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Erich Roland
The new HPX-300
on Feb 15, 2009 at 4:34:30 pm

I’ve spent some time looking at the stat’s of the new 1/3” HpX-300. This camera truly is ground breaking in bringing just about all the features one could want into one camcorder (tape aside). If the camera’s chip is clean (they say it is), and the sensor is fast (HVX is snail slow) then this camera is “game over” if... you’re in the market for a full sized 1/3” camera system. I would guess that this camera will be attractive to small/medium TV stations, and independent filmmakers of different kinds.

The 1/3” mini cameras and recently Sony’s 1/2” EX cameras have changed the landscape in many important ways the last few years by bringing quality HD systems to smaller media operations. For the Pro’s who use 2/3” systems these cameras give us a much smaller camera to carry along as a “B” cam 2nd angle, back up camera (overseas etc), and small form camera to get shots we couldn’t achieve otherwise. This capability has become very important in the work we do, and I hope the manufacturers continue to improve the mini cameras chips, and features (but keep the small form). It seems everybody I know owns one of the cameras in the 1/3” mini HD camera segment and I’d guess multi thousands have been sold. Important to note, National Geographic (for one) will not accept most of these mini cameras for origination projects, but do have an exception for 10% of the finished product for some of these cameras.

Sony attempted to sell a full size camera from a 1/2” chip (with interchangeable lens) in they’re first XD cam, the 350. Many of the potential buyers in full sized system already owned 2/3” lenses and didn’t want to buy more lenses for a whole new camera system (at 8-10k a pop). From what I can tell the XD-350 is a camera that is “neither here nor there” and has not sold well, except for small independent news operations.

Hence the interesting part of this story is that this new HPX-300 camera fills a need that didn’t really exist. The 1/3” chip segment of the product chain (till now) had been left to mini cameras. Smaller chip, smaller camera, it made perfect sense. The segment called “1/3 inch, full sized, shoulder mounted, interchangeable lens” segment is new but maybe this camera will be the new category of significance? Why Panasonic is rolling out a feature packed full form 1/3” chip camera is a bit odd, but I’m sure they have done they’re homework as to what made the most sense and listened carefully to users and what the industry wanted (pause)...right?

Speaking of... HEY Panasonic, when can we have these same features in a 2/3” camera? (sorry to change the subject)

Oh yea, your just begining to deliver the new Varicam 3700, that has about half the formats this new 1/3 inch camera has. You probably need to run a 2 year product cycle before you bring out the (feature rich) camera that the “top on the line” 3700 Varicam SHOULD have been... sigh! Unless maybe these upgrades are built into the 3700 system already, and you need only “take the Governor off”.

The 3700 costs about 65k (with no lens). That’s more then 6 times this new 1/3” camera! With the 3700 Varicam I cant shoot over 30 FPS, I cant shoot 720p, or any SD formats. I think that’s just crazy in this ninth year of the twenty first century!

The economy being horrible and probably getting worse before improving (they say in a year or more) is an important factor in this product story and we shall see how it plays out.


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Shane Ross
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 15, 2009 at 10:40:03 pm

[Erich Roland] "the interesting part of this story is that this new HPX-300 camera fills a need that didn’t really exist."

No...it now offers a camera that is a competitor to the Sony EX3 and PDW-700 and JVC GY-HD250. These are the $10,000 range cameras. Prior to this Panasonic had the HVX-200 and HPX-170 in the $5000 range, and then the HPX-500 in the $15k-$18k range. This camera exists as the competitor to the above mentioned cameras.

[Erich Roland] "The segment called “1/3 inch, full sized, shoulder mounted, interchangeable lens” segment is new but maybe this camera will be the new category of significance?"

This catagory contains many cameras:

AG-HPX300, HVR-S270, PMW-EX3, PDW-700, and GY-HD250

[Erich Roland] "I’m sure they have done they’re homework as to what made the most sense and listened carefully to users and what the industry wanted (pause)...right?"

Right. Customers wanted a camera in the $10k range that shot AVCIntra and had interchangable lenses. This is that camera.

[Erich Roland] "HEY Panasonic, when can we have these same features in a 2/3” camera?"

They do. The HPX-2000, 2700, 3000, 3700.

[Erich Roland] "your just begining to deliver the new Varicam 3700, that has about half the formats this new 1/3 inch camera has."

Uhhh, they have had the HPX-3000 for quite some time. That had all the features of this camera, and then some. And the 2700 also has these and then some.

[Erich Roland] "With the 3700 Varicam I cant shoot over 30 FPS, I cant shoot 720p, or any SD formats."

INCORRECT. That is a fully featured camera. You can shoot from 12fps to 60fps. Shoot DVCPRO HD and AVCIntra. 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO. It shoots them all. Always has. I don't know where you have been doing your research, but it is all wrong.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 15, 2009 at 11:08:54 pm

hey Shane, Some of your comments are correct. Yes there have been some cameras in this space, most have been way under the radar execpt the EX-3 which isnt really a shoulder mount camera, even though its designed to extend a pad to touch your shoulder.

The 3700 is not offering an over-crank capability (1-30), or 720p, or standard def formats. Yes your right, each of these features you will find in other cameras like the 2700, 2000, and 3000.

To not offer all these are formats and and features in your flagship 65,000 dollars camera, yet offered in a 10k camera (is crazy I think) and some kind of marketing ploy Id guess.


Best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:10:13 am

Hmm, I am trying to find the logic in your arguments here, Erich.

You would not buy the 3700 to do 720p, or SD. The 3700 is a dual link capable high end camera. should it be called a Varicam? Maybe, maybe not, althgough it will under and over crank up to 30fps. It also allows external 4:4:4 recording to various other types of formats. This is not what a medium sized news station is going to buy. It will be episodic television, indie movies and such. The 3700 is a in a different level of production.

The HPX2000 (which you can read an article that I just worte about in the latest issue of Craetive Cow magazine) might be more of the type of thing you are looking for. It's shoots 720p, 1080i, 1080psf and all of those in PAL or NTSC based frame rates. It also has an optional AVC-intra board so you can shoot DVCPro Hd or AVC-I in HD. It doens't have true over/undercranking, but if you're posting is 24 or 30p, you can record @ 25, 30p or 60p to give the over/under cranked look, you just can't get the odd frame rates like 48fps.

It's quite verstaile and it has 2/3" chips. We love it.

The 3000 is a 1080psf/1080i camera and will also shoot SD in a variety of world standards and codecs. You would buy that camera for 1080 capabilities and not over/undercrank like 720p camera nor would you buy it for SD.

Now, if you want over and undercranking caoabilities in 1080 just like it works in 720p (that would mean 1080p60) that is reserved for the very very high end dual link camera from Sony, such as the f35 or Red's RedOne camera.

Hope this clears up any misconceptions for you.

Jeremy


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Shane Ross
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:21:23 am

This is what I get for being a POST guy...I thought the 3000 had 720 capability. I guess this is why many people opt for the 2000 and 2700, the most versatile cameras panasonic makes.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:27:10 am

Shane, After my initial response I read your note again and thought I detected a few other problems with your taking me to court line for line, so I looked up a few things and thought id respond again more thoroughly (as you gave me the honor of doing).

(Shane Ross) "No...it now offers a camera that is a competitor to the Sony EX3 and PDW-700 and JVC GY-HD250. These are the $10,000 range cameras."

Sorry, but the PDW-700 is the new Sony 2/3" XD camera and sells for about 30k.

(Shane Ross) "This catagory contains many cameras: AG-HPX300, HVR-S270, PMW-EX3, PDW-700, and GY-HD250"

Sorry, The PMW-EX-3 is a 1/2" camera chip, and not really shoulder mounted. The PDW-700 is a 2/3" camera system. But you are correct that there have been a few cameras in this space. (as I posted previously) Most have not risen onto the radar of the main stream. Its an odd ball category in my opinion. The canon XL-1 was one of the first to offer an interchangable lens, but I know very few people who have ever put any other lens other then what came with the camera. Yes, I think its an odd choice to take a 1/3" chip and put it into a full size camera, specially when in my corner of the world everyone is trying to get away from infinite depth of field and putting 35mm adapters on all the mini's to get something out of focus and mimic 35mm cameras. in my opinion 1/3 inch chips should stay in mini camera systems. Maybe 1/2" chips should be the in-between size that can bridge both small and large form camera platforms.

