NAB 2015: New 4K Cameras and Products from Panasonic
Panasonic has announced a range of new 4K products, including the AG-DVX200 4/3" handheld 4K camcorder, 4K and high-speed HD studio cameras, a 4K POV action camera, and more. Panasonic also announced a firmware update to its popular GH4 mirrorless camera that adds a 4:3 anamorphic recording mode.
AG-DVX200 4K 4/3" Handheld Camcorder
Combining the heritage of the DVX100 with a large 4/3" image sensor, the DVX200 is poised to become a go-to camera for run-and-gun documentary and live-event shooters looking for that traditional and convenient handheld form factor while being able to take advantage of the shallow depth that a larger sensor offers. It is equipped with a 13x optical zoom lens and offers professional features such as Panasonic’s V-Log L gamma curve, allowing you to match footage easily with Panasonic’s VariCam family of cameras.
Physically, the DVX200 has a sleek look with a carbon-fiber-like finish and a crimson-colored transparent cover on the recording-section controls. However, it’s what’s inside the camcorder that really counts. The camcorder has a newly developed 4/3" MOS sensor that delivers 4K (4096 x 2160) video at true 24 fps and UHD (3840 x 2160) up to 60 fps in either MP4 or MOV file formats. Video is recorded to dual SD cards slots, with a UHS speed class 3 (U3) card required for 4K recording. It also offers variable frame rate recording up to 120 fps in 1080p mode, a useful feature in slow-motion sports capture or VFX work.
The camcorder is equipped with a 13x Leica Dicomar 4K f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens that provides a 35mm equivalent range of 29.5 to 384.9mm in 4K/24p mode and 28mm to 365.3mm in HD mode. A common 72mm front lens diameter facilitates the addition of filters, as well as optional close-up and wide-angle lenses. Three lens rings give you manual control over zoom, focus, and iris. Additionally, you’ll find a variable speed zoom control handgrip and top handle. The DVX200 features enhanced image stabilization, including Panasonic’s 5-axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer and 4x-correction area image stabilizer to produce clearer handheld images. It also has a micro-drive focus unit that improves autofocus speed and tracking performance.
While the DVX200 won’t be available until fall 2015, B&H Photo’s Steven Gladstone caught up with Steve Cooperman, from Panasonic, on the NAB 2015 trade show floor for a first look at the new camcorder.
GH4 Firmware Update Brings Anamorphic Recording
Along with new product announcements, Panasonic also revealed firmware update Ver.2.2 for its wildly popular GH4 mirrorless camera. This new update—planned to be released later in April—brings two new features, most notably a 4:3 aspect ratio recording mode for shooting with anamorphic lenses. The anamorphic 4:3 Mode has a resolution of 3328 x 2496 and offers frame rates of 23.98, 24, 25, and 29.97 fps. When used with a standard 2x anamorphic lens, the image can be un-squeezed in post to yield a cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Anamorphic 4:3 mode can also be output over HDMI in 10-bit 4:2:2. The second update added is a high 1/16,000-second maximum shutter speed when using the camera’s electronic shutter mode.
HX-A1 1080p Wearable POV Action Cam
Panasonic expands its line of wearable POV action cameras with the new HX-A1. The camera is incredibly lightweight, at only 1.6 ounces, yet has a rugged design that can withstand harsh environments. It is waterproof to depth of 5' without an additional housing, shockproof from drops of up to 5', dust proof (IP6X), and freeze proof to 14°F. This “quad-proof” design makes the A1 an ideal choice for nearly any action sport or adventure. It sports a cylindrical design that can be mounted in a variety of positions for hands-free action footage. The camera comes in two color variants: black or orange.
The A1 incorporates a 1/3" MOS sensor that supports 1080p video with AAC audio. For fast-moving subjects, you can record slow-motion 720p video at 60 fps or 848 x 480 resolution video at 120 fps. Video is automatically converted to 30p internally so the slow-motion footage is immediately viewable without having to conform it in post. Video is recorded to microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. To capture nearly all of the action in front of it, the camera is equipped with a 2.6mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens.
One of the more exciting features of the camera is its “0 Lux Night Mode.” The camera itself has an IR filter that, when used with an optional IR light source (such as a head lamp), allows the camera to see in complete darkness. Other key features include built-in Wi-Fi for remote camera control and video sharing on your mobile device using the Panasonic Image App, and a wireless twin camera function that lets you send A1 footage to a compatible Panasonic camera for simultaneous, dual-angle picture-in-picture recording. As an added bonus, the camera can even be used as a webcam when connected via USB.
To get the most out of the camera, a variety of optional mounting accessories is available to attach the A1 to a multiple objects and surfaces, including goggles, tripods, helmets, caps, boards, and handlebars. There is also an extended battery available for longer shoot times and a wind jammer to reduce wind noise on the built-in microphone.
