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Old January 27th, 2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

I'm considering several different brands of HD cameras right now - I'm investigating the HPX300 now.

--What's the best brand of P2 cards to buy and best price 32GB cards that are reliable? (how many minutes should that give me of 1080i?)

--Also for batteries - best long last batteries (hoping for 4 hours a battery) - would need 3 then.

--I've never gone tapeless before but with the P2 cards - is the best workflow simply to transfer the cards into my PC each night after filming and then do a immediate backup of the P2 files on my PC onto a bluray data disc?
Reuse the cards the next day.. card reader suggestions besides the camera?

--I'm also having trouble finding any good night/low light clips online. Youtube has been limited to barely one page when I type in HPX300 night. Any links to good clips would be appreciated. Looking to use this for independent filmmaking.

Will be editing premiere pro cs5.5 (PC 64 bit windows 7) with the footage.

Thanks.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #2
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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Originally Posted by Jeff Dean View Post
.......best price 32GB cards that are reliable? (how many minutes should that give me of 1080i?)
As a quick rule of thumb, it's very close to 1 minute per GB. To a reasonable approximation, a 32GB card lasts 30 minutes for 1080i/25, and the same for 720p/50.
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--I'm also having trouble finding any good night/low light clips online. Youtube has been limited to barely one page when I type in HPX300 night. Any links to good clips would be appreciated. Looking to use this for independent filmmaking.
The HPX300 is not the best of cameras in low light. If you can keep to 0dB, you may not be too bothered, but if there are circumstances which just can't be lit adequately and it's gain or nothing, it's not good. It's the problem of putting 1920x1080 photosites on a 1/3" chip. I wouldn't rely on Youtube clips to make any judgement - there are just too many variables to really know what you're seeing, let alone the online compression.

Personally, I'd look long and hard at the the PMW320 as an alternative in this price range. It's comparable in many ways to the HPX300 but the real advantage is 1/2" chips versus 1/3". That gives it a big advantage in lower light, and better depth of field control as well. (Equivalent to an f stop.)
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

I'd go for the new HPX250 over a 300. The 250 has the same chipset as the HPX370, and it's $2,000 cheaper.
I've only seen Panasonic P2 cards. i think Fuji made some, but I'm not sure if they still do.

For the price of an HPX300, you can also get the Canon XF300/305. It's a very good camera and uses cheaper CF cards. Unless you want a shoulder mount.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 03:33 AM   #4
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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Originally Posted by Jeff Dean View Post
--What's the best brand of P2 cards to buy and best price 32GB cards that are reliable? (how many minutes should that give me of 1080i?)

P2 cards are all reliable! I've never heard from anybody about a P2 card failing or anything. It's not like buying CF cards where you have lot's of different manufacturers and speeds, prices, reliability, etc. P2 cards cost more or less the same from all manufacturers. So just buy Panasonic brand P2 cards.

As for buying 32GB cards I newer really saw a point in doing that. 32GB cards cost app. 400€ and 64 cost app. 600€. The first has 12,5€ per GB and the second 9,37 per GB. So it's cheaper buying the 64GB cards.

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Originally Posted by Jeff Dean View Post
--I've never gone tapeless before but with the P2 cards - is the best workflow simply to transfer the cards into my PC each night after filming and then do a immediate backup of the P2 files on my PC onto a bluray data disc?
Reuse the cards the next day..
Why would you bother with blu-rays? Just buy two 2TB or 1 TB or what ever capacity disks you want. Copy the cards to both disk - and that's it. Have a third disk to work off and unplug and store the first two.

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Originally Posted by Jeff Dean View Post
card reader suggestions besides the camera?
As far as I know the only reader avaliable is the Panasonic AJ-PCD2. It goes around for app. 300€. It's ok but what bothers me is that it's USB 2.0! So the transfer speeds aren't that fast as you can imagine.