(Shane Ross) "Uhhh, they have had the HPX-3000 for quite some time. That had all the features of this camera, and then some. And the 2700 also has these and then some."

Your right the 3000, the 2000, have been on the market for about a year, and the 2700 a bit less I'm guessing about 8 months now. Each of these new cameras has its own set of features (Hence the many different models). But (sorry again) the 3700 has been the last to ship and only in the last month or 2 begun to deliver this "flagship" camera. I had a client try to find one to test about a month ago in LA and they could not get a hold of one. Maybe by now they are available.

You might actually go to the Panasonic web sight and see what each of these cameras offer and what they don't offer. If you took 2 of these camera's (2700, 3700) and wrapped the features into one camera it would almost equal what this new 300 camera offers in a 1/3" 10k package. the 2700 is only 1.1 million pixel sensor and DOES over-crank to 60 fps. The 3700 has a 2.2 million pixel sensor and DOES NOT over crank. the 3700 also does not shoot in 720 formats, and the 3700 does NOT shoot standard def formats. This is why I am frustrated constomer, because I have to buy 2 cameras to equal what should be one.

(Shane Ross, about the new 3700) "INCORRECT. That is a fully featured camera. You can shoot from 12fps to 60fps. Shoot DVCPRO HD and AVCIntra. 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO. It shoots them all. Always has. I don't know where you have been doing your research, but it is all wrong."

Sorry, The 3700 is limited (explained above). I see your an editor by trade, I'm sure your very informed on Avid gear, maybe you should stick to your specialty, or at least do some more homework.

All is well... thanks for the fun interaction. Mostly I just express my opinion based on the facts as I know them to be. I can definitely get it wrong sometimes, and when I miss-state a fact please do keep me straight. hope you don't mind my checking out your facts also.

I'm a user of this gear and lately I've been very frustrated by Panasonic's product line. Starting about 2 years ago they have flooded the market with too many camera models, many that compete with each other. Its all very confusing to the customer and the market in general. This 300 camera is yet another. Maybe its the perfect camera and all the others should fall by the wayside. We shall see I suppose.

best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Shane Ross
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:33:50 am

Yeah, I'll admit that I don't know as much about the higher end cameras as I do the HVX-200 and HPX-170. That is not my field. But I thought that the 3000 did more. Guess this is why many of the camera guys I know own 2000s.

I am a consultant for Panasonic, but mainly with the lower end cameras and the end to end workflow. So when it comes to the higher end cameras I should let the guys who know answer the questions.

Pardon me...


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:59:59 am

[Erich Roland] " and the 2700 a bit less I'm guessing about 8 months now."

I think the 2700 has only been shipping for a few months, around November. It's brand new.

The 2000 and 3000 are a couple of years old I think.

[Erich Roland] "This is why I am frustrated consumer, because I have to buy 2 cameras to equal what should be one. "

i still don't see why you'd spend 65k on a camera to shoot SD. It doesn't make any sense to me. EVen if you need an SD master, I still don't get it.

[Erich Roland] "Sorry, The 3700 is limited (explained above). I see your an editor by trade, I'm sure your very informed on Avid gear, maybe you should stick to your specialty, or at least do some more homework. "

For some, a 720p camera is limited. It's all about how you use the tools and what you need them for. You obviously don't need what the 3700 has to offer. It's that simple. I guarantee the people buying a 3700 don't give a rat's puhtoot about SD capability. Sorry, I don't know how to spell puhtoot correctly.


[Erich Roland] "Starting about 2 years ago they have flooded the market with too many camera models, many that compete with each other. Its all very confusing to the customer and the market in general. This 300 camera is yet another. Maybe its the perfect camera and all the others should fall by the wayside. We shall see I suppose. "

This isn't Panasonic's fault. It is the state of the industry. Alas, the one format days of Betacam SP are over and have been over for many years. It's just what you have to deal with these days, but at least you have different price points to base your decisions on, instead of deciding between the bvw600 and the bvw600.

Jeremy


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 2:51:48 am

Hey Jeremy, Your right, why am I buying a 65k camera to shoot Standard def, its a rationale question. Panasonic started it by offering it up on they're cheapest HD camera the HVX-200, then again on higher priced P2 models. But why would they take it off the high-est priced model when It was a gimmie format on the cheaper P2 models?

I'm looking at this from the stand point of a guy who wants to buy one camera and service all his clients. I feel for the owner/operator who has to now buy 3 cameras to service all his clients. Im also in the rental business so having too many models is probably good for rentals but I still think it sucks for the owner/operator who I identify with.

Many clients still want 720p format shooting to cut with other 720 line format material. And its now becoming the new high-end standard to have a 2.2 million pixel sensor. This size has been in the F900 for years now, its now in the Sony 700 blue ray, and even on the new 300 Panasonic. So the 2700 Varicam is a rung down on the ladder because of its smaller 1.1 million sensor, and leaves out anybody wanting to shoot the highest pixel count sensor.

The idea that all these formats cannot be put into one camera has been proven not correct so why wouldn't Panasonic put them all in they're most expensive camera? The 3700 costs 20k more then the 2700, but it does less formats and less frame rates!

You say that only high end cameras do these tricks, But the RED ONE is a 20k camera, 45k less then the Varicam 3700 and it does a whole lot more then the 3700. This new 300 does just about all I'm asking for in the 3700 and it only costs 10k... with a lens! I can buy 6 of these for the price of one 3700, and 3 RED ONE cameras....

I just think there is something wrong with the feature sets designed into this line up and prices put on them. Many of these cameras compete with each other and over lap way too far. I don't believe its a sign of the times, i think its the Panasonic world has a screw loose somewhere in the management team that began about 2 years ago.

Again, just one guys opinion.

Jeremy, whats your position, do you work for Panasonic?

Thanks much, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 5:16:39 am

[Erich Roland] "Jeremy, whats your position, do you work for Panasonic? "

My position? Currently upright. No, I don't work for Panasonic. Why?

You should really read that article, it goes through our decision process to purchase the 2000, why we didn't choose Red, and why AVC-Intra.

http://magazine.creativecow.net/downloads.php

I don't really know the point you are trying to make here and I hope you aren't trolling, but here goes:

[Erich Roland] "Panasonic started it by offering it up on they're cheapest HD camera the HVX-200, then again on higher priced P2 models. But why would they take it off the high-est priced model when It was a gimmie format on the cheaper P2 models? "

Easy. Some people are still transitioning to HD. Allowing HD and SD on the camera allows flexibility for people who live in or shoot for markets that needs both HD and SD at an affordable price. The people who are buying the 3700 are not transitioning, they have committed to HD and probably to 4:4:4. Don't you think it's fair to say that most people are not shooting and posting in 4:4:4? And wouldn't you say the people that are shooting/posting in 4:4:4 don't care about the $65,000 price tag?

[Erich Roland] "Many clients still want 720p format shooting to cut with other 720 line format material. And its now becoming the new high-end standard to have a 2.2 million pixel sensor."

It is?

[Erich Roland] "This size has been in the F900 for years now, "

Pixel counts don't necessarily equate to the best pictures, but yeah, the 900 has it, but last I checked that only recorded to one format and recorded to 1080. 2.2 Million might not be needed for 720p.


[Erich Roland] "So the 2700 Varicam is a rung down on the ladder because of its smaller 1.1 million sensor, and leaves out anybody wanting to shoot the highest pixel count sensor. "

OK. So don't buy it if you think the pixel count is low. The 2700 allows much more flexibility in menu, color and image control than less expensive cameras. Then you can get in to film rec and other modes that are only available on the Varicam. I don't see this as making the Varicam a 'rung down' due to its pixel count.

[Erich Roland] "The 3700 costs 20k more then the 2700, but it does less formats and less frame rates! "

But the 2700 doesn't do 4:4:4. And I'll say it again, most likely if you're shooting 4:4:4 you aren't worried about SD.

