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Old March 14th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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New for NAB

I received a call from a Panasonic rep (for the first time ever) yesterday, checking to see what my plans were for new equipment. I told him that I was waiting for a small form-factor camera that would record high-quality 1080p 60fps, and he said that he hadn't heard of anything in that size category coming soon. He also said that he didn't have any definite information, but that something in the way of a shoulder-mount 1080p 60 fps camera might be unveiled at NAB. I know that this is only a rumor, but I thought it might be worth sharing.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #2
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Interesting. I'm waiting for a contender for the Sony 350 EX camera, an updated HPX500. This maybe it?

Otherwise, I'm expecting to see an AF100 update...
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Old March 15th, 2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: New for NAB

According to one of my sources there has been little noise coming from Panasonic about new product for NAB. Doesn't mean anything for sure. I see lots of things they could be doing but I often am wrong at how fast things change and my expectations from Panasonic are low this year. They are not like Apple which can announce the new iPad one week and release it 12 days later.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 02:44 AM   #4
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Re: New for NAB

AVC-Ultra could make a comeback if this indeed comes to fruition. This may be the year broadcast 1080p60 becomes introduced if BDUs provide more powerful set-top boxes, or a new revision of the ATSC standard would be introduced and put into practice.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 06:35 AM   #5
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Re: New for NAB

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Originally Posted by Mark Donnell View Post
.........something in the way of a shoulder-mount 1080p 60 fps camera might be unveiled at NAB. I know that this is only a rumor, ........
That could mean two things - a camera with the ability to shoot 1080p/60 (which implies a new codec to go with it) OR a camera which is a true "1080 Varicam". I'd expect the latter to be more likely.

At the moment Panasonic seem to have two very distinct ranges with the 2000 and 3000 series. The 2000 series are based around a 1280x720 chip, but do have slo-mo capability in 720p. The 3000 series are true full-res 1080 - but with linited or no variable speed, and no 720p mode at all. The obvious "hoped for" product is a true 1080 capability with the ability to overcrank to 60fps at 1080.

From what I hear it had better come soon. The obvious competitor is Sonys PMW500, and whilst that doesn't offer full slo-mo in 1080, it does offer a full 1080 mode, together with a 720p mode with slo-mo. That seems to be selling very well, and is already becoming something of a standard - Panasonic COULD trump it with full res 1080 slo-mo - but they need to do it very soon.

If such a thing does come about, I don't see it being cheap - not the HPX500 successor Sanjin hopes for.

A far as an AF100 upgrade goes, then don't underestimate the task. When Panasonic developed the AF100, it was in response to DSLRs, and was basically putting a stills chip in a video package with more optimised processing than DSLRs had at the time. A good idea in principle, but it could never hope to be as good as a camera with a large format chip purpose designed for video. And unfortunately for Panasonic, that's exactly what Sony announced even before the AF100 was in the shops. With the C300, Canon rubbed the point home. An AF100 upgrade could be fairly simply done by using the GH2 sensor in place of the GH1 - GH2 users are already reporting better results than the AF100 gives. But it would still leave a lot lacking compared to the FS100, especially in terms of sensitivity. Would it be worth it?

The real solution, to really answer the critics, is a purpose designed chip - but that takes time, is expensive, and very unlikely to happen yet. (Unless it was already being developed alongside the AF100.) It also raises the question of what size to purpose design it to? S35 or four-thirds? Given the AF100, four-thirds must seem the obvious choice - but S35 is the traditional standard, and it's what both Sony and Canon have gone for. Compared to four-thirds, S35 has about twice the area, and that translates to a stop advantage in sensitivity and depth of field control. It's one thing to cheaply make use of an already existing sensor, but if you're going to the expense of purpose designing one, do you really want to do it in the full knowledge that it will still be second best to the competition? (Even if getting over most of the flaws of it's predecesssor?)
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Old March 16th, 2012, 11:51 AM   #6
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Re: New for NAB

