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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #46
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Re: Hpx 600

You sure are hung up on those PMW 320/350s, David! Great cameras, to be sure. But I still want a broadcast-spec codec.
That's why the PMW 200 sure looks tempting: 50mbps, 4:2:2 codec, three 1/2" CMOS chips, all the pro connections you could want - nice!

I want to see the HPX600 run through a resolution test. I'm curious to see the results. Panasonic has been rather coy about that sensor.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:51 PM   #47
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Re: Hpx 600

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You sure are hung up on those PMW 320/350s, David! Great cameras, to be sure. But I still want a broadcast-spec codec.
Ahhh, it's because they are such the obvious comparison, especially the 350. Virtually exactly the same price, 2/3", and CMOS with solid state recording, even very similar weight, power consumption etc. And it's largely due to the 350 being that price and three chip that I don't think cost is a valid reason for why the HPX600 is only single chip.
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I want to see the HPX600 run through a resolution test. I'm curious to see the results. Panasonic has been rather coy about that sensor.
Yes, I agree I'd love to see the HPX600 on a chart out of curiosity, but nobody I know with the facilities seems interested enough to even be bothered properly testing it. (And make of that what you will!)

Realistically, there are only three fundamental options - 1920x1080, 3840x2160, or somewhere around the 3.5 megapixel mark (as the F3). The first two have the advantage of simpler processing (especially 3840x2160), the latter two have the ability to give full 1920x1080 output. There are good reasons to believe it's not using the latter method, and the fact that Panasonic are not trumpeting that it is quadHD (read in the same way as the C300) leads me strongly to believe it's a single 1920x1080. That also ties in with the quote from the Panasonic rep earlier about performance similar to a HPX2700.

(And even if it was 3840x2160, then whilst the resolution would be full 1080, it would still be down a stop in sensitivity compared to a three chip design.)

Last edited by David Heath; December 7th, 2012 at 03:37 AM. Reason: Correction in first paragraph
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Old December 7th, 2012, 03:40 AM   #48
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Re: Hpx 600

LIke I said all sony has to do is plop a full broadcast codec onto a 350, call it a 450 and bingo you have cornered the news market! they could even do a (320) aka 420 as a lower cost option.

I still wound not buy one though or a 600 as I have been using an HPX301 for nearly four years in SD and HD for news and doco coverage with no complaints.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 03:54 AM   #49
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Re: Hpx 600

I don't deny I'd like to see the 50Mbs codec in the 320/350 - as long as it's AS WELL as the 35Mbs. But for news etc, it doesn't seem to matter too much - it seems that many such organisations are actively PREFERRING 35Mbs to 50 for such as news.

The advantages of being able to use SD cards, and the faster transfer of smaller file sizes are seen as more significant than the absolute quality.

And remember that according to the EBU guidelines, 35Mbs XDCAM IS a fully approved broadcast codec - with the "journalism" caveat.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 05:03 AM   #50
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Re: Hpx 600

I have to agree David 35mbs is ample for news operations, most of the sat uplinks we use are only 18mbs Mpeg4 anyway and I know several people who already use the 320/350 for news.

I recall when Dvcam first came out and it was deemed non broadcast and DV had to be transferred to digi beta for mainstream use, times change and the codec on most HD camera's is far superior to Dvcam anyway.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #51
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Re: Hpx 600

Journalism is all well and good, but I don't make my living shooting news stories. Most TV news photogs use whatever their TV station provides for them. Yes, TV news is quite happy with 35mbps, but does Panasonic expect the HPX600 to work beyond journalism? And the 600 will work just fine for TV news.

For the record, the local stations in my city use:
JVC HM 700/750s
Panasonic HPX 170/370s
Sony EX1, PMW 320s, maybe a 350 thrown in.
And an odd assortment of Beta SX and Panny SD cams.

The last shoot I was on specifically mentioned a requirement for a minimum 50mbps, 4:2:2 codec camera. I suspect that's why the PMW 100/150/200s have such a codec, to appeal to a broader market.
I know it seems I am obsessed with a "broadcast" codec, but I believe this will future proof any new camera. Should I purchase a camera soon, I want at least a 50mbps codec.

