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Panasonic announces the HC-X1000, a consumer-level 4K camcorder that incorporates a host of professional features that belies its consumer classification. Intended to be a bridge for users entering 4K production, but who still need to deliver HD video, the camera allows you to record in 4K, UHD, or Full HD 1080p in a variety of frame rates and codecs. The camera features a single 1/2.3" sensor design that is always shooting at 4K, and internally scales down the video when recording at 1920 x 1080. This creates HD video from true 4K, without line-skipping or resorting to cropping the sensor, for sharp HD video that maintains the same frame size and perspective as the 4K image.
If you wish to record 4K, the camera offers the option to record Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at a true 24 fps using the MP4 codec and LPCM audio. It also records UHD (3840 x 2160) in MP4 at 59.94, 29.97, and 23.98 (23.976) fps, with Full HD recording available using the MP4, MOV, or AVCHD Progressive codec. When recording in the MOV codec, there is an option to select from inter-frame compression or an all-intra-frame compression. Using the all-intra-frame codec ensures that each frame will be compressed individually, and is not dependent on information from any adjacent frames. The advantage of intra-frame compression is that it requires less computing power to play back/edit your video; the tradeoff is the larger file size it generates compared to inter-frame compression.
With two SDXC media card slots, the HC-X1000 is able to record in 4K/UHD/HD using relay recording for virtually unlimited recording time, or simultaneous recording for creating an instant backup. When recording Full HD in the camera, you can access what Panasonic refers to as “Background Recording,” which allows you to record continuously on a card in Slot Two, while at the same time starting and stopping the recording to Slot One. You can have one card that contains your selects, while the other card continues to roll in case you missed some of the action, or cut too soon.
The professional features built into the camera are impressive, including ND filters, zebra pattern, histogram display, and focus assist functions such as peaking. The 20x optical zoom lens features two different O.I.S. systems, and three independent manual adjustment rings―one each for zoom, focus, and iris. Two XLR audio inputs with either manual or automatic level adjustments provide professional inputs and control. Manual adjustments are made via dials set into the side of the camera so you can adjust the levels during the shot without having to pull up a menu function. The dials are inset, making it less likely to accidently change the settings. The built-in autofocus is fast and accurate, and Wi-Fi/NFC communications allow you to control it from your smartphone or tablet.
With the HC-X1000, Panasonic has merged a consumer camcorder with a professional camera that, in many ways, is more than the sum of its parts. Oh, and don’t forget―it shoots 4K.