codec and it is intraframe but in practice, the Canon's codec is capable of beautiful images and is very robust for an interframe codec.

I think that overall, the new Panasonic AG-HPX250 and the Canon XF300/305 are going to be pretty evenly matched and it will come down to which one has a picture that appeals to you more. Those who own P2 cards like me will naturally skew toward the Panasonic, those who don't will probably skew more toward the Canon because of the perceived lower cost of CF, although really top of the line CF cards aren't that much cheaper than P2 but you do have the option of buying cheap, no name media for the CF format that isn't possible with P2.

If I were in the market for a new camera, I would be totally happy with either unit. I am supposed to be at the top of the list for a review unit of the HPX250 as soon as they are available in a few months and I have shot with the XF300. Thank goodness we have such nice choices to make.

Report back if you buy the Canon, would like to hear how you like it.

Dan
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Old April 17th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #21
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Re: XF300's new competitor

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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
...but you do have the option of buying cheap, no name media for the CF format that isn't possible with P2...
Although I would say that isn't a GOOD option. Since Canon just released a firmware update specifically to support some additional Lexar CF cards, it is pretty clear that the make and model of CF cards CAN matter. Some functions might not work with cards not on the Canon approved list.

Along with my new XF105, I bought two 64GB Sandisk UDMA6 cards for $500 apiece. I don't know how that compares with P2, but I don't consider it cheap! Then again, I can record simo to the two cards for record-time redundancy, and being top-flight Sandisk, they'll be useful down the road for just about any device of any brand that uses CF cards. So unfortunately, all these variables don't make a person's decision any easier!
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #22
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Re: XF300's new competitor

When I look at P2 prices, the memory cost is in line with higher level CF cards. What makes "P2" more expensive is the AVC-Intra codec is most often run at 100mbps. This makes record times a lot shorter for the money compared to a 50mbps codec.

I realise that AVC-Intra comes in a 50mbps variety, but it is not square pixel and does not have as favorable reviews as the 100mbps version.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #23
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Re: XF300's new competitor

Panasonic AJ-P2E064XG 64GB E-Series P2 Card AJ-P2E064XG B&H

Not a whole let more expensive.

Dan
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:58 AM   #24
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Re: XF300's new competitor

P2 is a great professional storage solution. You really don't have to worry while shooting that your material is going to get lost or something in the process of production. I've been using P2 for about a year now and haven't lost anything - except for the one time when I accidentally pressed format:)

I am prepared to pay a premium for a more reliable storage solution. It helps me with the filming process as I don't have to worry about anything going wrong. To me this is worth the extra $$$.

And as Dan points out P2 cards aren't that expensive any more. I've just purchased a 64GB card for 605€ (VAT included).


Oh yes, I to am very happy that Panasonic finally announced a successor to the HPX170/HVX200 series of camcorders. For a while there it wasn't looking to good. But I guess this was inevitable because of all those users who invested in the P2 with the HPX171 and the HVX200 and also the HPX500. Lot's of people waiting for an upgrade!
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Old April 20th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #25
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Re: XF300's new competitor

I really understand both sides of this thread. For me, high bit rates, single frame sharpness, and incredible color make the Panasonic P2 cameras my choice without competition. I too have never lost a frame with P2, except when I failed to press the record button ! On the other hand, some of my best non-video friends watch SD TV on a very small screen and are as happy as can be. For them, high bit rate video would be wasted. It all depends on what you want to do with what you record.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 07:22 AM   #26
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Re: XF300's new competitor

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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
I really understand both sides of this thread. For me, high bit rates, single frame sharpness, and incredible color make the Panasonic P2 cameras my choice without competition. I too have never lost a frame with P2, except when I failed to press the record button ! On the other hand, some of my best non-video friends watch SD TV on a very small screen and are as happy as can be. For them, high bit rate video would be wasted. It all depends on what you want to do with what you record.
Totally agree.. horses for courses.. the various merits can be thrown around till the cows come home.. if your work is high end.. buy P2.. doesnt matter the cost,thats whats required and the rate is higher.. end of story.. if your work doesnt require it.. if your reputation is not down the drain if a card screws up.. or you have to shoot all day long.. get the cheaper stuff.. and you can work for a lower rate.. everyone is happy..
The only worry is when you pay for the best and it screws up.. which doesnt seem to be the case with P2.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 08:05 AM   #27
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Re: XF300's new competitor

IMHO, nothing sad about P2 media. Rock solid.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 03:06 PM   #28
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Re: XF300's new competitor

Any news on a more specific release date?
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Old July 24th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #29
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Re: XF300's new competitor

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Originally Posted by Ned Soltz View Post
IMHO, nothing sad about P2 media. Rock solid.
Yup had my P2 system for over two years now and not a single problem!
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:15 AM   #30
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Re: XF300's new competitor

Well I just had a ‘hands on’ look at the HPX250 at our SMPTE expo here in Sydney. Viewing was done on a Panasonic high end BT-LH2550E 1920x1080 monitor. Putting aside the pluses and minuses of P2 vs. Flash cards here are a few basic observations on the 250 vis-a-vis the Canon 305. In all fairness to Panasonic please bear in mind that these are all subjective observations made over about an hour of exposure to a pre-production 250.