Also, you have a rental business? Do you think someone who needs an SD camera is going to ask (and pay for) the 3700 to shoot dv or dv50 on p2 cards? Really?

[Erich Roland] "You say that only high end cameras do these tricks,"

I only mentioned 1080p60 at the higher end. When I say high end, it doesn't necessarily mean it's the most expensive either, it's about workflow and what you need to do to edit and output the recorded images, which brings me to my next point,

[Erich Roland] "But the RED ONE is a 20k camera, 45k less then the Varicam 3700 and it does a whole lot more then the 3700."

Yeah, there might be some talking points there, but first we would have to agree on what you mean by 'a whole lot more'. The Red is going on price for sure and they are admittedly trying to go their own way and have a way different business model than Panasonic. The cost of a Red and all it's necessary accessories is more than 20k, but you know that. Yes, it shoots different formats, but it doesn't shoot SD and the workflow for Red (while getting better everyday) is a different process than P2. It's chipset is different and image manipulation (or lack there of) operates completely different than CCD cameras. It's Apples and Oranges.


[Erich Roland] "This new 300 does just about all I'm asking for in the 3700 and it only costs 10k... with a lens! I can buy 6 of these for the price of one 3700, and 3 RED ONE cameras.... "

While I am sure the picture quality is good, you can't compare these cameras until you can hold them up side by side and examine the pictures. At $10k with a lens you are only going to get so much out of that camera.

You are right, there are many formats out there. There isn't an easy answer when buying a camera these days. Pick wisely. I'd stay away from paying $65k for your SD users.

Jeremy


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 12:55:19 pm

Jemermy, I'm sure your a smart fella and have only the best intentions to help straighten out a confused consumer (me). But your kinda missing the premise and point of my frustration, and instead your stuck on the idea of buying a 65k camera to shoot standard definition, which I agree would be not-too-bright.

I’m speaking from the point of view of an owner/operator who can probably only purchase one expensive camera and hope to get it paid off in a 2-3-year span. A large part of this industry is serviced by freelance owner/operators. This is a very common scenario that the camera manufactures need to consider when they figure out what features to offer into which camera models, etc. I’m sure there are marketing questions that come into play when making these decisions, and I’d guess “here in lies the problems” I speak of.

My confusion began when as an owner/operator I began to examine the new full sized camera line up from Panasonic to determine which camera might be my next purchase. Pretty quickly I had a sunken feeling that it was not going to be an easy choice, because I was looking for the next “step up” in the evolution in High Definition as well as multi format functionality which seemed (to me anyway) to come with the territory these days. Even the lowest camera in the product line does (what seems like) every format available.

If I want to jump in at the 45k level I can get the 2700 which is a very capable camera with many options (that I’ve come to expect in this day and age) including “overcrank” ability to 60 FPS, and both 720 and 1080 multi formats. All these same format choices are all offered on this new 10k camera (the 300) as well. But the 2700 is a 1.1 mil sensor, which some may think is yester-years imager size.

Some of my clients that I work with want the 2 mil sensor for potential large screen release, or green screen (or whatever purpose), that’s what they ask for. Now when I get this request I suppose I could just rent another camera for those shoots, or at the purchase stage I would want to examine the camera that has the 2.2 mil pixel sensor already built in. Twice the pixel count of the less expensive camera is a significant jump up in pixel count and potential resolving power therefore often what some clients want…(the best) or more pixels.

So now I’m lured to want to take a much bigger bank loan and buy into a 65 thousand dollar camera system as my ONE camera purchase…. Remember I’m stretched out already to buy a camera at all much less 65k in a horrible economy to hopefully service ALL of my clients, not just the ones who are okay with (last years) 1.1 million-pixel count. But with the “flagship” camera (the 3700) now I can only shoot 1080 formats and only up to 30fps, (and yes) no SD either. Now I can only service a part of my client base, having spent the big bucks!

The question again is why would they built such a sophisticated high-end camera, that cost 20k more then the 2700, and leave off all the other formats and capabilities of the cheaper cameras? If I want to buy the “high end” camera, to service my best clients (and this is my one purchase) I’ve just screwed myself out of a lot of my other clients needs.

It seems logical to me that when you spend a lot more you should get more, not less. Yes your right maybe Standard def isn’t appropriate in this camera but 720 formats are still current and absolutely appropriate, and “slow motion” is essential…. Basically to cover my bases I now need to own both these cameras at 100k to service all my clients needs. But we are still missing “slow-mo” on the 2.2 million sensors. I look towards RED for what’s possible technically, so I would have a hard time with anyone telling me that this isn’t technically possible to load up this camera with 65k worth of formats, and features, and even Slow motion. The base RED is 20 thousand and does much, much more!

I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for this company for the last 8 years or so, but I think the current line up and the flood of overlapping models is just stupid, and apparently I am not alone with these concerns.

Thanks for engaging in these questions. I also thank the Cow for offering this ability to voice my concerns for others to read and respond with their comments. I’m just another guy with an A-Hole and an opinion. My opinion plus a buck cant even buy a coffee!

Peace, Erich


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 5:43:47 pm

[Erich Roland] "Even the lowest camera in the product line does (what seems like) every format available. "

The one thing that I haven't heard you talk about or mention is recording format. Is that any consideration to you? Whether it's 10bit 4:2:2, long GOP HDV (a la XDCam HD) whether that's 4:2:0 or 4:2:2? Tape? Tapeless?

Have a look at the HPX 2000, man. It shoots SD in dv or dv50, HD in 720p,or 1080psf (yes it's not native 1080psf and doesn't have the highest pixel count) or 1080i in both PAL or NTSC based frequencies. You can get some over and under cranking in 720p if shooting @ 24p, 25p or 30p. You can't really get much more versatile than that if versatility is what you need.

The company I work for just bought one, so we are owner operators. We went through every question that you have brought up (although we weren't worried about SD) and it came down to AVC-I and 720p. We shoot for the edit as well. I realize some people don't do that or don't care, they throw the footage over the wall and walk on to the next job and let the editor sort out the format and frame rate problems. Yes, it's not an easy decision, but at least there are choices which in my opinion is better than an absence of choices.

If you're looking for 'the next step up' in high definition as you put it, you aren't looking at any of these cameras, except for maybe the Red and the 3700, and if you are looking at the 3700 as a next step up, you shouldn't be worried about SD (we are starting to go around in circles here). You need to get these cameras demoed and see what they are capable of before worrying about what format they shoot or don't shoot and make sure to record something when you demo them and look at it on a nice monitor. You also have to understand that Panasonic is running a business and have built different cameras for different market segments. They have not built a camera that will shoot everything under the sun. That is a new idea and a new requirement, and an idea that wasn't even possible just a few years ago. As I mentioned you aren't just choosing between BetaSP and BetaSP here.

[Erich Roland] "Now I can only service a part of my client base, having spent the big bucks! "

There is no doubt the market is fragmented. Take a look around. It's like this with choices of anything in production and in life. I can't believe the amount of different shampoos there are when I go to the grocery store. It's overwhelming. You can then apply that to RAID manufacturers, RAM, NLEs, capture cards, monitors, lights, stands, audio, everything. I think you need to take a very good look at your rental history and see what people rented and why, that will help you decide on a camera. Spending the big bucks won't get you the most versatile toy. You spend big bucks to get the HD quality that you need, you spend less money at the 'sacrifice' of quality to get the formats that you need.

Jeremy


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John Cummings
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 6:16:19 pm

Well Erich, if these editors would have bothered to check out your website, they would have had a better idea of where you're coming from...as an operator AND a rental house.

Unfairly or not, many producers equate native 1080i field acquisition as being a higher quality than 720, even though most would never be able to tell the difference in quality between an upconverted 720p and 1080i picture in a finished product. That's been the bane of Varicam (tape) owners ever since the HDX came onto the scene...which we all know is ironic considering the HDX is internally uprezzed from 720 anyway.