HPX300 isn't the best camera for low-light. PMW320 isn't either. It's better than the HPX but still...
I personally would chose the HPX370 over PMW320 because of the internal codec - for everithing else I would chose the PMW320 with out a thought. I know you can attach an external recorder to the PMW but I really don't want to mess with that.

And yes premiere CS 5.5 work's just well with P2. I use media browser - don't import footage.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 03:39 AM   #5
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

Appreciate the advice. Will take a look at the 370 now.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 06:47 PM   #6
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger View Post
HPX300 isn't the best camera for low-light. PMW320 isn't either. It's better than the HPX but still... I personally would chose the HPX370 over PMW320 because of the internal codec - for everithing else I would chose the PMW320 with out a thought.
The difference between the PMW320 and the HPX300 seems to be well over a stop, and for two cameras not very different in price I find that very significant. Given the choice, then yes,I'd prefer a PMW350 to a 320 - 2/3" chips are far better still - but that's going to a totally different price range.

Otherwise you're right - the only undeniable advantage the HPX300 has over the 320 is internal codec - in pretty well every other respect the PMW320 is superior. Personally, I find that less of an issue than the front end differences, you can see those easily in pictures straight off the camera, the codec differences are far more subtle. But a shame the 320 doesn't have the 50Mbs codec like the Canons........
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

I'm not saying this to be a smart ass or anything - but why would you want an ENG camera rather than a AF100 or 5/7d for shooting narrative films? Especially if low light is your main concern?

I own the HPX370 because I shoot events which are always low light. For me ergonomics are number 1, low light is number 2. I also like the reliability of P2.

If low light is number 1 then a 5d with a 50 prime is very hard to beat.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 03:55 AM   #8
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

The PMW320 is just an EX3 in an ENG body like the 370 is to the 250... and there isn't too big of a difference between an EX3 ad a 370 with the noise filter on in terms of sensitivity. DVXuser.com - Articles

Also, yes, the codec is a subtle difference if you don't do anything with it, but in my own comparisons of 5D vs. 370 footage, the 5D clips started to show compression blocks and the noise picked up as if I had shot the clip with a stop more sensitivity as soon as I started to grade and change colors around.
The 370 probably doesn't look too hot out of the gate, but the codec is so tough it won't show artifacts or aggravate the noise even if you technicolor your clips to mars. 4:2:2 is a big consideration for green screen, and you only get that with the Panasonic cams or the XF300.

An HPX250 is probably a better deal right now as you're saving money and getting a smaller package.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 04:22 AM   #9
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

The PMW320 is just an EX3 in an ENG body like the 370 is to the 250... and there isn't too big of a difference between an EX3 ad a 370 with the noise filter on in terms of sensitivity. DVXuser.com - Articles

Also, yes, the codec is a subtle difference if you don't do anything with it, but in my own comparisons of 5D vs. 370 footage, the 5D clips started to show compression blocks and the noise picked up as if I had shot the clip with a stop more sensitivity as soon as I started to grade and change colors around.
The 370 probably doesn't look too hot out of the gate, but the codec is so tough it won't show artifacts or aggravate the noise even if you technicolor your clips to mars. 4:2:2 is a big consideration for green screen, and you only get that with the Panasonic cams or the XF300.

An HPX250 is probably a better deal right now as you're saving money and getting a smaller package.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Dean View Post
--What's the best brand of P2 cards to buy and best price 32GB cards that are reliable? (how many minutes should that give me of 1080i?)
64gig Panasonic cards, with which you'll get: 72 minutes of 1080 60i/30p and also 720 60p; 89 minutes of 24p. The camera holds two cards, so you can double those figures.

Quote:
--Also for batteries - best long last batteries (hoping for 4 hours a battery) - would need 3 then.
The 3xx has an astoundingly low power draw, a dionic90 will easily last for over 4 hours, I can shoot all day on one battery if I don't need the camera turned on all the time, if I had two I could keep it on all the time.

