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Surfers Point - New HPX300 Prototype Clip

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Dan Brockett
Surfers Point - New HPX300 Prototype Clip
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:42:07 am

Hi all:

I have just put together a few clips from my first shoot with the HPX300 yesterday. I am in the midst of some shooting with an HPX300 prototype, much like the one that Barry Green shot in Africa. This camera does have the latest software build I think.

Posted 1280 x 720 H.264 24fps on Vimeo

This is mostly 720 24pN AVC Intra 100 with a few clips of 720 AVC Intra 50 and one or two that were 1080 24pN AVC Intra 100.

A few small observations...

1. It was really dull and gray in Ventura yesterday when I shot this. Despite that, the footage looks nice and the color did pop.

2. No color correction, effects other than a few dissolves, this is Pro Res 422 (not HQ), I edited on my laptop, I don't think it has the horsepower for Pro Res HQ but did okay with Pro Res

3. Camera is a joy to shoot with, it is the real deal, a pro level camera in the sense of the word. Stock lens is very sharp, breathes a lot but is very nice considering it is basically free. If you want better, you have to pony up some serious money or rent.

4. The LCOS LCD and the new viewfinder are absolutely amazing. I can actually pull focus with just the LCD screen in broad daylight it is as sharp if not sharper than the EX1/EX3 LCD. Viewfinder is better than any sub-20k camera I have shot with, although the LCD screen/VF combo thingy on the EX3 is pretty nice as well. The 300 VF is sharp, clear and easy to use.

5. Anton Bauer Dionic 90 giving me about 3-4 hours of recording and pause time. Nice batteries and pretty small and light.

6. Rolling shutter artifacts. Ah, yes, the $64,000 question. Well, what I observe seems to concur with Barry's skew test. The skewing is really not too noticeable in 720 24pN AVC Intra 100 or 50. It is pretty noticeable on 1080 24pN AVC Intra 100. I have not had a chance to shoot any 1080 60i or 1080 30p yet. I would normally shoot in 720 anyway most of the time but I do understand that most of you have 1080 24pN on the brain. I would agree, less skewing in 720 than the Sonys and more in 1080 24pN. Hopefully Panasonic's engineering wizards can improve the 1080. The clip I posted is a mixture of mostly 720 24pN AVC 100 mixed with some AVC 50 shots and a couple of 1080 24pN AVC 100 shots. If there is enough interest, I will post another version next week that identifies which clip was which, but for now, you have to guess.

7. Most of the shots in the clip were shot at full zoom length on purpose, I wanted to really try to bring out any skewing. I was pleasantly surprised in 720, I noticed very little skewing, but in 1080, I did see some. If you want that resolution, you have to use CMOS.

8. Low light levels and noise levels seem a bit cleaner overall than the HPX170, but not drastically so.

I will be shooting a large project next week with this camera, this clip and shoot was my first time using the camera so I made few mistakes in not using manual iris on a few panning shots, etc. Oh and I setup the camera with a very simple setup, B-press and CineLike Matrix and then stock factory levels on everything else. Did not enhance chroma or detail as I usually do on my 170. The new menu system is nice and makes using the different AVC Intra codecs a breeze. Setting TC is more like on a traditional shoulder mount, you use the thumbnail menu controls, rather than than the front menu button and wheel.

Overall, I am very impressed. There are a few things I really did not care for. Now keep in mind that this camera I am shooting with is a prototype, not a shipped retail camera so some of these issues may have been changed or resolved.

No focus enahncement while camera is recording? I thought we gave this up years ago, we used to make fun of how lame the focus enahncement was on the Sony Z1U since it functioned in the same way, only in pause or standby. Fortunately the new screen and VF are so good, I rarely needed the focus enahncement feature but still, make it so that you can use it while rolling as you can on the 170.

The LCOS screen is outstanding but in daylight, the finish is mirror-like and shiny. I wish that a matte finish while keeping the ultra sharpness and resolution were possible. Not sure if it is possible to have a matte finish and to keep up the shrpness.

Rotating the eyepiece up and down on the VF is extremely stiff but this is a prototype so perhaps the shipping units are not so tight or perhaps it will loosen with use?

I must say that this camera is in a whole other league than the HPX170, HVX200, EX1 and EX3. It feels like a real camera, is very solidly built, operationally it is very good. There is still the nagging issue of the amount of skew when shooting in 1080 24pN. I would suspect that Panasonic will be able to improve this, at least i hope that they do. The AVC Intra codec is really smooth, sharp and looks great, although I have not really done anything with it other than to edit this little clip together.

More soon,


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