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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #31
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Re: Hpx 600

The new catch phrase for TV news is MMJs, or "multi-media journalists." In other words, the reporter shoots and edits their own stories. Quality of the images be damned, the stations just want to save some coin. Because of small HD cameras and laptop editing, this is now possible. As an 11-yr veteran of TV news, I find this pretty sad.

It makes me wonder if there is even room for cameras like the HPX600 and PMW350 in TV news operations. I can see the 600 being used in reality programming, assuming the sensor passes muster. Once again, that AVC-Intra codec comes into play.

But at the price point of about $15 grand (sans lens), you're looking at the Canon C300 as a competitor. Which do you choose then?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #32
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Re: Hpx 600

Spot on there Glen and I did one day at my local news outlet a couple of years ago, the journo was SO excited as she had juts completed her ONE DAY camera training course and was off with her Z7 in the big wide world the very next week.

I agree and that was sort of my point that I would rather invest 15k in a C300 than an ENG camera these days or even better just hire kit in as it is too much to invest and have sitting around if there is no work!

One footnote is that some of the print journalists around here have been taking industrial action as they feel that doing camera and their journo job is too much for no extra money! My heart bleeds for them! ;0)
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:55 AM   #33
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
It makes me wonder if there is even room for cameras like the HPX600 and PMW350 in TV news operations.
My own suspicion is co-existence for quite a while, a mixture of MMJs and more traditional cameras and cameramen. One point arguing in favour of shouldermount cameras is that they are FAR more suitable when you want to add accessories - radio mic receivers, on camera lights, radiocam transmitters etc
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I can see the 600 being used in reality programming, assuming the sensor passes muster. Once again, that AVC-Intra codec comes into play.
I wonder - I can see smaller cameras (and the Canon XF305 seems to be the current favourite in the UK) being even more likely to be used in reality programming than news, for the reasons above.

Yes, I agree that large format cameras will take increasing market share, and for the right and wrong reasons.

I've just been reading about the high committment of orders given by two of the main UK dealers to the F55 and (especially) the F5. What seems significant is that for the first time outside of Alexa/F65 money large format hasn't meant sacrificing ergonomics.

Apart from ergonomics/connectivity, the real stumbling block in the past to using large format cameras for news/reality type programme is the lack of long range servo zoom ranges. There is no reason why you can't have such at reasonable price/size - as long as it's quite small max aperture.

That may seem to make it useless at first - but if the basic camera sensitivity is high enough, it puts it back to parity with such as a 2/3" camera for low light ability.

Glen, as far as codec is concerned, I can only agree that the HPX600 codec is more broadcast acceptable than that in the PMW350 - but there is far more to a camera than codec alone. And don't forget the PMW350/320 are about 2 years (?) old now. With the 600 coming along, I find it quite plausible that a PMW "355" and "325" may not be far away with the 50Mbs XDCAM422 codec - just as the PMW200 has taken
over from the EX1.

At that point, Panasonic and the HPX600 get soundly trumped.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 09:52 AM   #34
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Re: Hpx 600

Well, the PMW-500 already exists and it's an SxS, 50mbps, 4:2:2 XDCAM. Of course, it has CCDs and is considerably more expensive. Will Sony make a (probably) cheaper PMW-355? I wouldn't doubt it.
Funny, if it also came with one 2/3" CMOS.

Yes, there is more to a camera than its codec. But I don't discount the importance of a good, broadcast-quality codec on an HD cam. Look at the XF305 and HPX370. Both have a 1/3" sensor package that has to be considered below that of the 2/3" PMW-350, yet which ones were accepted by the BBC for full production acquisition (not just news)? It was the minimum 50mbps threshold that allowed the cameras that honor. If they had a lower codec, I doubt they would have passed.
And who can argue that the F3 wouldn't be a better camera if it had a minimum 50mbps, 4:2:2 codec? That, above all, is the biggest wish list I hear about those cameras. That, and its ergos.

