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Old June 30th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #1
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Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 for wildlife!

I'll do some tests with a Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 for wildlifefilming for a couple of weeks. This is a huge camcorder! With three 2/3" high density 2.2 million pixel CCDs, it's deliver cinema-quality images in full-raster 1920 x 1080 resolution with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. I will shoot in avc-intra 100 encoding. Equipped with 5 32MB P2-cards I'm able to shot for 160 minutes without even swithing cards.
The lens currently in use is Canon HD-EC zoom lens, HJ21x5.5 D-III
This camcorder has a couple of function which is very useful in shooting wildlife: the 8 second pre-recording, you never miss the action again! And the interval recording for stunning timelaps.
I've used the camera for a couple of days already and I'm impressed by the quality it's deliver. Postproduction is done by downloading the P2-files to a external disc. Then do a file capture in Final Cut Pro 6. You can't do any native import with the avc-intra 100 encoding yet, but have to use Apple Pro Res 422 HQ. But footage is stunning to view even in full frame mode on the 30" Cinema Screen. Record mode is done in 1080/25p!
I will still be using the Canon XLH1, tempted to order the flash-xdr kit to get rid of the bad 25mbps mpeg2 compression.
It will be very exciting to compare footage from the hpx3000 and those get by H1 with flash-xdr encoded in mpeg2 100mbps.
Stay tuned for sample test-footage coming soon!
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Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 for wildlife!-pj-3000.jpg  
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Last edited by Per Johan Naesje; June 30th, 2008 at 01:57 PM.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 02:41 PM   #2
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Thanks for the review Per Johan. Keep us posted about the Panasonic AJ-HPX3000.

By the way, you have some incredible and wonderful footage on your website. Keep up the good work!
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Old June 30th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #3
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Hi Per.

Wow, thats some camera and I'm looking forward to what you can do with it....something very special I have no doubt!

Is this your new camera or are you testing and thinking about it ?
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Old June 30th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Per Johan Naesje View Post
I will still be using the Canon XLH1, tempted to order the flash-xdr kit to get rid of the bad 25mbps mpeg2 compression.
It will be very exciting to compare footage from the hpx3000 and those get by H1 with flash-xdr encoded in mpeg2 100mbps.
Stay tuned for sample test-footage coming soon!
Hi Per Johan-
We find the 100 Mbps MPEG2 4:2:2 Long-GOP (on the Flash XDR) to be virtually identical to uncompressed (in our tests). So, we should be able to give you everything the Canon XL-H1 can deliver.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #5
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Hi Per Johan.
This is really great pictures of the bird. I really love the shots where it fly very close to the camera. It shows quite some experince in wildlife. Always easier to get the pictures of animals escaping... You seems always to be at the right spot. Do you use anything to feed it with ?
I use a Panasonic HPX2100 and I am very pleased with it too - unfortunately the 3000 was not available when I had to by my new camera.
Do you record in 720-50P ?
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Old August 19th, 2008, 04:18 AM   #6
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That's the problem with the HPX3000 Bo, it can't do 720/50P, it'll only do 1080. For wildlife, birds especially, I think you lose so much not having some sort of slomo - this is why it's all Varicam with the BBC NHU. The only camera that has the ability to do both at decent resolution is the Sony PDW700 (with a firmware update which is supposed to be coming soon).
Per Johan, have you checked out the BBC settings for the HPX3000 BBC - R&D - Publications - WHP034 - Addendum 27 These settings work great with the Varicam and Sony 750, and I'm sure they will with the 3000.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #7
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That's the problem with the HPX3000 Bo, it can't do 720/50P, it'll only do 1080.
So the HPX3000 can't shoot any kind of 50/60fps footage?
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Old August 20th, 2008, 03:57 AM   #8
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Not according to any of the specs I've read, it's just 1080, upto 30P, just like the new Varicam 3700.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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A rather interesting limitation if true.

However, I don't doubt that the HPX3000 delivers freaking awesome image quality that blows most other cameras away.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #10
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Alan Roberts at the BBC gives it raves reviews, which is good enough for me. But without slomo of at least 50fps, for wildlife it's a non starter.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 02:35 AM   #11
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I'm excited for some of that sample test footage Per Johan. I've done some reading on this camera simply due to it being Panasonic's top of the line model and I am interested to see how gorgeous it really is.

On a side note, since the BBC Natural History Unit got mentioned...did they use this camera or one similar for the Planet Earth Series...at least the majority of it?
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:04 AM   #12
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On a side note, since the BBC Natural History Unit got mentioned...did they use this camera or one similar for the Planet Earth Series...at least the majority of it?
I think Planet Earth was a mix of the original Varicam, HDCAM (750s I think) and film.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 03:43 AM   #13
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Planet Earth used all sorts of stuff, including a fair bit of film (Super 16 and 35mm), but bulk of wildlife stuff would be Varicam (and it is still the camera of choice even now), aerials and underwater were with the 750. If a camera can't do some sort of slomo it'll never be used for top-notch everyday wildlife filming.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 04:09 PM   #14
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Stay tuned for sample test-footage coming soon!
Per Johan, I'm excited to see some samples of what that camera can do. As my interest and (hopefully) opportunities grow in filmmaking, I'm interested in seeing and learning about these high end cameras. Especially with all the buzz surrounding the Red cameras I'm interested to see what a camera like the HPX3000 can do.

Any chance of some of the sample test footage being in 1080p? That would be amazing since I've seen your other work...
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Old September 11th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #15
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...um, hiccup...really exciting to see some footage. :-)
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