July 26, 2015

Here's Your First Look at the Large-Sensor Panasonic DVX200 Camera

Panasonic DVX200

For many of us 20 and 30-something filmmakers, Panasonic's DVX and HVX camcorders were our first foray into digital filmmaking. Those cameras were some of the first to enable filmmakers to achieve somewhat cinematic images with a digital camera, and for that reason, there's a nostalgia that goes along with them. Panasonic is perhaps trying to capitalize on the nostalgia with their latest camera, the DVX200, a completely refreshed version of the original, complete with modern features like a large sensor and internal 4K recording.

Richard Payne of Holdan Limited (the UK distributer of this camera) recently shared a fairly in-depth video featuring a first look at the DVX200, and it gives plenty of reasons to be excited.

Just in case you need a refresher, here are the basic specs of this camera:

Panasonic DVX200
  • Single 4/3 MOS Sensor with 12 Stops DR
  • DCI 4K 24P, UHD 4K Up to 60p
  • Variable Frame Rate Up to 120 FPS in FHD
  • MP4 / MOV Recording in 4K
  • Integrated Leica 13x f/2.8 - f/4.5 Lens
  • 3 x Individual Lens Control Rings
  • 2 x SD Cards Slots (U3 Compatible)
  • HDMI 2.0, 3G-SDI Output

Of course, the digital filmmaking zeitgeist of the past few years has centered almost exclusively around large sensor interchangeable lens cameras. For many, the idea of a fixed-lens camcorder feels a bit anachronistic and old-fashioned, especially in 2015. However, there's definitely still a market for this type of camera. Not only are fixed-lens camcorders extremely practical all-in-one solutions for documentary and broadcast shooters, but when you combine that practicality with higher-end features like V-log recording, slow-motion, and what will hopefully be great looking images, the appeal of this thing will likely go far beyond just documentary.

There are still some drawbacks to this camera, though. From what I've heard, people hoping for 10-bit 4:2:2 recording internally will be sorely disappointed, as I'm pretty sure it's 8-bit 4:2:0. No word on whether higher bit depth and color space will be available to record externally, but honestly, using an external recorder with a camera like this kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, as convenient as fixed lenses can be, nothing is more irritating than a variable aperture zoom, particularly when you really need to shoot wide open.

While it's impossible to say how much of a hit this camera will be until some footage comes out (sadly there was none in this video), I'm definitely still hopeful, even despite those few drawbacks. Now we just need Panasonic to push out a baby brother to the VariCam 35 (perhaps a long awaited update the AF100, but with a larger sensor).     

Your Comment

21 Comments

Can't say I'd trade my Sony X70 for it. I got all excited until the lack-luster recording specs and variable aperture were mentioned.

July 26, 2015 at 6:37PM

6
Reply
Joe O
Videographer/Editor
325

Sounds like barely a step up from the RX10 II at best...

July 26, 2015 at 6:38PM, Edited July 26, 6:38PM

4
Reply
Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
973

'No', because:
- Variable Aperture lens
- No flat profile such as SLOG
- No ND filter
- No LUT preview in monitor
- 12 stops is not that exiting
- Although I'm heavily invested in 4/3, S35 or full frame is the way to go for cinema.
- Probably more once detailed specs are known

Probably very suitable for shooting documentaries.

I'll go for the URSA Mini thank you.

July 26, 2015 at 6:48PM

1
Reply

Hey Jeroen.

It has a flat PP, VLOG. Although it is still only 8Bit 4:2:0 :(
Full specs: http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/dvx4k/pdf/ag-dvx200_spec.pdf

Would be more excited if it had constant aperture, 16 Bit,4:2:2.
Still, a bit of red coloring and carbon fiber!! :) hehehe

July 26, 2015 at 10:46PM

0
Reply
avatar
John-Jo Ritson
Producer / Director
109

At about 2:10 on the video he shows the built in ND filters on the camera (1/4, 1/16, 1/64).

That said I do agree that there are definitely other options that would outperform this camera.

July 27, 2015 at 6:23AM

0
Reply
avatar
Sebi Schmidt
Director
107

Ironic that the consumer/pro-sumer division of Panasonic has been kicking ass lately, only for the pro-end to release a camera with such middling specs. I thought the DVX200 was going to retail for around $2k, but it's going to retail for $5k...
Not that great of a deal when their own $600 Lumix DMC-FZ330 "Bridge" Camera has at 25mm to 600mm zoom with a constant 2.8 aperture @4k.