I know I harp on good codecs, but that's one of the reasons I chose the XF305 over the EX1R when it came time for me to decide on a camera purchase. I would have preferred the 1/2" CMOS set-up, but the better codec won me over.
Ironically enough, I ended up selling the Canon for an FS100 with its AVCHD codec. Go figure.

Now, back to the HPX600 - would I choose it over the comparably priced C300? Good question! Right now, I lean toward the C300, as I enjoy working with large sensors, and CF cards are a lot cheaper than P2 cards.
But I would also lean toward the 600 over the PMW-350. Again, the codec. But we'll see how that single CMOS works.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #35
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
Yes, there is more to a camera than its codec. But I don't discount the importance of a good, broadcast-quality codec on an HD cam. Look at the XF305 and HPX370. Both have a 1/3" sensor package that has to be considered below that of the 2/3" PMW-350, yet which ones were accepted by the BBC for full production acquisition (not just news)? It was the minimum 50mbps threshold that allowed the cameras that honor. If they had a lower codec, I doubt they would have passed.
I don't believe the BBC ever bought any HPX370's? Last I heard, their last big recent camera investments were in PMW500s for shouldermount use (with some PMW350s) and XF305s for handhelds.

But yes, it's the codec issue that has led to a lot of XF305 sales over EX1s, and I suspect that is true for the BBC purchases as well. Well, now with the PMW200 it finally becomes possible to have 1/2" chips and the full 50Mbs codec. Personally, I'd put front end performance over absolute codec performance if it had to be one or the other, but it shouldn't be an either /or choice.

And I fully agree with you about the F3 as well. At least Sony do now seem to be listening (at last) and seem have learnt a lot for the F5/55 - far better ergonomics and built-in basic 50Mbs in those.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #36
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Re: Hpx 600

Just to add a small but important detail: The PMW350K comes complete with a surprisingly good lens and EVF, potentially saving thousands of pounds over other cameras.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 12:38 PM   #37
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Re: Hpx 600

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Just to add a small but important detail: The PMW350K comes complete with a surprisingly good lens and EVF, potentially saving thousands of pounds over other cameras.
Yes, it does. The HPX600, with a good lens and EVF, should come in at about the same price. Roughly $19-20,000 or so.

Actuially, with a good HD lens, we're looking at about $21,500 for the 600.
$17,000 with an SD lens.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #38
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Re: Hpx 600

In UK prices, the 350L (body plus EVF) is 9.995, the 350K is 10,495 (body, EVF, plus the lens Mike refers to)

The body plus EVF price for the HPX600 is 9,850. (All prices ex VAT.)

So very little difference in current body plus viewfinder prices - but no kit lens option for the HPX600. I don't think you'll get an HPX600 with any sort of 2/3" lens for anything approaching as little as 10,495. And media will also be more expensive on a per hour basis for the HPX600.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #39
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Re: Hpx 600

If Sony are really smart they will bring out a PMW 450 (like a dsr 450) with a full 50mbs broadcast codec using SD cards and a decent lens for sub 10k and the problems for a lot of people in broadcast news will be solved!
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Old November 28th, 2012, 04:46 AM   #40
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Re: Hpx 600

Well, my little input may be of use coming from my being a maintenance engineer for the Station i work at. We chose P2 back in 2005 and bought a mix of some 32 SPX800 and 900 cameras. This formed our commitment to a P2 workflow for News, set on DV only purely to keep clip file sizes low due to storage availability. The cameras are starting to show their age and the fear is that parts support will soon be an issue. With that in mind we looked at the Hpx3100 and bought 2 where upon i immediately came into problems with them working in Standard Def and a shoot always looking way too soft that no amount of tweaking in the head could resolve. (I even posted here for help and and advice). Lucky we reassigned the 3100s to our Current Affairs group whose Sony SX cameras really did need retiring. They now shoot in full AVC-Intra-100 and have their own HD Adrenaline plus Avid edit suite and enough storage. Their HD work goes to air directly albeit it via K2 transcoding.

Enter the Hpx600 (as a possible replacement to the Spx units, the 1st time i met it 3 weeks ago brandnew purchased by one of our Stringers. The message was to teak it to match the Station's News Look i.e. to the SD SPX800/900s...