Quote:
--I've never gone tapeless before but with the P2 cards - is the best workflow simply to transfer the cards into my PC each night after filming and then do a immediate backup of the P2 files on my PC onto a bluray data disc?
Reuse the cards the next day.. card reader suggestions besides the camera?
Just hookup the camera or plug cards into card reader, import using P2CMSsoftware, name clips/set metadata/etc, export to external drive array, and access the footage from there. Only delete footage from the camera once you're sure everything is backed up and no need for Blurays.

Quote:
--I'm also having trouble finding any good night/low light clips online. Youtube has been limited to barely one page when I type in HPX300 night. Any links to good clips would be appreciated. Looking to use this for independent filmmaking.
I could go out and shoot some night time footage and then upload the raw footage, if you'd like, YouTube compression blurs away too much to be of use.

Quote:
Will be editing premiere pro cs5.5 (PC 64 bit windows 7) with the footage.
CS5.5 edits AVC-I like butter, won't have any trouble there.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 05:08 AM   #10
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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Originally Posted by Konstantin Kovalev View Post
The PMW320 is just an EX3 in an ENG body like the 370 is to the 250... and there isn't too big of a difference between an EX3 ad a 370 with the noise filter on in terms of sensitivity. DVXuser.com - Articles.
The article you link to dates from the introduction of the 370 as a successor to the 300, and it's interesting to read it in hindsight. It also needs to be realised that it's far from impartial, if anyone was in any doubt! One phrase especially stood out at me: "What a difference a year makes. Panasonic has indeed taken all that was good about the HPX300, fixed the shortcomings, and even refined it a bit more for news usage."

Unfortunately, it wasn't so. The act of "fixing the shortcomings" of the HPX300 brought problems of their own, and most notably the "noise-ghost" issue. After a lot of silence, Panasonic finally acknowledged the issue and brought out a "fix" - which returned the 370 to effectively a 300 in terms of noise. So now we're back to the original (acknowledged) shortcomings.......
.
Quote:
Also, yes, the codec is a subtle difference if you don't do anything with it, but in my own comparisons of 5D vs. 370 footage, the 5D clips started to show compression blocks and the noise picked up as if ...........The 370 probably doesn't look too hot out of the gate, but the codec is so tough it won't show artifacts or aggravate the noise even if you technicolor your clips to mars. 4:2:2 is a big consideration for green screen, and you only get that with the Panasonic cams or the XF300..
Sorry, but those conclusons (that the codec is everything) just aren't valid. Ability to grade is not solely dependent on codec, it's dependent on a host of other factors, including the general quality of the camera front end. I don't doubt your observations - 370 footage is better to grade than 5D - but why therefore conclude it's down to codec? I think you'll find it's far more likely down to front end differences, and the 5D footage would still be more difficult to grade even if it recorded to AVC-Intra.

And if greenscreen is your concern, it's on exactly that area that I was shown a demonstration of the shortcomings of the 371. (By someone who went on to buy a PMW320) The "noise-ghost" issue manifests in trails of noise behind moving objects. Normally, it's not that evident, though once you've spotted it you can't ignore it. (Think of lying in bed and hearing a babies cries very, very faintly in the middle of the night......) But on a greenscreen test the visibility was magnified many times, the increased noise levels on the "ghosts" showing up far worse after the key.

And that happens regardless of the codec. It would have been considered unusable (for keying) even if uncompressed.

One other interesting quote from the article linked to is "Because that's what their marketing says it says that their 1/3 chips "rival the image quality and sensitivity of 1/2" imagers." Bold claim. Is it true?" I remember that marketing claim, it was the headline claim - and I also remember looking at the HPX370 site subsequently and finding the claim was no longer there. (see Panasonic AG-HPX370 Professional High Definition Video Camera - Camcorder )

My conclusions are that 1/3" sensors cannot rival 1/2" sensors, and I think Panasonic are (privately) now only too aware of that - hence the quiet withdrawal of their previous marketing claim.
Quote:
An HPX250 is probably a better deal right now as you're saving money and getting a smaller package.
Well, it depends whether you want a shouldermount or smaller form factor camera. The big negative in my mind v the HPX250 is that the lens is servo as regards focus and iris. In cheaper cameras it may have to be accepted for cost reasons, but here the competitors are the XF300's and the EX's - both of which have far more professional lens operation.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #11
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

