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Panasonic Hvx200, Prosumer High Def Done Right

Reviewing: Panasonic Ag Hvx200  |  Rating:
By pligg on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Cameras Expertise:
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When you buy a prosumer video camera from Panasonic you don't just get a quality product, but a great online community of fans who are willing to share their experiences and expertise. Prior to becoming an owner of an HVX, I did a lot of online research and discovered this fact through the dvxuser.com forums. The site gave me a lot of useful information and tips that I was glad to know prior to purchasing the camera, and of course the all important example footage.

Unboxing the camera you will immediately notice how similar it is to the standard definition DVX by Panasonic. The HVX takes the form of the DVX's big brother, with a wider frame and a few new features. In the back there are two P2 card slots that can handle up to 32Gb P2 cards per slot. That will get you a mininum of 32 minutes of recording time per slot. You can hotswap cards to continuously record as the card writes to the second card, which is useful for lengthy productions. The downside to the P2 media is the cost of it at this point. a 16Gb card will run you $800-900 from online vendors. Not only are they expensive, but they are often difficult to find available. If you own a laptop you are able to record on the go by plugging the camera into your laptops firewire port, which is the method that I used most often. The third option is recording to a Mini-DV tape, although you will only be able to record SD footage when doing so.

The camera is able to shoot at both 720p and 1080i, but from several sources I have heard bad things about the method the camera uses to achieve 1080i so I stick to 720p. The quality is fantasitc for most circumstances, the few downsides are how the camera handles darks and reds. Combine the two with dark red and you will have yourself some grainy footage. This is a typical problem with digital cameras though, so it's barely worth noting.

Overall the camera is a great deal for it's price range. However, it's nearing the middle of it's lifecycle and many other HD cameras have been released in the consumer market which might fit the needs of many people considering buying the HVX. I urge those considering to purchase the camera to remember that when buying a camera like this you need to factor in all of the costs including a tripod and P2 cards After adding those up you are likely to exceed $6, 000.