Review: Panasonic HVX200 DVCPRO HD Camcorder

We at Technology Evangelist have been trying to decide on what HD camera to buy.  Do we go with a pro grade format such as DVCPRO HDHDCam or D5 HD (uh, probably not D5 HD), do we go with a consumer grade format such as HDV or one of those nifty cameras that records direct to MPEG 4 HD?


We at Technology Evangelist have been trying to decide on what HD camera to
buy.  Do we go with a pro grade format such as
DVCPRO
HD
HDCam
or D5
HD
(uh, probably not D5 HD), do we go with a consumer grade format such as
HDV or
one of those nifty cameras that records direct to MPEG 4 HD?  To help us
make this decision we have been using a slew of different cameras and tape
recording technologies.


At the 2006 CES I was able to procure a high-end Sony HDCam camcorder: the
HDW730s. 
This is a $50,000 camcorder without the lens or any options, so it??????s a wee
bit expensive.  During the last two interviews we??????ve conducted I used a
JVC HDV
GY-HD100
prosumer camera, which runs about $5,000 or so. 






Tonight I was able to get my hands on the ever elusive Panasonic
AG-HVX200
DVCPRO HD camcorder and play a bit.



So what does this all mean?  Why do we care about the format?  I
wrote
an article a bit ago about HDV, why I hate it, and why I prefer it over
standard DV.  What I didn??????t talk about was DVCPRO HD and how it??????s
becoming more and more affordable.  While HDV is a very highly
compressed format at 25Mbps, DVCPRO HD is not nearly as compressed and runs
at 100Mbps.  In English this means that the picture quality of the
DVCPRO HD format should, in theory, be better than that of HDV.  The
less you compress a picture, the better it looks (in general, but there are
a lot of variables such as
CODEC
and whatnot).  The biggest advantage of DVCPRO HD is that it??????s an all
i-frame
format
, meaning that you can edit on every frame.  HDV is a
long-GOP format which means most of the frames are virtual and you can??????t
edit on them without a LOT of magic behind the scenes.  Long-GOP
basically means that the time it takes to edit will increase greatly, the
time to export will increase greatly, the time to compress into other
formats will increase greatly and the potential for messed up frames
increases greatly.







DVCPRO HD is a far better format than HDV.  It??????s less compressed, you
can edit on any frame which makes it very fast to work with and it can be
used in professional environments.  Until very recently DVCPRO HD
cameras were VERY expensive, starting at about $65,000 for the
Panasonic
Varicam.  Enter the HVX-200, a $6,000 prosumer camera that records
the very same DVCPRO HD signal that the Varicam records.  Cool. 
Well, mostly cool.



  First let me list the problems I found with the camera.  Want to
record HD on your new HD camera?  One would think you could record that
to tape, but Panasonic only put a
MiniDV 
deck on the camera (MiniDV tape can not record DVCPRO HD).  If you want
to record HD you must use one of the new
P2
cards
which are inserted in the back of the camera.  P2 is a new
format that Panasonic has come out with that records your video directly
onto a card which has no moving parts.  It??????s basically a bunch of SD
cards slammed into a PCMCIA card.  The nice thing about the format is
that you can record over and over again without dropped frames (tape
typically has 4 passes before you should throw it).  You can also move
that card right to the PCMCIA card slot on your laptop and transfer directly
off the card.  VERY cool!  Problem is that P2 cards only come in
up to 8GB flavors which stores 8 minutes of HD video, and they are very
expensive at around $2,000 per card.  Ouch.  So P2 is not an
option for us, and we can??????t record HD onto tape since the camera won??????t let
us.  There is a workaround, and I??????ll get to that in a bit.  A
couple of minor gripes I have would be where the XLR audio inputs are, at
the front of the camera.  If we want to run ENG wireless mics, I have
to run cables up to the front rather than having a clean system in the
back.  The lens is not only non-removable, but all of the focus
controls are servo driven so it??????s not as smooth as a pro grade lens. 
To make matters worse, for reasons I simply don??????t understand, the eyepiece
is a color LCD and they also have a color LCD pop-out screen.  If
you??????re going to put both a pop-out screen and an eyepiece on the camera,
make the eyepiece black and white so we can focus easier.  It??????s much
harder to focus on a color LCD, especially the cheap ones that Panasonic
decided on.  The filters for color balance are a bit hidden as well,
but that??????s just something that I need to get used to, it??????s neither good nor
bad.  I??????m not sure why they didn??????t just stick with a standard format of
sticking the filters by the lens, but hey, I can deal.