The tape-based Varicam owners/renters like Erich are now faced with a dilemma...they now have Varicams that are suddenly worth a fraction of what they paid for them. On top of that, Panasonic has muddied the upgrade path with two competing models that are both compromises due to the chip sizes and the frame rate issue. Add to that Panasonic's advanced compression schemes are unfortunately wrapped in an outdated form factor.

I don't think it's unreasonable to take Panasonic to task for releasing their "flagship" camera before it was ready for primetime. In my view, if Panny couldn't figure out the overheating issue with the full raster chips...if indeed that's what the problem is...they probably should have waited to release the Varicam until the engineers had a solution to that problem.

When they do come up with a fix for that issue...and they probably will soon...the HPX-3000 (another camera Erich owns) will no longer be as relevant in the product lineup, and Erich will potentially have yet another under-performing Panasonic asset in his inventory.

We all invest in this gear with an expectation of getting a decent return on it over a period of years. That has been tough enough in this quickly changing environment. I think the point is Panasonic isn't making it any easier on their customers.

Do I think he makes a valid argument? Yes, and I think many others feel the same way.

Do I think he was out of line or "trolling"? Certainly not, and the suggestion that he was and the not-so-vaguely condescending tone in the responses he received here was unfortunate. Erich knows his gear...and his marketplace...very well.

Yes, we all know Panasonic is an advertiser here, and their reps are kind enough to participate in the discussions. I would hope that doesn't preclude us from having open, honest and reasoned discussions without fear of being electronically pilloried by the moderators...even if they don't always know what they're talking about.




J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 7:30:42 pm

[John Cummings] "he HPX-3000 (another camera Erich owns) will no longer be as relevant in the product lineup, and Erich will potentially have yet another under-performing Panasonic asset in his inventory. "

How will the 3000 be an underperforming camera? All things being equal, the 3000 is a great camera that takes great pictures and shoots SD.

For comparison, is Sony's product line easier to discern? Do they have one camera that shoots SD to 4:4:4? How about JVC? Canon? Red? Phantom? Arri? I don't see one camera in there that shoots the gamut of sd to 4:4:4 so how come Erich is mad at Panasonic? I just think if you look at the root statement, "I want to buy one camera so everyone is happy and I don't need to spend anymore money, and why don't you have it Panasonic?" is not a very fair question.

[John Cummings] "Do I think he was out of line or "trolling"?"

I don't think he's out of line at all, it was just the way the first question is asked is usually how the tone is set. There was a lot of talk about Sony, it just raised some flags is all. Yes, there's a lot to look at, yes there are subtle differences between models, yes there's a lot of new formats and information to understand, but if you understand what they are, they answer becomes a bit more clear. As I said earlier, we just went through this process, the exact same one. Which camera to buy?


[John Cummings] "The tape-based Varicam owners/renters like Erich are now faced with a dilemma...they now have Varicams that are suddenly worth a fraction of what they paid for them."

To be fair, Panasonic had been clear about this for a while now. The reason why we didn't see a P2 based Varicam earlier was to protect current Varicam owners. That is pretty fair if you ask me. The Varicam is, in technological terms, and 'old' camera. Does it still work? Yes. Does it still have a place? Yes. Going from tape to tapeless is where the real argument lies with the old and the new Varicams. Yes the rental departments have a lot to think about as clearly, you can't buy everything.

[John Cummings] "I would hope that doesn't preclude us from having open, honest and reasoned discussions without fear of being electronically pilloried by the moderators...even if they don't always know what they're talking about. "

Hmm. Sorry to have offended you. Please discuss. I am all for open and honest, and I sure as hell don't know everything and I'd be a fool to think I did. I just think that what we need to talk about is the greater issue of having a fragmented market and not blaming Panasonic for playing the game or making a camera that shoots everything you MIGHT need. What's your advice to Erich?

Jeremy


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John Cummings
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:36:05 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "How will the 3000 be an underperforming camera?"

When I said under-performing, I meant that if he were to wait for a "new and improved" single Varicam, and added it to his inventory, it would probably cannibilize is HPX-3000 rentals.

[Jeremy Garchow] "For comparison, is Sony's product line easier to discern?"

Sony has similar issues with their product line, not to mention the fact that they've diluted the Cine Alta brand by slapping it on a prosumer camera. But I would look to the PDW-700 as to what's possible in a feature set right now, especially at at that price point. That 700, with the addition of varible frame rates, would be a mid-priced category killer for Sony. Panasonic had the opportunity put it all together for their Varicam owners and fumbled the ball by splitting the line. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Sony has a nasty surprise for Panasonic at this level at NAB. A PDW upgrade or an SxS 2/3" Cine Alta extension would be a natural for Sony.

[Jeremy Garchow] "To be fair, Panasonic had been clear about this for a while now."

Yes, Varicam owners knew a P2 varient would come. Its just that many are still sore over loss of work to the much less expensive HDX (at similar rates)and then get clobbered with having to choose between two hobbled new Varicams. They want THE full feature set in one Varicam to differentiate themselves from the less expensive HDX and PDW's. It's easy to underestimate how loyal the Varicam owners are. I think Panasonic did just that. Faced with being made to choose between two competing models, I think many will just wait for the next generation...if they don't jump ship before.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Going from tape to tapeless is where the real argument lies with the old and the new Varicams."

I disagree. We all know tape is in it's last chapter. When it comes to choosing a Varicam replacement, it's not only which Varicam, but do I really want P2 at this point?

[Jeremy Garchow] "Sorry to have offended you."

You didn't offend me. I thought you were being chippy with somebody else.

[Jeremy Garchow] "What's your advice to Erich?"

Sit tight.




J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:16:06 pm

[John Cummings] "When I said under-performing, I meant that if he were to wait for a "new and improved" single Varicam, and added it to his inventory, it would probably cannibilize is HPX-3000 rentals.
"


I understand you now.

[John Cummings] "But I would look to the PDW-700 as to what's possible in a feature set right now, especially at at that price point."

I am unfamiliar with that camera so I can't really speak to it. What does it have that the 2000 doesn't or vice versa?

[John Cummings] " Its just that many are still sore over loss of work to the much less expensive HDX (at similar rates)and then get clobbered with having to choose between two hobbled new Varicams. They want THE full feature set in one Varicam to differentiate themselves from the less expensive HDX and PDW's."

I don't see how making a more expensive fully featured camera is going to make them win business if they already losing out to HDX shooters. By that model, doesn't that mean that they are going to lose out to 2000 shooters?


[John Cummings] "I disagree. We all know tape is in it's last chapter. When it comes to choosing a Varicam replacement, it's not only which Varicam, but do I really want P2 at this point? "

You might, but Erich seems to be renting only tape based cameras. Anyone who's scared of P2 hasn't used it or tested it. It's really that simple. Also, I'd be willing to bet that you haven't turned on a 2000 or 3000 and went and shot in AVC-I. If you are an owner operator that also edits their own material, P2 is totally kick bootie.


[John Cummings] "You didn't offend me. I thought you were being chippy with somebody else. "

For that, I apologize, Erich. I liked your post in the Varicam forum much better. Perhaps I was a bit "chippy", and I over reacted to your frustration.

[John Cummings] "Sit tight. "

But what if you can't? People have been saying sight tight for 5 years now and in that mean time a lot of cool stuff has happened.




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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:02:24 pm

John, You did a great job in laying out the problem. I was having a tough time expressing the dilemma and problems in the current Pany product line. I understand that many people are coming from different places (specially in these open forums) and that my position is a particular point of view that not everyone shares. Many seem happy with the products available. The 2700 is probably the perfect camera if you love P2 and are good with a 1.1 mil sensor. But also I’ll bet some people probably bought into the 2000, and then got screwed when the 2700 came out with features they wished they had in the camera they purchased.

I think you hit the nail on the head about the new 3000 series cameras. The engineers probably ran into a technical wall (with over-crank) and were in a hurry to release the design to meet the winter Olympic schedule (or so I hear), and maybe brought out those cameras before they should have.

