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.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNWy3uEgF6M
Just in case you need a refresher, here are the basic specs of this camera:
- 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).