  There was a lot about the camera that I did like.  The entire
system is very easy to use.  I don??????t want to be the ONLY camera
operator for all of our shoots.  I want a system that I can train users
on.  Pro-grade cameras take a long time to learn because nothing is
automated.  The HVX-200 has a good balance of automated control with
the ability to go to full manual.  This means that I have the control
over the camera that I want for a shoot, but the automation that I would
want when newbies are shooting.  Outside of the time and price, I
really like the P2 format.  It??????s slick and easy to use.  If
Panasonic had 120GB cards for $500.00 today, I would buy 4 of them in a
heartbeat.  I think P2 is a fantastic format, it??????s just a couple years
ahead of its time.   I LOVE all of the formats that the camera
will allow me to shoot
in:  480i60
,
480p24/30,
720p24/30/60,
and
1080i 
24p/30p/60i.  This means that I can get the format and framerate I want
all in one camera.  SD, HD or both, 24p for shots that look like
movies, or 60p for real life looking shots.  I have it ALL in this
camera.  The picture quality was fantastic.  Not as good as the
Varicam, but one would expect that.  I believe this camera??????s picture
quality looks better than the Sony HDV camera lineup, which is hard to
beat.  The size and weight of the camera are both nice.  Good feel
with it being small enough to travel with, but large enough to get a stable
shot.  All in all, great design minus some small flaws.



  A few closing items I would like to remark on.  Panasonic claims
that this is a
1080p 
camera, and it is?????? sorta.  The camera will record 1080 progressive
lines at 24 or 30 frames per second.  However, as soon as you try and
get that off of the camera, it??????s going to shoot it back out to 1080i60 or
1080 interlaced lines at 60 fields per second.  If you look at the
picture below you can see how they are doing that, basically each frame is
divided into two fields and then shot out of the camera.




This is nothing more than a hack and I don??????t buy it.  While it will
look better than a 1080i camera that records interlaced to the tape, we
still have to deal with the problems of interlacing while editing and
distributing.  Unfortunately to get true 1080p images we??????re looking at
the Sony CineAlta which is crazy, scary expensive.  I??????ll do more
testing, but I believe at this time I would suggest shooting in 720p and
scaling up to 1080p.  It??????s too early for me to say that for sure, but I
believe that??????s where we are at.
CORRECTION: 
After hashing this out a bit, the 1080i60 signal is edited as a
true 1080p30 or 1080p24 signal on your NLE using pulldown.  Looking at
the above image, this would be meshing the two fields into one frame for
30p, or 2:3:3:2 pulldown for 24p.  This is the same process that the
DVX100 uses and it works.  My mistake.




  Finally, how do we solve the P2 problem?  I need to record
more than 16 minutes of DVCPRO HD and I don??????t want to spend an arm and a
leg to do it.  The solution is simple, elegant and sexy:  the
Firestore
FS-100
hard drive recorder.  This is a box that is designed
specifically for the HVX200 and will plug directly into the firewire port
allowing us to record the raw DVCPRO HD file directly to a hard drive
mounted to the camera.  Our recoding time just jumped to well over 2
hours and as an added bonus we can edit directly off the hard drive
without transferring the footage to another device!
CORRECTION: 
The FS-100 does not have a removable drive like the FS3
does, and as such we are limited to the 100GB drive installed, which is
about 90 minutes of recording.



  At this time I believe this is the camera we are going to work
with.  It??????s small enough to transport, has a great picture, pro-grade
audio inputs (even if they are at the front of the camera), and it??????s not
too expensive.  Having said that, what do you think would be the
right choice?  Should I be taking a look at a different camera? 
What would you spend your money on?  Please help us out and leave
comments.