There is a very real dilemma for Dc-camera with these new products and unless the economy gets better in a hurry I will likely be waiting out this product cycle till we see what’s next. I’m sure Panasonic doesn’t give a hoot, but they should. I’m not sure they are currently on the right path towards market superiority (as they would like you to believe). Panasonic has spread themselves very thin with so many different models and they all need to be produced, have the many different parts available, and service technicians up to speed, etc. Life would be easier and cheaper for them and for the consumer if buying a Panasonic product were a clear, easier decision with fewer models (my opinion anyway).

I said it in the Varicam forum a few days ago. If the product was there that I believe my customer would “step up to”, I would buy cameras today. But because I cant figure out what camera is next for us, and my customers are also confused (from talking to them) I’m buying NO camera today and don’t see the demand changing anytime soon. Believe me when the demand is there I just get the camera whether I like it or not. It doesn’t have to make sense to me to be a buyer, business is business.

Our rental operation has grown on the backs of the Varicam, the HDX-900, and the Sony F900. P2 mini’s have been popular since they came out, but the Sony EX’s have come on very quickly with superior camera performance (albeit lesser codecs), and so the HVX’s are beginning to slow.

The demand for these new full size P2 products is not there (or here anyway). I was one of the very first rental operations to buy into the 3000 when it was first delivered, over a year ago. I was excited at the time to be on the cutting edge of what was next, but it has turned into the "Bleeding egde" because its rented out a total of about 12 days! I’ve had the 500 for about 4-5 months and its gone out a total of about 8 days. Maybe its my market, maybe its my company, (or pricing) maybe its something else that I’m trying to figure out while its still slow season, and I have time to engage in these (sometimes frustrating) dialogs. I’m not anxious to buy into anymore full sized P2 products until it’s clear what people want to rent. When there are 4 cameras with over lapping features its not clear by a long shot, and I can nil afford to guess wrong (again).

All the while... the 3000 and 500 sit gathering dust, and the Varicams, HDX’s and F900 all still work fairly consistently. Go figure! I guess tape lives on, huh?

Thanks again, Erich


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:11:11 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] " The Varicam is, in technological terms, and 'old' camera. Does it still work? Yes. Does it still have a place? Yes. Going from tape to tapeless is where the real argument lies with the old and the new Varicams. "

[Erich Roland] "All the while... the 3000 and 500 sit gathering dust, and the Varicams, HDX’s and F900 all still work fairly consistently. Go figure! I guess tape lives on, huh? "

And there you go. That's the argument my man as all of theose tape based cameras shoot HD only.

So really what you're saying is that tapeless hasn't taken off yet in your market?

Jeremy


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:43:21 pm

Jeremy, well, that's not really my point. The cameras not renting is one of the reasons Ive been examining the product line more closley. When I wanted to become a buyer of what WOULD be renting and tried to figure what my customer would want, I could not determine clearly what they would rent because there are too many models with over lapping features to choose from. And... (very important point here) the top model is missing many features it should have. (also spelled out earlier)

To me its just common sense. Panasonic has no less then (7) 2/3" cameras in there current line up, and I think they should have no more then 3, tops.

If your really into it (as you seem to be) feel free to see my post on the Varicam page a few days ago where I talk about where we have come from and how its turned into crazy time.

Best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Steve Eisen
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 8:59:09 pm

Erich

Just like your business, Panasonic, and other camera manufactures are there to serve their clients needs. The unfortunate part is, everyone has different needs. As Jeremy pointed out, we are no longer in the one format days. There are many formats available today. I know you are aware of that.

What Panasonic has done along with Sony, Panasonic and JVC is offer cameras in every price range. I attended a Sony press conference a few years back at NAB and that is what Sony's future goal was.

You are looking for what seems to you as an easy solution. It's not that simple. On the lower end price it is easier. I loved the 2000 when it came out. I also had a feeling that Panasonic would at some time develop a full size camera that had similar features to the HVX-200. That is why I purchased the HPX-500. The camera has every feature I need without the need to rent or buy any other cameras

I believe Panasonic has done an incredible job. I do not work or consult for Panasonic. I am an end user who shoots and edits almost every day with it, Panasonic offers the most flexibility in their camera options compared to the other camera manufactures.




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


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Kevin Bachar
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:43:40 pm

Hey All,

I thought I would weigh in on this as an owner operator of many cameras that have been discussed recently. My company Pangolin Pictures http://www.pangolinpictures.com has purchased the following over the last 6 years - 1 - F900, 1 - Panasonic Varicam H series, 3 Sony EX-1's, 3 Sony ZU's, 3 Sony HUs. As you can see from our website we do work for Discovery, National Geographic, A&E, History Channel, etc. What I think might not be known about, but clearly you do Erich, is the standards each of these networks have for cameras. Discovery's GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE and how only a few of Panasonic's and Sony's cams reach the Gold standard, and how the new HPX 300 maybe will qualify for Bronze. The new Sony PDW 700 relegated to silver. The HPX 500 bronze maybe silver as is the 3000 and 2000. So you are Erich or you are me, what camera do you buy.

You want to buy the best so you future proof yourself, so you are going to bite the bullet and buy the top of the line. But, the Panasonic top of the line or the Sony - F900R don't do all the features the smaller HPX300 or EX1 do - namely 1080/720 - and under and over cranking to 60 fps. Hey since we shoot so much wildlife a 10 second cache would be great - that's on the PDW 700 - but again not excepted as gold. Also, with the costs of P2 cards through the roof - which someone will have to explain to me why I can buy a 32gb I phone that plays video , music, and some killer apps costs a fraction of the P2 cards.

Also, since a lot of our shooting is done in rain forests, deserts, powered by generators and shooting from first light to darkness, P2 cards transferring to drives really stretches a two to three man crew to say nothing of the worries of not frying a drive when powered by a 10 year old Honda generator. And trust me I'm not against tape less, our JACKED series for A&E was tapeless on the EX-1 which was the only way to go when shooting so much material. But again we were coming back to offices to ingest the material and the cheaper SxS cards made it easier to have enough cards where we didn't have to download in the field.

The new HPX300...not sure who that is for...1/3 chip and 1/3 lens? Will not past the test for many networks. But - we'll see, maybe I'm wrong. What do we want - and excuse me for speaking for you Erich - but it may be this -

The Sony PDW 700 -love the inexpensive discs - that makes it to Discovery Gold - but add on -
1 - 60 under and over
and some SXS card slots.
it has a pre-record cache of 30 seconds so this is great, also with 2/3 lens you can put some awesome glass on it. But alas, as of now it doesn't rate gold and doesn't even shoot 24p 720 - you have to pay $4000 to upgrade to that in June. I feel your pain Erich. If I had bought the 3000 or the 2000 as others here have I wouldn't be shooting my current Gold standard project for Discovery on my own camera, and that's the problem. Who want's to rent when you own.

my 2 cents...all in good cheer. Neither a panasonic or a sony guy, just a filmmaker.

Kevin Bachar
Pangolin Pictures





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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:38:56 pm

Hey Kevin, thanks for weighing in. Your experience is important to understand in this dialog for people who don't interact with the discoveries of the world to understand the standards they have in place.

You’re right about the PDW-700 being a player in the market. We are in line to get one when the 24p become available, till then it wont work. Its market is much more clearly defined and has really no other cameras in its own brand cannibalizing its position. That may come with the SxS version of the same class camera but I haven't heard anything yet. Which they probably should do or at least incorporate that option into the same camera with a “B” model maybe.

There is a lot to like about the features of this Sony camera, and it’s definitely a player in my market. Geographic has also included the PDW-700 in they’re 1080i (minimum 2 million pixel) class production standard, along with the RED, F900, Phantom, etc. Geographic does not seem to have a problem with the XD codec in this highest class of their production standards.

Panasonic will have you believe that it’s all about the codec (game over), and their codec is strong for sure but it’s not the last word at all. For green screen or big screen etc, the best codec is important, but for your basic TV show, there are other issues as/or more important. Sony has put a lot of eggs in this XD basket and they would not have engineered it without support at all levels of the production community. The PDW-700 will have all the features the 3700 should have included, and at about half the price. We will buy this camera, it’s an easy decision, and it will be easy to sell to our clients.

