P2 Video Camera
The Panasonic AG-HPX170 is a handheld P2 HD camera which builds on the tradition and success of the AG-HVX200. The camera’s enhanced sensor provides lower noise levels while increasing sensitivity in low-light situations. Unlike the AG-HVX200, the AG-HPX170 does not include a tape drive, opting for a lighter and more durable frame. In this case, “less“ certainly means more: removal of the deck translates into a variety of extra features, including a 75mm lens with improved wide-angle capability, vectorscope, waveform monitor, HD-SDI output, a 6-Pin locking FireWire port, and 3 focus-assist modes.
While the camera does not record in 1080p/60, it does scan the initial image at 1080p/60 in order to get the best possible picture quality in 1080i/60.
The AG-HPX170 feels much like the acclaimed AG-DVX100, as opposed to its more similar and larger cousin, the AG-HVX200. Reducing weight makes the camera easy to hold: at 4.2 lbs the camera is very comfortable on long shoots.
Professional Camera Functions
The AG-HPX170 comes equipped with a variety of professional features usually unheard of for a camera in its class. Features include an HD-SDI output for shooting uncompressed footage directly to a deck or computer. The camera also comes with a 6-pin locking FireWire port making it more robust and less prone to accidental yanks. Other functions include a waveform monitor, histogram, vector scope and delete-last-clip button.
P2 Flash Memory Recording Storage
P2 is a recording medium for professional systems. Since P2 cards use no drive mechanisms, they provide superior resistance to impact, vibration and temperature changes. There is currently a choice between 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB P2 cards. A 64GB card will record 64 minutes of the highest quality HD video, 160 minutes of 720p/24 frame video and over 3 hours of standard definition DVCPRO/DV video.
Superior Quality Lens
The 13x zoom lens system features 13 lens elements in 10 groups, including three aspherical lenses. Panasonic has reduced the front lens element from 67mm on the AG-HVX200 to 53.2mm on the AG-HPX170. The use of low-dispersion glass reduces color aberration while a multi-coating process minimizes flare and ghosting.
Super Sensitive CCDs
Each pixel has a large light-receiving area, giving this advanced 1/3″ progressive CCD the kind of high sensitivity not available in previous compact HD cameras. This advanced CCD combines with a newly developed 14-bit digital signal processor (DSP) to achieve a balance of high resolution and high S/N ratio that rivals even the most sophisticated HD broadcasting cameras.
Advanced Digital Signal Processor
The AG-HPX170 advanced digital signal processor uses 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit inner processing to attain unprecedented accuracy. While the camera does not record 1080/60p, it is from this capture that all other signals are made. The DSP performs a variety of adjustments, including eight types of gamma settings, for each of the R, G and B channels. It also converts the signals to HD or SD format. With a performance equivalent to the processors used in many higher-end HD cameras, this DSP helps the camera deliver beautiful images in all video formats.
DVCPRO HD Codec
Using the DVCPRO HD codec recording system, the AG-HPX170 records HD video with outstanding image and audio quality onto a P2 card in file format. This codec, thanks to a low compression ratio at a video bit rate of 100 Mbps (1080/59.94i, 720/59.94p) and the easy-to-edit intraframe compression system, is suitable for recording fast-moving subjects with no motion artifacts other than motion blur. The 4:2:2 sampling rate minimizes jaggies at chroma edges and is advantageous in image and compositing. Sound quality is excellent too, thanks to DVCPRO HD’s uncompressed 16-bit, 4-channel digital audio recording capability.
The AG-HPX170 inherits many of the functions of the popular VariCam which enhanced the production of movies and television programs. It has variable frame rate features that respond to fast and slow action. Its true 24p/30p progressive video, cine-like gamma curves, and cine-like color matrix capture images and scenes with much the same look and feel as footage from a film camera. All controls and system interfaces are designed to meet professional needs.
Optical Image Stabilizer
The optical image stabilization system ensures glass smooth images even with moderate shaking while shooting hand-held.