HPX 170 a good choice?
I am a video producer who shoots primarily sports along with corporate and some documentary work. I have a Macbook PRO FCS 6. I was looking to add a new camera, and thought it made sense to go with an HD camera at this point. Plus be able to offer HD if clients request HD. I have tried the Sony EX-1, Canon A1 and Panasonic HPX 170. I felt the 170 had great ergonomics and weight. Though I found it hard to see the football being thrown in the viewfinder. The LCD screen wasn't helpful in the daylight, even when I covered it. I knew the camera had a 13X lens and it is truly a wide angle lens, but for sports I wish it was telephoto. The Sony Ex-1 produced beautiful images, though like many have posted I did experience some effects with the lines on the field, bleachers, etc. The Sony LCD was better than the Panny LCD. It does feel heavy and uncomfortable to hold. My Canon XL-1 is like a feather compared to the EX-1 brick. I do use a tripod and can purchase a 3rd party shoulder mount... The importing with SXS was quick but the render time was long when converting to SD due to the GOP. I tried using ProRes 422 but, saw more pixelating compared to copying the HD clips and pasting into a SD sequence, rendering and out to compressor.
I'm not sure which way to go at this point, or is it best to wait again and hope cameras improve? I haven't had calls for HD as of yet, but I would like a new camera since my business has grown. I appreciate any comments. Thanks.
If you shoot sports, then you know how valuable a long lens is. All the cameras you mentioned are camcorders that do not have good telephoto lenses.
I shoot with the HPX-500. There is no other full-size camera that can give you all the options you need to shoot with. The HPX-170 does give you all the options. There is a trade off with a shorter non-removable lens.
Get a camera that has all the options you need to cover the events effectively.
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I regularly shoot with the EX1 and I just traded my HVX200 for an HPX170.
I agree with Steve, you are an ideal candidate for a 2/3" camera with a removable lens. Buy a lens with a doubler and you are set to go. I think you will find any of the smaller fixed lens cams a major compromise to shoot sports, the lenses are not up to the task and add on teles just degrade an already inexpensive lens further.
One possibility might be the XL-H1 if you can't afford a 2/3" camera. While it has the most horrible eyepiece imaginable (you would have to budget for a 7" decent HD monitor), it does come with a 20X lens for under $10k.
I hate HDV but for your needs, it might suffice? You are going through the same thing that all of us are, there is no perfect sub $10k camera, they all have considerable downsides along with some amazing capabilities.
If Panasonic had made the HPX170 with the lens of the XL-H1, 1/2" CCDs with native 1920x1080 resolution with the LCD of the EX-1, then we would have the perfect sub $10k camera. But that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.
With this economy, you will see some screaming deals on slightly used HPX500s, XDCAM350s and HPX-2000 and 3000s. If you can wait, you might score a really nice deal. People will be dumping them when they cannot pay their rent/mortgage. Sad to say.
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Thanks Dan and Steve,
You both made very good points and I will take your advice and try to pick up a used HVX 500. My budget was around $6000, but I guess like you said doesn't exist. Who knows when Canon would move to tapeless 1080i or 1080p. I can't see investing over $5000 in that format. Thank you for the advice.