My version of first HVX impressions... at DVinfo.net

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Old February 3rd, 2006, 12:33 AM   #1
Go Go Godzilla
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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My version of first HVX impressions...

The camera came in today I just got the chance for about an hour to play around with it and give it good once-over. The overall initial feeling was, "wow".

Things I like:

- Near flat-black exterior finish is very pro looking; reminds me of my Canon SLR bodies.
- Overall balance is excellent when hand-held, better than Z1 or XL2.
- Real mechanical zoom; solid, accurate and quick.
- Control layout and button sizes are near-perfect, at least for my shooting style which is to shoot everything in manual almost always.
- EVF diopter/focus adjustment is easy and stays put (my Z1 EVF focus would sometimes wander a bit, never knew why); eyecup is better than Z1.
- Iris thumbwheel is a bit easier to use than the Z1 knob; and I like the small detents rather than a totally smooth movement. Feels more like an SLR lens feedback.
- Autofocus is very quick and accurate - and focuses so close I'd just about consider it macro!
- Manual focus is MUCH easier than either Z1 or XL2-s; no competition.
- Shutter speed buttons instead of thumbwheel on the end of the camera like on Z1 - it's near impossible on HVX to accidentally change the shutter speed whereas on the Z1 I would often graze the thumbwheel with my finger while my hand moved about the camera. That's more about my being clumsy than a design flaw for the Z1. (to be fair)
- I/O port access is great and logically placed.
- Panasonic gives you a cool hyrda-cable for component out, BNC to RCA adapters and one all-important ferrite core.
- Unlike other reports I've heard against the LCD display I find it really nice and fairly accurate color representation - although I did change the LCD brightness to the higher setting in the menu. This made a big difference and improved LCD viewing a lot.

Things I didn't like:

- Menu button layout is bizarre; the "move left" button is actually in the camera-front position, which you would think would make it the "move up" button. So to move around the menu you need to reorient your "up/down/left/right" orientation 90 degrees clockwise and then the menu button directions makes sense. Maybe there's a way to change that somewhere deeper in the menu, but so far it's annoyingly different.
- LCD doesn't display a full-screen when in normal 16:9, you get a letterboxed frame. At least the Z1 gives a full-frame 16:9 LCD and would give sidebars when switched to 4:3 mode. That would have been my preference for the HVX.
- Power adapter is difficult to release from the body - the power cable itself is tucked between the adapter and the body. I think the cord should have been coming off the opposite side.
- It took to long to get here! (laughs)

And of course the initial results from the few short test clips? Stunning, superb color - far better than any other digi-cam I've owned, and plenty sharp.

And about the ongoing debate between the HVX and the H1 resolution/sharpness? If you really want a camera that has *significant* sharpness over the HVX then move up to a Vari-cam, HDCam or shoot film. The difference in sharpness between this and the H1 is so insignificant nobody watching whatever final content you produce with it would ever notice - or even care. And if that minute difference IS that important to you, you should be asking yourself, "why?".

I've shot with the XL2-s, DVX100A, Z1 and HD100. I've tested the H1 but not owned one.

Panasonic may have flubbed with how the release was handled (and certainly this latest fiasco with P2 pricing really stings) but this little camera is absolutely a 100% professional-grade body. Period.

I'm one happy puppy.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 01:29 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
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Congratulations, I should be getting mine in a week or so and can't wait. Post some clips if you can, we defenitely need to see some more footage in these parts. =)
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 03:49 AM   #3
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North Carolina
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Nice report! I can fill in a couple of blanks...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
Maybe there's a way to change that somewhere deeper in the menu, but so far it's annoyingly different.
No way to change that in the menus. It's different, and it does take a little getting used to. What you can do though is fold the LCD flat against the camera body, with the screen side facing out. In that mode, when looking at the LCD, "up is up". Not quite sure why they changed to this mode of buttons, but I will say that you get used to it in fairly short order.

Quote:
- LCD doesn't display a full-screen when in normal 16:9, you get a letterboxed frame. At least the Z1 gives a full-frame 16:9 LCD and would give sidebars when switched to 4:3 mode. That would have been my preference for the HVX.
The thing is though, they use that extra area to move almost all the displays and things out of the picture area. Timecode and battery and card time remaining and audio level meters -- all that stuff gets moved into the 4:3 letterbox bars so they don't cover up your picture... I think it works very well. More pixels on the LCD would always be better, but I really like that the picture is almost completely clutter-free.

Quote:
- Power adapter is difficult to release from the body - the power cable itself is tucked between the adapter and the body. I think the cord should have been coming off the opposite side.
That's a brain scratcher there. On the DVX power supply (which is compatible by the way) the cord does come off the opposite side! Don't know why they changed it for the HVX; on the HVX they made it a different color and moved where the cord comes out of. Don't understand that one...

Quote:
I'm one happy puppy.
That's the main thing! Thanks for taking the time to report.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:13 AM   #4
Go Go Godzilla
 
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Hey Barry,

To clarify my LCD point: With the Z1 LCD, allowing it to be "full-frame" gives the option to turn off all the info displays and concentrate on just the image. You can do the same with the HVX obviously but it's stilll letterboxed - it just would have been nicer to have all the LCD screen real estate available for a larger view. Obviously it's not something that can be changed because it would require an LCD with completely different dimensions (the physical screen area is closer to 4:3), so it's just a limitation I'll happily learn to live with.

And the menu button orientation - that gets my solid vote for, "Firmware Update"!! (Hint, hint, Panasonic)

Did I mention I really dig this camera? (^_*)
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