Micro Four Thirds Goes Pro Video
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.