21 thoughts on “Review: Panasonic HVX200 DVCPRO HD Camcorder”

  1. Just to clarify one point. The HVX200 does shoot true 1080 24P, but the frames are stored in a 1080 60i datastream. While this leads to duplicated frames taking up extra space on those precious P2 cards, it does produce 100% progressive 1080/24p footage once the pulldown is removed. No sleight of hand and no interlacing, it’s similar to how its little brother, the DVX100 stores a true 24p signal in the 60i NTSC standard by adding pulldown. If you’re seeing *any* interlacing at 1080 24p, you’re experiencing workflow issues. So there is no technical reason to upscale 720p footage unless you want to shoot at some of the more exotic (non 24p) framerates.

  2. That’s a very good point, and something that I had thought of after writing the article. I have not had a chance to play with the footage yet, so it’s still sitting on P2 cards (I only had the camera for a day).
    I’ll bring her into FCP and try some 3:2:2:3 pulldown on 24p and see what FCP can do from a 30p standpoint. Personally I hate the film look and strive for 60p, but I would take 1080p30 over 720p60 any day.
    Thanks for the input, that makes a huge difference in workflow.

  3. Ben:
    Have you tried any of the overcranking on it yet? I saw some test footage of that and it looks swank.
    Also, Barry, does this mean overcranking at 1080p/60 will result in interlacing in post?

  4. No interlacing in post. While it is outputting a 1080i signal, since frames o and e are the same, your NLE can combine that signal back into a progressive file with no ssue. I’m not sure why I was thinking it would come back interlaced, but if you look at the image above, you’ll see that the problem is very easily fixed in your NLE.
    Same can be said for 24p with pulldown. So the 1080i24p and 1080i30p modes really are progressive. The mistake was mine, and I’ll issue a correction.
    I did not have a chance to test much other than the camera basics and record in 1080i/24p/30p and 720p24/30/60. I only had the camera for a couple of hours, so I was unable to test every single feature. I hope to get her back soon to try some more stuff.

  5. Actually you can only over and under crank in a special Panasonic 720PN setting. Whatever that is. Lovely pictures, hate the viewfinder and P2, its just too expensive for what is basically a toy camera.
    Have you looked at the Sony HD XD cameras?

  6. I wouldn’t call this a toy camera. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I would buy this over a HDV camera. I would also consider it when looking at XDCams too… and here’s why.
    The little gotcha with HDV is that it’s an IBP structure MPEG 2 format. This creates problems not only with editing, but also with possible data loss on capture. MPEG 2 is a *distribution* format not an acquisition format. When used to acquire, problems occur. Hence, I don’t like HDV. What Sony sometimes forgets to mention is that XDCam is ALSO MPEG 2, and in its current structure is long-GOP MPEG 2… The same as HDV. So you get this great camera body and lens, but you’re compressing the poo out of the picture during acquisition, essentially throwing out a lot of data you’ll want for the editing process. The newer versions of XDCam promise to improve on this, but it’s still not the level that DVCPRO HD is at.
    Here’s the fun part of this whole thing. With the HVX200 we have a high-end format inside a prosumer body. Picture looks great, but servo driven iris and focus will drive me batty. With XDCam we have high-end camera components with a consumer grade format. So… Which is better? Do you compromise the camera or the recording format?
    Understand, Sony will argue with me and debate how great XDCam is, how MPEG 2 won’t be an issue as CPUs get faster, etc. etc… But I firmly believe they are wrong and if Panasonic can get the cost of P2 down to $500 a card for 30GB… Then it becomes a MUCH cooler soltuion (P2 has no moving parts, unlike XDCam).
    Anyhow, that’s my $0.02… And to directly answer your question, yes I have used XDCam.

  7. Not XDcam but HD XDcam like the PDW-F350. It??????s only a ??? chip but the lenses are a lot better than the ??????toy 🙂 ?????? cameras. Also it??????s a better compression rate.

