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    PRE PRODUCTION HPX300 Hands On 'review'
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    Just managed to be in the right place at the right time when Rick Haywood the Broadcast manager of Panasonic NZ walked into my local dealer with a PREPRODUCTION HPX300.

    First thoughts, slightly smaller than a 500, but not by much, sits nicely on the shoulder, slightly back heavy but not by much.

    Build quality is the same as the 500, not amazing but still suitable for the price range the product is in.

    The Viewfinder is interesting.. the new technology in there does some strange things when you are shooting over exposed footage (we were testing the CAC at the time) and you see 3 flickers of OSD all slightly skewed apart from each other each in RGB.. we weren't sure if this was something to do with the fact it was still a preproduction model.

    The LCD is amazing, i'd directly compare it to the LCD on the Z7/Z5 sony camera, not quite as good as the EX LCD but a billion times better than the 170/200's LCD - YAY

    All the controls were where they should have been, just like a broadcast camera.

    The kit lens was alright, nice and wide and the reach was good, however it did feel slightly cheap in certain places.. the iris dial was the main thing i noticed. Just seemed plasticy.

    The variable zoom trigger was good, it had a quick jump in and you could also push and pull very slowly. There is no adjustment on the speed though, so no constant speed.

    The lens did some pretty sharp however, it took stopping down past F9.6 to see any noticeable softness in the lens.

    We had the camera hooked up to a 24" panny HD LCD via HDSDI and the pictures looked great. I unfortunately didnt have any cards with me otherwise would have shot some stuff.

    The CAC function is great, and we tested it throughly pushing it to the extreme. We setup a fluro light with a louver on it to give us some edging to study. Shooting straight into the light with CAC on and the lens open there was still a bit of CA going on... but that was a pretty extreme test. Will definitely see if i can do some real world testing when a production unit arrives - next month i've been told.

    All in all a great camera.. BUT, and unfortunately there is a great big but. The 3MOS chips left more to be desired.. not res wide.. the camera was very sharp.. but in regards to CMOS skewing..

    I pointed the camera at some vertical bars and s*%t.. there was some bad skewing going on.. Worse than the EX cameras unfortunately.

    I also noticed that there was a bit of general wobble when shooting off the shoulder on the long end of the lens. A real shame.

    Let me know if you have any questions, about the camera.. im sure i can answer some, but this is all i could think of for now.

    and once again this was a PRE PRODUCTION MODEL ONLY.


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    Senior Member AwakenedFilms's Avatar
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    So its true then...?


    Jason


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    Joe, thanks for your time on posting this. I have a couple of questions for you :

    1- Low light- How was it compared to the HVX200/HPX170?

    2- Signal to noise? Are you an HVX/HPX170 user? How does it fare?

    3- Weight? Is it as heavy as the HPX500?

    4- Difficult one: Have you used a 5d Mark II? Can you compare both cameras in the SKEW department? Only the skew, not DOF, low light, manual functions. This we all know

    5- When is it becoming available in New Zealand?

    Thanks again!
    SÚrgio Perez
    Macanese Director
    http://vimeo.com/user1503556


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    SPZ,

    I can only answer a few of your questions, as i only had a play for half an hour and most of it was spent on general image quality in good light.

    Signal to noise, i have an original HVX which as we all know, has a few noise issues. The 300 seemed pretty good however, everything we pointed it at was well lit.

    Weight wise it was nice, definitely ligher than a 500, but still a nice bit of weight on your shoulder. It felt very comfortable.

    I havent used a MKII sorry, but from what i saw.. it was as bad as the HV20 footage i have seen.... so bad, worse than my EX1.

    I've been told they were will have their first stock sometime next month, so i'd say it'll be available late March.

    Sorry i cant be any more helpful, the visit was mainly to show the store the product,, and i just happened to be there.

    The camera will now be in Australia, not sure where it was flying too, but i was told it was being put on a plane at 1pm which was about 3 hours ago.


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    No problem, that was quite helpfull enough!

    I'll probably check out the camera sometime in the future. Its not a surprise for me that Sony is more advanced in the Cmos department vs Panasonic. They invested much in the technology- bought plants, etc. Panasonic went a different route, and are playing catch up. Canon, on the other hand, should be technologically on par, if not ahead of Sony in Cmos technology. Probably the true contender will come from Canon...

    What I find interesting is that Panasonic is Pioneering technology on Still Photo cameras, and are to announce a video capable Cam from their Still Camera division, a product they are confident enough to separate from the G1, their first mini 4/3 camera. I just don't understand why this technology and platform is not available to us:

    Imagine a Mini 4/3, AVC INTRA, HPX170/HVX200 sized camcorder for 6000...This would be trully revolutionary, and a real Scarlet contender....
    SÚrgio Perez
    Macanese Director
    http://vimeo.com/user1503556


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    #6
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    So you saw what I believe to be probably one of the first PAL units???

    Don't think it will come anywhere near Canberra... probably will end up a Lemac's...

    Cheers


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    #7
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    Yea it was pal, what i completely forgot to check was to see if it was switchable..

    i saw a preproduction HPX172 as soon as it arrived on our shores.. and at that stage, it was switchable..


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    Senior Member Jan_Crittenden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lawry View Post
    All in all a great camera.. BUT, and unfortunately there is a great big but. The 3MOS chips left more to be desired.. not res wide.. the camera was very sharp.. but in regards to CMOS skewing..

    I pointed the camera at some vertical bars and shi*.. there was some bad skewing going on.. Worse than the EX cameras unfortunately.

    I also noticed that there was a bit of general wobble when shooting off the shoulder on the long end of the lens. A real shame.


    Hi Joe,

    Unless you had an EX1 next to it to compare the skew and wobble, I think you need reconsider your statement. I have found in my investigation that the two cameras are very similar on this issue. It really depend more on how you get used to shooting with the camera, if youexpect it to respond like a CCD, well there is the first mistake. You really need to adjust the shooting style in my opinion. With a shorter lens the wobble/skew would be less. In looking at the footage that Barry Green came back from Africa with, with most shot with an even longer lens 21X, it can be worked with.

    Best,

    Jan
    Last edited by Jan_Crittenden; 02-14-2009 at 05:12 AM.
    Jan Crittenden Livingston
    Panasonic System Communications Corporation
    Partner Sales Manager, NY and NJ


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    #9
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    Im sorry jan, you are right, i didnt have an ex1 right next to me.

    Am definitely keen to test out a production model when they arrive, and if i get the chance i will put it up against my EX1.

    I was on the long end of the 17x lens so everything was rather exaggerated, i will do the same test with my EX1 zoomed right in and see how it compares with what i remember.

    I did whip side to side on the wide end of the lens and i didnt see any noticeable skew.

    I wasnt expecting the chips to perform like a CCD, from shooting on the EX1 for the last 2 months i've learnt to deal with the CMOS issues and im sure people will have no issues with the camera if they know how to use CMOS chips.


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    #10
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    Never question Panasonic.


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