Some further thoughts on Panasonic and the HC-X1000

Categories: Miscellaneous 32 Comments

HCX1000-v1a

Every so often a camera comes along that changes the goalposts, the Panasonic HC-X1000 is one of these cameras. If I am totally honest until the AF101 three years ago Panasonic was not on my radar.

Most of my colleagues within the Glasgow-Stirling area have all been Sony owners till the latest crop of Panasonic cameras, now the balance has moved over to owning PX270, AC160, AC130 and AC90’s within the last 2 years…why the dramatic shift.

Two reasons…Sony have produced a load of cameras over the last 2 years deciding that we were all going to buy them, but the over priced SxS media that plagues the more professional end of Sony’s camera range and the lack of dual card slots (early models) has been a major turn off.

Panasonic scored a goal two and a half years ago by not only introducing dual card slots in all models but standardising on SD cards for their media leaving expensive P2 to the broadcast end of the market.

Sony’s XQD started off as a domestic format but has been taken over by the professional side with the dissadvantage of  professional pricing further ailenating the user who just wants affordable easy to buy SD media.

Enter the latest offering from Panasonic the HC-X1000 once again sticking to SDXC cards allows the user to produce 4K 50p pictures that downscales to 444 10bit on an HD timeline.

Who delivers in 4K……..no one but large budget filmmakers and video trade shows like BVE, so what’s the point in 4K, the answer lies in the way 4K gets compressed to HD once again till the advent of Sony’s F5 and Red One no one could produce 4K 50p without spending a fortune.

So why would anyone buy a 4K camcorder like the HC-X1000…simple…it’s 4K to HD is simply stunning, finally we are getting a glimpse of whats on offer over the next few years and delivering in 4K is not what the x1000 is all about.

A 3840 x 2160 picture is 4x bigger than HD which is why the original 420 8bit converts to 444 10bit compressed onto an HD timeline…not a quality many of us have seen from a £2300 semi pro camcorder.

Just under two years ago I was banging on about all cameras having a minimum of 50MB/s as most cameras were stuck on 28-35MB/s, now we are getting 4K 50p 150MB/s cameras. The first of these amazing 4K SD media cameras was the Panasonic GH4 once again with stunning 4K internal footage recorded onto an SDXC class 10 speed 3 card but sadly stoping short of the magical 50p frame rate.

Panasonic are proving SD technology is up to the mark way beyond their competitors, building on a customer base who have been crying out for low cost media, dual slot simultaneous recording and bigger optical zoom lenses and the best of it is a magical new formula that allows stunning HD footage from an 8bit 420 camcorder thanks to 4K 50p @ 150MB/s.

HD-TL

Other features the HC-X1000 has that are not covered in the review are…

Pre Record in both HD and 4K giving you a 5 sec buffer at the start of every recording.

Simultaneous dual record mode, very useful for back up.

Time Lapse Record from 1sec, 10secs, 30secs, 1m and 2mins (Note this is disabled if you have Pre-Rec set to on)

Infra Red mode

Synchro scan via shutter speed (Starting at 1/50 scroll down to 1/6 then the next position will be 1/50.1 you can dial out annoying monitor flickering.

System Frequency (PAL or NTSC)

Lastly if you want to switch off the blue ring light go to Other Function down to Ring LED (Blue) and switch it off.

Menu-sound

PS. One of my readers asked me about the sound “can you switch the sound to Audio Auto Gain” this is menu driven in the Record Setup menu, scroll down to Audio level CH1 or CH2 and switch to AUTO or Manual. You also have the ability to switch the ALC ON & OFF separately.

I tested this with the AUTO set to on and using a RODE reporter mic did a horse racing commentary raising my voice up and down with no  apparent detection of the sound pumping.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

32 comments on this post

  1. Jiri Vrozina says:

    If Pana Varicam and other high end or low end cameras are made with Audio Auto Gain which is vey handy for single operator, i have no idea why this 1/3′ 4K low end camcorder does not have this important feature.
    That alone would stop me buying it.
    Another thing is 1/3′ sensor vs Sonys’s 1′ on x70 and upcoming Canon Haidryer camera.
    No Thanks,
    I heard lite version of Pana Varicam 35 will be at NAB.

