HPX 500 review at DVinfo.net

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Old July 5th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #1
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HPX 500 review

Here is a review I wrote about the HPX500 - I plan some followup articles including rez, vectorscope and waveform tests. Enjoy

http://www.slmproduction.com/mainsite/journals/reviews/
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Old July 5th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #2
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Excellent job, Seth -- thanks for sharing this with us. Much appreciated!
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Old July 5th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #3
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Seth: I pretty much agree with everything you said.. I have the identical camera/lens package and am very pleased.. I've already shot about 12 hours of footage at 720/24pN (so I know all my cards are working)... And, although I originally ordered the Canon lens, settled for the Fujinon and am glad I did.. It's an excellent lens for the price...

There are a couple of other "omissions" I might mention - One is the ability to fully custom tune the Color Matrix - The other is the ability to manually dial in color temperature - The Canon XL H1, which I've been using for over a year, has both these features and I, for one, have become dependent upon them..

The biggest problem with this camera, in my opinion, is the one you mentioned briefly, namely... "I also purchased the Chosziel lightweight rods for the varicam which requires a simple installation requiring four screws – they are surprising short screws securing the camera but the mount is rock solid."

Those screws are M3s (very, very tiny), and when passed through the Chrosziel plate there are barely 6-7 threads available.. When I mount a camera quickly on a tripod adapter I tend to slam it home, to hear the reasuring "click" that tells me it's secure on the tripod.. Those screws aren't going to take much of that abuse.. Also, the stock camera plate has two tiny registration pins cast in that keep the weight of the camera from putting lateral stress on those screws - the Chrosziel lacks those pins...

What I did was buy 4 longer stainless screws from a hardware store to replace the originals (to which I applied LokTite).. I also fabricated two rectangular aluminum plates that I mounted (drilled and tapped into) the sides of the Chrosziel plate so that they wedge against the base of the camera to keep it from twisting and weakening the mounting screws... Be careful to file the bottom edge of these plates so there is clearance for the lip on the tripod plate..

I don't think this is a perfect sollution, but it's certainly better than relying on those four little screws - That's a big heavy camera and people tend to carry tripod with camera mounted over their shoulders - a recipe for disaster...

Able Cine said they were having a meeting with Panasonic soon to address this very issue (apparently it's a complaint about some of their other cameras as well), but that isn't going to do those of us who've already bought one any good...

By the way, there are a lot (really alot) of cooling vents on the bottom of this camera - when working with that base plate, be very careful not to drop a screw into the belly of the whale....
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Old July 5th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #4
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Steve if you dont mind i would like to add those omissions to my review - is that cool with you?
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Old July 5th, 2007, 07:37 PM   #5
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No problem...
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #6
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Thank you very much for your review. It appears that the HPX500 can certainly be a winner for ENG and documentary applications. I wonder if it would be suitable for Music Videos @ 720p/24.

I mainly shoot runway fashion shows with very well lit runways. I guess I most worried about finding the sweet spot to focus on the runway. I need three hands to keep things on track: one to keep the f-stop correct because the clothing exposure ranges hop all over the chart from one model (models themselves are from pasty white to deep black) to the next. Then I have to track the model with the zoom to keep her full frame in the completed picture. The designers don't take kindly to headshots and bits and pieces of the rest of the anatomy. Then with my 3rd hand I have to focus. What I did in the old days with my SD camera (dual zebras both always visible) is focus on a point about 2/3rds the way down on the runway and let the F-8.5 to F11 depth of field take care of the rest. I have a feeling I can't do that with the HD camera.

I plead ignorance what is camera lens breathing? I always thought that was me reacting to hot looking lingerie models ;-}
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #7
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"breathing" is when the image changes optical size as you change the focus position. Or, put another way, as you turn the focus wheel, it could also look like you're executing a slight zoom (when in fact you're not, you're just focusing).

Shows up much more visibly on the wide end of the lens, not so much on the telephoto.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
There are a couple of other "omissions" I might mention - One is the ability to fully custom tune the Color Matrix - The other is the ability to manually dial in color temperature - The Canon XL H1, which I've been using for over a year, has both these features and I, for one, have become dependent upon them..

.
On my SDX-900 there is a way to set the preset and white balance registers (A and B) to specific Color Temperatures similar to the XLH1 although not as easy to access. I would be surprised if you couldn't do something similar with the HPX-500. The Canon option is definitely faster.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #9
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Daniel: The A & B presets tell you briefly in the finder what the set color temperature is, but I haven't discovered a way to dial in the precise number I want.. It involves doing traditional button-pushing WB until you get what you think it should be..

I loved the ability, with the XL H1, to walk into a room, think "Hmm, looks like 4600k to me" and dial in that #... Also, with a good external monitor, you could confidently dial the temperature until it looked warm or cool for a specific effect...

Don't get me wrong, I really like the HPX500, and I actually don't know of another affordable camera besides the Canons that have that feature - but it would be nice to have it on the 500...
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #10
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Hi,

great review - but I cant access the 2nd page - is the link "read more.." dead?

ULI
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Old July 6th, 2007, 01:24 PM   #11
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thats all i wrote - its an excess link

but i plan on posting some technical tests when i get a chace
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:29 AM   #12
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Thanks for that great review - I was so interested in a personal review that I hoped to get even more...

;-)

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Old July 8th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
I loved the ability, with the XL H1, to walk into a room, think "Hmm, looks like 4600k to me" and dial in that #... Also, with a good external monitor, you could confidently dial the temperature until it looked warm or cool for a specific effect...

Don't get me wrong, I really like the HPX500, and I actually don't know of another affordable camera besides the Canons that have that feature - but it would be nice to have it on the 500...
I couldn't agree more; I still shoot commercial print and being able to manually dial-in WB to either match the lighting or, purposely create a "mood" was a feature I assumed all pro-video cams would also allow. Hopefully the Panny engineers will add this to future cameras.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
"breathing" is when the image changes optical size as you change the focus position. Or, put another way, as you turn the focus wheel, it could also look like you're executing a slight zoom (when in fact you're not, you're just focusing).

Shows up much more visibly on the wide end of the lens, not so much on the telephoto.
During my testing with the pre-production model I used the Canon with the 2x tele-extender; I believe it's the same lens in the upper-end package. I didn't shoot the Fuji (yet) but believe that the Canon will have less breathing than the Fuji when properly back-focused first.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
During my testing with the pre-production model I used the Canon with the 2x tele-extender; I believe it's the same lens in the upper-end package. I didn't shoot the Fuji (yet) but believe that the Canon will have less breathing than the Fuji when properly back-focused first.
Some of the higher end Fujinon lenses that also have a focus servo, can do their own breathing compensation by operating the zoom servo as you focus. Although I have both servos on my XDCAM HD lens, it doesn't do the breathing compensation (I wish it did though).

BTW, the current full size XDCAM HD cameras also have that nice dial in the WB temp feature. In fact, you can start from the 3200 or 5600 preset and tweak up or down to warm or cool the image from standard lighting.

-gb-
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