Panasonic Pro AG-HPX170 3CCD P2 HD Camcorder Reviews

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Overview

Panasonic HPX170 Review
The introduction of the Panasonic HPX170 prosumer camcorder marks the next generation of Panasonic’s, full production quality, 4:2:2 1080/ 720/ SD P2HD Hand-Held camcorders.

Based on the recently introduced Panasonic Pro HVX200A, this completely solid state P2 handheld offers some important feature enhancements as well as an industry leading 5 year warranty. (1 year + 4 additional years after registration).
Unlike its brother, the Panasonic Pro AG-HVX200A a transitional camera perfectly matched for the customer that wants to continue using or delivering venerable DV tape.

The
Panasonic HPX170 is for the customer that has fully embraced the tremendous advantages of P2’s file based workflow. The Panasonic HPX170 prosumer camcorder is a P2 solid state only camera that includes many extra features and benefits.

Starting with the front end of the camera, the Panasonic HPX170 prosumer camcorder uses a newly-developed 1/3-inch progressive 3- CCD imager system which substantially improves signal-to noise (S/N) ratio, enhances low-light performance and prevents smear. Using exactly the same imager system as the Panasonic Pro HVX200A, this camera will produce similar images and is an ideal shooting partner.

The Panasonic HPX170 Review noted the Panasonic HPX170 prosumer camcorder utilizes the highly reputed Leica Dicomar 13x lens roughly the equivalent of 28 mm in 35mm still photography terms. It ranges from 3.9mm to 51mm with a filter diameter of 72mm.

Adoption of this new wider lens and the use of P2 cards instead of dual P2 and tape as storage media have brought about the reduction of the body weight by 20% from the AGHVX200A, allowing more mobile HD shooting. The Panasonic HPX170 professional camcorders weigh in at 4.2 lbs, just slightly more than a DVX100B.

Panasonic HPX170 professional camcorders have a number of new features that truly make it one of the most advanced camcorders in its price range. Many customer suggestions have been incorporated into this camera design along with state of the art technology like the new CCDs and lens assembly.

Manufactured with a magnesium aluminum alloy just like the HVX200 series, the camera is highly durable and comes ready to work. It comes with a 16 GB P2 card and an updated book from Barry Green that references both the Panasonic HPX170 high definition camcorder as well as the HVX200 series of cameras.

Panasonic HPX170 Review consider important new features that really make this camera a next generation leader are HD/SDI (also allows for SD) output, improved LCD performance, and a useful waveform monitor and vectorscope function. The Panasonic HPX170 high definition camcorder also includes three different advanced focus assist functions, all of which respond a little differently so that you can choose the one that is perfect for the shooting scenario. Additionally, your customer can now enter metadata in the field, just like the HPX2000/3000 P2 cameras.

Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS)
The DRS function reduces the blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes where bright and dark objects coexist, such as the view of a room from outdoors. With this function, even if there are bright, halftone, and dark areas in a scene, their gradation will be maintained and blocked shadows, blown highlights, and color distortions will be minimized. The result is video with a visually wide dynamic range.

Enhanced focus-assist functions

The Center 2X Blow-up focus-assist function from the HVX200 is included. The histogram function featured on the HPX500 is now a part of this camera and you can choose Center Zoom, Histogram, or both. The third focus assist is a Focus Bar display. The bar grows longer as things become focused. The EVF DTL is more enhanced as well to allow pictures to be focused more easily by emphasizing the object contours on the EVF and LCD monitor screens.

SDI (HD/SD switchable) output
The
Panasonic HPX170 high definition camcorder comes equipped with an SDI (HD/SD) output terminal for serial digital transfer of uncompressed audio/visual data. It is compatible with digital broadcasting environments and allows for a secondary recording with another Panasonic digital recorder (P2HD/HD-D5/DVCPRO HD) or it can be incorporated into a small HD/SDI studio with our AV-HS400 Digital Switcher.

Camera Processing and Technology
There are three critical components working hand-in-hand to make the images from this camera. The CCDs benefit from the additional picture information offered by the spatial offset on the pixels. This allows the non-photosensitive areas of the CCD (the registers between the pixels) to add to the picture quality.


New Progressive CCD Raises Sensitivity and Lowers Noise and Smear

The new 1/3-inch 16:9 progressive CCD on the Panasonic HPX170 professional camcorders further raises image quality. It combines a significantly improved S/N ratio and better low-light performance than previous models. Backed by a highperformance digital signal processor, the CCD brings higher quality to HD images to meet the demands of broadcasters and high-end video producers.

Panasonic HPX170 High-Resolution Native
Progressive 1080/60p Scan Progressive to interlace conversion, cross conversion and down conversion all start with the 1080p/60 scan. That initial 1080p progressive scan signal coming off of the CCDs offers the highest level of vertical resolution possible at this level of camera. Keep in mind that the camera does not record this signal but uses it as a basis for all captures. The result is an HD or SD recording with a level of image quality that cannot be matched by electronically processed scans (pixel for pixel).

