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Old August 11th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #1
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Next-gen HVX200 Feature Wish List...

As a user of the HVX200 for the past 6 months and have also both experimented largely shooting with the Canon XL H1 (and being personally very keen on Canon products in general), I'd like to run a pool and collect thoughts of what features we should all like to see on an upgraded version of the HVX200.

The HVX200 is a spectacular piece of equipment. It is also a project that was left, somewhat uncompleted in my opinion. While Panasonic researched and applied their knowledge amazingly well in the toughest areas of the camera's development and deployment, managed to excel at upgrading almost every rough corner of the DVX100 the and did an astounding job at pricing it at an absolutely breakthrough value, they then thought top be of second nature, other more basic components and features of the HVX200 that to me, 6 months later are a deal breaker.

What follows is my (very) simply wish list for the next revision of the HVX200 (only 3 main items) and would love to gather more ideas and input on the matter from everyone here:

1) New CCD block. OK let's face it, reasonings and marketing crap aside from Panasonic, the imaging chips on the HVX200 are bellow middle-of-the-road. Using ridiculously low-res devices cannot be covered by any excuse. Higher-res would mean more pixel density and compromising light sensitivity, Panasonic states? Then use larger sized devices! Pixel-shifting compensates for lower res?... give me a break, not to this degree. My hopes are that Panasonic, upgrades the chips with (at least) true 1980x1080 capture area using 3-CCD block, or, using a larger sized higher-resolution single CCD Device coupled with the use of an RGB Primary filter. This for me would be the bare minimum... I will not even suggest the use of a 2x or 3x higher-res capture chip and in-camera down-sample to 1920x1080 because that's what would really deliver world-class image quality and fine detail... we'll leave that up to RED that is going to turn the industry upside down if they manage to pull off all their promised tricks (they will... :))

2) New Lens. Leica "name" or not caring about the Leica "name", the quality of the optics on the HVX200 is a disaster. Almost no one seems to be critically bothered to much by it or seem to have no more than basic excuses and explanations as to the why's and work-a-rounds for it, to ignore the matter, but... no... no good. As a still photographer I have keen eyes for optics, own personally a lot of 35mm Leica gear and medium format gear and I know what the limits of acceptability are or not. Far from ever expecting the optics quality of a modern film or digital still camera bless a product such as the HVX200, the differences are however colossal. The optical performance of the HVX200 is just so bad on every front that it makes some of sub $200 DV cameras look great. And , I am not talking about resolving power of the lens, because even here the Leica lens is also second-rate (of course Panasonic didn't have to worry about too much in that department as they were using sub-HD resolution capturing devices). What I am talking about here is sheer optical and chromatic aberrations of all kinds that destroy just about anything you seriously try to shoot and not overlook as to how bad it really looks. Every footage with ever possible lighting scenario, and any single frame of the millions I've seen coming from the HVX200 is a color aberration fest, a purple and green fringe carnival and pasty corner resolution candidate that refuses to deliver anything below middling detail pass 2/3 of the image's center. Maybe this it's also has got to do with the 3-CCDs reflective properties and the internal light block prisms design, as, the way light reflect film, a single digital chip or a 3-CCD block are all very different and critically decisive on the final match with the lens being used, but what ever it is, on the HVX200, its no good. Back to the drawing board.

3) In a word, 1080p! Currently the HVX200 is no more than a (though probably the best) glorified 720p camera. I want real, true 1080p recording, with all the modes and frame rates that the current HVX200 has available when shooting 720p. That simple.

With these 3 conditions met, the HVX200 will be the camera I always have thought it would have been from the start. Despite the HDV format that totally sucks when compared to DVCPRO-HD, I am betting on the Canon XH A1, cheaper, with slightly higher-res CCDs (albeit still not 1920x1080) but with absolutely superb optics and a much better form factor and layout, to dethrone the HVX200 if Panasonic does not get busy upgrading it as it needs to.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
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Already quite a few 'wish list' threads on the board...primarily revolving around specific feature sets.

Until Panasonic moves away from a 3-CCD structure, you're not going to see a larger imager in the same small form factor, period. It's not technically possible. It's either greater pixel density/lower sensitivity or moving to new, improved CMOS technology.

All the other stuff is marketing decisions... they're not going to cannibalize their $12,000-$40,000 cameras with a $5k unit that has 98% of the same features... until they have to.

If anyone comes out with a handheld, 2/3" chip, interchangeable Zeiss optics, true 1080x1920, 1080/720 Varicam for $5000....BUY IT! Until then, you might want to look at upstarts like Silicon Imaging.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 11:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Auerbach
Already quite a few 'wish list' threads on the board...primarily revolving around specific feature sets.

Until Panasonic moves away from a 3-CCD structure, you're not going to see a larger imager in the same small form factor, period. It's not technically possible. It's either greater pixel density/lower sensitivity or moving to new, improved CMOS technology.

All the other stuff is marketing decisions... they're not going to cannibalize their $12,000-$40,000 cameras with a $5k unit that has 98% of the same features... until they have to.

If anyone comes out with a handheld, 2/3" chip, interchangeable Zeiss optics, true 1080x1920, 1080/720 Varicam for $5000....BUY IT! Until then, you might want to look at upstarts like Silicon Imaging.
Thanks for the input Scott. I agree with you totally. I am hoping sensors like the 1920x1080 CMOS 1920x1080 that Canon is using on their upcoming HV10 can somehow make it to the higher-end products. Three of those (still small enough for a 3-Chip design) and we'd be so much closer to a jump in overall image quality without compromising small form factors nor move away from current price ranges. And you stand correct, Panasonic is not going to slaughter their high-end Pro cameras with a $5k unit that many of the same feature set. Hopefully as the specs for 4K digital cinema set in and that becomes the standard, true 1080p prosumer machines become more common place. I wonder if RED's camera ends up performing as well as expected, within the price range they are targeting and (of course) if they can manufacture it in volume for the demand, what that will do for the high-end Professional and prosumer markets. All rules will have to be re-written.

