Panasonic Announces Three New Compact HD Camcorders and a Full-Size 3D Rig
At yesterday's NAB press event Panasonic unveiled the AG-HPX250 (its first handheld P2 HD camcorder), the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 (two new compact AVCCAM HD camcorders), and the AG-3DP1 (a full-size twin-lens 3D camcorder). They also showed a number of P2 transfer tools. For filmmakers interested in a shallow depth-of-field aesthetic, none of these cameras (without a 35mm adapter) is going to give Panasonic's own AF100 a run for the money. Read on for more details:
Here's a picture of the new $6,500 AG-HPX250; the full press release is below. Highlights include 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, 21X wide-angle lens, and a plethora of recording codecs and frame rates (it does drop down to 720p for 60p recording, however).
As for the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 (the former is pictured up top), they are priced at $5,500 and $4,000 respectively and record to a 24Mbps AVCHD codec. Full press release below.
The press release action for the new shoulder-mount AG-3DP1 can be found here (no pricing announced). But what's cooler than 3D? 3D... in space! Panasonic also announced that the AG-3DA1 (the smaller brother of the new AG-3DP1) will be going into space.
Let me know what you think of these new Pannys after you peruse the below press releases. Seems to me with the pricing of these camcorders -- not to mention the fact that there's three of them -- that Panasonic thinks there's plenty of life in the 1/3" camcorder market...
AG-HPX250 Press Release
PANASONIC UNVEILS AG-HPX250 P2 HD HANDHELD CAMCORDER WITH MASTER-QUALITY 10-BIT, 4:2:2 AVC-INTRA RECORDING, ESTABLISHING NEW IMAGE QUALITY STANDARD FOR MOBILE HD ACQUISITION
New P2 HD Handheld with 21X Zoom Lens and 1080/720p Variable Frame Rates
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 10, 2011) – Panasonic Solutions Company today sets a new standard for video quality in mobile HD acquisition with the introduction of the AG-HPX250, a P2 HD handheld camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording.
“The AVC-Intra codec is highly prized for the stunning, master-quality 10-bit, 4:2:2 sampled, independent frame images it produces,” said Joseph Facchini, Vice President of Sales and Product Management, Panasonic Solutions Company. ”Now for the first time with the HPX250, Panasonic offers an ultra-portable handheld camera with full-resolution, 10-bit, intra-frame recording in a one-piece unit without the need for an add-on recorder. This is an unprecedented level of image quality in a lightweight camera.”
Weighing 5.5 pounds, the HPX250 incorporates high-sensitivity 1/3”, full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers and a 20-bit Digital Signal Processor to acquire native 1920 x 1080 resolution images.
Offering a wide 28mm to 588mm (35mm equivalent) 21X HD lens with 3 independent adjustable rings, the HPX250 covers most shooting situations without the need for a wide-angle conversion lens. The 21X lens also features an Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) function that ensures stable images during shooting.
The HPX250 offers variable frame rate capability in 1080p up to 30fps as well as 720p up to 60fps for undercranking/overcranking to create fast or slow-motion effects.
In addition to AVC-Intra 100/50 recording, the HPX250 records in DVCPRO HD, as well as standard definition recording in DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV. The HPX250 supports international HD and SD standards, an added benefit to producers with global clients. In AVC-Intra 100/50 and DVCPRO HD, it records in 1080 at 59.94i, 29.97pN, 23.98pN, 50i and 25pN and in 720p at 23.98pN, 29.97pN, 59.94p, 50p and 25pN. In DVCPRO50/25 and DV, it records in 480 at 59.94i, 29.97p, 23.98p, 23.98pA, and in 576 at 50i and 25p over 50i.
The HPX250 offers Genlock/timecode input for multi-camera operation, as well as an HD-SDI output, an HDMI output, and an IEEE 1394 in/out. The camcorder is equipped with a Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS)* function to help compensate for wide variations in lighting, a waveform monitor and vector scope display, and two focus assist functions – a picture expanding function and a focus bar.
Equipped with two P2 card slots, the HPX250 can record for up to 320 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 at 720/24pN, 160 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 1080/24pN and 128 minutes in other AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD formats on two 64GB cards. In AVC-Intra 50, the recording time is twice that as AVC-Intra 100.
The P2 HD handheld offers all the benefits of a faster, file-based P2 HD workflow including such recording features as instant recording startup, clip thumbnail view for immediate access to video content on all cards, and a host of time-saving recording modes including continuous recording, card slot selection, hot swapping, loop, pre-record (three seconds in HD and seven seconds in SD), one-shot and interval recording. The camcorder also features an SD memory card slot for saving or loading scene files and user settings.
For easy HD viewing, the camera is equipped with a widescreen 1,226,000-pixel LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-pixel 3.45-inch LCD color monitor. Its power consumption is low at only 17 watts.
The HPX250 will be available in Fall 2011 at a suggested list price of less than $6,500. It is backed by a five-year limited warranty program (1 year + 4 additional years with registration).
AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 Press Release
PANASONIC ANNOUNCES NEW AVCCAM HD HANDHELD CAMCORDERS WITH FULL HD IMAGER AND 21X ZOOM LENS
Premium AG-AC160 Offers Variable Frame Rates, LPCM Audio, HD-SDI Output and Is 50Hz/60Hz Switchable for Worldwide Use
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 10, 2011) – Panasonic Solutions Company (PSC) has introduced two new professional AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130, which incorporate high-sensitivity 1/3”, full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to capture native 1920 x 1080 resolution images, with a new, wider 21X HD zoom lens.
Key new features include two SD Memory Card slots for relay or simultaneous recording, compatibility with high-capacity SDXC media, an enhanced viewfinder and LCD display, and DV recording. The higher-end AC160 includes such top production features as variable frame rate recording in 1080p, Linear PCM audio, HD-SDI output, and switchability between 59.94Hz/50Hz.
“These new AVCCAM handhelds offer the longer lensing that customers have been clamoring for in a small form factor with state-of-the art, high-bandwidth AVCCAM, Panasonic’s implementation of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 high-profile encoding,” said Jan Crittenden Livingston, Product Manager, PSC. “In addition, the AC160 adds the creative flexibility of Full HD off-speed recording and an HD-SDI out.”
The AVCCAM camcorders’ Full HD resolution imager produces stunning 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 AVCHD video at high sensitivity. Because the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec provides a doubling of bandwidth efficiency and improved video performance over the older MPEG-2 compression-based formats, recordings look clean and crisp, even during fast motion, without image degradation or dropouts. Utilizing a 21X zoom lens with three independent adjustable rings for zoom, focus and iris, these new AVCCAM units offer a wide 28mm (35mm equivalent) viewing angle, covering most shooting situations without the need for a wide-angle conversion lens.
The AC160/130 record video in four professional AVCCAM HD recording modes, including the highest-quality PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), the HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), the extended recording HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps), and a PM mode (less than 10 Mbps, 720P only), which is ideal for shooting sports training and web video.
These latest AVCCAM camcorders are among the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC Memory Card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support. SDXC is the newest SD Memory Card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB and up to 2TB. With two SD slots for continuous recording, the AC160/130 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode, with automatic clip spanning across the two cards. The two slots can also be utilized for simultaneous back-up recording.
At 60Hz, the camcorders support the following HD formats in PH mode: 1080/59.94i, 1080/29.97p, 1080/23.98pN, 720/59.94p, 720/29.97p, 720/23.98pN; in HA and HE modes, they record in 1080/59.97i; and in standard definition DV, they record 480/59.94i, 480/29.97p, 480/223.98p. At 50Hz, the AC160 also records in 1080/50i and 1080/25p, in 720/50p and 720/25p, and in 576/50i and 576/25p.
The AC160 offers variable frame rate capability in 1080/23.98pN, 29.97p and 25p, providing users the cinematic expression of higher-end cameras to support undercranking/overcranking for fast or slow-motion effects.
The AC160/130 include such desirable professional features as time code/UB recording; time/date stamp; and two wired remote control terminals (for zoom, focus, iris, REC start/stop controls). The camcorders’ lens system offers useful functions including Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) for smooth stable shooting and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS), which helps compensate for wide variations in lighting.
Standard professional interfaces include an HD-SDI output (AC160 only), HDMI output (AVCHD only), USB 2.0 (mini B-type), IEEE 1394 output (DV only), and a built-in stereo microphone. The camcorders feature two locking XLR inputs with switches for mic/line, two RCA audio outputs, and +48V Phantom Power capability. The AC160 records two channels of LPCM audio in the PH and DV modes, and Dolby Digital in all HD modes. The AC130 records two channels of Dolby Digital in all modes.
The AVCCAM handhelds offers useful solid-state recording functions including pre-record, interval recording, shot marker and metadata capture. Additional features include waveform and vectorscope display, focus assists, auto focus with face detection, white balance, mode display, zebra display, color bar, tally lamps, 4-position ND optical filter controls, slow shutter and synchro-scan shutter functions, a multi-language menu, and three programmable user buttons. A wireless remote is also included.
For editing or playback, professionals can transfer content by inserting the SD Memory Card into Mac or PC computers or by connecting the camera directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Panasonic recently announced AVCCAM Importer software, a QuickTime plug-in component that eliminates the need to convert AVCHD files to ProRES422 files before editing in Final Cut Pro, which will be available this summer as a free download from the company’s web site.
For easy HD viewing, the camcorders are equipped with a widescreen 1,226,000-pixel LCOS color viewfinder and a widescreen 921,000-pixel 3.45-inch LCD color monitor. Weighing approx. five pounds, the AC160/130 offer a well-balanced, ergonomic design. Power consumption is low at under 12 watts.
The AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 will be available this Fall at suggested list prices of less than $5,500 and $4,000, respectively. Panasonic will support the AC160/AC130 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).