Panasonic P2 HPX-301 First Impressions

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pana-hpx301-v21Taking this camcorder out of it’s box gives you the impression of something special, a camcorder for a cameraman, I am so used to using and reviewing smaller camcorders that I have forgotten how the shoulder mount, traditional style camcorder feels. Balanced …yes that’s my first thought as it sits on my shoulder, walking into my bedroom I look in the mirror, that does look the business.

ian-hpx301-smallerBack come all the early emotions I had as a thirty year old holding my first professional video camera, the pride, the feeling of empowerment…what could I achieve with a camcorder like this and how impressive would this look to the client. 

(Right : Ian an ex-cameraman stopped by to have a look)

There is no doubt full size camcorders have a ‘jenasaqua’ about them and the Panasonic HPX-301 is no exception. AVC Intra, DVC-PROHD, DVC-PRO50, DVC-PRO and DV every megabit rate from 100 to 3.6 you are literally stuck for choice but your client won’t be. Before I get carried away this camcorder has it’s inherent Achilles heal by having a 1/3 inch chip set. You can’t get away from it when you remind yourself that it’s big brothers and sisters all have 2/3 inch chip sets that’s not because they are older models it’s because broadcasters have set professional guidelines that camcorders must have a minimum of 2/3 inch chips and let’s not forget all the 2/3 inch lenses kicking about television stations.

So who is this P2 camcorder aimed at well frankly everyone from corporate to broadcast as long as you stick to the golden rule of filming at 0dB no one will be any the wiser and you will turn out superb pictures time after time. The Fujinon 17x lens has yet to be tested so I will give you my thoughts at a later stage. As from NAB 2009 if you purchase a 301 you will get a free 32Gig card (for a limited time) that gives you a great start as you only have to purchase one other card saving you about £400. 

I am trying to arrange to shadow a professional cameraman doing television work to give you a feel of how this camcorder performs in a real life situation. I don’t expect to get a video review out until next week but it will be worth waiting for.


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