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Shoemount Anyone?

With all of these shoulder mounts getting put together, most of my customers are finding that they need more than one shoe mount. And with all of those extra screw holes in the FS100, might as well put them to good use, right? So here you have the top shoe mounts that I’ve found to be most useful. I’m well aware there might be others out there that are working excellently, and if so I would love to add them to this collection.  I would also love feedback about which of these works best for you, the customer. So please, if you read this and so desire, email me at these three things: 1.    Which would you buy for the price and usability? 2.    Is this an item that would be useful for Rule to stock? 3.    Which would you find yourself using the most?

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Shooting with the New Panasonic HPX250 AVC-Intra 100 Camcorder

I had the unique opportunity last weekend to be one of a select few to shoot with Panasonic’s new AG-HPX250 AVC-Intra  100 camcorder in a real-world environment.  The camera has a familiar look to it with a body style similar to the cameras it’s replacing (the HPX170 and HVX200).  The main difference between these three cameras is that the 250 adds the AVC-Intra 100 codec. The HPX170 has been around since 2008 so the 250 keeps the line fresh with other features like a 21 x optical zoom vs. a 13 x.  Another change is, of course, the sensor which is now a 2.2 million pixel 3MOS vs. the HPX170’s CCD.  Panasonic also decided to jump into the Event and PEG TV markets by adding Genlock and Time-Code interfaces.  A major jump-up in viewfinder quality was also very evident on the HPX250 with over 1 million pixels vs. the 170s 235k.  Although the sensor size is still 1/3″, I did notice better detail in the shadow areas of the images I was recording.   I imagine this was because I was using AVC-Intra 100. I used the camera for approximately 4 hours on one of my Steadicam Flyer LE HD rigs for a Range Rover training video that I’m shooting.   The camera was originally going to be used for BTS shots, but our regular camera package did not have all the components ready to go, so the HPX250 quickly became the “A” camera for the shoot.   Without having time to read the manual, I was able to quickly get the camera set-up and ready to shoot as time was of the essence.  Panasonic has nicely laid out the key features with quick and easy access to buttons on the operator side of the camera.  Everything you need — like focus assist, ND, audio controls, scene file, waveform, etc., is nicely placed in plain view. Once the shoot was done and it was time to edit, the AVC-Intra 100 footage easily loaded into all three of the edit systems I use (and tested it with).  Final Cut Studio, Premiere Pro CS5.5 and Avid MC5.5 and even FCP X worked nicely.  The AVC-Intra 100 held up a little better in post than a few samples I shot in DVCPRO 100, especially when cropping into the image. If you are in the market for a DVCPRO HD or AVC-Intra 100 camcorder, the Panasonic HPX250 is affordable at under $6k.  It’s definitely worth checking out. Mike Sutton, Senior Account Manager Twitter: @MNS1974

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Early Sneak Peak at the Panasonic AG-HPX250

Over the last few days we at Rule Boston Camera have been evaluating the forthcoming Panasonic AG-HPX250. As a matter of fact, I think we may be among the very first in the country to get our hands on it and we are happy to pass along our first impressions. Working with Jason Potz, one of our engineers here at Rule, we setup the camera at one of our camera test stations.  We decided to throw the HPX170 camera next to it for comparison. For those who may not be aware, the HPX170 essentially an HVX200A but without the DV tape mechanism.  The 170 / 200  share a lower effective resolution imager of 1.1 million active pixels with a spatial offset but the new HPX250 offers what is often called a Full HD imager of 2.2 million pixels! It is also worth noting that packed inside this Compact HD styled camcorder is the very impressive 4:2:2 10-bit sampled  AVC-Intra 100 codec.   To date, this higher quality recording has been reserved for “full sized” ENG type camera bodies costing thousands of dollars more. On the surface, you could consider the AG-HPX250 a replacement for the very successful and respected HVX200A but with several important improvements that I have outlined below. Here are some of the key improvements over the HVX200A or HPX170:

  • Longer 22x lens but with the same 3.9mm wide angle as the HPX170

  • Full HD 1920×1080 1/3” 3-MOS 2.2 Million pixel (times three) imager

  • Timecode and Genlock connectors via BNC useful for multicam studio shooting

  • 10-bit, 4:2:2 AVC-Intra 100, AVC-Intra 50, DVCPro HD & Standard Definition record options

  • 720p or 1080i

  • HD-SDI and HDMI outputs

  • 2x P2 Card Slots

  • Separate control connectors for remote Zoom and Focus

  • Smaller form factor and lower cost battery system than HPX-370 but with many of the same capabilities

  • List price of $5,995

After looking at the body size, lens, menu system, external connectivity and price, it seems to me that this is a very smart camera choice for Public Access, Education, and Government customers that desire a fairly low cost solution that can easily perform dual duty as both a studio camera by day and a roving compact HD camcorder by night. Tom Talbot – Director of Technology