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    HPX 250 AVC Intra 100 vs Nikon D810 recoording Plores 422 HQ
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    My curiosity got the better of me and last year I purchased a Nikon D810 Filmmaker's kit, wondering if the image quality of 8 bit uncompressed via HDMI to my Ninja II was the same or better than the images from my Panasonic AG HPX250. I wanted to compare the image quality of Nikon's full frame sensor to my HPX's 1/3 sensor. With the exception of shallower depth of field, I cannot tell the difference. Can you? The Panasonic footage is at the beginning and the Nikon footage starts at 13:36. This video is location lighting and camera test footage for an upcoming project. The stand ins are just goofing off.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdCYbHf2E0o
    Last edited by Hugh DiMauro; 09-04-2015 at 07:02 PM.
    Interesting if true. And interesting anyway.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro View Post
    My curiosity got the better of me and last year I purchased a Nikon D810 Filmmaker's kit, wondering if the image quality of 8 bit uncompressed via HDMI to my Ninja II was the same or better than the images from my Panasonic AG HPX250. I wanted to compare the image quality of Nikon's full frame sensor to my HPX's 1/3 sensor. With the exception of shallower depth of field, I cannot tell the difference. Can you? The Panasonic footage is at the beginning and the Nikon footage starts at 13:36. This video is location lighting and camera test footage for an upcoming project. The stand ins are just goofing off.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdCYbHf2E0o
    I see that the Nikon hdSLR has crushed blacks vs HPX250's more pleasing black level. However, the HPX-250's lens is mediocre. If you look carefully, the Nikon footage shot of the empty wine glass really sparkles vs 250's luster and flat look on the glass on other shots. Other nuances are the water bottle and wood background during the dolly shot. The HPX-250 just can't resolve the fine details in the background. It has that smeared and soften look. Nikon seems to be able to resolve the details in the darker areas. Also, the leather chair is sharper on the Nikon than HPX-250. I also see ocassional autofocus hunting on the HPX-250 on the top spot lights in the bar. Overall the Nikon has a sharper look but its skintone & gamma handling is not as good as the HPX-250. If you put a Zeiss Super Speed T1.5 PL mount on your Nikon, you will see even more accurate color rendition in the darker areas. It is also sharper overall from the edges of the frame. Quality lens makes a considerable difference. The weakest link on the HPX-250 is its stock KG lens. It's just doesn't offer any punch to the recorded clip. I don't think the PX-270 is any better when it comes to optical performance. If it's, you'll have to add another $10-20K to the camera.

    If the delivery medium is on the net, it's pretty hard to tell them apart. But 1080-60i broadcast, you'll start seeing the breakdown on h.264 dslr footage a bit more than AVC-I 100. A more accurate comparison is for viewers to download the master file of the two cams.
    Last edited by lonewolf2koc@hotmail.com; 09-04-2015 at 08:38 PM.


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    Thank you for your detailed analysis, Lonewolf. I appreciate you taking the time. I agree with your crushed black levels observation. I did not follow the DSLR rule of using a flat picture profile, instead, opting for the standard picture profile which is naturally contrasty. I am always on the fence about color correction and shy away from it not from an informed, intelligent point of view but from basic fear of not knowing enough about it. As for Panasonic's more pleasing black level, I left the master pedestal at it's factory setting of +15, the more "milky" looking dynamic range of things. I wonder if the HPX hadn't resolved the lackluster detail you describe in this instance because (yes, you are correct) I left the lens on autofocus? It was breathing. I saw that. I did that because, as you know, there are no focus barrel lens markings and I do not have a follow focus on my 250. Here is the million dollar question the answer for which I just cannot seem to find on the internet: My delivery medium will be anywhere from Bluray to large screen and everything in between. My question is: Overall, working with just what I have (Nikon D810 and a four Rokinon cine prime lens package, HPX 250 and HPX370), what is my very best overall option? Stick with my 1/3" Panny cameras and their fabulous AVC Intra 100 10 bit 422 codec or go with the full frame sensor and better lens Nikon at 8 bit 422 Apple Prores codec? I hope I am asking the right question. A few years ago, Barry Green very patiently explained to me that the only reason I would ever want to consider using a DSLR with an external recorder is for shallow depth of field and that Panasonic's AVC Intra codec pretty much beats all when it comes to comparable cameras. Any thoughts? I need to make an informed decision and do not want any equipment hype to cloud my judgement. Thanks.
    Interesting if true. And interesting anyway.


