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How to get sharpest 170 picture?

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Eric Ruff
How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:25:11 am

Just got my HPX170 a week ago. I have to confess I am deeply disappointed in the sharpness of the image I am getting and I am considering returning it to B&H and putting in an order for the Sony PMW-EX1R XDCAM in the hopes of getting a more satisfying picture. But maybe it's me; I am not a sophisticated user. So here's my question:

What are the optimal settings for this camera (and what else can I do) to give this camera a fair chance to show how sharp a picture it can produce?

I am loath to leave the P2 format and take up the challenges of the Sony folks in getting footage out of their heavy cameras and into a Snow Leopard Mac Pro with transfer software that is broken. I want to love this Panasonic camera. I can live with the plastic toy feel (that was a surprise at this price point) but it just doesn't seem to want to focus very satisfactorily.

Thanks for any ideas.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 18, 2009 at 5:46:00 am

What monitor are you looking at and have you used any of the focus assist features?


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Eric Ruff
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 18, 2009 at 5:55:49 am

I couldn't afford a real
monitor so I got a Sony 32Xbr9 TV it is suppose to be 1080 p. Also I have the computer screen (Apple 30) on which Media 100 shows the clip in a window. I am wondering what the optimal time base is (1080p?), the best shutter speed, that kind of thing.


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Steve Eisen
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 18, 2009 at 1:28:53 pm

It must be you Eric. The camera is fine. I can match the look of my HPX-170 to my HPX-500. Simply put, the HPX-170 is not a point and shoot camera like you are probably used to. I'll let you in a little secret, the Sony isn't either. If you are not sophisticated enough to use a P2 camera, you should rethink your position in this industry and hire someone who does know what they are doing. The other option is to learn how to use the camera properly. Take some training courses and test out the camera before going out on a professional shoot.

Panasonic gives you a variety of scene files to work from, each shoot is different and the settings are meant to be manipulated to get the exact look you are going for. The HPX-170 also has a variety of focus assists to help you. As I mentioned earlier no professional camera is a point and shoot.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Eric Ruff
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:18:53 am

>It must be you Eric.

I'm sure you are right.

>If you are not sophisticated enough to use a P2 camera, you should rethink your position in this industry and hire someone who does know what they are doing. The other option is to learn how to use the camera properly.

Confession: I'm not a professional and I'm not in the industry. Video is not how I make my living, I just love it. I do take it seriously. I have been away from video for about 10 years and miss the creative outlet, so I got new Media 100 software, a current Mac and I am trying to learn it all again, as you suggest. But a lot has changed in 10 years. I do not intend to compete with anyone here,and I don't want to waste anyone's time on this forum, but there aren't that many places to go where others have an interest in this particular camera, so I thought I would inquire about the image sharpness thing.

>Panasonic gives you a variety of scene files to work from, each shoot is different and the settings are meant to be manipulated to get the exact look you are going for.

I will take your suggestion about the scene files. When I read about scene files, I misunderstood them, perhaps, as relating mostly to the coloration of the "look" and not so much related to optimizing image sharpness. I will check them out, though.

>As I mentioned earlier no professional camera is a point and shoot.

I hear you.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 18, 2009 at 4:11:45 pm

[Eric Ruff] "monitor so I got a Sony 32Xbr9 TV it is suppose to be 1080 p"

And how is that hooked up?

[Eric Ruff] "Also I have the computer screen (Apple 30) on which Media 100 shows the clip in a window."

That is not a proper confidence monitor.

[Eric Ruff] "I am wondering what the optimal time base is (1080p?), the best shutter speed, that kind of thing."

Shutter speed is dependent on a lot of things and can contribute to motion blur which I guess oyu could say adds or detracts from sharpness, but it would depend on what your shooting. What frame rate do you usually shoot?


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Bob Tompkins
Re: How to get sharpest 170 picture?
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:14:34 pm

Eric, (now that you have been brutally humbled) shooting with the 170 is not rocket science. I just borrowed one for a demo and was able to shoot, download, edit and output a beautiful video to H.264. I am using a MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard and FCP7. It took a little work for me to figure out exactly what settings I needed but it certainly can be done. I think if you read the manuals, play with the camera a bit and come here with specific questions you will find the people here very helpful. Also, the FCP forum on Apple.com is also very helpful. (I hope I can say that). I found the picture quality of the 170 to be exceptional. I am starting my EX-1 demo today.



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