Studio and Field Cameras
Panasonic has also expanded its studio lineup with the announcement of the AK-UC3000 4K system and the high-speed Full HD AK-HC5000, with frame rates up to 239.76p/200p. Targeted at studios and productions, the UC3000 features a sensor the delivers up to UHD video at 60p, as well as high-quality HD video. It is equipped with a B4 lens mount to accommodate the wide selection of available 2/3" broadcast lenses. The camcorder outputs HD video over 3G-SDI, while 4K video requires the addition of the optional AK-UCU500 Camera Control Unit, which provides up to 6,600' runs over hybrid fiber cable.
The AK-HC5000, while not 4K-enabled, is capable of high-speed video output up to 239.76/200p with the AK-UCU500 CCU, and is set to become Panasonic’s flagship HD studio camera. It features three new 2/3" 2.2M CMOS sensors with high sensitivity, low noise, and 1100TV-line resolution. The camera shares many features with the HC5000, including shockless Gain (-6 to 36dB), a User Gamma setting, Black Gamma Correction tracking pedestal, multi-step Digital Noise Reduction, and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) to reduce blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes.
Two new remote operation panels were also announced, the AK-HRP1000 and AK-HRP1005, which provide IP controls for the cameras and feature color LCD readout screens, as well as a new 9" Full HD LCD viewfinder.
Panasonic is also previewing the AK-UB300, which is a 4K multi-purpose camera for remote studio, weather, and traffic reporting, image magnification, and sports applications. It has a 1" MOS sensor that simultaneously outputs UHD and HD video signals, both up to 60p. The camera accepts 2/3" lenses and is compatible with Panasonic’s line of indoor/outdoor pan/tilt systems. In addition to HD output, the UB300 is equipped with a simultaneous 4x3G-SDI output as standard, and can be swapped with other optional 4K outputs, such as optical fiber. An HD Cropping feature allows an HD image to be cropped from the 4K picture, and the HD Cropping area can be controlled by a Panasonic remote controller.
If that wasn’t enough, Panasonic has also premiered the AJ-PX380, a 1/3" AVC-Ultra shoulder-mount camcorder with networking capabilities and dual-codec recording, making it well suited to fast-paced ENG shooting. The camcorder accepts 1/3" to 2/3" lens adapters for use with existing 2/3" zoom and prime lenses and offers a variety of recording modes, including the full range of 100 Mbps AVC-Intra formats up to 1080/60p. It has dual microP2 card slots, a P2 card slot, and an SD card. Professional connections include HDMI out, HD/SD-SDI in/out, 3G-SDI out for 1080 60p video, genlock in/video out for multi-camera operation, timecode I/O, and USB2.0 (host and device) interfaces.
The multi-codec AVC-ULTRA offers 10-bit 4:2:2 recording in full quality, along with lower bitrate AVC-Proxy video for easy uploading or offline editing. It will record in AVC-LongG for on-air content and offers three bit rates: AVC-LongG50/25 providing bit rates of approximately 50/25 Mbps, and the more economical AVC-LongG12, which is optimized for field wireless workflows. Built-in Network functions support wired LAN, wireless LAN, and 4G/LTE connection to enable preview, streaming, and uploading of data to a server. You can also connect to the camera via Wi-Fi to control it remotely, add or edit metadata, view proxies, or watch a live stream. The camera comes supplied with a Fujinon 17x zoom lens and a LCD viewfinder.
AW-HEA10 Control System for PTZ Cameras
Panasonic has introduced the AW-HEA10, what they call a “tap-assist” camera control system. Essentially, it enables you to control your Panasonic’s AW-HE130 or AW-HE40 PTZ camera remotely from an iPad with easy-to-use controls. Tapping the desired area of the image on the tablet allows you to move the PTZ quickly and smoothly to capture the selected shot, while zooming is controlled by the familiar pinching gesture, or using an on-screen control. Up to nine camera positions can be stored, letting you quickly move the camera between pre-determined positions using on-screen buttons.
The PTZ camera mounts on top of the HEA10 module, which is then controlled using an optional tablet. Currently, only iPads are supported, but future support for Android and Windows tablets is planned. A built-in camera on the HEA10 itself is used as a wide-angle reference, letting you operate the PTZ camera and still be able to select a shot that is out of the PTZ camera’s frame. You can also send the wide-angle view of the HEA10 via an HDMI output for feeding into a switcher to get an additional wide-angle shot. Additionally, the camera is POE+ compatible for easy integration.
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PT-RZ12KU 12,000-lumen WIXGA laser projector, which features a 120 Hz refresh rate and 20,000:1 contrast ratio. Also on display at NAB is the PT-DZ780 Series projector, and large 4K LED monitor, inlcuding the 98" TH-98LQ70 and 84" TH-84LQ70, along with LED video Wall Displays.
Rounding out Panasonic NAB announcement is the introduction of its new P2 Cast, a cloud-based news production system designed for use with the company’s network-enabled cameras so content uploaded to the cloud is immediately available for reviewing and editing.
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