Oh dear my biggest problem... there is NOTHING i could adjust! No Paint, no individual tweakable amounts RGB Gamma, for Knee point, Matrix, Skin Detail.... only 3 choices of preset options. The ND only filter wheel will need a rethink on white-balancing by any user familiar with using a clear and 5600K surely. There was only so much i dared do on a camera someone just bought to earn a living from so i backed off going any deeper.

Today Panasonic left me with the demonstrator Hpx600 though and the fun started. No they told me, there is no engineering menu to do any deeper tweaking. The single chip sensor? No, we'll get some more info on it later.

The biggest plus is the weight though. It is incredibly light and amongst some of the camera-crew they will want that especially when comparing the Hpx3100. Battery 'consumption' is another BIG thing. The 3100 is thirsty to say the least.

I need to run a few proper tests in the next couple of days, other commitments aside. Interestingly, none of the crew have wanted to take it out on a job. That coloured viewfinder is just wrong they say. Of course, I've already had the sides off of the Hpx600 and there sure is a heap of air where normally there'd be something! It hints at being a handheld spread out into shoulder mount chassis.

Is the Hpx600 a News replacement? Cost is the biggest question and recently a whole production show was done on a 5D with no funds left to buy a proper shoulder mount rig so with a few alloy rods, bits of wood and gaffer tape, the cameraman made something...

Personally, until i run some Test Charts infront of it and find out just what it can do i'm not sure. RCA audio outs isn't good, (unbalanced). That ND filter won't be liked. We'll see....

Of course i've taken some point & hope photos (available light).

HPX600 Photos by petematev8 | Photobucket
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Old November 28th, 2012, 06:40 AM   #41
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Re: Hpx 600

Interesting, Pete!
Thanks for the pics. There does seem to be a lot of room in the camera, although I've never opened up any of mine for comparison. No adjusting the image is an odd thing. I can't wait to hear about your testing conclusions.
I wonder why the crews wouldn't take it out - a color viewfinder? They better get used to it. Most all cameras have that now. I sure wish I had one back in my TV news days. Also, many cameras have ND filters that are not 5600K. That's not a big issue to me.
As an ex TV news photog, I can appreciate the light weight and low battery consumption. When I first started in the business, we used 3/4" tape. My entire rig - camera (tubes), recorder deck, battery belt, spare batteries, etc - weighed 45 lbs! I cannot imagine working under those conditions again.

Compared to a 3100 - yeah, I'm not surprised the 600 isn't as versatile. I'm seeing how the 600 is aimed more toward photojournalism than high end productions like the 3100.

But still a mystery on the single sensor. Hmmm.

Well, I hope to see one shortly. I will shoot some video with it, although I will be stuck in a single room.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 05:31 AM   #42
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Re: Hpx 600

Wow, that is indeed a very clean interior, then again Panasonic is claiming this camera to be future-proof, the the idea is to have room for upgrade boards and such...

The settings sound about as limited as what I'm stuck with for the 370. Actually, it sounds to me like the 600 really is just a 2/3" 370, which was basically hand-held tech in a shoulder-mount.

At 13,300 for the body, vs. 20,000 for the 3100, I'm guessing the savings will be significant for some people who don't need the advanced features.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 05:38 AM   #43
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Pete Bronlund View Post
With that in mind we looked at the Hpx3100 and bought 2 where upon i immediately came into problems with them working in Standard Def and a shoot always looking way too soft that no amount of tweaking in the head could resolve.
Yeah, that's a known problem with HD cameras, you should never use the internal SD functionality, maybe a high quality outboard HD -> SD processor would do it. If you need optimal SD quality, get an SD cam, shooting native resolution is always best.

Shooting HD though, I haven't seen any camcorders look as nice as an HPX3xxx series, it's about as close as you can get to the look of a large-sensor film camera.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:29 PM   #44
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Re: Hpx 600

Well, I went to a demo of the HPX600. My first impressions are: really nice camera. Light for its size. Picture looked sharp with good color rendition.

