Micro Four Thirds Goes Pro Video

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Yup. Someone finally did it. With the announcement of the AG-AF100, Panasonic is putting a DSLR-sized sensor into a dedicated, professional video camera. Micro Four Thirds is going primetime. What does this mean for you? If you’re a filmmaker or video artist wanting shallow depth of field characteristics, multiple lens choices, and pro-grade audio and video I/O, this just might be the camera you’ve been waiting for.

DSLRs have been doing the HD video thing for awhile now, but from a design standpoint, they’ve left a lot to be desired. While the video out of a Canon 7D or Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 looks great, the cameras are still primarily built for dedicated ‘still’ photography. The all-new AG-AF100 is a fresh take on the photo/video hybrid with a form factor better suited to recording moving images.

Larger than a DSLR but smaller than an ENG camera, the AG-AF100 offers a wide array of 1080 and 720 recording options. 1080 is captured at your choice of 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, and 24p. The 720 flavors seem more complete with 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p. The camera is switchable between 60Hz and 50Hz to meet international production standards. AVCHD compression records up to 24Mbps on dual SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

As far as optics go, the new camera is fully compatible with the growing family of Micro Four Thirds zooms and primes. These lenses support autofocus on the fly -- something we’ve yet to see from other manufactures. Of course ‘other party’ optics will be compatible with inexpensive adapters.

Professional sound recording has been a challenge with the weak stereo mini inputs on today’s video-enabled DSLRs. Audiophiles rejoice! The AG-AF100 sports two +48V phantom powered XLR inputs with 16-bit, 48kHz recording. As far as video interfacing, HD-SDI, HDMI, and USB round out a trifecta of professional I/O.      

Other goodies like time code, improved anti aliasing, and an integrated ND filter are here too.

We’ll know more about the Panasonic AG-AF100 before it ships later this year. In the mean time, what do you want out of a large sensor interchangeable lens camcorder? What are the must have features for your next project?

David Flores is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York City.   

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super sick... loving it and needing it i want to go to film school and it would be a great thing to have

Real 24p!

I figured Canon would be first to market with a cam like this. They probably won't be too far behind, though.

 Any chance of this coming in under the $4k mark, you think?? 

"What do you want out of a large sensor interchangeable lens camcorder?" - Naturally, I'd like the ability to shoot stills. :P

I can say, a perfect camcorder for the indie filmmakers! I'll be expecting to see this in camcorder rentals Idaho Falls based branch. I'm just hoping that the price will be just as friendly to indie filmmakers.

 Can't wait to see what the other brands will release to match this new Panasonic AG-AF100.

Here is a link of the prototype of the sony four third cinema camera

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-video-industry-news/476636-sony-prot...

I feel that people in the U.S. assume Japanese business culture to be the same as ours. All the media electronic companies there have a sense of unity and alliance that is foreign to Western Capitalism- some Americans might even call it "monopoly".

When understanding the way Japanese corporations function, it is not a stretch to say that Canon chose not to be the first to create a similar camera in order to preserve partnerships and other business relations with Panasonic and other companies that use Canon lenses, chips, etc.

A super improvement on the DSLR designs!
Is there any word on low light performance?

panasonic said it would take over the camera and camcorder market and this is a big step foreward. while i still love canon they better watch out!

What about heat issues that plague dSLR sensors when recording video for extended periods? 

 I hope panasonic pops an image stabilizer in this, or their new gh2. Otherwise i'll be looking real close at the sony nex7 come fall.

been a pro videographer for 25 years and have learned to dislike panasonic. used nothing but pannys for 20 years, and in the early days, you could not wreck their cams. Now they are cheesey, with alot of little malfunctions. At least cannon & sony offer a mix of hdv and hdr (some old guys still like using tape. ) Trust me when I say, sony and cannon will take this and perfect it.

This is a message for David. I was quite happy to read about this new camcorder by panasonic. Do you know if this is just an actual ideal or a fact?

could you keep me posted on this product?