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#1 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:22 AM

Anyone out there doing narrative work with the Panasonic HPX2000? Does it hold up to the Varicam well enough? I have a low budget feature coming up and we are exploring all our HD options. Looking at the HPX to save money and actually have two of them on set. This is straight to DVD. We will shoot tests but thought maybe someone had some experience to add to the mix.

Thanks in advance.

f
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 08:17 PM

I think the HDX-900 would be a closer match to the Varicam. I spoke with the Panasonic project manager last week at HD Expo, and he said the HPX-2000 was more like an "SDX on steroids," whereas the HDX was based on the Varicam. Different optical block apparently on the HPX, even though on paper the specs look the same. I'm sure Mitch is better qualified to explain the exact differences.

In either case, the gamma settings are more limited in the HDX and HPX; you're more likely to match the Varicam to the HDX/HPX than the other way around.
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 10:03 PM

Michael, I think whoever told you that about the HPX2000 was confusing it with the HPX500. The 500 is based on the SDX900, using the same optical block as that SD camera to shoot SD NTSC & PAL, as well as 720p & 1080i via vertical & horizontal pixel-shifting. It does an amazing amount for the relatively low price andis sureto offer better images than the HVX200, but it is still not up there with the top tier of the Panasonic line. The HPX2000 (these numbers really starting getting confusing) is essentially the P2 version of the HDX900. Both of these cameras share the same optical block as the Varicam, and use a 14-bit DSP for excellent quantitization. They do not shoot SD, but both record 720p or 1080i in a few set framerates. Both cameras also donot have as much gamma control option as the Varicam, although they come fairly close. The HPX2000 (Is there an SPX2000? Now I'm getting confused) will shoot 24p, although the 24pN mode of the HVX200 will not be available until August, when it will be a free upgrade to the camera. The camera will also eventually be able to record in a different compression format to DVCProHD, which is h.264. I don't know enough about it to beable to render any judgements, but I know a lot of people are veryinterested in this format.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:10 AM

Michael, I think whoever told you that about the HPX2000 was confusing it with the HPX500. The 500 is based on the SDX900...

The HPX2000 (these numbers really starting getting confusing) is essentially the P2 version of the HDX900. Both of these cameras share the same optical block as the Varicam, and use a 14-bit DSP for excellent quantitization.


That all makes perfect sense to me, so I was surprised when the Panasonic person (can't remember his name) told me otherwise -- and he introduced himself as the project manager, in charge of developing the cameras. Perhaps he was tired at the end of the day and misunderstood me on the model number, but we both stood next to both cameras and discussed them at length. There was no HPX-500 present.

I don't doubt any of your info, and like I said it makes perfect sense. I'd just like to avoid any confusion by getting to the bottom of it. I too was under the impression that the HPX-2000 was simply a P2 version of the HDX-900.

If it was simply an honest mistake or misunderstanding of model numbers, I'll accept it as human error (mine or his). And my appologies if this unnecessarily muddies the waters!
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:05 AM

I sat with the Project Manager and a number of other Panasonic employees going through the camera last summer. It was very clear that the HPX2000 is chiefly the P2 version of the HDX900.
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 07:35 AM

I sat with the Project Manager and a number of other Panasonic employees going through the camera last summer. It was very clear that the HPX2000 is chiefly the P2 version of the HDX900.


I'd have to agree with Mitch, it's a P2 version. So the real question would be whether you want P2. Most pros are not diving into P2 all that much outside of news and prosumers with HVX200s.

Roger Macie one of the premiere engineers who repairs and maintains thousands of clients reported his latest client trends:

125% increase in new set ups for SD cams and 580% increase in HD camcorders meaning folks are buying cameras and wanting them properly shaded.

Panasonic was 90% of Rogers business in that area showing the strength of Panasonic's marketing and product over Sony as of late.

The most popular cams - HDX900 and Varicam for HD and the SDX900 for SD. As Roger says, the HDX900 has become the leader because of it's low price and its 1080/720 switchability.

In the area of non tape based cams which account for 10% of his business, XDCAM as in the 350l is the most popular camera.

So perhaps P2 or other forms of It cams might be in the future, but as of now, P2 which was designed originally as a news acquisition format, and is trying to figure out how to be a legitimate long-format format, isn't very popular amongst the pros that deal with Roger regularly where tape and XDCAM seem to be.

Edited by WALTER GRAFF, 19 March 2007 - 07:38 AM.

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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 05:48 PM

I sat with the Project Manager and a number of other Panasonic employees going through the camera last summer. It was very clear that the HPX2000 is chiefly the P2 version of the HDX900.


Thanks Mitch, and sorry for the confusion.
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#8 Frank Barrera

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 09:58 PM

Thanks Mitch for the clarification.

So perhaps P2 or other forms of It cams might be in the future


Well what the HPX has over the XDCams is the 2/3" CCD. I believe there are only 1/2" CCD's on the Sony's. Shallower depth of field images similiar to Varicam quality on a P2 card sound pretty good to me for a low budget narrative.
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