Sorry to go on about this Sony camera I know how sensitive some of the participants here can be. I’m trying to be open about what’s going on across the spectrum and not be just a cheerleader about one product or another.

Thanks for your input, Erich


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Chris Bell
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 9:45:08 pm

I have to agree with Erich. The current line is too fragmented, there are too many options. Rental houses need to buy equipment which will service the needs of their clients and have a reasonable shelf life to pay for itself and produce income. As an owner/op I am in the same boat. I need to buy a camera which can service my various client needs, and not be worthless in 2 years. I don't have the luxury of buying 2 or 3 different cameras. I need one camera that does it all and for $65,000.0 the 3700 should do it all: 1080, 720, 480. The whole point of P2 is to have flexibility. If the HPX-300 records every format, why can't the 3700? The lack of 60p at 1080 is a big disappointment too. I hope Panasonic is reading these postings. We want to buy your products.




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Steve Eisen
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:13:44 pm

As a broadcast shooter for over 20 years, I can not agree with you. It is not that simple to make a high end camera that shoots 4:4:4 and also shoot DV.

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 16, 2009 at 10:40:31 pm

[Chris Bell] " I need to buy a camera which can service my various client needs, and not be worthless in 2 years."

And what are those needs? What do you shoot on now?


[Chris Bell] "I don't have the luxury of buying 2 or 3 different cameras"

Few people do.


[Chris Bell] "The whole point of P2 is to have flexibility. If the HPX-300 records every format, why can't the 3700?"

But it doesn't as it doesn't shoot 444.

At more than twice the price, plus don't forget the recorder to go with it, the Sony F35 doesn't shoot DV or 720p. It shoot's 444 or 422 1080 HD video from 1-50fps.


[Chris Bell] "The lack of 60p at 1080 is a big disappointment too."

There are only a few cameras in the world that can achieve this.




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Kevin Bachar
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 12:52:59 am

Hey Erich

My problem with the PDW 700 - not Discovery Gold and no over crank for slo mo which is so important for wildlife . In the past we would shoot super 16, but that truly seems to be a dead standard...as it isn't considered gold by discovery anymore. To bad about the 700 it would have been a purchase for us...the rep came by and everything...but alas it didn't do a few of the things we needed. The 2700 seems the way to go...but the P2 cards expense and the lower pixel rate...well like we have said over and over..does anyone read these posts from the big guys. Don't even get me started on the RED ...I mean how can that be a true in the field doc style run and gun camera. Anyways...I hope DC is treating you well...I remember posting down at Roland House...Commenwealth...Capital Video...etc back when I worked at Nat Geo. I appreciate everyone's comments here, it all comes down to buying what you need and what works for you...I think for us, as owner operators and renters to high end clients the limitations presents with so many camera's available is perplexing.

Thanks
Kevin



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 1:40:13 am

So 720p is okay for some of these stations you mention? But not a Gold rating? Just curious, what do they rate as Gold?

And what about the pixel count? The 2700 somehow skirts this?

ALlo, P2 has a cache that you can set for prerecord.

The expesne of P2 cards is an upfront cost. If you calcaulate the cost of tape vs p2, it'll be about the same over a year, if not much cheaper depending on how much you shoot. I'll have to dig up the thread on where I did the math on that once.


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 2:17:54 am


Jeremy, you may be right about the technical difficulties in the 4:4:4 outputs of the 3000 series cameras, in having limited options on this camera. The engineers might have been against the digital wall to not offer higher frame rates with this camera or maybe even the 720 line formats. Was it another 6 months of testing away from being possible...who knows.

But the problem is these attributes that are missing is what we need in contemporary field cameras. Studio cameras or special purpose, green screen, etc, is a different story but in the field we need more capability then has been offered in the 3000 cameras. Unfortunately the 3000 series cams are the only 2.2 mil sensor 2/3” chip models available from Panasonic, so we are stuck with them for who knows how long, till the next cycle arrives with (maybe) needed improvements.

When I look at Geographic cameras “accepted for 1080 production (with 2 mil sensors, minimum)” it includes these cameras. The phantom V12, the RED, the F900, HPX-3700, HDW790, and the PDW-700. This is wear the rubber meets the road, in this companies acceptable standards. On the top end you have the Phantom, and arguably at the bottom you have the new Sony PDW-700.

Some will say the XD codec in the PDW-700 is not up to snuff, but apparently its snuff enough for Geographic’s high-end work. Point is what we needed from Panasonic (at or near) the “top end” is a camera that does all the things we need contemporary cameras to do these days, like high frame rates, multi formats, and 2.2 million pixels all in a camera acceptable to these kinds of companies that buy our cameras material. In other words maybe we didn’t need 4:4:4 quality images to offer our clients for field acquisition, because the networks are happy, and accept 4:2:2. Having some cameras that do this even Higher-end work is important for certain purposes, but Id say having a 2.2 mil sensor that can go to 60fps or higher that most (if not all) clients accept is more important to the average buyer, and looks like more important to (arguably, quality oriented) cable network Nat Geo.

Maybe it’s the 2700 that should have had the 2.2 mil sensor with all the features it now has (and in 4:2:2). Then the 3700 can sit in a studio or a movie set (where maybe it belongs) and hum away all day long at 1080, 24fps, 4:4:4. I believe that with all the features the 3700 is missing (and very high price point) it will never be popular as a field camera.

We need a 2/3” field capable, multi format, over crank-able, 2.2 million pixel sensor product from this company, and it doesn’t exist.

Best, Erich




Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 2:51:55 pm

Thanks for this post, Erich. I think I am finally starting to see where you are coming from.

[Erich Roland] "But the problem is these attributes that are missing is what we need in contemporary field cameras."

I still don't get what's missing. Over cranking? SD?

[Erich Roland] "The phantom V12, the RED, the F900, HPX-3700, HDW790, and the PDW-700. This is wear the rubber meets the road, in this companies acceptable standards."

Of these 5 cameras, 2 will rally do any sort of over cranking that you might want and one will shoot SD. Does these tv stations you mention take 720p? Can you cross convert 720p masters to 1080psf or i?


[Erich Roland] " but Id say having a 2.2 mil sensor that can go to 60fps or higher that most (if not all) clients accept is more important to the average buyer, and looks like more important to (arguably, quality oriented) cable network Nat Geo. "

At 720p, I am not sure if a 2.2 million pixel sensor is wroth the time or the cost to both Panasonic and the end user. And right now, that's where the over cranking is coming in unless you go to Phantom or Red which have totally different approaches to field acquisition. You have to take a look at AVC-I at 720p, it might change your mind.


[Erich Roland] "I believe that with all the features the 3700 is missing (and very high price point) it will never be popular as a field camera. "

I do not believe Panasonic designed this as a normal field camera, at least not a camera to fit most people's needs.


[Erich Roland] "We need a 2/3” field capable, multi format, over crank-able, 2.2 million pixel sensor product from this company, and it doesn’t exist. "

Where does it exist?

I am not trying to fight you, Erich, I am just offering up discussion. Please don't think I am being chippy, I like these chats.

Jeremy


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gary adcock
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 1:25:36 pm

[Erich Roland] "I'm looking at this from the stand point of a guy who wants to buy one camera and service all his clients."

No your not, you sig file states you are an HD rental house.
As someone that rents gear for a living, you need to have all the tools available, not just one camera to match every conceivable need.
That is not reality for some one that rents gear, because not everyone has the same needs as you.

"You say that only high end cameras do these tricks, But the RED ONE is a 20k camera, 45k less then the Varicam 3700 and it does a whole lot more then the 3700. "

But you don't mention all the things that 3700 can do that the RED cannot (live dual link outputs for one). There is not one camera that can handle every single need. Thinking that way truly limits the users ability to deliver the finest visuals possible.

