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-   -   Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-p2hd-dvcpro-hd-camcorders/499316-looking-buy-af101-hpx250-hpx370.html)

Svein Rune Skilnand August 7th, 2011 06:53 AM

Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
I am looking to buy a camera to be used in my multicam productions. And I find myself standing at a crossroad wondering what to do. The sort of work I do range from making documentariesand filming rally for national TV to live events like concerts, news and weddings as well.

My current setup is a Sony EX3, a JVC 790, a Sony NX70 and a Sony Z5. They are all on their own very good cameras, in my opinion, but they all use different battery types and media for recording, making logistics a little nightmare from time to time. I always seem to find myself loaded with different equipment for each camera wondering if or what I have forgotten to bring on the shoot.

Back in the edit suite I find myself transcoding the recordings to Pro Res or XDCam EX which is a time consuming affair. I use FCP3 and multicam doesn`t handle different codecs or frame sizes very well.

And my FCP system insists on rendering everything. Even though my 4 cameras have been transcoded to the same codec. For instance when I have loaded all the clips and want to start editing in multicam I get this green line above the timeline. Since I render in Pro Res I use massive amounts of space on the harddrive. I have contacted my supplier with this problem and have bought loads of RAM as suggested by them, but to no help. My system is a MAC Pro Dual-Core Intel Xeon 2.66 GHz with 10 GB RAM. My graphics card is a ATI Radeon HD 3870.

At first I wanted to buy an EX1 so at least the codecs would match, but then I realized that the editing and rendering problem wouldn`t go away. I hve tried for a year to solve this problem. As everything plays in half resolution it is real hard to see if the shots are in focus and I alwys seem to find myself going back in the edit changing angles.

Then I started thinking of buying a vision mixer like the Datavideo HS2000, but then I would need a recording device as well like the Ki Pro.

Looking at different mixers I browsed Panasonic`s website and saw the new HPX 250. This seems ideal for multicam shoots as it has a good zoom range, TC in and out and genlock as well. Also small and portable. This should make setup a breeze if I sold of the other equipment and invested in one system. Same batteries, same codec and so on.

Looking at the B&H website I see that they offer a good price on the HPX370 as I would need a camera with interchangeable lenses.

The AF101 also seems interesting though. Does anyone know if it uses the same battery system as the HPX 250? And how these cameras would match?

I have been thinking of just buying an HPX370, or 3 HPX250s or 2 HPX250s and one Af101 down the line.

And now to my final question. I have never edited AVC Intra before. Does anyone know the workflow in FCP3. I have looked at the Log and transfer and see that there is an option to transcode to Pro Res. This also seems to be the case with the AVCHD codec used by the AF101. This leads me to think that when I import the clips they would all end up in the same codec which means I could start editing right away.

Would I be crazy to invest in a new system?

Any inputs would be highly appreciated and thanks for reading my long post.

Svein Rune

Kevin McRoberts August 8th, 2011 10:09 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
An enviable camera loadout that would be.

Logistically, I'm sure you know that the 370 is going to take different batteries than the 250 and AF100, and that the AF100 doesn't shoot to P2 (not that SD is anywhere near a logistical sticking point). I haven't found solid evidence that the 250 uses the same battery as the AF100, although it would seem likely. It is possible, with an external device, to run the AF100 off of v-mount style batteries like you'd use on the 370. The same may well be true for the 250.

In terms of codec, I'm sure you realize changing cameras probably wouldn't alter anything with your editing system... you'd still wind up editing multiple streams of ProRes, AVC-Intra (FCP handles this natively) or DVCPROHD (also native). I've had some luck in multicams using an offline edit in ProRes Proxy, which creates temporary smaller files that don't encounter the same bottlenecks as quickly. It's more time-consuming to set up, obviously, and then there's the pain of onlining everything once the edit is done, but the edit itself goes much faster, IMO. Rather than run anything through FCP L&T or even MPEG Streamclip, I'm finding ClipWrap an invaluable tool for transcoding and rewrapping raw video. FYI, my edit suite is a 17" MBP 3.08 with 8GB RAM and a eSATA RAID5 array.

