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Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?

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Trevor Ward
Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 20, 2011 at 2:42:20 pm

I love the PRICE of the AF100. Around $5000. Love the SPECS of the HPX3100. But why isn't there a camera in the middle of the line up for ME?

Ok, so I know about the HPX370. But that camera has only 1/3" chip, and it is CMOS at that. 1/3" chips don't offer the depth of field I want. And CMOS has the rolling shutter issue. Also, the 370 is actually too big for me. Yeah, ergonomics are slightly better, but I travel a lot and I don't need the big camera.

The AF100 is almost the camera for me, but it's CMOS chip has too many problems for me to be the perfect midrange camera. I don't mind the ergonomics, that it's a handheld camera and not a shoulder mount. I don't mind that it shoots onto inferior SD cards or it shoots in AVCHD. 4:2:0 long gop recording seems to be pretty acceptable for most things I do.

Give me the AF200! It's all the same as the AF100, but it has 2/3" CCDs. Or even 1/2" CCDs. It only costs $1000 more. Or, throw in the option of P2 recording and I'll pay another $2000. Or, have two card slots and offer the ability to record to both slots at the same time, for redundancy recording, and I'll pay another $1000 for that.

Now, for $10,000 I've a camera that would really fit my needs and my desires. C'mon Panasonic, let's see if you really have your finger on the market.

-trevor ward
Red Eye Film Co.
http://www.redeyefilmco.com
orlando, fl


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Steve Eisen
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:53:41 pm

The HPX-500 is the current answer. 2/3" CCD. Street price $9,000 - $12,000 with lens.

NAB is a few weeks away.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Trevor Ward
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 20, 2011 at 9:06:49 pm

Almost the answer. That price certainly reflects the range I'm willing to pay. However, it's size is too big. I don't want that size. Besides, with that camera, you need to buy big, heavy batteries.

I have used that camera and it produces a great image.

-trevor ward
Red Eye Film Co.
http://www.redeyefilmco.com
orlando, fl


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Steve Eisen
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:06:03 am

Perhaps a 1/2" version of the HPX-370 (HPX470) would be nice!

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:19:23 am

What we really need is an AF100 with HPX170 technology. I'm talking the AF100 with P2 recording, 4:2:2 color, varicam frame rates and straight up reliable.

I love my HPX170 but as far as the quality goes, I am not getting the low light or the DOF that I really want in a camera. As a doc style cam it's fantastic but I am mainly shooting narrative. I don't want to shoot a DSLR because it's simply not a video camera. It doesn't record quality sound, the ergonomics don't work and the workflow is a pain.

Above all, I've invested in P2 with the HPX170 and I don't want to have to retire my cards/card reader. It just seems silly to me that the 170 was a well priced camera with a strong codec and now its market replacement has a great imager but is lacking the recording quality to take advantage of it. With AVC-intra and the near mythical AVC-ultra coming down the pipe (sometime soon maybe?), why is this great sensor recording 4:2:0? Even the SDI out is only 8bit.

But realistically, I'm waiting on Panasonic's answer to the Sony F3. But even the Sony only records 4:2:0 and you're paying 13K for the body alone. To get 4:2:2 you need to go through SDI into an external recorder. Something about that just doesn't make sense.

Long story short... at $5,000 the HPX170 offered pro quality recording at an extremely affordable price but it came out when people had just begun to notice DSLR shooting and ditched docu style cameras and 35mm adapters. Now to get that recording quality you need to get the 1/3 HPX370 which still lacks the DOF, the lens options and the low light. Basically, I'm waiting on Panasonic, or even Sony, to fill that void. Full frame sensor or at least 4/3, 4:2:2 color, quality recording media, interchangeable lens system. Looking at the AF100 and the F3, I don't think it's too much to ask.

I remember reading that Panasonic was against making a P2 version of the AF100 because it would require the camera to cost about $4,000 more after development/manufacturing costs. But honestly, keep it under 10K, and we'll be happy to pay for 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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Trevor Ward
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:26:20 am

Yeah, I agree about the price. If the camera can be under $10,000, then I'd take a serious look. $4000 is a good entry point for "professional." But for those of us that are "professional" but can't quite afford a $30,000 setup to get to the next level...