"So the 2700 Varicam is a rung down on the ladder because of its smaller 1.1 million sensor, and leaves out anybody wanting to shoot the highest pixel count sensor. "

this is a really old debate, when you take into count that the 2.2M pixels are being crushed in to a 1440x1080 3:1:1 color space when the varicam now does full raster 720p@ 4:2:2 those points are getting to me fairly mute.
FYI - you do know that the 1080 format only ever shows 540 lines at any one time correct? Since the format is always Interlace or PsF on a display-

Sorry but there is not a 1/3 camera sensor on the market that competes with 2/3 or larger sensor that the big boys use, there is just too much data being thrown away to place those cameras in competition with the established tools.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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cowcowcowcowcow
Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 2:10:41 pm

hey Gary, thanks for the input. Its an interesting dialog, and its an eye opener to me how many different perspectives there are out there. Yes, the "one size fit all" idea maybe old school, but I still think that fewer is better for both the manufacturer and the consumer specially in tough times. "More" may be more in boom times but not this year and maybe for a few more years to come. Specially in Panasonic's line right now there are WAY too many camera products. (just my opinion)

BTW this bit below you commented on. Yes, my sig says rentals and this is one of the things I do. But Ive been a freelance DP w/camera for over 30 years now and that is an important perspective I carry with me everyday. In considering what gear to buy for rentals I think about what I would want to rent from a rental operation (as a cameraman).

thanks much, Erich


[Erich Roland] "I'm looking at this from the stand point of a guy who wants to buy one camera and service all his clients."

No your not, you sig file states you are an HD rental house.
As someone that rents gear for a living, you need to have all the tools available, not just one camera to match every conceivable need.
That is not reality for some one that rents gear, because not everyone has the same needs as you.


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:13:40 pm

[Erich Roland] "Yes, the "one size fit all" idea maybe old school, but I still think that fewer is better for both the manufacturer and the consumer specially in tough times. "

Ah, but see, this is a decidedly "new school" line of thinking. There was never a camera that has done it all, still isn't.


[Erich Roland] "Specially in Panasonic's line right now there are WAY too many camera products. (just my opinion) "

On paper, yeah, maybe. But if you look closely at their offerings, there's something in there for you. Also with P2 really beginning to take off, (at least I think it is, this forum sure is pretty busy) I think Panasonic is still experimenting with what cameras work for them and people are just now realizing the power of a file based workflow and also what metadata can do for them. Also, they have traditionally been a 720p format company. 720p, in my mind, is a great format that offers very very nice image quality in a multitude of frame rates that is true p and not psf and offers a fantastic flexibility in mastering. On the scopiest of scopes, 720p looks totally great. When 1080p cameras, true 1080p60, becomes a standard and physically feasible, we will have this discussion again but that's not going to be for a very long time and SD will d-e-a-d dead. A 1080p60 Varicam would certainly be the top of the line, but right now I don't think it's possible at a price or technology point that Panasonic is comfortable with or else it would be on the market. That's just me guessing and speculating. Not to mention, the processing power required to edit/post Uncompressed 1080p60 material will be very very demanding, but who cares about post?

Also, another point I wanted to being about transferring p2 cards in the field attached to a Honda generator. Panasonic cameras allow you to attach bus powered drives to the camera and you can do the download right form the camera to a little drive. The camera will format and copy the info on to the drive for you.

And another thing, here's the thread from earlier last year that I found where I did some math for Mr. Cummings on tape vs P2 for a big project he was working on:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/120/859344

Jeremy


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Tim Wilson
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:35:15 pm

In classic Jeremy fashion, he's staying strictly on topic rather than blowing his own horn. He wrote a GREAT article for Creative Cow Magazine on the process that he and his company went through before they bought the HPX-300, including why they spent extra money to buy the AVC-Intra board.

Note that this is not a review. He didn't borrow the camera for one shoot and try to look like an expert. The article focuses on, again, why they spend their own big bucks, and their experiences after six months of shooting around the world. Great stuff, and I think it will shed a lot of light on this discussion.

Now, since in classic Tim Wilson fashion I WILL blow my own horn, and say that the New Visions issue of the Cow Magazine also includes an interview with Panavision's John Galt ("The Truth about 2K, 4K, and the Future of Pixels,"), a practical look at building digital cinema, and much more. We'll be expanding the article for the web soon, but in the meantime, check out the print version by downloading your free PDF copy.

And thanks again Jeremy for a great article.

Best,
Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:54:26 pm

[Tim Wilson] " before they bought the HPX-300"

Acutally it was the HPX-2000, but I know what you meant. ;)

Jeremy


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Tim Wilson
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 6:17:55 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Acutally it was the HPX-2000, but I know what you meant. ;)"

Dude, I EDIT the articles. You don't expect me to READ them do you? :-)

So it turns out that the article is even more relevant than I thought wrt the "one size does NOT fit all" part of the thread...


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John Cummings
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 8:43:42 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "And another thing, here's the thread from earlier last year that I found where I did some math for Mr. Cummings on tape vs P2 for a big project he was working on:

" target="_blank">http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/120/859344"


And I thought Tim said you always stay on topic.

Not sure what the point is Jeremy, but please don't get me going on THAT issue again! Were you one of those kids that stuck the stick through the fence just to tease the poor dog?

Anyway, I will tell you that we're nearly at the halfway point in that project right now, and I'm perfectly happy to be shooting tape on it...which also allows me to have dinner and cocktails with the rest of the crew at the end of the day.




J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 8:51:48 pm

[John Cummings] "Not sure what the point is Jeremy, but please don't get me going on THAT issue again!"

The point was the cost of tape vs P2, and it just happened to be you that I was talking about it with. That's all. Please don't take this personal. I am not trying to throw jabs.

Also, since then, I have acquired a PCD20 5 card reader and ShotputP2 Pro. It is fall down easy and will do all of your cards for you while you eat dinner with the crew. I do it all the time. It's about a 2:1 ratio (32 Gigs takes 16 minutes). You're in Chicago, I'll show it to you if you want.

[John Cummings] "Were you one of those kids that stuck the stick through the fence just to tease the poor dog? "

No, I was the dog. Making more sense now? ;)

Jeremy


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Steve Eisen
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 18, 2009 at 2:47:33 am

I'm inviting everyone to come to chifcpug's meeting next week, I'm demoing ShotPut Pro!

Gary will be talking about Red workflow.

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


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Michael Shugrue
Re: The new HPX-300
on May 8, 2009 at 5:21:02 pm

I have to say I have read most of the threads but not all. This camera will work very well for a certain market. You can use most if not all the same gear that you have for all your other cameras, 3000,F-900 etc. The frame rates are a plus the cost is low. I figured most rental companies would rent them for approx 500 to 600 per week, plus the cost of P2 cards and with the E series thats even better. Its not the end all be all camera. I would be suprised if anyone could tell the difference watching on a televison at home if the footage was shot with this camera compard to a PDW-700 or even a Varicam.
I like having the options of the frame rates and that I can use P2 cards on many different and highier end cameras in the future.


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gary adcock
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 3:53:07 pm

[Erich Roland] "but I still think that fewer is better for both the manufacturer and the consumer specially in tough times."

But they may not be the reality, It costs more to add all of these features and maintain some kind of quality over the product. R&D alone accounts for a large percentage of the cost of a camera, so the more engineering that goes into a product the more it costs or the longer it takes to get to market.

I feel that we are quickly coming to the point where imager sizes and / or specific cameras are treated like film stocks. I have seen what many here consider the highest level of Prosumer cameras be used on a set as if they were disposable. Every person and production have differing needs.

I work with most of the cameras discussed here, I am a Phantom Tech, I've done over 100 Red projects, even worked with Arri D21, Vipers, f23's and f35's. While it may not be in your future, many many people rent the camera they need for specific projects, changing cameras the way you change coats with the weather. That is the rule for higher end productions, small indy guys tend to force their camera to do everything that comes along without regard to whether the gear is up to the task or not.

Funny in the SD world cameras only did one thing. Now with Tapeless HD everyone wants to be able to handle all the variables without actually ever learning the why or how things should be done.

Honestly in all the years I have been doing this I have rarely (like 4 times in 20 years) ever shot more than one format per day onset and 2 of those were 16mm film projects mixed w/ the Phantom- now all of those are just shot on the phantom for simplicity.





gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 4:50:47 pm

Gary, You have an interesting seat at this game for sure.