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An AF100 upgrade could be fairly simply done by using the GH2 sensor in place of the GH1 - GH2 users are already reporting better results than the AF100 gives. But it would still leave a lot lacking compared to the FS100, especially in terms of sensitivity. Would it be worth it?
Off course it's worth it. There is a price gap between the AF100 and the FS100. It's a 1100€ price gap (taken from CVP). So I see no problem with AF100 being an inferior camera compared to FS100 regarding IQ as it is a cheaper camcorder.
So I say bring us an improved AF100. Panasonic usually makes a revised model, don't they? So the notion of an updated AF100 with the GH2 chip isn't so far fetched (along with some other improvements). And with all the special offers that end just before NAB make this IMHO even more possible.

I personally never liked the IQ of AF100. It looks like an DSLR. And I especially dislike the purple/blue hue that I saw on a lot of videos made with the AF100. Don't know if this is CA or not, but if it is CA it's all over the place.

Regarding the supposed upcoming shoulder mount camera I agree with you David. Sony is really rocking it with the PMW500! I wonder what are they thinking at Panasonic?? And I never understood why they didn't include 720p in the new HPX-XXXX models! I think that this was/is a mistake from Panasonic.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #7
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Off course it's worth it. There is a price gap between the AF100 and the FS100. It's a 1100 price gap ........ So I see no problem with AF100 being an inferior camera compared to FS100 regarding IQ as it is a cheaper camcorder.
So I say bring us an improved AF100.
I agree with a lot of that. I don't like to think in terms of "good" or "bad" cameras - rather how they relate to each other and in relation to what they cost. Initially the AF100 was a similar price to the FS100 and as such was definitely not a good buy.

So what is the right price? Both the FS100 and the AF100 offer operational advantages over DSLRs - XLR inputs, form factor etc. But the FS100 also offers significant image quality improvements over DSLRs - the AF100 doesn't, it's a DSLRs innards in a video camera box. (Witness all the reports of the GH2 IQ being a little better.)

In that case, don't you think people are now feeling it expensive compared to a DSLR, rather than cheap compared to such as the FS100? If you are going to pay a lot more than DSLR money, why not go a bit further still? In that respect, nearly 3,000+VAT (body only) still seems too high to me. I'd say around 2,000-2,500 would be more realistic.
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Panasonic usually makes a revised model, don't they? So the notion of an updated AF100 with the GH2 chip isn't so far fetched (along with some other improvements). And with all the special offers that end just before NAB make this IMHO even more possible.
I certainly think it's a possibility, but do bear in mind that such an improvement will be incremental. Such an "AF200" will still be a DSLR innards in a video camera body, and as such will still be inferior to an FS100, let alone the more expensive large format cameras, and will still be four-thirds. There is now an expectation for s35 in a camera like this.

It comes back to is such an upgrade worth it? If the extra price it can command is not that much, then taking into account development costs and losses from having to sell off old AF100 stock, I'm not sure it would be.

An upgrade to a "designed for video" chip is a different matter. Yes, a lot more to do, but then it can start to command a bigger premium, and seriously look at rivalling Sony and Canon.
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I personally never liked the IQ of AF100. It looks like an DSLR.
That's because fundamentally it is DSLR innards in a more ergonomic package! Second generation DSLR video processing, true, which gets away from the abysmal chroma aliasing of early DSLR video, but it's only by going to a purpose designed chip that some issues (like highlight handling and sensitivity) will ever be really addressed.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #8
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Re: New for NAB

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There is now an expectation for s35 in a camera like this.

It comes back to is such an upgrade worth it? If the extra price it can command is not that much, then taking into account development costs and losses from having to sell off old AF100 stock, I'm not sure it would be.
Panasonic obliviously made a "legacy" problem for them selfs with the m4/3 standard. s35 is where it's at but they are swimming partially against the current with the m4/3. If you ask me - now they have to continue the m4/3 line of cameras. There are lots and lots of people invested in m4/3. Maybe they should keep the AF series of cameras put them in a 2.5k - 3k price range and create an s35 chip and put it in a 5k - 7k price range. But they would probably want to have a lower end camera and a higher end camera that use the same glass, so I doubt that this will happen. Another idea is to keep feeding the AF100 line the chips from the GH DSLRs and alongside have an AF200 line that has a purpose designed m4/3 video chip.