I doubt you'll find much info about how the 250 matches with anything else considering it hasn't been released yet, although preliminary reports compare it favorably with a 370. Personally I've always like the 370 image (if not the heft and handling of it). I'm excited about the HPX250 and may have finally found something worth upgrading from the HVX200.

Konstantin Kovalev August 10th, 2011 03:32 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
The 370 is certainly a robust camera, it begs to be used outdoors and the "panasonic look" of the footage certainly adds to it. It does have it caveats though, it takes some expertise to set it up properly and some time to dial in all the settings just right, so it's definitely not an out-of-the-box camera. The stock lens also leaves some things to be desired, especially in the wide angle range.

The codec is immaculate though, point the camera at whatever you want and you'll never see macro blocks anywhere and for any reason. If the 250 is anything like the 370 in it's good qualities, it'd definitely be a strong option to consider. I can't say much about the AF100 as I've never used it, but I suspect it's a rather different beast from the other options since it's a large-sensor camera that uses still-camera lenses.

As for your computer... it sure beats the hell out of what I have in my iMac right now, so performance shouldn't be a problem when editing, seeing as I'm fine with it. If you don't want FCP to even to load the video data onto the HDD, there is always this solution for P2 media: Affordable P2 Slot Reader for Macs

Gary Nattrass August 10th, 2011 11:53 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
I use panasonic P2 all the time and have the HPX371 and hire in 3700 cameras.

The 251 will be a good 2nd camera as it uses the same recording forma and codec but the AF101 is a different beast and more for film like shooting.

If I were you I would go for an HPX371 with two 251's as B cameras, you can then shoot on the same format using codecs from DV all the way up to AVC Intra 100.

As for the FCP workflow, I personally clone and verify the cards to a USB hard drive which is then my safety back-up, you can re-name the card copy at this stage as it keeps things neat on larger shoots.

You can then load into FCP via log and transfer as native or like I have been doing this week pro res LT as I have been shooting AVC Intra 50 to get more card space. At LT level I am editing a drama on a macbook pro with 2gb ram off a firewire 800 5400 rpm drive and it all works great. You can also choose pro res 422 or HQ but as the native import is the same as HQ I usually just set it to native so it matches the recording codec.

The AVC codec is very efficient and the look of the panasonic cameras is superb and I have mine set up for BBC use as defined here: http://thebrownings.name/WHP034/pdf/...nic_HPX371.pdf

The look is quite neutral when you first load it but the codec grades superbly and with the high contrast reversal look cinelike setting it looks fantastic.

Sanjin Svajger August 10th, 2011 12:13 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370

Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass (Post 1674030)
...and with the high contrast reversal look cinelike setting it looks fantastic.

Sorry for the OT. What's a "high contrast reversal look"?

Gary Nattrass August 10th, 2011 12:44 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370

Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger (Post 1674035)
Sorry for the OT. What's a "high contrast reversal look"?

Its the cine like V setting that is meant to replicate the high contrast graded look similar to reversal film stock. The cine like D is more like a neutral ungraded negative type of film stock.

I have both settings with BBC presets but tend to use the cine like V more as it looks great straight out of the camera and needs little grading.

Sanjin Svajger August 12th, 2011 02:59 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
Oh that's it. Thanks. I use cinelike D...and after post the picture looks great:) CineV is like you said: better for a workflow where there is little time for post.
Although one must be careful if you shoot with to little contrast - then while grading it's highly possible that banding will occur. At least that's what happened to me a couple of times...

Konstantin Kovalev August 12th, 2011 08:44 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
Banding on a 10-bit codec? You've probably been pushing it too hard! It's always a good idea to get the look as close to "right" in-camera as possible, even if you know that you have the head room. Speaking of AVC-intra, I've started using FCP-X recently, and it can load intra footage without having to log&transfer, just drag it in and away you go; this is going to be a big time-saver for me.

As for storing the clips, it's a really good idea to "ingest" them using Panny's P2CMS software, and then export to an external drive, because it links together clips that get broken up into 4gb chunks during long recording times. It's convenient in a number of other ways too.