    HDW : Hi Jiri, firstly the Panasonic is a 1/2.3″ sensor larger than 1/3″ and you can choose via the menu to switch any sound channel to AUTO.

  2. This is a very interesting assessment between two major camera manufacturers. I have to say that, until I had experience of tardy firmware updating from Sony, I had never considered going to any manufacturer other than Sony. Their PXW-Z100, though double the price of the Panasonic HC-X1000 does produce excellent results in 4K and HD, albeit it only on very expensive XQD cards at the present time. I am considering looking out for a second 4K camera and the Panasonic looks a definite possibility. Why 4K? Because it does give stunning results which if you reduce to 2K or HD look better, in my opinion, than material filmed in the HD format. My page at http://hardyproductionsuk.com/ultra_hd.html makes the comparison of the formats and gives stills that can be blown up to full size.

  3. Thanks for that Philip, all good stuff. Can’t wiat to get mine after christmas.

  4. Peter Robertson says:

    Hi Philip
    What is your workflow to get 10 bit 444 HD?

    Thanks Peter

    HDW : I use FCPX choose new project, Format 1080p HD, Resolution 1920 x 1080, Rate 50p, Render Format Apple ProRes 4444…done.

  5. Jiri Vrozina says:

    Hi Philip,
    I did not know that, thanks for that info.
    Would be great to have shootout against x70.

    Regards
    Jri

  6. Scott Cassie says:

    The still image looks very soft, and a tad muddy (the beard). I’ve seen sharper 720p coming from my pmw-200. Not been impressed by this camera and to be honest a bit surprised you’re liking it. The still grabs from your px70 seemed much better to me.

    HDW : “Muddy” Don’t see it, soft…check on another monitor, a camera should produce natural pictures, this picture is very natural and as you can see not over-enhanced with a lot of sharpening like you get with other cameras.

  7. Curiously, there is one negative message from Video Mike, Green Bay WI, at the B&H site (the other 8 seem highly positive).

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1077993-REG/panasonic_hc_x1000_rk_ultra_hd.html/c/product/#inpage:IN+STOCK?gclid=CIKG2bPQ18ICFalj7AodrxUAzg

    In your review of the HX1000 did you see a significant difference between this and the GH4?

    ” . . . . I’m not sure if it’s the optics or the sensor, but on a side by side comparison with the GH4 it was just simply disappointing. After close analysis with identical footage, I estimate that this camera has about 20% less resolution than the GH4 and the image has a lot of noise. (One of my “pixel peeping” business partners thinks that this is a conservative estimate). This is still apparent with bright studio lighting in an interview environment.”

    HDW : Karl this is not a DSLR which produce very different pictures to video cameras, people are being stupid to compare the HC-X1000 to a GH4 the only similarity is the name…Panasonic !

  8. Scott Cassie says:

    Sharpness is just fine on this retina display. There just seems to be lack of detail in his hair and moustache, if this is 4k downscaled I’d expect it to resolve more finer detail.

    HDW:Its hard to explain but the “lack” of detail is a compliment to the way this camera produces 4K/HD pictures, detail is subjective but more often than not most professionals will reduce the detail on a camera to give them a similar look. Sony cameras tend to have the detail cranked up so most of us crank it back down.

  9. ghitana says:

    Hi HDW I bought the Panasonic HC-X1000 in
    what format should I record video MOV or MP4?
    thank you.

    HDW : Better to record with 4K 50p MOV (150MB/s) this is the best quality and will edit fantastic pictures on a 10bit HD timeline (FCPX/Edius or Premiere Pro CC)

  10. ghitana says:

    Hi, I want information
    when I’m recording format C4K 24p 100M: 4096×2160
    there are jumps in the display,
    happens to you, too?
    on my camera have this version upgrade 1.10-00-0-00
    Thanks in advance.

