Digital Video - August 2010 - (Page 14)
gear | august 2010
its position on the 370, if you’re operating the camera handheld, the screen is useless. Panasonic makes up for this small misstep, though, by incorporating waveform and vectorscope in the camera that can be displayed on the flip-out screen. This is a fantastic — and unexpected — addition to the camera. Unfortunately, the waveform and vectorscope can’t be displayed in the viewfinder, only on the flip-out screen, but their presence there is so extraordinary that I’ll forget this tiny shortfall. Another minor gripe is that there are only two P2 slots, and they’re on the operator’s side, right at the neck/ shoulder position. This means, once again, if you’re shooting handheld, there is no possibility of a hot swap. Although with larger and larger P2 cards available, this is less of an issue. Additionally, although I’m still a fan of the HPX500, the 370 stands out against its older, larger-chipped sibling for being a full-raster 1920x1080 camera. Further, with the new ULT sensors in the camera, the light sensitivity is quite impressive. As Panasonic explains in the literature, “The HPX370 utilizes a 20-bit digital signal processor and high-resolution 3-MOS imagers, enhanced with ULT, which boosts the sensors’ performance to rival the image quality and [sensitivity] of 1/2” imagers.” And they’re not foolin’. In my tests, using cine-like gamma (my preferred, from the 500 and 3000) at 24p, 180-degree shutter (1/48 sec), I found the camera
This new mid-range P2 camcorder exceeds expectations.
PROS: Lightweight, high sensitivity, color viewfinder, waveform/ vectorscope built in. CONS: Limited P2 slots, peaking controls compromised by color viewfinder. BOTTOM LINE:
An appealing addition to Panasonic’s lineup.
MSRP: $11,700 CONTACT: www.panasonic.com
had a base ISO of 500 to 640, which is impressive for a 1/3” camera. In addition to this sensitivity, there are gain functions between -3 dB and +12 with a hyper-gain at +24. I found +9 dB already had too much noise for my taste, but having the ability to do -3 through +6 was fantastic. The HPX370 is very light — lighter than the 500 or 3000. Some interesting additional features include a “Disp” button that can clear all of the data from the viewfinder — a nice feature when things get crowded. There’s also a dedicated button for turning the zebras on or off. Image quality, as would be expected, is stellar. Color fidelity, resolution and gamma are fantastic. The camera incorporates automatic chromatic aberration compensation (CAC) to “sweeten” the lower-end ENG lenses. It shoots AVC-Intra in full raster, with options for 720p, 480p, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO/DV. In 720p you also have over- and under-cranking effects. If you’re in the market for a very high-end HD camera, the $11,700 price tag on the AG-HPX370 is pretty darn appealing. dv
not on the viewfinder itself, and BY JAY HOLBEN As I opened up the case for the they’re not as powerful as I would Panasonic AG-HPX370, I had a feel- like. One hopes this functionality ing of déjà vu. The body style, lay- will improve in time. To assist you, out and whole approach to the 1/3" the 370 offers a focus-assist ther3-MOS P2 HD camera is exactly in mometer bar that fills as the image line with its sibling cameras — the comes into sharpest contrast. It’s AG-HPX500 and the AJ-HPX3000 not really a whole lot of help in — both of which I’ve had extensive dark or low-contrast situations, but experience with. The layout and it’s there if you like it. What’s even style of the 370 is so familiar, in fact, better is that Panasonic has incorthat I had to wonder — why? Why is porated a dedicated focus-assist Panasonic introducing yet another button on the camera that magnimid-range P2 HD camera? And why fies the image — just like the magare they introducing a 1/3" cam- nification switch inside an extended era? How much need is there for a viewfinder on a 35mm film camera. smaller-chip camera when the 2/3" This is an incredibly useful tool as it allows you to judge focus much sibling is only $2,300 more? My confusion dissipated some- more accurately. The magnified image is not recorded what after I powered up that way, so you can the 370 and realized, “Oh EXCELLENCE safely pop in and out of my, Panasonic listened!’ focus assist while shootStarting with the top ing. I wish this function of my NICE list is the were assignable to the fact that the HPX370 has lens return button — a color HD viewfinder! that would be fantastic, Finally! We’re in the modbut I’m not entirely sure ern age! Although the 0.45” (1.23 megapixel) LCD inside that’s in Panasonic’s control. I still have a minor gripe about the viewfinder is tiny, and you can’t flip up the magnifying eyepiece to where the flip-out viewing screen is operate by just looking at the moni- placed. I much prefer the placement tor, that’s a small price to pay for of the screen on the HPX500, as it the choice of color or B&W in the can be open when you’re operating same viewfinder. Glory, glory hal- so that someone behind you, be it lelujah! There is a loss, however. an assistant or a director or a grip, Peaking controls are menu-driven, can have a look at the screen. With
Starting with the top of my NICE list is that fact that the HPX370 has a COLOR HD viewfinder!
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Digital Video - August 2010
Digital Video - August 2010
News & Notes
Adobe: Lightroom 3
Sound Devices: 552 Portable Mixer
Adobe: Premiere Pro CS5
Automatic Duck: Pro Import AE 5.0
Canon EOS 5D Mk II Domination
DSLR Secrets of the Stars
In the Wild, Man
Tools & Technology
Digital Video - August 2010