There are a lot of new HD cameras out there, some are smaller, more light weight, and offer a variety of features that are appealing. However, when it comes to a long-term investment, I believe that people should take a closer look at Panasonic's AG HPX 170.

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For DSLR filmmakers this kind of investment is a stretch, particularly as the cost of a HPX 170 will set you back about $3.5k, but for small businesses and production houses that want a professional long-term tool, this is definitely a must have (It's also over $1000 cheaper than other HD capable cameras in that range)

DSLR cameras don't have the wide range of features that this 4:2:2 HD camera can offer. Sound is always a problem when working with DSLR cameras, and because the Panasonic provides XLR inputs, you can connect mix boards, and multiple microphones for a wide variety of audio recording situations.

The variable frame rates are also a big benefit, not to mention the sheer precision of the menu features and superb Full Frame DVC Pro HD formats it records in (you always get quality loss when converting H264 footage to FCP with Canon DSLRs for example).

The HPX 170 also has a solid LCD viewer, and gives users a fairly light-weight prosumer camera for an affordable price compared to newer models out today.

HPX 170 out at sea video

Why I recommend this product

For me Panasonic has always delivered on quality. I'm a big fan of the depth of color that the HPX 170 offers including its wide range of features. The variable frame rates are a superb asset, and you can get very creative with that capability. It doesn't have the rolling shutter issues that you get when you pan using DSLRs which have always bugged me. For professional productions, the HPX 170 does deliver a HD workflow that is impressive, and saves you money on newer high-end cameras. It's still a very solid, and reliable camera and shoots at 1080 which is what you need now and in the future.

HPX 170 vs the competition

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