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    HPX370 upgrade advise / lens upgrade
    #1
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    I'm looking for some advise regarding my ageing HPX370 and its stock lens.

    I've been using it for the past 5-6 years, mostly to shoot sports, interview and documentaries, and as a mini-studio cam for streaming. I have been very pleased with it performance and I like the control and feel of the camera.

    The new version of the HPX370, the HPX380, looks like a natural successor. However I have read much about the "poor" performance of the stock lens on the HPX370, and I assume the same is true for the 380.

    So I hope some of you here can help me with some advise.

    I would love to go out a buy a HPX380 and a good lens at once, but that will take some time before and can do that.

    So in the meantime i was thinking of upgrading the stock lens on my 370, and in a year or so I can buy the 380 body only, and use the new lens on that.

    But what lens should I buy?

    I've looked at the XT17sx45BRMK1, which looks like its the same as the stock. However it is different in electronics at least, but is it different in the optics? Eg. better image quality? I've tried finding information on Fujinon website, but I haven't been able to find any.

    Any other advise is greatly appriciated.


    Regards
    Jonas


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    #2
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    This might be some unusual advice, depending on your shoulder mount mindset. And deep down, I would prefer a shoulder mount cams, so take this for what it's worth.

    First, as much as the shoulder mount 370 and 380 are nice cams, they are both 1080 cams. This isn't so bad to me, but the prices with lens, for either cam seem pretty high for a 1080 workflow given the current market. An improved lens would be nice, but economically not worth it when you look at the cost of both lens and cam.

    Enter the PX270. This handycam has the same sensors as the 380 and the firmware of the PX5000. It also has a 22x zoom!. Now really, the lens isn't probably any better than what you have, but for well under 5k you get a cam complete with much better firmware. Given the 1080 workflow of the cam, I've been entirely satisfied with the 270 lens which is maybe just a little soft at the high end of the zoom, but still a very good image.

    Coupled with the cam you have, they would match well and save you a bucket load of money.

    Grant


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    #3
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    Hi Grant, for thanks for your input. I have thought of biting the bullet and go non-shoulder mount with the 270. From what I've read, it looks to be a very good cam for the price.

    Which let me on this train of thought: Do you have any experience with converting the HPX270 into a semi-shoulder mount? Something like this? http://www.vocas.com/solutions/panasonic/aj-px270-0

    It looks like a compromise I could live with, especially if fitted with V-Lock or AB battery power options.
    Last edited by jonashb; 03-06-2018 at 05:35 AM.


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    #4
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    I have shoulder mounted the 270 with some RR Micro kit. It works, but it just isn't the same as a regular shoulder mount cam. But it does work and beats handheld in most circumstances for me. One thing you will want to do at minimum is use a remote control (right hand for me) to control zoom and stop-start. I have a Manfrotto control that doesn't compromise the very nice servo lens control of the 270. The lens servo control was one of the big improvements over the 250 model. At times, I have also used a focus-aperture control on the left hand as well, though this isn't quite as wonderful, but maybe better than reaching for the focus rings and can put both focus and iris controls under one finger. I use a Manfrotto 521PFI (see link). They don't make this model anymore but you can find them on eBay for cheap. I like this unit in particular since it has large finger wheels and has focus limit setting so you can actually do a rack focus with a bit of practice. For power, I came up with an adapter to get from the power input plug on the 270 to a 4 pin XLR. I can find the make and model if you are interested. It was very difficult to research this accessory, and was ready to build one, but another member steered me towards one that works on a Sony cam. Nice product with coiled wire. Instead of using expensive batteries for this, I use a small Bescor brick which works great. No need for a lightweight battery for this as you will want to hang the battery behind your shoulder for ballast. You may want to check out the large capacity Ikan battery for the 270 (which is the same as the 250, 170, 100 series cams) It is a bit over $100 and runs the 270 for about double of the OEM. The 270 does suck batteries pretty hard do to its larger brain.

    From what I understand, the 380 has the same firmware as the 270 which comes from the HPX5000. The 370 firmware would be the same as the 250 cam I think. From what I know, the 270 firmware is a pretty large improvement over the 250. There may be some improvement in imager as well, but I suspect it won't be a huge difference. Also, Panny just released an updated firmware for the 270 which allows the use of SD cards in place of P2. I never thought I would see that happen. I still like P2 and have enough for the work I do, but there wouldn't be any need to buy more at this point with the new option. The 270 has one full sized P2 slot and two micro-p2 slots which is the same form factor as SD. The 270 can record to both micro slots at the same time which gives redundancy for critical work. One thing you can't do is use the full sized and micro slots at the same time. If you need dalies, the 270 can record a low res output to yet another SD slot.

    I was just imagining that the 270 would give you a great A-B combo if you kept your 370 and might save you some money at the same time. Also, Panny has the PX230 which is a slimed down version of the 270. Image wise, it would be identical. What you loose is some of the bells and whistles like wifi. I never use any of that stuff, so I could have saved money over the 270, but they hadn't released the 230 at the time.

    Grant

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLYAxjuP--o


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    #5
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    Excellent explanation, Grant :-)
    I have 4 AB batteries with great capacity that I could use and, as you wrote, would make ideal ballast on the back of the camera. Any information on that power connector, would be awesome.

    When all is summed up, I'm curious to know what the total price of a shoulder-converted 270 will be compared to a ready made 380. I will investigate this further. The price of the 270 is approximately half of the 380 (with lens and viewfinder), which should go a long way on remote controls, shoulder-mounts, etc.


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    Good news and bad news. I found the cable that I purchased, but of course, is NLA. Here is the link which will give you somewhere to start to find a different manufacturer. Someone must still make something similar. If not, some outfit like Trew Audio can.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._XLR_Male.html

    With regards to a Frankenrig for the 270, I certainly wouldn't buy anything new. There is a surprising amount of rigging used on eBay at a small fraction of new. If you go decent quality new, you could spend a grand or two easy. I purchased a large boneyard of RR Micro kit from a DVXuser member for $500 and filled in a few pieces and ended up with a really nice kit for about $600. That deal would be easy to duplicate if you keep looking and have some patience.

    Fewer companies are making the Panny wired remotes, but again, eBay to the rescue. I'm not a big fan of the VariZoom brand, but they are, at least, still in the game. Although I have mixed feelings about Manfrotto in general, their remotes are IMHO the better of the rest. Another interesting prospect is the control by wifi device if you buy the overpriced Panny wifi module. I have heard that you can buy similar type modules for much less. I haven't used this option, but it is intriguing for a B-Cam in a short handed situation.


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