  8. Also don??????t believe the no moving parts line. The card contacts move every time they go in and out of the camera, most busy newsrooms are looking at a 3 month life span per card by Panasonics own figures.

  9. XDCam HD is still an MPEG 2 format, and it currently tops out at 35Mbps; however, Sony has promised to increase this to 50Mbps soon. That’s still 1/2 the datarate of DVCPRO HD, and it’s STILL freaking MPEG 2, which means the underlying problem has not been solved. It’s a hack job. All forms of XDCam, in my huble opinion, are a bad, bad idea. If we’re talking news, the editing time alone will cost the companies money. Locally we have KARE 11 that is moving to XDCam, and I just think the engineers that purchase the equipment have no idea what actually goes into making news.
    The thing with P2 and no moving part is that while in the field recording onto the card, one does not need to worry about bumping the camera around (car mount, plane mount, running on shoulder) and loosing media. They have had some pretty nasty issues with the pins inside the camera getting bent, but in their latest cameras this seems to have been fixed (according to Panasonic). The card itself is a female connection, so the card won’t get damaged, it’s the camera, and that’s a huge issue. We’ll see how well their latest generation lasts. But I don’t want to destroy my $80,000 Varicam or even my $6,000 HVX 200 because Panasonic can’t engineer an interface properly. That’s the scary thing about P2.
    In all reality, Panasonic has a great idea which is much better than having a spinning disc inside a camera that is prone to problems when bumped. When looing at fundamental idea alone, P2 kicks the pants off of XDCam. When looking at real-world application, both P2 and XDCam suck. At this point I just use Hard drives and hope the platter remains solid. What Panasonic needs to do is dump the whole SD inside a PCMCIA card idea, move to a static RAM mounted in the cards to drive down the price, and find a different way to interface with the camera. Fix those glitches and we have a much better solution than XDCam HD.
    Now they just need a camera that has a removable lens which does not cost $80,000.
    You’ll find that I don’t drink Panasonic’s or Sony’s Koolaid, but it seems that a lot of broadcasters love Sony and believe whatever they say for no good reason. Each has their pros and cons, and I again state that one has to decide what is more critical to them: A crappy lens (HVX200) or a crappy MPEG 2 based format (XDCam and XDCam HD).

  10. ??????You’ll find that I don’t drink Panasonic’s or Sony’s Koolaid,??????
    LOL
    It??????s such an emotive argument for some.
    Their funny tendency to put crap viewfinders on cameras aside I quite like Panasonic cameras but I was at their road show and some of the half truths and blatant lies were just pissing me off. One guy told me with a straight face that the XD discs are thrown out by the pull of the moon at spring tides.
    It??????s just mad.
    Sony drive me up the wall by their smug it??????s our way or the highway attitude.
    All that aside I??????m a cameraman so I??????ll take good glass any day.

  11. Yeah, I would say that if you’re stricly a videographer, then the lens on the HVX200 will piss you off. Want to whip in and grab your focus? Don’t think that’s going to happen quickly.
    That being said, I have the pleasure of being the guy who makes the purchase decision… So do I let my NLE guys win and go with the HVX200, or do I let my camera operators win and go with a system that has a real lens on it? It’s hard, but in the end since most of our shots are news/interview-esq I think that the servo driven lens is less of an issue than MPEG based acquisition format.
    What I WANT is a Varicam that is $15,000 and drops to tape and hard drive at the same time, directly as DVCPRO HD. Heck, I’ll pay extra for the glass (I would anyhow at that point, get a really great lens). Alas, that’s not an option for me. I could go with the JVC GY-HD100, but after color correcting my orange images all day and dealing with HDV problems, well, I think I’ll pass. Basically that leaves me with the HVX200 or the F330 (which is not only XDCam but it’s also 1080i, and we only work with progressive here since interlaced content needs to go away).
    Ok, ok… Since we’re dreaming, what I REALLY want is the F900/950. Feeling the 1080p love there! I believe that lists for $84,800 without glass… So add another $40,000 for a really nice lens… Mmmm, yeah, I’ll take 2. Varicam is nice and all, but 1080p is nicer.

