Panasonic announced the nearly $50,000 AJ-HPX3000 to a fanfare of applause from P2 fans who laud the new camcorder’s 2/3 image sensors, 10-bit processing, full 1080i recording capability and two improvements to the basic P2 workflow- lots of slots and AVC-Intra recording for higher quality and longer record time on the cramped P2 cards.
The question is, why?
Every time I think of P2 (and any similarly size-limited and cost absorbent flash media system) an image pops into my mind. It’s a silly image that you would only see at a country fair- where silly games a played. The one I’m thinking about is where contestants have a dozen eggs (your footage) and they have to shuttle it between one egg carton (your camcorder) and the destination (your hard drive) and to do it, they are given teaspoons and have run run across a bumpy, grassy field.
It it hilarious to see all sorts of normal folk try their darndest to keep those eggs on those spoons. The game involves the spoons, but, would you deliberately do this at home to carry eggs between the fridge and the stove? One at a time? What if the farmers carried the eggs, one at a time, in teaspoons, around the farm before packing them in egg cartons for shipping? You’d say it’s pretty stupid and they should just put the eggs in an egg crate. That way they are immediately stored, and carried in the same container – all at once. Not a little bit at a time.
So why would you pay so much money for a P2 storage system to carry the footage that short way between the camcorder and a hard drive already sitting there just to receive the footage, instead of just shooting the footage right onto a hard drive in the first place?
My second thought is that RED is now shipping.
RED is a 12 Megapixel camcorder that records RAW images to any number of hard drives, RAIDs or even a $200 compact flash card, if you really feel the need to record to flash media for some inexplicable reason. The reason I bring up RED here is because the $50,000 camcorder Panasonic announced will record a 2 megapixel progressive image 30 frames a second using AVC-Intra compression.
RED will record a 12 Megapixel progressive image up to 60 times a second and give you all the RAW data off the image sensor so you can push and pull it without having to deal with any AVC compression at all… and do it for under $20,000.
RED will also allow you to “downsample” the 12 megapixels the camera head has and record “only” 1080 HDTV footage, using various forms of compression that you get to choose, at many more frame rates that you get to choose, on any number of recording formats that you get to choose, for a price that lets you buy two camcorders and accessories for the price of one Panasonic HPX3000.
I prefer choice. I prefer recording to a hard drive. I prefer a lower price. I prefer greater capability.
RED is completely changing the game and the major players haven’t figured it out yet.
Or, until RED is shipping the RED-1 in quantity, the rest of the industry will keep doing what they can to earn your dollar. (lots of your dollars)