Thanks again for the input! :)
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:42 AM   #4
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sure...
Most of us have a few pet peeves about the camera (mine are the crappy zoom servo and the lack of a -3 and -6dB gain option to reduce noise -- both of those would've been cheap to implement).

Bear in mind, too, that the 2k and 4k systems require pretty massive systems to record that big data stream. The P2 card is capable of 100 Mb/sec only because it's 4 chips in a RAID 0 config. To do 2k with the DVCProHD codec would require a pair of P2s operating in tandem, or an 8-way stripe on a chip. I suspect that's why we're seeing announced support of H.264 and/or JPEG2000.

I do have some hopes that the upcoming JVC HD200 will force Panasonic, Canon & Sony to increase the capabilities of their small cameras. It's got SDI and analog, interchangeable lenses, a cine lens adapter flange, and several other features we've all been pining for. Sadly, it's still HDV, but you can SDI out to a capture card in studio environments.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 03:47 AM   #5
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Dude, take a prozak and chill...
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:45 AM   #6
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I would love to see the successor of the HVX200 to have at least a 20X zoom lens.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 08:10 AM   #7
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"With these 3 conditions met, the HVX200 will be the camera I always have thought it would have been from the start. Despite the HDV format that totally sucks when compared to DVCPRO-HD, I am betting on the Canon XH A1, cheaper, with slightly higher-res CCDs (albeit still not 1920x1080) but with absolutely superb optics and a much better form factor and layout, to dethrone the HVX200 if Panasonic does not get busy upgrading it as it needs to."

I agree.. main reason being is that DVCProHD is turning out to be a format which, on the outset, seems to be more trouble than what its worth.. Cost vs NLE upgrade, through to arhiving is pushing it just a lil over the DVX100 users budget..

Id love to see the HVX with a H.264 chip hammering away at 50mbps... this would make it a viable solution for those shooting long form.. theres also the issue about resolution, however id rather have a decent codec, with rich DR, compared to a higher res unit shooting ona codec 4 time lower than teh HVX's ... my biggest concern isnt jstu the codec, but its the bitrate size.. even ona HD projector, HDV's noticable edge fringing and pixelation is just too much to jsutify me charging my clients more for IT... now for the HVX, the same cant be said about the codec, however a similar edge fringing issue (ie distrortion) is caused by the in cam scaling up to HD resolutions. so in the end, we STILL lose out..

hell, i'd be happy with a native 720p CCD block... even if they by license the bastard from tehir sister company JVC, at least it would be native.. this should do away with the resolving issues weve all heard so much about..

Dont get me wrong, i love Pana gear.. in fact i went Pana when everyone was telling me that the DVX was just an deffects camera.. this was before people really understood what progressive scan really means. ie full resolution being the major deciding factor...

in the end, im gonna sit it out and wait until an optical delivery method is available to the mainstream.. and then.. and ONLY THEN will i decide which sandpit im going to play it..

to be hoest, right now i really do not care...
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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Macletis



2) New Lens. Leica "name" or not caring about the Leica "name", the quality of the optics on the HVX200 is a disaster. Almost no one seems to be critically bothered to much by it or seem to have no more than basic excuses and explanations as to the why's and work-a-rounds for it, to ignore the matter, but... no... no good. As a still photographer I have keen eyes for optics, own personally a lot of 35mm Leica gear and medium format gear and I know what the limits of acceptability are or not. Far from ever expecting the optics quality of a modern film or digital still camera bless a product such as the HVX200, the differences are however colossal. The optical performance of the HVX200 is just so bad on every front that it makes some of sub $200 DV cameras look great. And , I am not talking about resolving power of the lens, because even here the Leica lens is also second-rate (of course Panasonic didn't have to worry about too much in that department as they were using sub-HD resolution capturing devices). What I am talking about here is sheer optical and chromatic aberrations of all kinds that destroy just about anything you seriously try to shoot and not overlook as to how bad it really looks. Every footage with ever possible lighting scenario, and any single frame of the millions I've seen coming from the HVX200 is a color aberration fest, a purple and green fringe carnival and pasty corner resolution candidate that refuses to deliver anything below middling detail pass 2/3 of the image's center. Maybe this it's also has got to do with the 3-CCDs reflective properties and the internal light block prisms design, as, the way light reflect film, a single digital chip or a 3-CCD block are all very different and critically decisive on the final match with the lens being used, but what ever it is, on the HVX200, its no good. Back to the drawing board.

3) In a word, 1080p! Currently the HVX200 is no more than a (though probably the best) glorified 720p camera. I want real, true 1080p recording, with all the modes and frame rates that the current HVX200 has available when shooting 720p. That simple.
I have to say I don't agree with you in these two reasons: The Leica lens is very good. better than the lens on the Z1 and on the JVC, in my own opinion. Haven't tried the Canon one. Definetly not "worse than a 200 dollar dv camera".

Thw camera does shoot 1080p, and you do get better resolution than in 720p. I was one of the doubters, but I can indeed see detail increase in 1080p mode. I'm using the Pal camera, however.

I do agree on the CCD issue. If they improve this with a higher resolution chipset, but still kept P2 (I want to use my existing p2 cards!), than I would be happy.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Id love to see the HVX with a H.264 chip hammering away at 50mbps... this would make it a viable solution for those shooting long form...
I'd love to see AVC Intra at 100 Mbps or greater. P2 capacities will only increase, so limiting the data rate to increase recording duration seems myopic. At 100 Mbps, 10-bit encoding should be possible.
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