Oh, I'd add one more feature for this price range that I really want: USB host mode. This way I wont have to bring my 6lb, 15" MBP into the field with me and on trips with me just so I can copy of the contents of my data cards onto a hard drive. The nexto and other devices seem fine, but they are more expensive than a laptop. I'd be happy if my camera had host mode like some of the pricier Panasonics.

-trevor ward
Red Eye Film Co.
http://www.redeyefilmco.com
orlando, fl


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:38:19 am

Funny you mention that. USB host mode was another feature found on the HPX170 for $5,000. I agree with you, it's a great feature to have when you're in a bind or if you're not looking to bring you're computer with you on a shoot.

But a major point that I was trying to hit is that for $30,000 you are getting an upgrade in glass and imagers but the recording technology behind it is actually being sacrificed unfairly. Why would I want to spend more money to go from 100Mbps, 4:2:2, DVCPRO HD to 24Mbps H.264 or to 34Mbps Mpeg-2, both at 4:2:0? I just don't see the logic. If the technology already exists to have it in the smaller, lower priced cameras, why get rid of it and move backwards?

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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Noah Kadner
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 5:21:47 am

Yeah I suspect a Panasonic camera with the sensor of the AF100 and AVC-Intra for under $10K will be shown at the next NAB. It's only logical. Only issue I see is a lack of variety among MFT primes and more zooms to go with those cameras. Hopefully that will be unveiled as well at NAB.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:54:25 pm

[Noah Kadner] "Yeah I suspect a Panasonic camera with the sensor of the AF100 and AVC-Intra for under $10K will be shown at the next NAB. It's only logical."

Sorry to disappoint, but this will not be shown at NAB. Perhaps to address what the OP wanted, take the AF100 and attach a Ki-Pro or Nano and that would definitely be under $10,000.

Best,

Jan

Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, AVCCAM, AG-3DA1, AG-AF100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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Trevor Ward
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 3:01:53 pm

Except that I don't care that much about the "big" sensor. I know it's the way you have to do it from a marketing side. But CMOS sensors have limitations. I'd rather have a CCD sensor, even if it's smaller. Even the RED has a CMOS sensor and it's annoying.

Oh, and I don't want to attach anything to the camera. That's the point of a video camera. I might as well buy a DSLR if I'm going to start attaching things to my camera and make it awkward to move into and out of my bag, and hop into taxi's with, or get in and out of rickshaws.

-trevor ward
Red Eye Film Co.
http://www.redeyefilmco.com
orlando, fl


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:18:39 pm

Thank you Jan for setting us straight. But now I must ask out of curiosity... Any idea what we can expect this year by way of P2 cameras? Also, any way that maybe the SDI on the AF100 could ever see an upgrade to 10bit? The reason I ask is because I love P2 and I've invested a lot in it. Too much to abandon it. The HPG20 seems like a great option but how worth it is recording AVC-Intra if the signal is 8bit?

I've also read a lot of exciting things about Zeiss joining MFT and announcing HD video lenses for the format. That's not necessarily a question for Jan, but more a fun fact as a bunch of us were discussing the availability of options on the MFT format. This seems like it will be a great one and the perfect pair with the AF100.

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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Noah Kadner
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 24, 2011 at 4:24:40 pm

[Jan Crittenden Livingston] "Sorry to disappoint, but this will not be shown at NAB. Perhaps to address what the OP wanted, take the AF100 and attach a Ki-Pro or Nano and that would definitely be under $10,000.
"


Oh well- maybe next year then. Strike while the iron is hot! :)

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Jurgen Hoppe
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 11:33:51 am

You're in the wrong forum. Get an EX-3 and you're done.


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Why no midrange camera that meets MY specs?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:21:27 pm

The advantages of the EX-3 over the EX-1 are nearly nonexistent but also, EX-3 still only records 4:2:0 in camera, uses mpeg-2 long GOP compression, does not have the big chip that the AF100 does and the lenses available for it can't be used on enough cameras to call it an investment. These are all things that are still causing problems.

I couldn't agree more with Noah. The lack of MFT primes is an issue but panasonic has at least confirmed a new 25 1.4 prime available over the summer and there other new and reworked lenses in the works. I'd kill for an MFT cine-zoom but that's just a dream i suppose. But maybe it wouldn't be too crazy to have another Leica designed kit zoom specifically for the AF100 or AF series if that ever comes to be.

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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