I buy all my P2 cards used at about 50-60% off the new price.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 08:18 AM   #12
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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Sorry, but those conclusons (that the codec is everything) just aren't valid. Ability to grade is not solely dependent on codec, it's dependent on a host of other factors, including the general quality of the camera front end. I don't doubt your observations - 370 footage is better to grade than 5D - but why therefore conclude it's down to codec? I think you'll find it's far more likely down to front end differences, and the 5D footage would still be more difficult to grade even if it recorded to AVC-Intra.
I didn't say the codec is everything, but that there are definitely circumstances where it makes handling certain lighting situations or getting a certain look easier.

Quote:
And if greenscreen is your concern, it's on exactly that area that I was shown a demonstration of the shortcomings of the 371. (By someone who went on to buy a PMW320) The "noise-ghost" issue manifests in trails of noise behind moving objects. Normally, it's not that evident, though once you've spotted it you can't ignore it. (Think of lying in bed and hearing a babies cries very, very faintly in the middle of the night......) But on a greenscreen test the visibility was magnified many times, the increased noise levels on the "ghosts" showing up far worse after the key.
When shooting against a screen, it is probably going to be in a studio or at least very controlled environment, and so having the noise filter active is pointless since you're going to be shooting at -3db anyway; no ghosts then.

Quote:
My conclusions are that 1/3" sensors cannot rival 1/2" sensors, and I think Panasonic are (privately) now only too aware of that - hence the quiet withdrawal of their previous marketing claim.
Well, no arguments there... if someone's thinking about getting a camera with 1/3" chips, one should have some idea of what they're getting into. I didn't expect the 370 to knock my socks off, but it isn't crippled by any means either, its just like any other 1/3" 3-chip camcorder. I still don't think the difference between 1/3" and 1/2" is that big though, 1/2" is just 70% bigger in terms of area, but 2/3" has well over 3x the area. If I really wanted a bigger chip cam that badly, I'd probably go with the PMW350 instead, since it's not much more expensive.

Quote:
Well, it depends whether you want a shouldermount or smaller form factor camera. The big negative in my mind v the HPX250 is that the lens is servo as regards focus and iris. In cheaper cameras it may have to be accepted for cost reasons, but here the competitors are the XF300's and the EX's - both of which have far more professional lens operation.
It's not really clear what the OP wants exactly at this point.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #13
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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When shooting against a screen, it is probably going to be in a studio or at least very controlled environment, and so having the noise filter active is pointless since you're going to be shooting at -3db anyway; no ghosts then.
Less ghosts - but you're back then to a noisier camera! True, negative gain may help in that scenario (though then reducing highlight handling) but chromakey is just one example of a post process where the "noise ghosts" may severely limit any post manipulation. The only real safe way may be to use the 371 "fix" all the time, but then you're effectively back to a 300, and it's acknowledged shortcomings.

In the very first line of the article you linked to, even Barry Green describes the 300 as "a brilliant but flawed camera".
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I didn't expect the 370 to knock my socks off, but it isn't crippled by any means either, its just like any other 1/3" 3-chip camcorder. I still don't think the difference between 1/3" and 1/2" is that big though, 1/2" is just 70% bigger in terms of area, but 2/3" has well over 3x the area.
No, and I would never describe it as "crippled" - "just like any other 1/3" 3-chip camcorder" may be a fair description. That's not what the article you linked to says though - the summary concludes "they've created a 1/3” chipset that matches and even outperforms the competition's 1/2” chips." And that has been proved now to be nonsense, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

As regards the amount of difference, I have to disagree with your maths. In area terms, the ratio of differences follows the squares of the diameters, so 1/9,1/4,4/9. If we take the area for 1/3" as 100%, that makes it 225% for 1/2" and 400% for 2/3". 1/2" is 125% bigger than 1/3" in terms of area - not 70%. In area terms 1/2" is closer to 2/3" than 1/3" !