  12. Outside of the issues discussed previously in this forum, the two main issues of concern that I have are 1.noise 2. focus problems. The P2 storage does not deter us as much as the qualitative and subjective results we have obtained with this camera. the image does not “look” as good as other cameras in this category. The dvx100a/b has a much more pleasing image. Any advice and suggestions?

  13. As with any camera, it takes a bit of time to find the look and feel you’re going for. With the DVX100 you’re basically limited to 24p, 30p, or 60i. With the HVX200 you have all of the DVX100 formats, plus the over-undercranking abilities in 720p mode, 1080p mode… So many different variables it hurts the head. Each different setting directly impacts the iris, depth of field, and shot in general. To get the same look on a HVX200 you’ll need to play a bit to find what you’re looking for, but once you have it, you can save it. This is not a 1 hour process, finding the look you want will take several test shoots, dummy edits, and just plain time.
    As for focus, that’s a common problem with HD. If you watched the summer Olympics in HD you will have seen some horrific out-of-focus shots (only the HD feed, the SD was completely different). The Olympics are shot on cameras many times more expensive than the HVX200, so what gives? The amount of light that the highly packed CCD is allowing in is very different than a SD camera, and as such drastically changes the depth of field, even in the exact same lighting and iris conditions. This causes havoc on focusing. The pros have learned how to work with this and if you watched the Winter Olympics you will have seen everything is right where it should be. This problem is not limited to the HVX200, it’s on ALL HD cameras… And it’s not actually a problem per-say, it’s just getting used to how good HD works. As HD cameras get cheaper and we get looser packed CCDs (read: less resolution) more light can pass and it becomes much closer to a standard SD camera. The problem here is that the HVX200 is TOO good at what it does. If you think that focus is harsh, try the Sony CineAlta 950… I think my eyes were bleeding…
    I think there’s more info at http://www.adamwilt.com and I know there’s a good technical rundown from the PR guys at Panasonic over at http://toshpit.blogs.com/
    What you’re used to with the DVX100 no longer applies to the HVX200. While many of the menus are similar between the two cameras, make no mistake, the HVX200 is 10x the camera that the DVX100 is. I recently read a shootout of different cameras talking about noise, resolution, etc. that breaks down each system… I was unable to dig it up, so I’ll see if I can’t find it a bit later. In short from a technical perspective, the HVX200 has many more usable lines of resolution with far less noise than the DVX100 (after it’s on tape, past the CODEC and all said and done.) When compared to other HDV camcorders (even though the HVX200 is not HDV), well, it’s basically a wash. That’s from a tested and technical standpoint… but there’s one last thing and that’s the human eye. Every eye/brain sees things differently, and as such what *I* think looks good you may not like. There’s no easy way to measure that, so I would say if you like the DVX100, stick with that. It’s far less $$ and a lot easier to use, but it’s not HD and it can do my favorite format: 720p60.

  14. It’s so funny to read what some guys are writing and never really worked with a real HD Camera before. I’m going on 10 years now as a pro camera operator/editor and owning my own SONY D50 and DSR500 (which i still love and will put up to many other cameras out there today in regards to overal quality) I prefer renting and shooting on a Cinealta HDCAM or even a Varicam (if and whenever budget allows).
    I am currently shopping for a new camera and can’t find anything that really impresses me that prices with a lens for less than $50k. I like the way HDV looks on an HD monitor at the time of the shoot and only if the camera is not in motion (e.g. XL-HD’s HD-SDI out), but anything after that…? HDV as it stands today is just a consumer format and I will probably buy one for private purposes once they come down to less than $1500.
    You can’t be serious about comparring an HD-like format that has such a long GOP with a Pro DV50 type format. The motion artifacts alone will make you sick.
    I also believe that HDV might have a future in the future. Looking at SONY’s XDCAM series with HDV at over 30mbps and soon to follow a 50mbps version. Maybe one day when they separate the group of pictures down to maybe 3 and the datarate keeps increasing, HDV might become a professional format. I am however impressed that the HVX can record DVCPRO at 50mpbs and 4:2:2 which currently is/should be more worth than the current HDV format.
    Here’s the thing. Everything I shot and produced eventually ended up on DVD or BetaSP/DigiBeta to go to the TVstation. So why is everybody in a ruch to shoot at a higher resolution than 720×486 (or 720×480)? I rather have 4:2:2 colorspace, which will stay 4:2:2 even on BetaSP rather than shooting at 1080 at 4:2:0 and then downconverting to 720×486 anyways, you only get the worst of both worlds.
    I don’t mean to get personal to with anyone, I understand that there are a lot of wedding videographers out there and student filmmakers, but in the real broadcast world there just is (currently) no space for HDV.