  11. Karthik says:

    May I know which is better, ACAG160 or HCX 1000.

    HDW : If you film in 4K and edit it on an HD timeline the HC-X1000 every time

  12. Karthik says:

    Any insight on image sensor ? 3MOS or MOS ?

  13. I just looked at the instruction manual Karthik, and here is the sensor info from the manufacturer…..

    Image sensor:
    1/2.3z MOS image sensor
    Total; Approx. 18910 K
    Effective pixels;
    Motion picture/Still picture;
    Approx. 8290K (16:9/3840k2160),
    Approx. 8850K (17:9/4096k2160

  14. Karthik says:

    Hi Gary,
    I’m under the great confusion on buying this camera, I’m a wedding videographer would you guys suggest any true 24p 1080 camcorder…

    HDW : Why 24p ? What on earth are you going to gain filming a wedding in 24p. A wedding video is a record of someones day so don’t mess about with it. I would always choose 50p (60p USA) and do my effects in post.
    If you want the cine look buy a Super 8mm cine camera and all the hassle that comes with it, stop pretending you can achieve a true cine look by messing about with the frame rate !

  15. Hi Karthik

    Hope I’m not hijacking this post? I’m a little passionate about this camera Philip so hope you don’t mind?

    Karthik, do you mean true 4K/24P (rather than 1080P)? This camera is capable of true 4K in 24P.

    The only thing to watch for is the low light. In a very dark church you may not get a good picture! You can’t have lights on etc in a church so that is something to consider. Of course you can take another camera just in case of situations like that as it has to be very dark for it to affect performance? For speeches you can light up if needed? Discos you can have a light on camera if needed? The gain on the camera is very good and CAN disappear on a HD timeline alot of the time.

    I made a review about the lowlight of this cameras if you’re interested on my youtube channel at link below, which will compliment Philips review:

    HDW : Hi Gary, you have the camera I don’t…so any feedback from end users is always welcome

  16. Karthik says:

    HI Gary,

    I would like to know that If I could connect to Hard Drive and record a 4K video as you know it records 150Mbps per sec.

  17. There’s a clean signal out of the HTMI to a monitor, but i don’t know what format it is. It does state in the instruction that it can connect to a 4K TV though. Since it records on to SDXC cards in 4K 50P at 150MBPS, why would you want to connect to… say a Shogun and just get 25P when internally it can record 50P? The only benefit I can think of is for the ProRes format? I use 128gig SDXC cards, theres even larger cards available and they aren’t expensive!.

    In FCPX you can edit this camera footage raw straight from the camera, or if you want multicam or use a LOT of filters the proxy files are full HD!!!!!

    I made a short video about editing the 4K footage onto a HD computer (FCPX). It is onto a 1080/50P timeline though but I assume it would be the same on a 4K timeline?

  18. P.S. 128GB SDXC cards hold almost 2 hours of 4K mp4 footage!!!! A transcend version of the correct speed costs about £65 from Amazon (UK).

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00J3KA8JG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00

  19. Karthik says:

    HI Gary,

    Would please upload a 1080p footage(just record a 1080 with 60p) for me, so that I could compare this with other camcorders.

    Looking forward !

  20. Karthik says:

    HI Gary,

    Do you see any jumping in a video ? someone in a youtube complains about the video jumping issues in 4k HCX1000. Any suggestions on that ?

    Looking forward !

  21. Jon says:

    Hey,

    Do you think this camera will meet BBC HD quality standards? I know it shoots 4K a lot higher than 50/Mbps but does the sensor size go against it?
    Was wondering the same about the XC-10 also.

    Thanks

    HDW : The HC-X1000 is a semi pro camera so it won’t be any use for broadcast work as is the XC-10…domestic 4K, like all cameras today you can insert footage from “B” cameras like a GoPro but it has to be less than 10% of the main program.