It's big, feels bigger and bulkier than the Canon 305, though no more awkward to hold or use than the 305. Panasonic told us it would now come with a 22x lens not the 21x as originally outlined on the preliminary brochure. No sign of the Leica name on it anywhere. Who makes the lens is any ones guess. With a 72mm filter diameter it looks way smaller than that massive 82mm front end on the Canon. Sharpness? The lens was sharp but not edgy, quite pleasant overall from what I see and judge. Only real observable downside was that from full wide to full zoom there appeared to be a fair amount of fall off. Best I could judge was a good two stops light loss maybe more. Not surprising I guess for a 72mm front end with 22x zoom length. The biggest lens downer for me was the 'endless focus' ring. Round and round with no end stops!! It works but Canon wins hands down in that dept with its switch to manual end stops. The 250’s zoom and iris rings though were fine although the power zoom felt a little bit lacking in control finesse. But there again I'm comparing it to 2/3" type HD lenses with speed regulators and damping. In reality it's pretty good at the price point the camera is aimed at, one cannot argue with that. Just me being a bit picky!

The 250 VF and screen are both good and on a par with the Canon 305. Maybe the Canon might just have the edge on the flip screen. All the 250's I/Os, card slots, 2 x USB, fire wire, SDI, Genlock etc were all on the rear. Well placed and neatly grouped. The audio XLR inputs are up front on the handle assembly near the top mic. I prefer the Canon's lower XLR inputs which keep audio input cables just above the tripod head or just in front of your right hand rather than the handle high inputs on the 250. The high XLR inputs with two cables in them on the 250 could block right side peripheral vision somewhat compared to the Canon.

The 250's ND filter wheel is positive and gives you one clear plus three ND, like most pro cameras, very nice. Panasonic wins here as I feel their ND filter selection wheel, though in an unusual position, beats the Canon everyday. Much more positive to work with feel wise. The on / off / cam / media selection switch is also much better on the 250 over the Canon 300 series with their 'whoops!' overshot it again slide switch.

Much prefer the audio level setting dials on the 305 as they are above one another and approached from the left rear and can be locked in position once set if so desired. The 250 ones are also on the left rear but at the bottom of the camera and line astern. If the camera is on a large tripod head such as a Sachtler 15 / 18 or similar the dials are awkward to get to because those head top plates are wide. It leaves very little finger clearance and makes the audio controls fiddly to work with.

A dislike on both the Canon and the Pana is that both lenses rely on those tiny Lanc type connectors for remote zoom demand. Positively not very nice if you have been used to proper zoom demand controls from Fujinon and Canon. Why they didn't do something like Sony did with their EX series, where you could use a pro zoom demand with the addition of a short multi-pin adapter cable, I don't know. Why those flimsy 3.5mm mini plug things in the back? Poor decision from both companies IMHO. If you have to work on a tripod with your left hand through to the zoom rocker the 305 wins. The rocker is a ‘straighter’ reach through the handle than the 250 rocker, which is further forward. Neither is as impossible to zoom left handed though as an EX3 where the EX rocker is in line with the front part of the carry handle where it joins the camera body. Who designed that? Do any of these companies actually talk to and observe camera ops in the field to look at the ergonomics of camera design? If they do they don't seem to learn a lot from it.

The Panasonic reps told us that the three-chip block in the 250 is one evolution up on the block in the 370. Whatever. It’s pretty impressive up to 12dB, quite quiet smooth and even. With gain up and fast movement there didn't appear to be any trailing softening artefacts like the earlier Panasonic 300 series 1/3" chips. I was quite impressed by the sensitivity displayed by the HPX 250. Not at all bad for a 1/3" three chip camera for sure. The CMOS / MOS, whatever you want to call them, pan /skew error issues also seems to have improved over the earlier Panasonic 300 series. As good as the Canon 305 is, although not super brilliant in low light with gain up, the 250 beats it quite easily at higher gain levels. The added bonus with the 250 is that it has built in flash band compensation in its hardware / firmware. An absolute positive compared to the Canon or Sony cameras for that matter. What did surprise us was when the Panasonic reps stated that the 160 models would not have the flash band correction firmware?? Seeing as that both the 160 and 250 are supposed to share the same front end I would surmise that the 160 would have flash band correction when it is fully released. Time will tell I guess. The only 160 on display was a mock-up in a glass case, no touchy no feely!

For me only an accurate real world test with both of them side by side would really explore the dynamics, strengths and weaknesses of these two mighty little cameras. My main interest would be the lens performance between the Canon 305 and the Panasonic 250 / 160. Most 1/3” chip cameras start to suffer quite serious lens diffraction stopping down past f5.6 with a very noticeable softening of the image. The Canon 305 has proven to be pretty decent down to f8.0. That 305 ‘L’ series lens is one good piece of glass. If the Panasonic HPX250 lens can match the performance of the Canon lens it would be a hard choice to make. Hope someone does a good controlled shootout between the pair once the 250 is released.

Chris Young
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