One thing I haven't quite figured out yet is the audio levels on the 370: I have an SD302 hooked up to it for audio feed, and both have matched levels, yet while I can hear everything through the 302 clear as day, the camera has fairly quite audio, even without the mixer in the equation. Even though the level meters in several programs read the audio as being of a loud listening level, I have to turn the audio up to 11 on my computer to hear anything. I'm pretty sure all inputs are set correctly, so I'll try it with a separate audio recorder to see if the camera is part of the problem.

Gary Nattrass August 12th, 2011 12:33 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
Never had a problem with the 371 for audio as it is superb, have done live OB's with it and set everything to auto with the limiters on and all was OK.

Have just done another drama on mine too and used a radio boom direct to ch1 with the camera mic on ch2 for fx and as a back-up.

Will be getting another mixer soon and whilst I have used the cheaper behringer with no problems setting the audio gain structure is worth checking out by sending a test tone thru your mixer and finding the best reference level on your mixer and making sure the camera is following this at -18db for 0db PPM 1khz line up or -4db VU. You can also set the camera to -20 ref levels but I use -18 as per the BBC spec.

It can also be useful to put the large meter display on a preset button so you can do a quick level check or keep them on during a take as they also show on the ext display via SDI or component.

Sanjin Svajger August 13th, 2011 04:27 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370

Originally Posted by Konstantin Kovalev (Post 1674484)
Banding on a 10-bit codec?

Talking about HPX171 - DVCproHD 8bit...

Konstantin Kovalev August 13th, 2011 04:43 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
I see... you didn't mention the camera used, so I made an assumption. Cinelike-D is fairly hard on the codec, so I didn't think anyone would be using it on a camera that didn't have 10-bit recording.

Galen Rath August 15th, 2011 03:10 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
I know nothing about Panasonic cameras, and I'm wondering what the reason is for the $2000 off right now on the HPX370?

Gary Nattrass August 15th, 2011 04:24 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370

Originally Posted by Galen Rath (Post 1675248)
I know nothing about Panasonic cameras, and I'm wondering what the reason is for the $2000 off right now on the HPX370?

It's because they are not selling enough and the 250/251 is coming out so the deal is a great one if you want a shoulder mount camera.

The 370/371 is a superb camera and I just shot a TV commercial on one today.

Dan Brockett August 19th, 2011 01:38 PM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
I wrote this article HD Video Pro - Small Sensors Still Thriving | HDVideoPro.com in this month's issue of HD Video Pro on the new crop of 1/3" Panasonic cameras. The HPX250 shares the same imager set as the 370, the only difference in looks would be if they tweaked the DSP a lot (not likely as "the Panasonic look" is almost universally admired) or if the fixed lens on the 250/251 was substantially different than the Fujinon that the 370 comes with.

I wasn't able to get my hands a 250, even a prototype for the article but I have feeling it will be a hit. The 370 looks superb so the 250 should just be a smaller, lighter version. Hot new stuff on the 250: 21X zoom, 50/59Hz switchable, VFR in 1080P (albeit only up to 30fps), genlock, timecode input, a lot of stuff that would be perfect for your multi camera shooting.


Svein Rune Skilnand August 24th, 2011 03:31 AM

Re: Looking to buy AF101, HPX250 and HPX370
Thanks for all the input.

It certainly seems that whatever camera I choose they are all great products. I just need to decide which is better for me. I am probably going to end up with the HPX370 and 250 because they use the same codec and seem a perfect match.

However, I have ordered the new DVD on the AF100 by Barry Green, so at least it gives me an idea of what the AF100 is like. I live to far from any dealer. That is why this forum and whatever I can get my hand on is so valuable to me.

Does anyone what the stock lens on the 370 is like? Does it have bad CAC? I am looking at some shots right now from my HM790 and EX3. Out of the box I do like the images on my HM790 better, but the stock lens on the EX3 seems sharper and doesn`t suffer from CAC as the Canon lens on the 790 does. At least under the circumstances these images were recorded at.

I also have the the PL- adaptor from JVC but B&H were not able to tell me whether it would fit the HPX370.

There are a lot of considerations to be made as I would have to sell a lot of my equipment, including all the SxS cards. I would like to keep whatever I can though, like the V- lock batteries and PL- adaptor.

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