But still, it's funny to see how far we've come in four years.
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/01/sony-red-square-competing-6k-12k-camcorders

July 26, 2015 at 7:53PM

0
Reply
avatar
Film Voltage
Director
313

It does have an ND filter, and V-Log, so it's safe to assume that it is a 4:2:2 camcorder. It is, after all, a pro model. But, once again, there's a lot of competition now, and the DVX200 isn't out yet.

July 26, 2015 at 8:21PM

0
Reply
avatar
Film Voltage
Director
313

I asked a Panasonic rep at Cine Gear and he said it would be the same codec as the GH4. Hoping that's wrong. Seems like something they could still easily change...

July 26, 2015 at 8:56PM

0
Reply

Hey there Film Voltage. It is only 4:2:0. Bit of a shame really.

July 27, 2015 at 6:03PM

5
Reply
avatar
John-Jo Ritson
Producer / Director
109

If the footage ends up looking better than your standard fixed lens camcorder, I could definitely imagine buying a bunch of these for my students. The form factor is great for learning the basics.

A lot of colleges have switched to DSLR, but the lack of audio is a deal breaker. And in my experience, C100's are too scary for beginners. This camera might be the sweet spot.

July 26, 2015 at 9:42PM

2
Reply
Frank
359

why are c100's too scary?

July 28, 2015 at 1:14AM

17
Reply
avatar
Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant
549

4/3 is a LARGE sensor now? Not even S35? Oh, NFS...

July 27, 2015 at 12:49AM

4
Reply
avatar
Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1558

Who need 12 stops today? 14-15 stops at least...

July 27, 2015 at 1:21AM

8
Reply

I probably wouldn't consider this camera, but I reckon it would be really good for run 'n' gun documentary shooting. It's pretty much got all you need in one tight package. The biggest disappointment is the variable aperture on the zoom lens.

July 27, 2015 at 5:39AM

1
Reply

So it looks to basically be a GH4 + interface unit all in one tidy package with a fixed lens plus ND filters. I've used the similar form factor Panasonic HCX-1000 and thought it was a great run and gun doco unit, the image stabilisation on hand held shots on that was great, so I can see how this would be good for indie documentaries. Now if they could only squeeze in 422 internal recording.

July 27, 2015 at 7:59AM

0
Reply
avatar
Anthony Powell
Film Maker
60

I agree with this post, totally!

July 27, 2015 at 8:54AM, Edited July 27, 8:54AM

0
Reply

Agreed all the way. I liked the Panasonic HC-X1000 quite a bit for its small size. In a way the DVX200 is almost like a bigger brother with its bigger sensor. This is probably more an ENG/EFP documentary and broadcast camera. Attach a shotgun mic and I could see myself using it in hands free run and gun situations. Obviously the fixed lens will put off some people, but really those people aren't the target audience. Besides Lecia lenses have been a fine combo with Panasonic cams.

August 2, 2015 at 1:54PM

32
Reply
avatar
Charles Duoto
Studio Floor Director
1343

I.m.o. This is a GH4 in a different package, nothing new. Perhaps the stabilisation so you dont need a gimbal to make smooth moving camera shots!

July 27, 2015 at 8:53AM

0
Reply

Well the first footage is finally out there and it looks quite nice. This sounds like a great run and gun that can also create some rather cinematic images (as long as you know how to work with the vlog). Shame it is 4:2:0 and not 4:2:2 though.
https://vimeo.com/134622078

July 27, 2015 at 6:21PM

0
Reply
avatar
Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
568

They're saving 10 bit 4:2:2 for the HVX reboot. Actually it doesn't really matter, this is a camcorder not a cinema cam. 10 years ago they were the same thing, today not so much.

July 28, 2015 at 1:57AM, Edited July 28, 1:57AM

0
Reply
Howard Roll
Boss
214

Am I the only person who's relieved that there's FINALLY a larger sensor camera with a servo zoom lens???

October 3, 2015 at 1:43PM

0
Reply
avatar
Ben McGinley
Producer / Shooter / Editor
288