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Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600

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John Stephens
Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:06:50 pm

I just read a rather negative review of the new Panasonic AG-HPX600 P2 camcorder in Studio Daily. I was really looking forward to this new camera as a way to make up for the mistake I made on the 370. I even had my checkbook all warmed up and ready to go.

No flip out LCD screen.

The flimsy plastic door covering the P2 cards is another sore point.

Chintzy menu-selection dial, borrowed from the company’s lower-price stable of cameras.

Take a read and let me know what you think.

http://www.studiodaily.com/2013/02/review-panasonic-ag-hpx600-p2-camcorder/


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Glen Vandermolen
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 13, 2013 at 1:55:37 am

The reviewer gave the camera a "SOLID" rating. How'd you get a bad rating out of that? He had a few nitpicks, but all cameras have a few faults. Plus, his was an early production camera.
He said it had nice images, balanced well, lightweight and the wifi was useful. Overall, it was positive.


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Tom Matthies
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 13, 2013 at 3:53:07 pm

Also, what do you find bad about the 370 for the price of the camera?

E=MC2+/-2db


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John Stephens
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 13, 2013 at 4:22:34 pm

We started off being very happy with the 370 and thought it was great for the job we bought it for, basically an broadcast ENG camera used out in the field. And it WAS a great buy for the money. But then our problems began, primarily with the lens. Back focus and focus in general is basically a crap shoot. I have come to the conclusion that the new cheaper versions of once serious cameras are not the way to go.


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Bob Mark
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Sep 2, 2013 at 1:38:09 pm

I cannot find the raster size of the this camera's MOS sensor. Is it another pixel shift camera?

Bob


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John Stephens
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 13, 2013 at 4:02:56 pm

My comments were based on both the Studio Daily story and also the picture posted. Look at the picture shown below. The build quality makes the 600 look more like a toy mockup than a professional piece of video gear that ends up costing $25,000 with lens and viewfinder. Panasonic exposes so many controls on the 600 that are fully protected in the 370, 500 and all cameras above. Why did they add so much plastic ? I guess the real goal was to protect the AJ-HPX3100GJ. Which now looks like a much better buy for $5K more than the 600.

I will admit I am a little upset by all the problems I am having with our year old 370. I have been waiting for the 600 with my checkbook all ready. But the last thing I want to do is buy a new camera that looks to be designed to dominate the low-end vs. redefining the high-end.

http://cdn.studiodaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Fig-1-HPX600_Lside3.j...


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John Stephens
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 14, 2013 at 5:31:59 pm

I look forward to getting my hands on the 600 to investigate myself. But the picture in the magazine as well as the picture used by B&H on-line generates some real concern about build quality. The 370 and the 3100 had very similar bodies that protected seldom used controls behind doors, which I liked. The “chiclet” style buttons on the 600 also concern me. But my desire to get back to a 2/3 imager is very high, so I will be looking carefully.

I would also like to know more about the new imager in the 600. Can you provide ?


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 14, 2013 at 5:56:07 pm

Hi,

The HPX600 VF is made of Magnesium so that it is light, and this may cause people to assume that the VF is plastic. The extender that comes out to the eye is plastic, but those have been plastic for years.

The camera itself is a very ruggedly built that is probably the best bang for the buck in its category. I believe the reviewer should have qualified his statement about what he was reviewing which from the description I know that he was looking at a non-serial numbered unit. These are not perfect units and he should have said as much.

The HPX600 stands ready for a good number of upgrades but with VF, Lens and camcorder you will spend at list price 21,950. The HPX3100 without lens and VF is 21,110. At the HPX price point it should dominate its price range for cameras considering its features, build quality and expansion capabilities.

Hope this helps,

Jan

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



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Glen Vandermolen
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:56:14 am

Jan,
Can you give any info on the CMOS chip? Since it's a single chip camera, the imager has to have a Bayer filter to give the images color.
But a native 1920x1080 chip will lose some performance bacause of the filter, correct? It won't output a true 1920x1080 image, or its color rendering will suffer, from what I understand.

Canon solved this issue in the C300 by making the chip 4K in size (or something like that).
I've been to demos of the HPX600 but no one knew the answer to this question. The CMOS chip is a mystery.