But still they will always have the problem of the m4/3 size. If they will create a digital cinema camera it really should be an s35 and not an m4/3. I don't think that m4/3 would get accepted in the movies crowd nearly as well as an s35 format - so coming from this perspective it wouldn't be wise for Panasonic to push the m4/3 format in the C300, F3, scarlet price range. Although scarlet is a true digital cinema camera compared to the more broadcast oriented C300 and F3...

We'll see what happens. I think that they should keep the m4/3 standard but keep it in the lower end 3k price range Where it Belongs and create ans35 format camera in a higher 10k price range where it belongs and just forget about the m4/3 standard.
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Old March 18th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #9
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Re: New for NAB

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I think that they should keep the m4/3 standard but keep it in the lower end 3k price range Where it Belongs and create ans35 format camera in a higher 10k price range where it belongs and just forget about the m4/3 standard.
I see where you're coming from - but it contradicts what you say about "But they would probably want to have a lower end camera and a higher end camera that use the same glass, so I doubt that this will happen", doesn't it?

And that's the problem. A strong rationale for future high/low end models to at least share the same size sensor - same glass - and another strong rationale to go 4/3 for the low end, s35 for the higher. And if you do go for a common size, there's a lot of advantage in s35. Developing the AF100 around exisiting 4/3 tech made a lot of sense when there was no competition, but it's given a nasty legacy headache now.

Have you seen the thread about Canon making another announcement at NAB? One possibility is a little brother to the C300, and if that's so the competition is going to get far hotter still.

The other thing to think about is the likelihood of an inexorable move to 4k. If s35 sensors have a big edge
over 4/3 now, that's likely to be even more the case in a 4k world.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: New for NAB

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Have you seen the thread about Canon making another announcement at NAB? One possibility is a little brother to the C300, and if that's so the competition is going to get far hotter still.
Yes I have. This NAB is going to be exciting. I just wish that Panasonic is going to release something that I can use my P2 cards with. Don't want to sell them, and I don't want to buy the 250.

Panasonic is going to lose a lot of potential customers if they don't bring a better AF camera to the market. I'll laugh if they bring a new AF100A with a GH2 sensor, the same DSP and give it a price tag of 5k (same as FS100). If that happens I'll sell my HPX171 and all it's gear and switch camp -> Sony!. Or Canon if they bring something worth buying (in the 5k segment) to the market...
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 01:01 PM   #11
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Re: New for NAB

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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
An AF100 upgrade could be fairly simply done by using the GH2 sensor in place of the GH1 - GH2 users are already reporting better results than the AF100 gives. But it would still leave a lot lacking compared to the FS100, especially in terms of sensitivity. Would it be worth it?
Hi David, Obviously you are not aware of the fact that it is the same silicon in the AF100 as it is in the GH2, but with better DSP to offset the skew and other MOS artifacts.

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Old March 23rd, 2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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Obviously you are not aware of the fact that it is the same silicon in the AF100 as it is in the GH2, but with better DSP to offset the skew and other MOS artifacts.
I was going on the fact that every single side by side comparison I've heard of says that GH2 video is BETTER than the AF100 - http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/new-cano...ml#post1706618 - for just one example. Two posts down Sanjin posts two comparative grabs from Phil Blooms tests, which seem to give substance to the claim. I could post other references all saying pretty much the same thing. The general assumption (which I repeated) has therefore been that the difference was effectively down to a newer sensor in the GH2 and the likelihood of the GH1 sensor being used in the AF100. If this is not the case, I'm happy to accept that as so.

