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Any bigger chips on the horizon?

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Galen Yeo
Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:01:34 am

Dear All,

Any news on whether Panasonic will aim to create a 1/2 inch version of their smaller cameras to compete with Sony's Ex-1 and Ex-3 cameras in the near future?

I'm curious as to Panasonic's strategy in this area. I am a big fan of Panasonic's service, but it seems difficult for us to justify paying for a camera which loses out resolution wise to a better camera, especially in doing broadcast cable work for international markets. With the shift to 1080p, I'm wondering where Panasonic aims to position itself against the onslaught of its competitors products.

I know the big focus is on their 3D camera, but it feels like the only thing going for Panasonic right now is their DVCPro HD codec and the nice pictures the camera makes.

Any thoughts?


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Dan Brockett
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:42:53 pm

Hi Galen:

Don't hold your breathe, I doubt you will ever see a 1/2" chip pro video camera from Panasonic.

As far as Panasonic's strategy, they tend to be like Apple and they play their cards pretty close to the vest. There was a leak a few days ago about the new HPX370 that will intro supposedly in a pre NAB announcement on April 5th. Whether or not that is accurate, who knows, but there are some specs released that it will feature a new optical block, but from the copy I saw, it looked like they just upgraded the 1/3" sensor in the 300.

You are behind the curve as far as what is going on with Panasonic, the big news is AVCINTRA 100 on their HPX300 and larger cameras. DVCPROHD is old news. AVCINTRA is the most advanced camera codec on the market and looks amazing. If I had to make bets, I think you will see AVCINTRA 100 migrate to their lower end HVX200/HPX170 type cameras soon.

Then again, we are still in the midst of a horrible global recession, I am sure that sales must be way down worldwide so introducing a lot of new models this year may not be in the cards.

When I bought my HPX170, I had a chance to shoot quite a bit with the EX1 and I still chose the 170. While the EX1 camera is a good one, I like the look of the image from the 170 more. Resolution is so overrated, 80% of the stuff people shoot with $5,000.00 cameras these days ends up on the web and never makes it any further. I have had footage from my 170 on the web, SD DVD, Blu Ray and projected theatrically in an IMAX theater. It held up and looked great everywhere. Yes, the images are pixel shifted. So what? Pixel shifting obviously works because the images continue to proliferate all over cable and in film festivals. Full raster acquisition is incredibly overrated and not really that important to storytelling. The look of the images, the color, contrast and latitude are much more important but most people on these boards think that cameras suck if they are not full raster. They don't know what they are missing out on.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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Galen Yeo
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:22:20 pm

Hi Dan

Thanks for your post. I wholly agree with you that resolution isn't everything. Where we are - compression via satellite can be pretty awful though. I forgot about AVC-Intra 100 - and yes, when we see it on the smaller cameras, maybe it'll be a step forward?

I enjoy Panasonic, but like many others, I haven't been sold that P2 is the best way to go in terms of the overall workflow we have. P2 users are no doubt used to it, but I'd like to see how long Panasonic is going to be able to hold on considering that flash storage is getting faster and cheaper everyday. And I can't help that many other buyers like myself look at certain choices as deal breakers. In running a company with many cameras and productions and hours - the easier workflow and the more ubiquitous media is the no-brainer.

Everything gets old real fast.

Cheers



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Michael Sacci
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:50:08 pm

Every camera as a something about it that is a deal breaker for some people, there is no one size fits all camera.

For me the 2 many things I look at are, 1) do I like the look of the image, 2) can I afford it. If a camera meets those 2 things things I will learn the workflow.

For me I have always liked the look of Panasonic over Sony, so I go with Panasonic.

But to use cheaper and readily available media requires a compromise on data rates and compression which are important to some. There is a big difference between AVCIntra and AVCHD, while AVCHD is fine for a lot of people and quality can be great, a lot of people require higher quality. And Panasonic does have cameras that use SD cards. Once again, nothing is made to be the end all of cameras.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:25:43 pm

HVX200 plus a Canon 5D Mark II as your b-camera is one way to get the best of both worlds, chipwise.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 3:43:26 pm

And as of today, the 5D Mark II now handles 23.976 and 48KHz sound... seems like that's going to become a primary camera very quickly. If you can get the 5D Mark II, the 24mm-70mm f2.8L lens, a baseplate/follow focus/matte box kit, beachtek adapter, and a bunch of CF cards you'll be pretty golden.

You don't even desperately need the matte box if you don't want to spend the money for it or L glass for that matter (though L glass does rock). If you don't need auto focus and mechanical zooming, I would say the Mark II.

And this is coming from a very happy HPX170 owner.

But in regards to your original post, you would be very surprised at what you're capable of pushing the HPX/HVX to do. The low light is NOT BAD as people so commonly attribute 1/3" cameras to be. Don't knock it till you try it! And also, give Panasonic some credit. They aren't going to release anything that they don't believe has a worthy place in the market. Most of the criticisms of Panasonic cameras that I see on this forum and many others are criticisms of numbers. Look at some footage and use it yourself... the 170 is AWESOME and so is the 300! Personally, I look at EX1/3 footage and for me, it's just TOO sharp and the color doesn't cut it in my opinion.