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shawn Bockoven
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 14, 2013 at 6:06:20 pm

We purchased five 370's to be used on our remote truck. The 370 is the worst camera I have ever worked with. I went round and round with Panasonic about the focus issues in a variable lighting environment. Camera is pretty good in a studio environment, but don't dare leave the F4 -5.6 range and expect to hold focus. If you use the last third of the lens there is no detail in the image. As we can afford it, we will replace the 370's with other cameras. My crew is very frustrated--Just a miserable experience.


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John Stephens
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 14, 2013 at 6:19:29 pm

Shawn,

Our problems started when a shooter used to better cameras, tried to control DOF by adding ND and opening the lens all the way. The result was VHS. I am going to try better glass on the 370 in hopes that the real issue is just a very poor quality promo lens. At times I think there is a back focus issue, but now I think it is just a super narrow sweet spot that includes 5.6 or less and keeping your subject very close. I would much rather get my money back and buy a real camera, than spend more money on 1/3 inch glass.


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shawn Bockoven
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 14, 2013 at 6:25:44 pm

We have tried top end glass. The results are a little better, but not worth the $$$. Images are pretty good if the subject is less than 20" from the camera in stable light.

The image below is at max zoom with the stock glass and an upgraded 20x. Same shrub on the left and right. Left is the upgraded lens.

http://www.metv.ws/bb/370Lens_test.png


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Ken Zukin
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Feb 21, 2013 at 6:13:52 pm

If there isn't much of a price difference btw the 3100 and the 600 -- go with the 3100 -- the extra five grand or so you'll spend factors out to roughly only a thousand a year -- for the 5 years it'll be in service.

I own a 3100 and have been very happy with it -- a major upgrade from the 2000 I owned previously.

The 600 is supposedly lighter -- that's never a bad thing. The 2000/3000 series were boat-anchors -- surprising for "tapeless" cameras -- the 3100 is a manageable weight -- (just barely).


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Michael Johnston
HPX370
on Mar 3, 2013 at 12:25:44 am

When it comes to the 370 I've set up several of them for users who claim to have focus issues. A couple of notes. First, using anything other than a 1/3" lens is a waste of money. Better/bigger glass does nothing for this camera due to the censors and alignment. The stock 17x Fuji lens is crap. The best images will come with the stock Canon 14x lens. It's a perfect match for the camera. However, most buy it with the Fuji for the longer zoom. If you have the Fuji, there is a 1/3" lens for about $14k that is a great match but the costs means you might as well go for a different camera to start.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/542783-REG

Second, you MUST set up a picture profile in the camera's menu. The default setting is very flat and will produce a soft image. It's not a back focus issue. There are a few settings in the profile such as DETAIL that need to be maxed out to address the perceived focus issue.

Basically, the 370 CAN be a wonderful image producing camera IF you become a complete expert on the camera's inner workings and limitations of the censors. It really takes a knowledgable expert to get the best out of this camera. Personally, I think it's a waste of money because there are many other 1/3" cameras that cost much less that produce better images at half the effort. What you're paying for is the shoulder mount professional look and nothing more. If the best image at a budget price is your goal, then it's a no-brainer to go with the 1/2" chips EX1 or PMW-200 over the HPX370.


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shawn Bockoven
Re: HPX370
on Mar 4, 2013 at 10:02:57 pm

The cameras have been set by me and Panasonic ... didn't help for what we need them to do. You are correct about the Fuji lens, the last 1/3 is junk. Below 5.6 the 370's can't be focused.

The cameras are good in studio and in a controlled environment. However, no matter how good the setup, they are worthless in variable conditions. We are going to replace the 370's on our truck and move them into the studio where they make a good image.


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Michael Johnston
Re: HPX370
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:45:29 pm

Just a side note, all 1/3" cameras are crap below f5.6. Best results are to open the iris as much as possible and then use gain, ND filters, and shutter to get to the desired exposure. 1/3" sensors need all the light they can get to get great images. Going below 5.6 causes focus issues in just about every small sensor camera.


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Paul Anderegg
Re: Panasonic Drops the Ball with AG-HPX600
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:20:37 am

The local NBC affiliate in my city uses the 370 with $10000 BROADCAST Canon lenses......just about every interview they air is out of focus....I don't know if this is the camera, or if the color viewfinder is so poor that they can't tell if they are in focus or not. Either way, my SD SPX800 looks 10x better in most cases. :-P


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