So can you answer why, if they do share the same sensor, there seems to be a strong consensus that the GH2 is doing a better job than the AF100, at least in terms of image quality? Maybe the differing DSPs are minimising skew at the expense of other attributes?

This does mean that there is therefore no easy simple improvement path for the AF100 then, doesn't it? I don't dispute the AF100 compares well with DSLR video - but is simply nowhere near the standard of the large format cameras with "designed for video sensors"? (C300, F3, and FS100.) And that applies to resolution, aliasing, sensitivity, dynamic range and a host of other factors.

I previously said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath
When Panasonic developed the AF100, it was in response to DSLRs, and was basically putting a stills chip in a video package with more optimised processing than DSLRs had at the time. A good idea in principle, but it could never hope to be as good as a camera with a large format chip purpose designed for video.
I have no doubt that Panasonic have the wherewithal to compete with Sony and Canon, but not with the AF100 - it needs a large format chip purpose designed for video. When can we expect that from Panasonic?

And will it be 4/3 or s35?
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 06:23 PM   #13
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Re: New for NAB

@Jan...Thanks for giving us a decent large sensor camera with proper ND filters, XLR audio, greater than 12 minute record time and other goodies we need for video. Looking forward to the next iteration.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 07:10 PM   #14
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Re: New for NAB

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So can you answer why, if they do share the same sensor, there seems to be a strong consensus that the GH2 is doing a better job than the AF100, at least in terms of image quality? Maybe the differing DSPs are minimising skew at the expense of other attributes?
I was curious enough about that question to enquire further, and got this answer:
Quote:
I believe it is correct that the GH2 and the AF100 share the same sensor but read different sections from it. The AF100 reads just under 12 million pixels, the GH2 just under 14 million. To see how this is look at the diagram marked Multi-Aspect Sensor here at the bottom of the page - Panasonic DMC-GH2 Review: Digital Photography Review

The GH2 sensor in 16:9 mode has dimensions of 4976x2800 and the resolution before aliasing appears to be based on one quarter of that, 700 lines. This is as in the diagram. In 4:3 mode, the GH2 sensor has dimensions of 4608x3456 and it seems when used in the AF100 the used area is a 16:9 crop of that and not the bigger area as used in the GH2 itself. I do not know why. Hence the effective area used in the AF100 is 4608x2592, and doing the same calculation as before gives an expected resolution before aliasing of 648 lines.

These figures, 648 and 700, closely agree with measured results. The difference is not huge, but is noticeable, and explains why so many people are reported GH2 video sharper than the AF100. Both cameras show a lot of luminance aliasing, but virtually no coloured aliasing, unlike most other DSLRs.

It's easy enough to prove all the above if you have a GH2 and AF100. Put then side by side and shoot video with them locked off with the same lens. You will find the angle of view of the GH2 to be a bit wider than that of the AF100, the above theory predicting about 8% wider.
And all of that now makes sense to me. They do indeed physically share the same sensor, but it seems the AF100 is not making full use of it. The USED area in the GH2 is 17% bigger than in the case of the AF100, 17% more photosites! Who has both cameras and is going to test the angle of view theory?
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Old March 24th, 2012, 05:06 AM   #15
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And all of that now makes sense to me. They do indeed physically share the same sensor, but it seems the AF100 is not making full use of it. The USED area in the GH2 is 17% bigger than in the case of the AF100, 17% more photosites! Who has both cameras and is going to test the angle of view theory?
David, very interesting. I to didn't know that the AF100 uses the GH2 chip. This makes me wonder what they can do to improve it? A better DSP I guess...? It also makes me think that an upgraded AF100 is not coming. The probability of an P2 AF100 is IMHO a bigger possibility judging from this new info we acquired. That or a completely new s35 camera that will be announced at NAB and lunched in late Q4.

Here I found a test from Texas media with both the AF and the GH mounted on top of each other. It's all hand held so it's not really good. Panasonic GH2 mounted on top of an AF100 with the same lens on both - YouTube
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