DSP with 14-Bit A/D Conversion and 19-Bit Processing
The digital signal processor developed for the Panasonic HPX170 professional camcorders 1080/60p video signals uses 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit inner processing to attain unprecedented accuracy in color and detail. The DSP performs a variety of adjustments, including eight types of gamma settings, for each of the R, G and B channels. It also converts the signals to HD or SD format. With a performance equivalent to the processors used in many higher-end HD cameras, this DSP delivers beautiful images in all video formats.

Panasonic HPX170 Manual Focus Assist
Panasonic HPX170 Review found a dynamic new feature on this camera that will make it really interesting to any shooter that has to run and gun their images. The two images on the right are indicating the rotation required for the focus ring under the Standard Mode, which you would use if you were doing production and wanted to use a Focus Puller to do a rack focus on the subjects at hand. This represents about 300 degrees.

The second figure, is called Manual Focus Assist, and it indicates a much shorter rotation, which equates to getting to the focus point much more quickly. Keep in mind the rotation on a Broadcast lens is about 120 degrees. What is really interesting is that when you start to get close, the camera sees the PEAK and carries out the tail end of the focus, then goes back to no auto-focus. This should be a function that you show every customer that shoots news for a living.

MetaData input and management
A significant part of file-based workflow is the metadata portion of the footage. IT is what makes it easy to find thing later. It also allows the field personnel to communicate with the editorial staff. The correct spelling of the interviewee’s name can be input on the clip within the body of the camera itself. The only other cameras that allow this functionality are the larger AJHPX2000 and up.

Panasonic HPX170 New Features (summary):
* All solid state -P2 cards – 2 Slots
* HD/SDI — (including SD)
* 6 pin Firewire with locking connection. (no power out)
Panasonic HPX170 Highlights
* Color Bars with 1kHz Tone
* Metadata input – like the P2 Gear
* Camera Playback format can be changed without going into menus
* Additional Neutral Density filters, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64
* Additional Functionality of the User Buttons, Delete Last Clip, Pre- Record and Variable Frame rate

* WaveForm Monitor and Vectorscope
* Dedicated Slot Select Button
* Three Focus Assist functions, 2X blow-up,
* Histogram, and Focus Bar
* 20 Variable Frame Rates, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 40, 44, 48, 54, 60

* DVX-Style Navigational Tool
* Security Cable Attachment Hole
* Dynamic Range Stretching in 60I/60P HD, replaces News Gamma
* Iris/focus ring assignment switch so that focus ring can be the iris
* Time & date stamp burn-in, perfect for Legal Video work
* Most cables facing rear to reduce conflicts, Audio connections in the same place
* Manual Focus Assist, camera will hit the last critical focus point
* LCD Screen can be flipped for use with 35mm adapters
* 10X, 5X, 2x Digital Zoom


NTSC/PAL Upgradeable

This camera can be upgraded for International capability once you have registered for the 5 year warranty. Panasonic Service will only upgrade units that are owned by US customers at a US address. End-users must initiate the request for Panasonic to do the upgrade and Panasonic resale partners are not eligible for this upgrade. Once you have received the Warranty Registration, you will need to send an email to pbtscservice@us.panasonic.com.

In the
Panasonic HPX170 box:

* Panasonic HPX170 DVCPRO HD P2 Camcorder
* AJ-P2C0016RG 16 GB P2 Card
* Barry Green’s The HVX and HPX Book
* CG-AD54S 5400mA Battery for approximately 140 minutes of continuous recording
* AG-B25 AC Adapter/Battery Charger
* Accessory Mike Holder
* Component Video Cable w/ RCA-BNC Adapters
* Remote Control
* Shoulder Strap
* Instruction Manual

Customer Panasonic HPX170 Review

Superb Prosumer Camcorder, June 21, 2009
By     Tool Fan Hess
This is a
Panasonic HPX170 Review 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics)

I absolutely love working with this camcorder. Having searched a long time for a modestly priced HD camcorder that had the same manual features I have grown accustomed to on my DSLR, I was delighted to find the HPX 170, as it provides a well organized set of controls at a price point much lower than that of similar cameras in its class.

The HPX 170 and its P2 workflow work seamlessly with my MacBook Pro running Final Cut. The camera itself is a solid build, and feels great to work with on long shoots. The onboard mic is nothing spectacular, but it is better than most I have encountered.

The built in lens provides spectacular depth of field, and a particularly good wide angle field of view. For lovers of low depth of field, a 35mm adaptor is still probably a must, however as you can see in the video, the camera lens gets pretty good low DoF results on its own, when zoomed in all the way at 51mm. All in all, at this price level, the HPX 170 is pretty hard to beat, given its full manual controls and well managed P2 workflow.

5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic HPX170 Review

I Love this Camera, October 7, 2008
By     Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA)
This review is from: Panasonic HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics)

I bought this camera as part of a technology grant funded by my publisher in order to film interviews. I have only had it for one week, but I love this camera so far. The learning curve has been incredibly fast, and I’m posting a short video I shot today with this camera as a sample of what I’ve filmed with the Panasonic HPX170.

I love the wide-angle lens. I’ve never worked with a camera with a lens like this, and so I’m quickly learning about how to use depth of field in some shots.