The big question is, does the HPX600 offer twice the performance of the HPX370, since it will cost at least twice as much? Again, we're back to that sensor.
Actually, if 35mbps is a good enough codec (and I certainly don't deny that it is), then the JVC HM600 looks like a heck of a good deal. It's sensitivity is F11 (almost an F12) at 2000lux, which puts it on par with 2/3" cameras. It has all the pro connections you'd need. And it's cheap!

BTW, if the 600 can compare to the 2700, that's a very good thing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a 2700's images. If the 600 can truly match it for performance, then that makes it a hell of a good camera.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 05:50 PM   #52
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
I know it seems I am obsessed with a "broadcast" codec, but I believe this will future proof any new camera. Should I purchase a camera soon, I want at least a 50mbps codec..
I doubt it's ever possible to totally future proof any purchase, but recording codec is only half the story. I don't disagree with your desire for 50Mbs XDCAM as a minimum, but it's of little use in future proofing if the front end performance isn't up to (ideally beyond!) current state of the art. And you can always use an external recorder - there is NOTHING that can be later done about chipset, processing etc.
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The big question is, does the HPX600 offer twice the performance of the HPX370, since it will cost at least twice as much? Again, we're back to that sensor.
Yes, and which is why the specifics of it are so significant. Assuming it's a single 1920x1080 (which I'm 98% sure of), and assuming comparable CMOS technology to the 371, it's pretty certain that whilst the HPX600 will be nearly a stop more sensitive, it will be substantially inferior to the 371 for such as resolution and chroma aliasing. Swings and roundabouts, but in certain key aspects it will almost certainly be much lower performance than the 371.
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BTW, if the 600 can compare to the 2700, that's a very good thing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a 2700's images. If the 600 can truly match it for performance, then that makes it a hell of a good camera.
The only thing wrong with the 2700's images is if true 1080 performance is specified by your client, because the 2700 is a 720 camera, period. Yes, if will give a 1080 output, but only a maximum of 720 resolution. It's only got 1280x720 chips.

And true 1080 is now being expected as routine, taken for granted. The 2700 was state of the art when displays were typically 1 megapixel, but 1920x1080 is now the norm, part of the requirement for full broadcast acceptance. With the Sony F5/55 coming on the scene, expect 4k to be increasingly specified for acquisition, at least at the higher end. I don't see 4k displacing 1080 for a long time, but it does mean that any camera which can't even do close to full 1920x1080 can in no way be seen as "future-proofed". The 371 may be considered more future proof than the 600!!
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Old March 3rd, 2013, 06:54 PM   #53
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
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.
After all this time, I finally saw a HPX600 in the flesh at an exhibition, and I can't say I was impressed. In terms of quality it would be wrong to describe it as "bad" - but it was undeniably worse than other cameras displayed side by side, even much cheaper ones with 1/3" chips. In another thread Sam Lee says "That explains why it's so muddy looking....." - maybe a bit harsh, but I know where he's coming from.

When compared to the PMW320/350, I also found it striking how inferior the viewfinder on the HPX600 was.

And the description with it seemed to indicate that the sensor is indeed a single 1920x1080 chip - not 4k - so all that shouldn't come as a surprise. As such, with all the current buzz about 4k, how it can be described as "future-proof" is quite beyond me. It's not even capable of full 1080 HD!
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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.
The story I've now heard is that it came about more to keep the WEIGHT low, rather than the price. The story goes that marketing badly wanted to be able to promote it as the lightest 2/3" camera, and were told by engineering that it could only be achieved with a single chip, not three chip - so hence the HPX600 was born. In practice, it only makes it an ounce or two lighter than a PMW350 - barely noticeable in normal use - but with considerably poorer performance in a number of respects. Who thought that was a good compromise!?!

