Review of Panasonic HPX 170/ 171

3
Dec
2008
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A year ago I sold my Panasonic HVX 201 after a disappointing relationship. I struggled with the expensive media and was never impressed with the picture quality, low light or atrocious LCD. I sold it to buy a Sony EX1 which as many people know I believe is a fantastic camera. Everything the HVX wasn’t.

Panasonic recently released two new P2 handheld cameras. The HVX200a/201a and the HPX 170/171. I managed to borrow the HPX to test it out to see how much better it was than my old HVX. The review was commissioned by CVP/ Mitcorp and you can see it by clicking on the picture below…

It is a big improvement on the HVX 200 but for me still falls well short of the standard that the EX1 has brought to the market, things like full raster HD, full manual lens controls. The XDCAM codec is more practical for a camera in this class meaning it is far less hungry on cards.

What the HPX has over the EX1 is 4:2:2 colour space, CCDs rather than CMOS so doesn’t suffer from rolling shutter and for some people having a less compressed codec is a plus, but I believe it is wasted on a chip of the quality the HPX has in it. It does shoot very nice pictures and is priced at a pretty affordable price point, but you will need A LOT of cards!!

Edit: It has been pointed out to me in native mode you can get record a lot more on the cards and the iris/focus switch is obviously for 35mm adaptor users for when you lock down focus. Silly me!!

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Comments

  1. MARK says:

    Thanks for this review Philip. I’m also struggling with the expensive p2 media and am considering a change coming up soon. 64 gig p2 is overpriced and the rest of the P2 media is still expensive. The other alternative is the HMC150. Would be cool if you could review that for us. Thanks for all your hard work and God Bless.
    MARK

  2. Anthony Claudia says:

    Hi Philip-

    In your review, you commented on the usefulness of the switchable focus/aperture ring. My understanding is that Panasonic designed this feature specifically for use with 35mm adapters…..
    When you are using something like a Brevis or Letus adapter you can switch the ring from focus control to aperture control which theoretically has some advantages. For instance, many people tape their focus ring in place once they set-up a 35 mm adapter, for fear of accidentally bumping it etc. I guess using this switch makes things a bit easier.
    AC

  3. Aydin says:

    Thanks Philip. We have a HVX in the studio which I never use as I don’t like it. When there is more than one shoot we do I go out with my own EX1 and can not express how happy I am. On return to the studio I can dump to footage faster than going for a real dump! Yes HVX has 4:2:2 colour space etc. , but for most of what I do it looks terrific and of course I use your original setting you posted back a few months ago.

    I will one day look at the Letus, but for now quick and fast productions are what I do.

    Thanks again. When are you coming out to Banff, Canada

  4. John says:

    Yes an HMC150 review would be awesome!

  5. PeterW says:

    Hi Philip.

    Take a look at my little 2 min short shot with an HVX201a.
    No grading, just in camera settings used. I admit the camera is difficult to get to know but with persistence I think it comes up pretty good against Sonys EX range.
    I think it’s a wonderful camera with good pictures at 720p.
    Your comments on its noise and resolution would be very appreciated.

    http://vimeo.com/14854591