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Review of HPX2700 Varicam


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#1 Seth Melnick

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:44 AM

This past week Panasonic let me test their new HPX2700 Varicam - you can read my initial review here

http://www.slmproduc...ricam_revi.html

enjoy.
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#2 David Desio

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 12:26 PM

thanks for that review, it seems that everytime you think you've got the best of the bunch, another one comes along to tease and tantalize...also very helpful comparison between the '500 and this new one. While I love my '500 I am starting to see the short comings of the camera...maybe its really time to consider an upgrade.
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#3 Wenyan Ju

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:39 AM

Hi there, I read your "Panasonic HPX2700 Varicam Review" which is really impressive,
I am going to shoot a shot film on HPX3700 tomorrow, wondering how can I access the system menus,
as you mentioned before " The camera control settings are split into user menus and system menus. The former is accessed by one push of the menu button and the latter by holding the button for 3 seconds." which seems doesn't work on 3700!

Cheers
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#4 dan brockett

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 12:13 PM

So Seth:

Did you buy a 2700 while the killer trade-in program was in effect? This is definitely the camera that I aspire to.

Dan
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#5 Jeff Regan

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:48 PM

After owning a 2700 for three months, I can certainly say I am more impressed than I expected. I didn't expect the camera to be such a step up from my HDX900, but it is. Film-Rec up to 600%, DRS 1-3, AVC-Intra--a true progressive, native codec that doesn't have to be limited by compatibility with legacy tape formats.

Fast, ASA 640, 10-11 stops latitude in Film-Rec 600 with AVC-Intra 100, the tonality and colorimetry that Panasonic and the original Varicam is known for, except cleaner and much more information is recorded due to 10-bit depth and full sample, square pixel codec.

I heard from a DP who was about to buy a 2700 on Dec. 30th, to be in time for the trade-in deal. He had sold an HPX3000 and now wanted a 2700. I feel that the native 720P CCD sensors are kinder to talent and faster than the full raster CCD's in the 3000, 3700. Again, it has that Varicam look that so many DP's find to be amongst the most film like of any 2/3" video camera.

Anybody buying a P2 Varicam, should consider attending Varicamp, it is a great way to get the most out of the cameras. The co-instructor said that the 3700 should not have been called a Varicam due to its lack of overcranking ability. It's the 2700 that is the true successor to the original Varicam.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
www.ssv.com

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#6 Bruce Greene

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 10:54 PM

Recently I had the experience of showing a small movie we shot with the 27H tape based varicam on a very large screen in a multiplex projected through Barco DLP 2k projector. The movie was still a work in progress, and so we played it on my MacBook Pro in quicktime and plugged into the projector as a mirrored computer monitor.

The film was shot in 720p, mostly using an AJA I/O HD box and recording to a HD in Apple ProRes HQ, though a bit was recorded to tape and a few scenes (mostly in cars) were shot with an HPX170. The camera was set to FilmRec mode and we used the lowest setting that could capture the needed dynamic range of the scene. This was usually Dynamic Level 200%, but higher when necessary. This meant that the uncorrected movie looks a little bit low in contrast and saturation so the Quicktime player was set to slightly increase contrast and saturation.

I was a little bit nervous that the 720p image on such a large screen might look a little soft, but it looked amazing! Going next door to glimpse a big Hollywood 35mm print revealed that the 720p digital projection looked as detailed as the 35mm print, and much cleaner and steadier of course. The Varicam projected had much more "life" than the dull 2k DI film print in the next theater (I'm talking about basic image quality, not the cinematography :) )

I was also particularly impressed by the HPX170 footage holding up so well. It's a little noisier and about 1/2 as detailed as the Varicam, but the additional detailing added to the HPX170 enabled it to cut in quite well and nobody in the audience was the wiser. The DVCproHD shots from the Varicam did not stand out from the full raster, 10 bit, ProRes recordings and I could not tell which were which at the screening, though I have noticed banding in graduated areas of the image from this format at other times.

I guess I'm making these points to say that, detail wise, 720p is darned close to 1080p. And when shooting a movie almost every frame has some amount of motion blur, making the difference insignificant to the eye, even on a very large theatrical screen. The low light advantage of the 720p chips, and the slow motion capability make these cameras a true rival to any of the 1080p cameras that I saw demonstrated in the ASC camera assessment series last month. And while I wasn't able to compare the 720p Varicam directly to the 4k camera named after a color, I would say that after seeing the ASC tests, the 720p Varicam is about equal to or more detailed than that camera on a 2k projection.

Just my 4 cents worth...
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