PANASONIC ANNOUNCES NEW 4/3″ VIDEO CINEMA CAMERA

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a direct result of the DSLR HD market. It’s good to see someone stepping forward. Hopefully the rolling shutter artifacts such as skewing, etc, are minimal. Hopefully this comes in around $5k-$6K or cheaper, as that would really fit well in the market. This could be the cam that people who dislike DSLRs might flock to. Especially for onboard audio.

Interchangeable lenses don’t hurt either.

Then again, Scarlet is supposed to be right around the corner… we shall see…

Release date is “end of 2010” putting it behind the Scarlet release date (as of today, April 11, 2010).

MY OPINION ON A 4/3″ SENSOR

Honestly, no, I don’t think the sensor is too small. I’ve had the chance to use a Panasonic GH1 and it’s a pretty good size, especially if you plan on using this badboy without a focus puller. Yeah the 5D sensor is bigger, but I think it’s TOO big. You get real world shallow DOF at f5.6. Anything wider than that and the DOF is INSANELY SHALLOW for movement. Try it, you’ll see. Even the 7D, practically the same size “sensor” they use in Hollywood, has it’s challenges. I’d say about f2.8 or f3.5 are as low as you’d want to go on the 7D with it’s sensor size (unless it’s a special shot) but in most real world situations, 2.8 or 3.5 give you plenty shallow DOF. And that’s at 25mm. At 50mm, f5.6, your DOF is insanely shallow on a 7D. Even that might not be usable, depending on the shot.

To sum it up, if you’re worried that a 4/3″ sensor isn’t big enough, it’s plenty big enough for shallow DOF. And if you need it more shallow, it’s got interchangeable lenses so put on a faster lens and/or zoom in. You should have plenty shallow DOF to work with.

Here’s the PRESS RELEASE from Panny’s site.

PANASONIC INTRODUCES AG-AF100,

4/3” PROFESSIONAL HIGH-DEFINITION CAMCORDER

* Premier AVCCAM Video Camera Combines 4/3” Sensor with Superior Video Quality, Professional Audio Inputs, Variable Frame Rates, SDXC Card Technology *

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 11, 2010) – Panasonic Solutions Company today announced a game-changing AVCCAM HD camcorder, the AG-AF100, the first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording. Scheduled to ship by the end of 2010, the AG-AF100 will set a new benchmark for digital cinematography.

Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of use with a growing line of professional quality, industry standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

The design of the AF100’s micro 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a less expensive camera body.  Equipped with an interchangeable lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

“Designed in consultation with the filmmaking community, the AF100 eclipses the video performance of other cameras in this price range,” said Joe Facchini, Vice President of Sales & Product Management, Media & Production Services, Panasonic Solutions Company.  “Ideal for film schools and independent filmmakers, this affordable, digital cinematography camera employs an advanced professional AVC/ H.264 Hi Profile AVCHD codec compatible with a wide range of editing tools and affordable players.”

The AF100 incorporates a 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager. The camcorder records 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable.

The AF100 maximizes the potential of its high-resolution imager with built-in ND filtering and dramatically reduced video aliasing. Standard professional interfaces include HD-SDI out, HDMI, time code recording, built-in stereo microphone and USB 2.0. The AF100 features two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability, 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3.

This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support.  (SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB). With two SD slots, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode

The AG-AF100 will be available by the end of 2010. Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

About Panasonic Solutions Company

Panasonic Solutions Company empowers people whose jobs depend on reliable technology. Panasonic Solutions delivers collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within the company’s portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computing solutions, projectors, professional displays (including both plasma and LCD), and HD video acquisition and production solutions. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic is known for the reliability and longevity of its products. Panasonic Solutions Company is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic Solutions Company’s full line of products can be obtained by calling 877- 803-8492 or at www.panasonic.com/business-solutions.

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