Panasonic HPX-250 now in stock - great new P2 recording camera.

When Panasonic released the HVX-200 camcorder way back in 2006, it broke new ground by combining solid state recording with the low compression of Panasonic’s DVCPRO HD codec. Not only did you get the benefits of tapeless P2 card workflow, you got it at a lovely HD broadcast-safe 100 megabits per second, making it a great little newsgathering camcorder. However the HVX-200 wasn’t without its flaws: the sensor was 720P rather than full 1080P, the image was decidedly soft and the ergonomics were clunky to say the least.

The impact of the HVX-200 on handheld professional camcorders has been a lasting one: it forced other manufacturers to make the leap into solid state recording, making features like variable framerates and efficient file-based workflow a norm rather than an expensive feature. Sony’s EX range, Canon’s XF range and JVC’s SD-HC card based camcorder ranges are here because of Panasonic and their faith in a world beyond tape.

The latest offering in the Panasonic P2 range is the spiritual successor to the HVX-200/201 and HPX171 camcorders, and is called the HPX-250. Here are some of the features we like the most:

  • Records a large variety of high quality formats: AVC-Intra 100 and DVCPRO HD recording mean this camera is likely to be cleared for HD broadcast acquisition (please note that this is not yet confirmed)
  • 10 Bit 4:2:2 recording. That’s right…10 bit. This increased bit depth – a feature we’re hoping to see in more future small cameras – means less colour banding and an image that should stand up better to grading than its 8-bit predecessors
  • P2 Card workflow. The recording media trusted by Sky News and capable of the aforementioned high bitrate compressions. Also it’s not as pricy as you may think.
  • Full HD 1/3” sensor
  • Variable framerates and…PAL/NTSC switchable!
  • Versatile 22x zoom lens
  • HD-SDI, HDMI and Composite outputs

So there we are: a definite rival for Canon’s XF305 camcorder and good step forward for Panasonic P2 camcorders. And that PAL/NTSC switchable feature makes this perfect for one-man-band news journalists who want top quality images and easy workflow…it’s time other manufacturers followed suit and embraced multi-region recording formats with high bitrates so camera users can always be broadcast-safe wherever in the world the job takes them.


By Stuart Dennis