As far as the single sensor; the salesman didn't know a lot about it as far as specs. I can't tell you if it's like a Canon C300 sensor, or if it's a native 1920x1080 - before the Bayer filter. Honestly, I don't really understand how Bayer filters affect sensors (besides adding color). I suspect the reason for a single sensor (and hinted at by the salesman) was to keep the price low. I wonder - are we seeing the last of the 2/3" shoulder mount cameras?

The camera acts like a wifi source, and you can send the video to a smart phone or a tablet. That's a pretty neat feature.

Understand that this is more of a TV news and reality program camera. It's not a digital cinema camera, and it's not a Varicam. We didn't get into adjusting the image, but it's not as flexible as a Varicam.

That's all for now. Ask me any questions you have.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #45
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen
As far as the single sensor; the salesman didn't know a lot about it as far as specs. I can't tell you if it's like a Canon C300 sensor, or if it's a native 1920x1080 - before the Bayer filter.
I really find this pretty incredible, that such a fundamental specification is not freely available. Especially considering the level of (irrelevant) technical detail that they do go in to in the spec.
[eg "AVC-Intra100/DVCPRO HD:
Y: 74.1758 MHz, PB/PR: 37.0879 MHz (59.94 Hz)
Y: 74.2500 MHz, PB/PR: 37.1250 MHz (50 Hz)

DVCPRO 50: Y: 13.5 MHz, P PB/PR: 6.75 MHz
DVCPRO: Y: 13.5 MHz, PB/PR: 3.375 MHz
"] :-)
The general conclusion seems to be that as nothing is published, expect the worst! It would be wrong to say that a single 1920x1080 Bayer would give "bad" performance - but it will be substantially worse than 3 2/3" chips.
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Honestly, I don't really understand how Bayer filters affect sensors (besides adding color). I suspect the reason for a single sensor (and hinted at by the salesman) was to keep the price low. I wonder - are we seeing the last of the 2/3" shoulder mount cameras?
For given sensor dimensions and size, the performance differences of a 3 chip design and single chip with Bayer mask are very well understood and very predictable. Firstly, with a Bayer mask, light gets absorbed in the filter - with a beam splitter all the light passing through the lens gets used. The difference is at least a stop, probably a bit more, so it follows that this camera must be at least a stop less sensitive than you'd expect from a 3 chip design using the same basic chip.

With three chip there will be a red, a green and a blue photosite for every one of the 1920x1080 pixels - one in each chip. With single chip Bayer, each pixel will only have a red, green OR blue value - the other two colours at that site have to be "guessed" by interpolation (deBayering). It's also well known that good deBayering will give about 75% of the luminance resolution that you'd expect if three such chips would used.

As a crude rule of thumb, for resolution purposes, a single chip Bayer of (say) 2 megapixels will give resolution performance equivalent to three chips each of about 1 megapixel. (Assuming full deBayering.)

And no, I don't think we are seeing the end of 2/3" shoulder mount cameras, nor 3 chip. Though after seeing the F5 and F55 recently, expect such to take away some of the old 2/3" market. The F5/55 manage to be both large sensor and shouldermount.
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Understand that this is more of a TV news and reality program camera. It's not a digital cinema camera, and it's not a Varicam. We didn't get into adjusting the image, but it's not as flexible as a Varicam.
But come back again to the PMW350 - also intended primarily for news and reality! Virtually the same price as the HPX600 - but with an uncompromised three chip design. Very similar weight, better power consumption. If it's really to save cost, single chip is a silly way to do it.

An alternative would be to go to a three chip 1/2" design, still with 1920x1080 chips. In that case, you'll also get a sensitivity drop of a stop, but no loss of resolution. And look how much a PMW320 costs....... :-) If cost of the camera is important, there are better compromises than going from 3 to 1 chips in a camera of this nature.

It's also worth comparing the HPX600 with Panasonics own HPX371. The single chip aspect will mean the HPX600 is only going to be less than a stop more sensitive than the 371 - not the 2 stops that 3 chip would have meant. And the 371 will be much sharper than the 600, and not be as prone to chroma aliasing
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