In 2011 I had to use this camera for a documentary project in haiti. I did some battle testing. Here are my notes. Use at your own risk.
Panasonic HPX-370 Camera Guide

BASIC OPERATION

MENU

The button on the front left side of the camera accesses the menu. Use the scroll wheel to navigate and select options.

EXPOSURE

When in doubt… Underexpose the image. This camera has no dynamic range. Overexposed shots will clip badly and bleed. Be especially careful shooting warm color temps. This causes a weird oversaturated clipping effect. You can dial down the auto exposure in the menu.

I use a lot of ND and always manually operate the iris.

CLOSE FOCUS

The closeup focus sucks. I use the macro to keep shot in focus. If there isn’t room for error make sure subjects are far enough away

RECORDING FORMATS

Both use h.264 type compression. AVC-I 100 is better but twice the file size of 50. If you really need long record times use 50

AVC-I 50

File Size: 50 mb/s
Pixel Aspect: ¾ Horz Scale
Chroma Sample: 4:2:0
Encoding: CABAC (more compression, requires more computer)

ACC-I 100

File Size 100 mb/s
Pixel Aspect Square
Chroma Sample: 4:2:2
Encoding: CAVLC (less compress, requires less computer power)

Pixel Aspect Ratios

AVC-I 100 is square. AVC-I 50 are horizontally scaled by ¾.
1920x1080 is scaled to 1440x1080
1280x720 is scaled to 960x720 (this is vital when creating graphics).

File Transfer

You may need special software to properly transfer the footage. I used the FCP7 “log and transfer” to transcode AVC-Intra files to ProRes.

SYSTEM SETTINGS (MENU)

Style — System — Rec Format — Cam Mode— Rec Frame
Film Look— 1080 59.94i —AVC-I 100 (or 50) 24 PN —24 P —24fps
Video Look— 1080 59.94i —AVC-I 100 (or 50) 30 PN— 30 P— 30fps

NOTE: The camera can only play back clips that were recorded with the camera’s current settings. To play clips with the camera you must change the camera settings to match the clips and do a restart.

SCENE FILES

That rotating dial with the numbers on it. This is how the image is processed or how it will look.

Default Scene Files

F1 “Scene” Normal
F2 “Fluo” Fluorescent shoot
F3 “Spark” SD Shooting
F4 “B-Str” Increase Shadow Contrast (sunsets)
F5 “Cine-V” Movie Gamma with contrast
F6 “Cine-D” Movie Gamma with Dynamic Range

Scene Files I use

F1 “Scene” — This is the standard shooting mode.
F5 “Cine-V” — Good cinema look for a quick project that won’t have heavy post effects
F6 “Cine-D” — Great baseline “Cinema Gamma” look but leaves dynamic range for color-grading in post.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES & NOTES

CARD SPANNING

For long shoots video can span between cards. The cards are hot swappable so in theory you have and unlimited recording time but in pratics this is bullshit. I find this feature adds complexity to my work-flow and can fuck everything up. I only shoot with one card in the camera at a time.

PRE-RECORD

Use the menu to turn Pre-Record “ON”. You can assign this feature to one of the free “user” buttons. It only work in certain video modes including 24p

RECORD REVIEW

Hold the “RET” button on lens to review 10sec. Tap “RET” for 10sec I think???

SHOT MARKER

In “SW Mode” assign “Shot Mark” to a user button. Push again to undo.

Microphone

The included mic is garbage. Throw it away.

Record Times

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