  15. I’ve been using the p2 (spx 800) for over a year in a news gathering environment . Hurricanes (Katrina, Rita ect..) I have never encountered any problems with the p2 system. Also have been using the hvx200 as a second travel camera shooting on 8 gb cards.
    News promos are all shot and edited in 720 60p (hvx 200) with FCP5. For the past year and a half, the P2 system has been flawless from aquisition to edit to air. The only true downside (right now) is the coast per card. Picture is quality truly amazing!

  16. Sorry guys, Panasonic won’t catch me with their “HD” HVX propaganda. 960×540 pixel CCDs with spatial offset barely resolve 720p resolution. Without option to replace that mediocre lens, it’s gets even less funny. They can record result of that as 1080p or whatever, at 100mbps or even higher. I don’t buy it but sadly, it catches attention of the masses and brings profits.
    When Canon employed pixel shift technology in XL1, many folks were throwing tomatoes at them. In fact, with its 270k CCDs, XL1’s image quality was not taking MiniDV to its limits. Funny thing is many of the same people now glorify Panasonic for the same approach in HVX200… Well, human nature is interesting 🙂 Please notice what happens when one shoots objects with dominant primary colors: quality sucks and even the best pixel shift won’t help.
    Solid state memory recording as standard is only a question of time, but first, prices have to go way down, and capacities way up. Stephen got a good point. How much time of intense use will the mechanical contacts on the P2 cards last? The socket inside the camera will take much more beating. For those criticizing Sony XDCAM, please remember there is no mechanical contact involved in read/write operation. The media has much bigger capacity and costs around $30. XDCAM and XDCAM HD camcorders proved to be extremely reliable, even in the most extreme situations.
    XDCAM’s HD MPEG-2 long GOP compression is very effective and you will need a lot of crazy motion in front of your lens to notice any artifacts, if you will be able to notice anything at all there of those speeds. Having ability to attach high quality HD lens, cheap and reliable media for 60 minutes of very high quality recording, HD which does not cheat, I go for Sony XDCAM HD with no hesitation.
    Cheers