I love the easy-to-change record settings. It records in about 20 different modes, everything from HD 1080i-60i to DVC Pro 50 to plain DV. I love that it has auto-focus and manual focus (and iris) options.

I like how easy it has been to upload my videos to Final Cut Pro, which I also have only owned for about a week.

Altogether, I have no complaints with this camera after one week’s usage. I do wish that additional P2 Cards weren’t so expensive. My
Panasonic HPX170 came with a single 16GB card, but I will probably invest in a 64GB card when they come out later this year.

The 16GB card records only 17 minutes in HD. The Panasonic HPX170 does have two P2 card slots, so you could have two 64GB cards (128GB), which would record for over two hours in HD.

This would be a very sweet set-up with two 64GB cards.

4.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic HPX170 Review

Great camera for the up and coming Videographer, August 10, 2010
By     Klay M. Abele (Pittsburgh, PA) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Panasonic HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics)

I’m a film student and needed something that was relatively inexpensive and came with the most features.

The waveform monitor is such a plus for this camera. The focus assist is also another great feature that really helps getting the maximum focus.

This camera truly has some outstanding features from its competitors. The ability to change the frame rate, deleting clips in camera (P2 work flow), light weight for hand held glidecams, great image quality, and many, many more.

I do pretty much any type of video work, form weddings, to music videos, to short films. This camera will get you what you want. There is however a learning curve if you are just now jumping into prosumer cameras. Although the camera does come with an outstanding guide from Barry Green.

You will not regret your decision if you get this camera.


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Product Specifications

Brand:Panasonic
Model : AG-HPX170
EAN Code :

Full production quality, 4:2:2 1080/ 720/ SD P2HD Hand-Held camcorder

Includes a Leica Dicomar 13x lens

Comes with a 16 GB P2 card

Includes three different advanced focus assist functions

1/3-inch progressive 3- CCD imager system which substantially improves signal-to noise (S/N) ratio

Reviews

> Panasonic Pro AG-HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom at Amazon.com
Average Rating: 4.5
R. Rivera Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5
R. Rivera Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Superb Prosumer Camcorder, June 21, 2009 By Tool Fan Hess This review is from: Panasonic Pro AG-HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics) I absolutely love working with this camcorder. Having searched a long time for a modestly priced HD camcorder that had the same manual features I have grown accustomed to on my DSLR, I was delighted to find the HPX 170, as it provides a well organized set of controls at a price point much lower than that of similar cameras in its class. The HPX 170 and its P2 workflow work seamlessly with my MacBook Pro running Final Cut. The camera itself is a solid build, and feels great to work with on long shoots. The onboard mic is nothing spectacular, but it is better than most I have encountered. The built in lens provides spectacular depth of field, and a particularly good wide angle field of view. For lovers of low depth of field, a 35mm adaptor is still probably a must, however as you can see in the video, the camera lens gets pretty good low DoF results on its own, when zoomed in all the way at 51mm. All in all, at this price level, the HPX 170 is pretty hard to beat, given its full manual controls and well managed P2 workflow.


5.0 out of 5 stars I Love this Camera, October 7, 2008 By Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA) This review is from: Panasonic Pro AG-HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics) I bought this camera as part of a technology grant funded by my publisher in order to film interviews. I have only had it for one week, but I love this camera so far. The learning curve has been incredibly fast, and I'm posting a short video I shot today with this camera as a sample of what I've filmed with the Panasonic HPX170. I love the wide-angle lens. I've never worked with a camera with a lens like this, and so I'm quickly learning about how to use depth of field in some shots. I love the easy-to-change record settings. It records in about 20 different modes, everything from HD 1080i-60i to DVC Pro 50 to plain DV. I love that it has auto-focus and manual focus (and iris) options. I like how easy it has been to upload my videos to Final Cut Pro, which I also have only owned for about a week. Altogether, I have no complaints with this camera after one week's usage. I do wish that additional P2 Cards weren't so expensive. My HPX170 came with a single 16GB card, but I will probably invest in a 64GB card when they come out later this year. The 16GB card records only 17 minutes in HD. The HPX170 does have two P2 card slots, so you could have two 64GB cards (128GB), which would record for over two hours in HD. This would be a very sweet set-up with two 64GB cards.

4.0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the up and coming Videographer, August 10, 2010 By Klay M. Abele (Pittsburgh, PA) (REAL NAME) This review is from: Panasonic Pro AG-HPX170 3CCD P2 High-Definition Camcorder w/13x Optical Zoom (Electronics) I'm a film student and needed something that was relatively inexpensive and came with the most features. The waveform monitor is such a plus for this camera. The focus assist is also another great feature that really helps getting the maximum focus. This camera truly has some outstanding features from its competitors. The ability to change the frame rate, deleting clips in camera (P2 work flow), light weight for hand held glidecams, great image quality, and many, many more. I do pretty much any type of video work, form weddings, to music videos, to short films. This camera will get you what you want. There is however a learning curve if you are just now jumping into prosumer cameras. Although the camera does come with an outstanding guide from Barry Green. You will not regret your decision if you get this camera.
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