Film was film for many years, and SD video had limited hardware as well. For the first 8-10 years of HD the choices were also few, now all of a sudden in the last 3-4 years the market for new HD products has exploded and become very complex for the consumer.

I'm trying to find the middle ground (or the common denominator products) but it may just not be possible. This declining world economic situation will be tough in every corner of the our economy and expect our industry to see the tree's being shaken in many ways. I want to brace myself and our company for possibly tough times ahead.

best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Helmut Kobler
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 7:10:24 pm

I'm in the market for a new camera and am leaning towards the HPX2700. The reasons are: 1) the Panasonic filmic look, 2) the variable frame rates, 3) P2 and AVC Intra and 4) price combined with Panasonic's 24 month leasing terms (0%).

Personally, I can't imagine ever needing/wanting to shoot SD, but I definitely wring my hands over the issue of a 1.1 vs 2.2 MP imager. I would LOVE to be able to have an HPX3000 imager combined with 60 fps, but no one seems to offer that in the form of a field-friendly ENG camera (Red does it but you get plenty of other hassles in exchange--ie, the weight, battery life, the difficulty in using it as a one man band, the more complicated post workflow, etc.).

Since no one else offers my dream camera, it tells me that there might be good technical/cost reasons for that state of being. At some point we'll get there I'm sure, but it seems like we're not there yet.

By the way, Erich, I caught some of your work last night on History Channel's Air Force One documentary. Nice job! I really liked the show, and what a great experience that must have been to shoot the plane. Just curious: what camera did you use for that production? I think there might have been some film used on the plane itself, but most looked like Varicam, maybe HDX900. I wasn't entirely sure, though.






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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 7:24:16 pm

[Helmut Kobler] "I'm in the market for a new camera and am leaning towards the HPX2700. "

And that's the way we would have leaned if it were released in the time we were looking to buy. At the time, we had to make a decision as we had too many shoot days coming up to not buy a camera.

As far as variable frame rate, you can still shoot 720p30 or 720p60 on the 2000 and conform to 24p (we shoot and edit mostly @ 24p). It doesn't offer all the frame rates (1-60), but it is possible and the 2000 is 15-20k cheaper. Believe me, though, I understand why you are looking at the Varicam.

Jeremy


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 17, 2009 at 7:44:21 pm

Hi Helmut, Yes, the AF-One show was shot almost entirely with the Varicam, a few times mini camera's were employed when needed. Film is very uncommon in Doc's these days, although we shot a bunch of 16mm on the last 2 Obama campaign films but that's different then most doc work these days.

I love the Varicam and would be perfectly happy to just keep shooting with this camera until something better comes along. I will keep it as long as my clients allow me to bring it along. I personally don't want to shoot P2, it may be better in post but it complicates life on location where productions are often complicated enough. Because P2 cards cost too much, and if your shooting a lot you will possibly need an addition body to just deal with media adding expense not required previously with tape production.

I guess the 2700 in the sweet spot of most logic at the moment if P2 is the want. For me as an owner operator I wouldn't want to just own a P2 camera and have to talk my many tape based clients into a new trick but I guess that's part of the landscape these days. I suppose an owner/operator needs to own multiple cameras is the answer and the solution Panasonic wants us to have!

Thanks for engaging in the conversation. Its good to hear different voices and what their particular circumstances and issues are.

Best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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gary adcock
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:39:12 pm

[Erich Roland] "I'm trying to find the middle ground (or the common denominator products) but it may just not be possible."

Ah, but what middle ground?

Really a much larger issue, especially when the smaller and smaller tools create issue where in many cases that lower cost prosumer camera is actually better for a job that a more "professional" tool.

Not to mention what is middle of the road in my area of expertise is far different than someone else.

Tools are tools, we got very used to having to single use tools in this industry, and now the latest offerings give more than most users will EVER USE. When I first was asked to speak on the HVX200 one of my main points was that even though the camera had 20+ shooting modes, I warned people to not try them all out at once.

I have hammered nails with many things that were not a hammer, and while all of them accomplished the task to varying degrees, only the hammer did it with the speed, grace and minimal amount of effort not to mention collateral damage.

I see cameras the same way, while the HVX200 or EX1 can capture offspeed they are limited- yet the Varicam allows me to ramp frame rates, offers more frame capture options, better lens selection, etc.

I just do not see the world as a place one camera is going to cover all of the bases.

Yet.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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John Cummings
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 19, 2009 at 5:59:19 pm

Wow, an amazing amount of electronic ink has been spilled on this subject.

To pick up on Gary's tool analogy, I think Erich was simply saying that the 3700...with full varible rates...would be a nice sort of "swiss army knife" camera in his inventory. Not perfect for every job...but good enough for most. I can see that.

I think we should now concentrate on the most important issue. Do we have any shot at making this the longest thread in Cow history?

I wonder what the record is, and on what subject...

Oh, and I can see why they call Chicago the Windy City.





J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 19, 2009 at 6:25:54 pm

that's too funny John! What is it about Chi-town that has so many people in this forum?

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 19, 2009 at 7:38:16 pm

[John Cummings] "I think we should now concentrate on the most important issue. Do we have any shot at making this the longest thread in Cow history? I wonder what the record is, and on what subject..."

This thread doesn't even come close. There are threads over the years that have been pages long and include days of discussion, hammering out ideas from a wide range of views, by many users.

But the most important issue is play nice, I don't want to have to shoot anyone ... again.

:)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.


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Erich Roland
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 19, 2009 at 6:04:20 pm

Gary, very well stated.

I'm not sure the world really needs or wants too many products to choose from. I think having so many choices available makes the consumer/producer spend way to much time and energy figuring out the perfect tool, and takes away needed brain cells to work out the details of WHAT to build instead. The idea of "one size fits all" wont likely happen anytime soon, but in my corner of this industry (long form doc) in what I shoot 95% of the time they're should very well be one camera that's the obvious choice (say in Pany), but its getting more fractured, and a bit unclear when it shouldn't be that tough to figure out.

It has been very clear for many years up until the last round of new P2 products just within the last year. Now many people in my business (owner/operator free lance documentary) don't know what to do, so most are doing nothing or taking a big risk to buy into a new product at a bad time to be doing so.

I realized there are many other situations out there, but this is my experience and I talk to a lot of people who do what I do, and many feel the same way. I guess its all about volume, and so Pany listens to the TV station and not the freelance cameraman who can realistically just buy one expensive HD camera that needs to service a lot of different clients needs. Currently I would need about 3 full size 2/3" cameras totaling over 100k to service most of my clients assuming some of them wanted P2. (but most have not bought into it... yet)

This is why they should have brought a transition Varicam to market with both a tape transport and a few P2 slots. This camera would be selling off the shelf even in tough times.

best, Erich

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Matt Gottshalk
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 21, 2009 at 3:19:06 am

RE: Kevin Bachar and the HPX-500 being Bronze for Discovery.

Actually, Jan just mentioned that it was cleared for the Silver tier:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showpost.php?p=1541638&postcount=6

McGee Digital Media Inc.
24P HD Production and Post
http://www.mcgeedigitalmedia.com


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Kevin Bachar
Re: The new HPX-300
on Feb 22, 2009 at 9:21:50 pm

That's it shoot for the silver!!!! Now who won the silver medal to Michael Phelps...oh yeah...no on remembers.



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Joe Kaczorowski
Re: The new HPX-300
on Mar 25, 2009 at 6:28:46 am

Two questions...

Discovery's Gold Bronze and Silver.... someone said that you needed a 2.2mil sensor to qualify for Gold? Isn't that really a new development anyway? so wouldn't it make sense they they change their standards on a regular basis. When the newest technology comes out will they want 3mil chips instead of 2.2 and will the new 3mil chips offer all the other bells and whistles right out of the box either? Just wondering.

1080psf someone said something about 1080 never displays more than 540 lines interlaced? can someone explain to me what 1080p is then? i've never heard of "psf"

Sorry for my ignorance i've been at the prosumer level for a while and spending most of my time editing. I would be happy to be able to afford one 20k camera let alone a 65k.

Thank you all so much, the swelling in my brain from reading this entire thread will hopefully go down sometime next week.

-Joe


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