Owner-operators could do worse than spend some time considering these four camera options and acquisition formats.
Panasonic's HPX-500 is a 2/3” high-definition variable-frame-rate camcorder based around the P2 memory card. In these ‘price sensitive' times potential customers will pay about£15,000 if they want it with a 17x zoom lens, tripod plate and four 16GB P2 cards.
If 32GB cards are not enough, NAB will also see the release of a 62GB version capable of storing more than four hours of DVCPRO footage, more than two hours of DVCPRO 50 or AVC-Intra 50, or 64 minutes of AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD.
There is also Sony with its XDcam, a disk based format now available in HD. A recent addition to the range is the PDW-F350, a 1/2” HD CCD high def camera that uses XDCam disks.
It offers "overcranking" and "undercranking" (although it is called ‘Slow and Quick Motion') and records in true 24P as well as 25P and 30P at 50i or 60i. You can get the F350 with a Fujinon lens for around£15,000. Alternatively Sony will show the PDW-700, the first camcorder in the XDCAM HD family to use 2/3-inch CCDs.
There will also be another, brand new, tapeless alternative to compare with Panasonic and Sony at NAB: GFcam, a new tapeless acquisition format from Ikegami, the people that brought the world Editcam back in the mid-1990s.
The GigaFlash (GF) camera system is based on Flash memory and was developed as part of a working agreement with Toshiba. On show at NAB will be a camcorder, the HDS-V10 and two decks, one of which is portable.
The storage device is a GFpak, a high-capacity cartridge with a capacity of up to 64GB capable of recording more than two hours of HD video. The camcorder is a three-CCD model providing 1080i/720p HDTV format support and multiple recording modes. Reports suggest it will be priced at around£12,500.
Other cameras of note at NAB will be the GY-HD200B. The JVC shooter can capture and record 720p at multiple frame rates and can output live 1080i at 50 and 60Hz via IEEE 1394. Using Focus Enhancements' HD100 dockable drive it can record up to seven hours of 720p. The manufacturer's GY-HD250, also on show, will output 1080i at 50 or 60Hz via HD-SDI.