HPX250 + Samurai Recorder = ???

BrianJK wrote on 4/26/2012, 1:10 PM
My two-man videography business has decided to retire our 3 DVX100B cameras. They just won't quit but I think it's time to move to High Def.
We shoot a pretty eclectic range of projects; PSAs, business presentations, tutorials, product promotions, theatrical performances.

We have relied on the DVX low light capability for most of our shooting & almost never use lights.

Over the last few years our delivery medium has swung away from DVD towards web-ready.

We're considering buying two Panasonic HPX250 cameras and a Samurai recorder for each one. The Samurais are primarily to help us postpone buying P2 cards until the microP2 adapters are available late this year / early next year.

I'd be interested to hear any hands on experience with the cameras or the recorder.
I'm especially concerned about editing the files from the Samurai in Vegas 11 64bit (which has been fairly stable for me so far).



Jay Gladwell wrote on 4/26/2012, 1:41 PM

You'll need a pretty robust system to handle the larger files.

FrigidNDEditing wrote on 4/26/2012, 1:52 PM
Hey Brian,

I just finished up and released a training DVD for this camera with VASST which you can find here.

I personally think this camera is a winner. If I were buying right now, and I needed an all purpose camera for $5K'ish this would seriously be something I'd seriously consider, I rent a lot of times or shoot with whatever I'm given for a project but was also a DVX owner for many years, and if you liked that camera, you'll find this one is not a far stretch for you. Not to mention that if you output to the new samurai, you don't have to deal with format incompatibility with vegas ( one of the only companies out there that won't work natively on the T/L in vegas because Panasonic won't make a deal to give them support since they're owned by Sony ). If you use P2 Card recording and the Sony and Panasonic can't come to an agreement, however, you will need to get RayLight Ultra from DVFilm ( great tool that allows you to use the files natively on the timeline ). Either way. If you run Raylight Ultra while you're using Vegas, you can just drop and read the files on the timeline from the P2 Cards w/o any problems, works like a charm. Otherwise the new Samurai says it supports Sony Vegas, so you should be in good shape either way. The camera itself is one of the most versatile camera's I've seen in... well, ever, especially at that price. It's a definite winner, and not to be self promoting, but if you're on the fence, you might want to pick up the DVD and learn more about it, as well as get your hands on some native files (along with a Raylight Ultra trial) to see how you like the footage, etc... I have to say I always miss shooting on a Panasonic camera when I'm a different manufacturer's system and I don't think you'd be disappointed. B&H is selling them for like $4500 right now. Definitely a good time to buy.
farss wrote on 4/26/2012, 4:05 PM
No experience with the HPX250 but some with the Samurai as we have one along with KiPro, 2xKiPro Mini and one NanoFlash.

Samurai has been problematic, drive jammed in unit, MiniBNC to BNC adaptors that they changed the design of causing people using the wrong cables to get them jammed onto the connectors. You need to look very carefully to tell which cable goes with which socket.

KiPro Mini has been much less problematic but the user interface on it and its big brother is not user friendly. That is probaly not going to be an issue if you use it all the time.

All those 10bit units have one issue. They get hot because they use a lot of power, probably more than most cameras, the KiPro Mini is regularly used with our AF102 and the KiPro Mini more than halves the battery life and that's with the big brick batteries.

The NanoFlash by comparison runs on nothing. I think the reason is it uses a custom encoder chip made by Sony, the other units use uPs or FPLAs.

Seriously, I'd consider the EX1r, cheap as chips media thanks to the MxM Adaptors with SDHC cards, 1/2" chips, prerecord buffer, runs on 12V, lots of goodness and very reliable. As it is a CineAlta camera you get more image tweaks than you'll ever need. Image wise in "P" it does deliver 1,000 lines res. By the time you add any external recorder to the HPX250 the total package price is the same and the EX1r files work with Vegas quite easily and they are a manageable size. On the down side, probably due to the 1/2" chips, the lens is quite short.

I'd also have a serious look at the offerings from Canon.

BrianJK wrote on 4/27/2012, 5:05 PM
Thanks to everyone who answered. We just may buy the HPX250 DVD. I always enjoy VASST tutorials.
We'll ask a few more questions about the KiPro mini.

Bob, I've got to admit that I ruled out the EX1 a while back because of the price but I have inched my way back into that price range haven't I.

We rented a Canon 305 to wring it out. Very nice but bring money. Sensing a theme ? I'm a penny pincher.

Thanks again
farss wrote on 4/27/2012, 6:07 PM
"I'm a penny pincher."

No issue here with that.

Just an update. Only yesterday we started to put a second Samurai into service.
The latest firmware does address a number of issues and the unit is now more user friendly.We purchased 3x 750GB drives and fitted them into Samurai shells. All works as it should, those 750GB drives give you a day's recording time with ProRes HQ although that is a lot of data to work with, off load and backup. Hard to imagine any situation where you'd shoot 8 hours non stop and need 10bit 4:4:4 but....

The battery charger that comes with the kit is kind of tragic, the one from our first kit has simply died. Thankfully we have a few spare Sony chargers.

The Samurai does not have an external DC input connector. We can easily enough solve this problem as we have a surplus of the Sony "dummy battery" adaptors. Those in conjunction with the Sony battery charger means users of our kits can run the Samurai either from batteries or mains. All of this goodness will not fit into the very nice case that Atamos supplied the kit in so hand in pocket again.

In summary the Samurai is good value for the money. Having a touch screen interface that shows things such as audio channel assignment in a simple to read fashion is good. You also get some form of vision monitoring, not good enough for anything critical but it still provides a very worthwhile level of confidence that the recorder is in record and the signal from the camera is reaching the recorder.