One version of the story explains it away as a misunderstanding. Something like the engineering side specifying it would need a single 1920x1080 chip to meet the weight target, the non-technical side not realising that didn't mean full 1080 performance before signing it off! Is that part of the story true? It's what I was told, and all I can say is that it would explain why it is single chip (to the mystification of many) and why something of an air of mystery seems to hang over it. It was born as an embarrassing mistake! It's the only explanation I've heard that explains the known facts, so unless anybody knows better, I'm inclined to believe it.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 12:03 AM   #54
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Re: Hpx 600

This video says it's a 3Mpixel sensor chip (listen at about 2:25).


Does that mean it has about 2300x1300 pixels? Does that mean it slightly over-samples for 1920x1080?

I couldn't compare it to a PMW320/350. My friend has a 350, but I haven't used it in a while. I honestly don't remember which of the cameras had a better EVF.

As far as weight, David, you say the difference between the cameras is one or two ounces. According to Sony and Panasonic's own websites, the 350 (body only) weights 7lbs, 1oz, whereas the 600 weighs 6lbs, 2 oz. That's one ounce shy of a pound in difference. I'd call that more than barely noticeable.

This review says about the image:

"The new 2/3-inch single-MOS sensor with F12 sensitivity and a 59dB S/N ratio is very quiet, with little noise apparent in the darkest shadows"

- and then says the image is very clean:

"Owing to the cameraís very clean images, high performance optics are imperative."

Review: Panasonic AG-HPX600 P2 Camcorder | Studio Daily

So, take that as another's opinion on the camera. But no doubt, Panasonic had to cut some corners somewhere to bring the price down. It's no HPX3100.

As far as the story of the camera being an embarrassing mistake, well, that seems pretty incredible. Panasonic went through a heck of a lot to make the camera, market it and sell it to have it all based on a "misunderstanding." Perhaps the story is true, but I'd really need evidence to believe that wild claim.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 06:24 PM   #55
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Re: Hpx 600

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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
This video says it's a 3Mpixel sensor chip (listen at about 2:25).

Does that mean it has about 2300x1300 pixels? Does that mean it slightly over-samples for 1920x1080?
Interesting, because what I saw was a vendors information card - the video you link to is an official promotional video from Panasonic, so I would expect it more likely to be correct. Some posts back I said (about the sensor)"Realistically, there are only three fundamental options - 1920x1080, 3840x2160, or somewhere around the 3.5 megapixel mark (as the F3)." and there are very good technical reasons for it having to be one of those. If the video is correct, it's closer to the third option, though a little on the low side compared to other Bayer chips specifically intended for deriving 1080. (Such as the F3 and the Alexa)

If so (and I'd like to see chart results to be absolutely sure), then yes, resolution figures will be better than for a single 1920x1080 chip - but still won't be as good as a 3chip 1920x1080 design. The figure generally taken is that actual luminance resolution will be about 80% max of the chip dimension - so here about 1840x1040 as a limiting figure. But that's only part of the story - a lot depends on the downconversion, and it's also ignoring the chroma aspects. It's acknowledged that in resolution/aliasing aspects the F3 isn't as good as a 3 1920x1080 chip design - and the F3 chip is higher than 3 megapixel.

But really, it's in terms of sensitivity that single chip must lose out to three chip. All else equal, a single chip design is going to be over a stop down compared to three chip. That's an inevitability of the light lost in Bayer filtration. A necessary evil maybe in large sensor cameras, but for 2/3"....?
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As far as weight, David, you say the difference between the cameras is one or two ounces. According to Sony and Panasonic's own websites, the 350 (body only) weights 7lbs, 1oz, whereas the 600 weighs 6lbs, 2 oz. That's one ounce shy of a pound in difference. I'd call that more than barely noticeable.
Sorry - I think I may have been misled by comparing one weight with v/f, one without. But even so - they are body only weights, equip the camera with v/f, batteries and a 2/3" lens (let alone camera light, radio mic receiver etc) and they'll both be somewhere of the order of about 15-16lbs? As such, the weight difference still wouldn't make me feel it worth the performance hit that single chip brings.