And yes, AVC-Intra is the new big thing and it is great! But even on the HPX170/HVX200A, DVCproHD is a great codec! it's 4:2:2 and subsampling is not necessarily a bad thing and neither is pixel shifting! Sure it's not preferable but if you like the final image, and I do (very much), then it doesn't matter what goes on inside. What I DO expect to see at NAB is moving AVC-Intra into the smaller cameras. they could seriously benefit from the 10bit recording among other efficiency advantages. And while I maintain that subsampling is NOT bad (remember, HDCAM subsampled until Sony came out with HDCAM SR, which is H.264 based as well)... AVC-Intra doesn't bother with it.

Panasonic HPX170 P
2008 Unibody Macbook Pro 15 inch, 2.8 Ghz, 4GB RAM
CalDigit VR
Final Cut Pro Studio 3
Avid Media Composer
The College of WIlliam and Mary


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Jeff Regan
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 3:19:36 am

I have sources who say that Panasonic will show a large sensor AVCCAM prosumer camera--2/3" or bigger at NAB. There are some new Fuji and Canon 2/3" very low cost, compact zoom lenses available now, so 2/3" could be viable in an under $10K camera using CMOS sensor/s. Or it could be a micro 4/3's sensor from the Lumix GH1?

I think we'll see something, question is when will it deliver and will 24Mbps AVCHD codec be adequate?

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Galen Yeo
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:26:29 pm

The codec doesn't bother me as long as it plays well on a machine, and yes, I agree that DVCPro HD is a great codec. Canon is undeniably the best DSLR out there but then again, a different discussion and not something we'd want to mix with the panasonic. We own a HDX 900 anyway - and like it very much.



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Dan Brockett
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:26:46 pm

As a Producer/DP, I am a bit baffled why there is so much concern over low light ability anyway. I shoot the HPX170, the EX1 and the 5D MKII and even though the Canon has much higher ISO capability than the other two, you still NEED to light things to make them look good!

A lot of neophytes (not talking about anyone in this thread) think you need a camera that can shoot cleanly at ISO 2500 to shoot good looking footage. So not true! I rate the HPX170 at ISO 500 when shooting 720 24pN and the Sony EX1 a bit faster. Throw a little light on a subject and any of these cameras can make great images. Not saying that available light cannot look good, it can look great but you must usually compromise where you put the camera and subject to best utilize available light. When you light the subject, YOU are in control of the BG and where you must put the camera and talent. Isn't that kind of what being an image maker is mostly about? The cool thing is that with all three of these cameras, you don't need huge lights or a ton of them but you do need some lights.

Hi ISO capability should probably be of more concern if you are a documentarian and are following a subject around, in that case, the high ISO can be a real boon but if you are shooting scripted material, high ISO should mostly be a non-concern, assuming you ARE going to use lights, right?

DOF is a whole different matter but personally, I am burned out on super shallow DOF. Very few DSLR shooters shoot with tasteful DOF, most overdue it, which is actually kind of a handicap on the 5D MKII, the sensor is so huge that I usually stopped down for at least 4 or a 5.6 to make it so more than one subject at a time can be in focus. Which kinds of eats up most of the super low light ability too. Keep telling yourself, as an image maker, if you don't know lighting, you don't really know how to maximize your potential as an image maker, you will always relegated to being a video pointer (as in you point your camera at things that appear as they are), rather than a well-rounded image crafter. High ISO capability is overrated.

Dan



Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:41:23 pm

Thank you Dan. Well spoken.

Panasonic HPX170 P
2008 Unibody Macbook Pro 15 inch, 2.8 Ghz, 4GB RAM
CalDigit VR
Final Cut Pro Studio 3
Avid Media Composer
The College of WIlliam and Mary


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Michael Sacci
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:24:14 pm

One thing that I would love for Apple to do is to add ProRes option for all Log and Transfer footage. I would love to be able to transcode 200/170 footage as ProRes on ingest. I know it would take a lot more time but having that option for projects that you are using these cameras as b-roll or other angles with the higher end AVCIntra codec cameras would make a more seamless workflow.

my 2 cents.



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Galen Yeo
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:38:49 pm

Why isn't anyone using Quicktime like what JVC uses...I'm sure there are reasons. I believe Aja's recording box grabs in pro-res.



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Dan Brockett
Re: Any bigger chips on the horizon?
on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:46:00 am

Great suggestion Michael. I agree, that would be a sweet feature. Pro Res is great and I find I am using it more and more these days. Been doing some projects that are heavy on motion graphics and stills and Pro Res definitely delivers. And a client gave some AVCHD from their Sony consumer camera. Basically behaved no differently than HPX300 footage as far as log & transfer is concerned.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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