  22. Jon says:

    Thanks, that’s what I thought (feared). I shoot TV occasionally so spending £3,500 is a big deal. The AG-DVX200 does look extremely interesting though.

  23. Alberto says:

    Hello, I am thinking of purchase the PANA HC-x1000 but I have a question. How is the process to import 4K recordings or FHD into FinalCutPro X (V 10.2.1). With other camera I have (GH3), I simply drag & drop the files to FCPX. Its the same way or any special advice.

    Another “question” is: this camera record in 10 or 8 bits when recording mode is Full HD?

    Thanks in advance

    HDW : HCX-1000 is FCPX friendly…the camera is 8bit 420 in HD

  24. Hi Alberto

    Have a look at this little movie i made using footage in 4K from the HS1000…

  25. Alberto says:

    Thanks for the answers and the video. I’m torn between the Panasonic and Sony HX-x1000-x70 PXW. I’m pretty obsessed with low light response of the two camcorders. It seems that Sony, having a larger sensor is more sensitive in low light, however there are features of the Panasonic I like much more such as Zoom x20 and many other things and it is also cheaper. On the other hand, the Sony offers 10-bit recording, low light better response and greater control over depth of field but not record 4K without the upgrade, the zoom is x12 and is more expensive. I have so many questions that I’m going crazy. Any advice? and finally I have an iMac 27 “Intel Core i3 3.2 GHz with 12 GB RAM. Is it enough to work with files of the Panasonic? The end result will be in HD!

  26. Hi Alberto

    Personally, I’m waiting for the Panasonic DVX200 4k camera due out in Sept/Oct. It has many of the features of the X1000, but has a larger 4/3 sensor! Zoom is just 13X though which is a shame, but still records onto SDHX cards which is a plus! Its a camcorder but with a large chip, at about £3.5K!

  27. David says:

    Hi I’ve seen your reviews and bought the camera, what I notice is bit of softness overall although I had reduced the sharpness to zero. I did a commercial for a car dealer and my A guy was shooting on the Sony FS7 so I added my B roll to his A and I can really see a difference even with a lot of daylight. I did a test to output to 4444 as you mentioned but I’m not seeing a difference, how are you seeing a vast difference. Thanks
    Dave

    Ps What I want to see a test on is the difference vs the DVX200 and with an Atomos connected to both cameras.

  28. Scott says:

    Hiya, Saw your review on the X1000 and this swayed me into buying it… Really enjoying it…

    Thanks for the review.

    HDW : Kind words, thanks.

  29. John Parker says:

    Does any HC X1000 user have a problem with unreliable auto-focus?Mine keeps going into macro mode of its own accord!!

    HDW : I have passed you comment onto Panasonic

  30. If you think this cameras autofocus is bad, try the DVX200!!!!! It’s pretty much unusable.

    I use the X1000 as a unmanned camera on the side of a stage for my dance shows, everything auto and it performs beautifully!!!! Much better than I imaged it would.

    Even the low light shortfalls seem ok as it’s at constant wide angle. 4K picture is superb! Focus is generally pin sharp (unless its really dark of course).

  31. david says:

    Hi I owned it for 1 month, I did a couple of jobs (commercial for an auto dealer and corporate job). For myself, I found camera to be a problem. I use the 5d and 70d compared to them the hcx1000 was very noisy, at 0-6db and terrible for me at higher. I also found the native iso to be about 64 so virtually every job was a push and the noise was noticable. I tried the 444 10 bit and reduction but that was not good enough.

    AF was ok but not steller.

  32. david says:

    Forgot to say, the variable lens f-stop was not good either, I modified a Canon wide angle lens .65 which made a huge difference but had to cut the screw on to make the lens focus sharply. I found this on dvx user I also hated that I used 3 different lanc systems and then found out using one puts the camera in auto and that also killed me on a jib shot. All in all massive frustration.

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