March 13, 2016

AJ-PX230 is Panasonic's Newest 1080p Handheld ENG Camera

Panasonic AJ-PX23 Front Angle
The prosumer/professional handheld camcorders we've been using for years continue to evolve.

Panasonic's newest is the AJ-PX230, which takes most of the features of the AJ-PX270, but removes networking (wired and wireless), proxy, and Genlock/TC to bring the price down to $4,000. Though it doesn't have 4K built-in like other handheld cameras we've seen, particularly from Sony, it does have high-quality 1080p up to 60fps, and records to 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC-Intra internally up to 200Mbps. This isn't a camera aimed at narrative work thanks to its relatively small 1/3" sensors, but it should be welcome in documentaries, interviews, nature, education, and even live events.

I don't see footage from the AJ-PX230 just yet, but expect it to look similar these clips shot with its older sibling the PX270, as they share much of the same tech:

Here are the specs:

  • Three 1/3" 2.2MP 3MOS Sensors
  • Lens: 3.9 to 86mm (28 to 616mm, 35mm equivalent) f/1.6 to 3.2
  • 1920 x 1080 / 59.94p, 59.94i, 29.97pN, 23.98pN and 50p, 50i, 25pN
  • 1280 x 720 / 59.94p, 29.97pN, 23.98pN and 50p, 25pN
  • 720 x 480 / 59.94i, 29.97p and 50i, 25p
  • Recording Formats: AVC-Intra200, AVC-Intra100, AVC-Intra50, AVC-LongG50, AVC-LongG25, AVC-LongG12, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO, DV
  • Gain: −3 to 36 dB
  • 22x Optical Zoom Lens with Optical Image Stabilization
  • Gamma Curves: HD, SD, FILMLIKE 1, FILMLIKE 2, FILMLIKE 3, FILM-REC, VIDEO-REC
  • Individual Zoom, Focus, Iris Rings
  • Variable Frame Rate Recording
  • 3.5" LCD Screen and 0.5" OLED Viewfinder
  • Two XLR Audio Inputs
  • 3G-SDI and HDMI Outputs
  • Two microP2 Memory Card Slots
  • ND Clear, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64
  • Power Consumption: 19.5W with LCD
  • Price: $4,000

Panasonic AJ-PX230 Rear

And here's more on the AVC codecs specifically:

AVC-Intra: An intra-frame compression method for optimum image quality. In addition to the conventional AVC-Intra100/50 codec, the AJ-PX230 features the AVC-Intra200 codec with twice the bit rate (10-bit 4:2:2, with a bit rate of approximately 200 Mbps for 1080/59.94i).
AVC-LongG: An inter-frame compression method that achieves high-quality HD recording at a low bit rate. Ideal for providing on-air content direct from the shooting location and for workflows using content transferred over the internet. Three bit rates are available: AVC-LongG50/25/12 Mbps. AVC-LongG25 provide 10-bit/4:2:2 quality at a bit rate of approximately 25 Mbps.

The camera uses microP2 cards just like the PX270, which are essentially Panasonic's custom SD cards. It's not going to be the camera for everyone, but for those who need something with a very wide to very long lens, great codecs, and solid color information internally thanks to 10-bit 4:2:2 (as opposed to 8-bit 4:2:0), this may be one to take a look at.       

Your Comment

3 Comments

I know it's geared towards doc style shooting and broadcast stuff, but I don't see this camera selling well. The price is still too high for what you get. Also no slow motion recording what so ever?

March 14, 2016 at 8:38AM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
493

For another $200, you could have a DVX200... which has 120fps slow-mo (PX230 maxes out at 60fps), 4K, UHD, 12-stops of DR, V-log, a larger sensor (4/3" vs 1/3"), and all the I/O that was stripped from the PX270.

Why would anyone buy the PX230?

March 14, 2016 at 1:24PM, Edited March 14, 1:27PM

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Jon Wolding
DP/Director
120

If it were cheaper I could see it doing well with journalism schools.

March 15, 2016 at 4:32PM

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Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1160