That translates to over a stop for raw sensitivity, and corresponding gains in depth of field control and diffraction limiting. (Neither of the latter two even being mentioned by Panasonic in 1/3" v 1/2" comparisons.) No, not as good as 2/3", but a pretty big difference all the same. This is before we even start to think about advantages like alternative lens availabilities.
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If I really wanted a bigger chip cam that badly, I'd probably go with the PMW350 instead, since it's not much more expensive.
I've just looked up prices at a main UK retailer and they list the PMW320K at 7,720, the PMW350K at 13,710. If you can tell me anywhere that is selling the PMW350 at not much more than the 320 I'd be very grateful indeed!

Their current price for a HPX371 is 7,295, so as P2 is more expensive per minute or recording, by the time you've paid for memory, the 371 and the PMW320 are pretty much neck and neck. No, I don't think the 371 is "crippled" by any means - but I do think overall the PMW320 represents much better value for about the same money. If it had the XDCAM 422 codec, it'd be a one horse race.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 05:26 AM   #14
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

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As regards the amount of difference, I have to disagree with your maths. In area terms, the ratio of differences follows the squares of the diameters, so 1/9,1/4,4/9. If we take the area for 1/3" as 100%, that makes it 225% for 1/2" and 400% for 2/3". 1/2" is 125% bigger than 1/3" in terms of area - not 70%. In area terms 1/2" is closer to 2/3" than 1/3" !
Diagonal sensor sizes:
1/3" is 6mm √2 = 8.48
1/2" is 8mm √2 =11.31
2/3" is 11mm

Just to compare with photography, which I'm very familiar with, an APS-C sensor has almost exactly half the area of a full-frame sensor, which results in a stop of difference. There is less than a stop of difference between each size going up with the sensors listed above. It's often very difficult to tell the difference between captures made by an APS-C and FF cameras, but starts becoming noticeable when the linear size doubles, such as going from 4/3rds to full-frame.

Quote:
I've just looked up prices at a main UK retailer and they list the PMW320K at 7,720, the PMW350K at 13,710. If you can tell me anywhere that is selling the PMW350 at not much more than the 320 I'd be very grateful indeed!

Their current price for a HPX371 is 7,295, so as P2 is more expensive per minute or recording, by the time you've paid for memory, the 371 and the PMW320 are pretty much neck and neck. No, I don't think the 371 is "crippled" by any means - but I do think overall the PMW320 represents much better value for about the same money. If it had the XDCAM 422 codec, it'd be a one horse race.
I'd never take UK prices as a serious comparison of any object's worth... But I'm surprised they have it for nearly double the price there. Assuming new prices, the 350 is $7k more state-side than the 320, and I'm pretty sure I've seen a used one go for around 15k. Money starts becoming less of an object once you break the 10k barrier, so 12k vs. 19k doesn't seem as big a deal as going from 7.2k to 12k when comparing the 370/320k.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #15
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Re: considering HPX300 but ? on P2 and batteries/low light

Hate to kind of thread crap here, but this thread perked my interest as I am also looking into some of the same cameras for a few of the same uses. On the Panny side I was looking at the 250, 300 and 370. Sony side EX3. And Canon xf305. Camera budget is around $7500 or around there. So most likely looking used. My uses are mainly for green screen studio events and live interviews via SDI out. (both sd and hd transmission) No low light situations that I know of. Any thoughts as to which one would be best for these two situations? I prefer the ergonomics of the Panny 300 and 370 or any shoulder cam. But am open to change with the right camera.

Hopefully Jeff, some of their input to my questions will also help you with your decisions. If I should have made a new thread, I apologize and will delete this post. It would have mirrored this one though. Thanks.

Last edited by Mike Bagley; February 26th, 2012 at 04:12 PM.
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