Also bear in mind that the video you linked to makes it clear that many of the advertised features are only available via extra cost and an extra circuit board. Start adding those and expect the 400g weight difference to diminish substantially.
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This review says about the image:

"The new 2/3-inch single-MOS sensor with F12 sensitivity and a 59dB S/N ratio is very quiet, with little noise apparent in the darkest shadows"

- and then says the image is very clean:

"Owing to the camera’s very clean images, high performance optics are imperative."

So, take that as another's opinion on the camera.
Yes, but the same review also says: "......applying plenty of noise reduction to produce noise-free images with a concomitant loss of shadow detail" and even low amounts of noise reduction can bring as many problems as it solves. I remain very sceptical about using a stops worth of noise reduction to try to make up for a stops inherent sensitivity disadvantage. If images are "clean" due to noise reduction it's not necessarily a good thing.
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As far as the story of the camera being an embarrassing mistake, well, that seems pretty incredible. Panasonic went through a heck of a lot to make the camera, market it and sell it to have it all based on a "misunderstanding." Perhaps the story is true, but I'd really need evidence to believe that wild claim.
Well, stranger things have happened, and there have been real howlers made by manufacturers in the past. (Remember the V2000 video format? Built by Philips and Grundig, and each had a model on sale before basic lip sync incompatabilities between the machines was brought to their attention by a consumer!) But if the chip really is 3 Megapixel (and not 1920x1080) I'm now less inclined to believe the "mistake" version of the story, the weight aspect is far more plausible as a reason for being single chip though. And I still don't feel the weight saving is worth the performance hit.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 03:21 AM   #56
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Re: Hpx 600

Well, after reading all this thread on the (empty cased) HPX600 , i'll keep using my old trusty SPX800 till it dies, shooting 50mbs in SD it still gives great images since 2005, all networks I feed vision too still love SD over HD.
lots of news broadcast these days (from downunder here) is from you-tube or some dudes iphone no doubt that is the same the world over.
Production gear is different, but less of them about these days, "Bean counters run the game"
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Old March 7th, 2013, 12:09 PM   #57
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Re: Hpx 600

Not to get too far off subject but I frequently shoot for some major three letter broadcast networks and they frequently request my shoot in dvcam mode on my pdw-f350. They don't even want HD most of the time.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 02:09 PM   #58
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Re: Hpx 600

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Not to get too far off subject but I frequently shoot for some major three letter broadcast networks and they frequently request my shoot in dvcam mode on my pdw-f350. They don't even want HD most of the time.
I shot for a three letter network and they also requested SD, but in 16:9 format.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 11:06 PM   #59
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Re: Hpx 600

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Well, after reading all this thread on the (empty cased) HPX600 , i'll keep using my old trusty SPX800 till it dies, shooting 50mbs in SD it still gives great images since 2005, all networks I feed vision too still love SD over HD.
lots of news broadcast these days (from downunder here) is from you-tube or some dudes iphone no doubt that is the same the world over.
Production gear is different, but less of them about these days, "Bean counters run the game"
I in fact still use SDX900 (DV50 tape version of the P2 SPX800) from time to time. It is arguably the best natural low-light performing camera I have ever used even in 2013 standards. With HPX3100, 3700, low light is just not as good (in the same Film Like 2 gamma mode). I have to bring extra PAs with couple of 1x1" LED light panels to add more ambient light. 9 dB on the SDX900 is relatively very low in grain vs 3 dB on the HPX3100 and HPX3700. However, the SDX900, HDX900, HPX2000, HPX3000 series all have that higher end premium look. It's a dramatic difference in quality when A/B comparing with HPX500, HPX600.

The rental rate is still pretty high on legacy SDX900s. So there's still value in them for those who don't need 1080p.
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Old March 11th, 2013, 12:47 AM   #60
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Re: Hpx 600

Hi Sam,

yes lots of older gear still giving great service, and as stated earlier shooting DVCPro25 my old SPX800 it ingests fast, encodes fast, and is still great quality when up-loaded via FTP. (IMO)
sadly I only get a call for HD shoot about once a year, sure there are others who shoot nothing but HD, but not for me, plus clients only want to pay a minimum so why invest more $'s for no gain.
many shooters near me are using cheap DSLR rigs instead of investing in Traditional broadcast cams.
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