  17. I have to say that all this heckling is funny. I have been researching the HD and HDV market for some time now and thought…I should toss a few of MY opinions in the fire. Sony is a GREAT camera manufacturer. They have put out some very nice prosumer cameras (we are talking about prosumer gear here right? Who can truly afford a varicam or some other camera in the same market…If this is you than Kudos). I have had some time shooting with the Sony prosumer line. I also have shot with Canon’s prosumer cameras such as the GL2 and XL1s. I actually own them. Now is the big step to HD which I have been sooooo apprehensive about having buyers remorse. Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on a camera that will NOT deliver what you had invisioned? I have to say that I have spent time talking with friends in the industry (LA) and they all have been sending me in the direction of the Sony Z1. They say that is all “THEY” use for documentary footage etc. (National Geographic etc..). Since all the hype, JVC has the 720p camera (GYU HD100U camera). I also checked out that camera. It looks cool. It even shoots TRUE 720 24P. Canon now has there new HDV High Definition XL H1 cam and even newer it’s line of HD lenses. During this whole epiphany, my other shooter friend (whom is a genius with specs) tells me about the Panasonic HVX200. I wasn’t on his band waggon. It’s all a bunch of smoke and fx. Looks good on paper I suppose but, needs these p2 cards and it’s just a ploy to get more money. Later we were shooting a premiere of Steven Soderbergh’s and thought. This guy would know what is the camera to buy right? I’ll tell you exactly what he said. NO SHIT! Hands down the best prosumer camera to buy right now is the Panasonic HVX200. “I own one and am buying two more”. After hearing this I had to get my hands on some footage. Well let your own eyes be the decision. It looks incredible. Take a look for yourself. Get Panasonic to send you some footage that is not compressed to DVD. They will send you files that you can work with. Watch it on a 1080 HD monitor, watch it on your computer monitor, watch it downconverted to a standard def tv. Just watch it! The answer is right in front of you. If you like the compressed artifacting, go with HDV but, if you don’t and can’t afford a Varicam you should check out this camera with an open mind. Sure it’s got some issues but your not buying a PRO CAMERA your buying a PROSUMER CAMERA. I think for the money you are better off buying this camera with the break through Cineporter option (either 160GB or 320GB HD). I am just leary about the whole Sony thing smashing it down to even smaller than DV compression (That’s nuts). Again, my friends in LA sware by the Sony Z1 but for me….If this “TOY” is good enough for Steven than surely it’s good enough for me. Another final note: I should note that my spec guy also recomended that I check out the Sony XDcam. It is just a lttle more pricey to me (~$17,000). I think I would really have buyers remorse with that camera. I’m sure it is a great camera but, as a videographer and also an audio engineer, I would NEVER go into a field with a cd recorder to record audio. There are just to many variables for potential problems. Those of you whom own this camera will I’m sure tell me you have no problems but ME personally, I would be worried of jars and skips. I even hate todays distribution method of DVDs. Can’t wait to have some type of solid state distribution media with a whole new compression format. Mpeg-2 SUCKS! Another camera that has had rave reviews and is HIGHLY recomended by my spec guy is the new “RED” camera that is supposed to be on the market in 2007. It shoots in 720p, 1080p, 2K, 4K. You can remove the lenses and because it is using a one inch CCD, there is no magnification factor in the lenses you use. it will actually shoot and direct the movie for you so I’m told. With this camera entering the market at around 17 G’s I’m wondering at what price is the cut off for the prosumer market? If you can afford this camera (which, with a small loan perhaps I could) can you afford the NLE system that will be needed to edit this stuff? You won’t be using your Super Drive HP or your NEW MAC G5 (just released). I don’t believe there is a prosumer NLE system that could edit this stuff. But, boy I bet 4K looks GREAT! I can’t fatham that. Untill I hit the BIG TIME, I guess I’ll have to be happy with my small “toys”. As a last closing statement I leave with this: I personally am leaning towards the Panasonic camera but, I’m SURE all the cameras that have been mentioned above would be sufficient for whatever job a PROSUMER VIDEOGRAPHER is shooting! If you want a PRO VIDEO, rent a camera, lens, crew, and lights for a little more you would spend on a “toy”. By the way, I hope you saved money for that nice fluid head (sachtler or Bogen), and PRO shotgun mic ie., Neumann.

  18. Super comments. Most informative discussion on the issue I’ve found. Thanks!
    I love DVCPRO HD and have shot everything from HD cinema to interviews on it and have loved it (on the Varicam), but I’m hearing good things about XDCAM HD.
    Has anybody actually edited XDCAM HD footage? How does XDCAM HD hold up in the edit? Color correction? Compositing? Chroma?
    And then, on the HVX-200… supposedly, it’s got 1080 true lines of resolution and real 16×9 ccds, but what is the actual pixel resolution of the chips… and how do they relate?

  19. Here’s my take. HD,HDV have problems at 24fps: focusing, panning, compressed on camera audio, avg in low light; Solution: Stick with the tried and true canon xl2, getting
    ability to duplicate the film look reasonably well, excellent on camera audio (16 bit, 48Khz), autofocus if needed, easy to transfer the data to a computer for editing. Only negative: No LCD monitor. Until HDV and HD are improved, for a film where there can be no out-of-focus scenes, using two or three XL2’s (Which are now inexpensive) makes a lot of sense. Also forgot, the XL2 has interchangeable lenses.
    Danny

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