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    For narrative, scripted production, I'd go for your Nikon & Rokinon primes. You'll appreciate its higher optical resolving power when projected on large screen. Plus it has a more cinematic look. As a fun experiment, put a very high quality prime lens (Zeiss, Leica) on your dSLR. Record it in its native h.264. Then swap that for a very cheap lens. Chances are footage from the high quality lens will makeup for the low-quality h.264 recording codec. These days many NLE apps will edit h.264 natively. The compression/de-compression cycle is kept to a minimal. If I only have 1 choice between super high quality optics or high-q recording codec for the cam, I will choose quality optics without hesitation. In many cases, footages from the high quality lens are able to retain most of its quality even from the lackluster h.264 codec on the hdSLR.

    After 4 years of using the HPX-250 and many other high end cams & lenses, if picture quality is high on your list, I do not recommend the HPX-250. AVC-I 100 codec will not magically save or add details for the lackluster KG stock lens. On a side note just to illustrate how mediocre the HPX-250 lens is, you can even shoot it in AVC-I 50 and likely it's extremely hard to discern between the two. Keep everything within f/4 and obey the physics of diffraction on 1/3" sensor. I chose AVC-I 100 because I want everything to be 1920x1080p in post. I think the HPX-250 KG lens' sweet spot is around 45-55%. That's the sharpest for that lens. But all other zoom ranges are so-so. If you can work with that throughout your shoot, then it's doable. But I find it too restrictive. Even 45-55% zoom range is the sharpest for that lens, I don't think it can compete with other high quality lenses that offer unparalleled clarity at all focal lengths.

    I'm laughing at the PX-270 for putting the AVC Ultra 200 as an option. I'm not sure if Panasonic is delusional to thinking that their AVC-200 will somehow makeup for the optical deficiencies. I do agree that the AVC Ultra 200 will be a great mastering codec or it's used on a higher quality PX5000 with a real EFP grade 2/3" lens. Quality optics counts a lot. That's why most high quality lens costs 10-30x more than the cam itself. There's no way to avoid this if picture quality is paramount. On serious productions, I use quite a few large box lenses over 2/3" EFP and there's a huge quality differences. There're virtually zero distortion at the edge corners on box lens vs slight fall off on 2/3" EFP lenses.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro View Post
    Thank you for your detailed analysis, Lonewolf. I appreciate you taking the time. I agree with your crushed black levels observation. I did not follow the DSLR rule of using a flat picture profile, instead, opting for the standard picture profile which is naturally contrasty. I am always on the fence about color correction and shy away from it not from an informed, intelligent point of view but from basic fear of not knowing enough about it. As for Panasonic's more pleasing black level, I left the master pedestal at it's factory setting of +15, the more "milky" looking dynamic range of things. I wonder if the HPX hadn't resolved the lackluster detail you describe in this instance because (yes, you are correct) I left the lens on autofocus? It was breathing. I saw that. I did that because, as you know, there are no focus barrel lens markings and I do not have a follow focus on my 250. Here is the million dollar question the answer for which I just cannot seem to find on the internet: My delivery medium will be anywhere from Bluray to large screen and everything in between. My question is: Overall, working with just what I have (Nikon D810 and a four Rokinon cine prime lens package, HPX 250 and HPX370), what is my very best overall option? Stick with my 1/3" Panny cameras and their fabulous AVC Intra 100 10 bit 422 codec or go with the full frame sensor and better lens Nikon at 8 bit 422 Apple Prores codec? I hope I am asking the right question. A few years ago, Barry Green very patiently explained to me that the only reason I would ever want to consider using a DSLR with an external recorder is for shallow depth of field and that Panasonic's AVC Intra codec pretty much beats all when it comes to comparable cameras. Any thoughts? I need to make an informed decision and do not want any equipment hype to cloud my judgement. Thanks.


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