Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

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Product Highlights

  • 4K Ultra HD Video at 24/30 fps
  • 1/2.3" BSI MOS Sensor
  • 20x Leica Dicomar Optical Zoom Lens
  • Wireless Multi-Camera Support
  • 5-Axis HYBRID O.I.S.+ and Level Shot
  • 3.0" Touchscreen LCD
  • In-Camera 4K Cropping and Editing
  • Capture Stills from 4K Video Frames
  • HDR Movie Mode
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  • Extend Your 1-Year Warranty To 3-Years For Free. Offer ends: MAR 31 '19

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Panasonic HC-VX981K overview

  • 1Description

Combining 4K Ultra HD video recording with in-camera 4K cropping and editing tools, the Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder offers simple yet powerful operation to enable users of all levels to capture high-quality 4K UHD and Full HD video. The camcorder is packed with advanced features, including an HDR Movie Mode to retain more highlight and shadow information, and a Wireless Multi-Camera function that lets you add and record up to two picture-in-picture video feeds from mobile devices connected via Wi-Fi. This gives you the ability to capture multiple angles and viewpoints simultaneously for a unique video experience.

The camcorder features a 1/2.3" backside-illuminated (BSI) MOS sensor with an 8.29 megapixel effective resolution that combines with a Crystal Engine 4K image processor to support 4K UHD video at 24/30 fps and 1080p video up to 60 fps. The camera is also able to take up to 25.9 megapixel interpolated still images, and also offers the ability to extract still photos directly from your 4K video frames using the 4K Photo Mode. It also adds 4K editing tools that allow you to perform in-camera cropping, zooming, panning, tracking, and stabilizing to your 4K footage. The edited video is saved in 1080p resolution.

Optically, the camcorder utilizes a Leica Dicomar lens that provides a 20x optical zoom range and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 30.8mm at the wide end. Intelligent zoom boosts that range up to 40x for Full HD and 25x for 4K recording. To keep excessive image vibration to a minimum, for steadier handheld shooting, the HC-VX981K features Panasonic's HYBRID O.I.S.+, which combines optical and digital image stabilization to provide 5-axis correction, which can be combined with Panasonic's Level Shot function to produce clearer, level, and more stable looking hand-held footage.

The camcorder's built-in Wi-Fi supports the Wireless Multi-Camera feature, along with other functionality through the Panasonic Image App. These functions include remote camera control, live image monitoring, and file uploading directly to social media sites. Once connected to your smartphone, you can even live stream video using USTREAM to share moments and events with your friends and family as they are being recorded. Additionally, there's a Baby Monitor function which lets you use your smartphone to quickly check in on a sleeping baby in another room when both the camcorder and mobile device are connected to the same home network.

Wireless Multi-Camera
Wireless Multi-Camera enables picture-in-picture recording using Wi-Fi connected mobile devices. You can connect up to three mobile devices at a time and use two of them to record picture-in-picture images. This makes it easy and fun to capture multiple angles and viewpoints at once.
In-Camera 4K Cropping and Editing Tools
Built-in editing tools allow you to crop your 4K video and add effects such as zooming, panning, tracking, and stabilizing. The edited videos are saved at 1080p resolution.
4K Photo Mode
Pause and extract 4K (8.29 megapixel) still images from 4K video frames using the 4K Photo Mode.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) Movie Mode
By combining two images taken with different exposure times, the HDR Movie function suppresses blown highlights and blocked shadows for crisper, clearer videos. With HDR you can maintain gradation in your images in difficult shooting situations, like when your subject is back-lit.
5-Axis HYBRID O.I.S.+
Stabilized on 5 axes (pan, tilt, and roll axes, plus horizontal and vertical directions), the HYBRID O.I.S+ suppresses blurring and jitters in your videos when not using a tripod or other stabilizer.
Level Shot Function
Level Shot automatically detects and corrects tilting in images. It can be adjusted to three different levels-OFF, Normal or Strong-depending on shooting conditions.
Wi-Fi Functionality
In addition to Wireless Multi-Camera, the camera is also able to take advantage of remote control and image sharing from a smartphone or tablet using Panasonic's mobile app. Once connected to your smartphone, you can even live stream video using USTREAM to share moments and events with your friends and family as they are being recorded.

Built-in Wi-Fi also enables you to take advantage of the Baby Monitor feature, which lets you use your smartphone to quickly check in on a sleeping baby in another room when both the camcorder and mobile device are connected to the same home network. You also have the ability to speak to your baby via your smartphone or have a notification sent to you when the camera detects that your baby is crying.
UPC: 885170266285
In the Box
Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder
  • Rechargeable 1940mAh Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Micro-HDMI Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Lens Hood
  • Shoe Adapter
  • HD Writer AE 5.3 (Download)
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty on Parts
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty on Labor
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Panasonic HC-VX981K specs

    Sensor 1-Chip 1/2.3" MOS
    Backside Illumination Yes
    Sensor Resolution 18.91 MP
    Effective Pixels 8.3 MP (16:9 Video)
    6.1 MP (16:9 Video)
    8.3 MP (16:9 Photo)
    7 MP (3:2 Photo)
    6.2 MP (4:3 Photo)
    Focal Length 4.08 - 81.6mm
    35mm-Equivalent Focal Length 30.8 - 626 at 16:9 4K
    37 - 752 at 16:9 Full HD (Level Shot Function Off or Normal)
    30.8 - 626 at 16:9 
    34.5 - 690.3 at 3:2 Photo
    37.6 - 752.8 at 4:3 Photo
    Maximum Aperture f/1.8 - f/3.6
    Zoom Optical: 20x
    Intelligent: 25x 4K
    Intelligent: 40x (in HD)
    Digital: 60x
    Digital: 1500x
    Filter Size 49 mm
    System NTSC
    Recording Media x SD/SDHC/SDXC
    Video Format 3840 x 2160p at 24/30 fps (72 Mb/s MP4)
    1920 x 1080p at 24/60 fps (50 Mb/s MP4)
    1920 x 1080p at 60 fps (28 Mb/s MP4)
    1280 x 720p at 30 fps (9 Mb/s MP4)
    1920 x 1080p at 60 fps (28 Mb/s AVCHD)
    1920 x 1080i at 60 fps (24 Mb/s AVCHD)
    1920 x 1080i at 60 fps (17 Mb/s AVCHD)
    1920 x 1080i at 60 fps (13 Mb/s AVCHD)
    1920 x 1080i at 60 fps (5 Mb/s AVCHD)
    960 x 540p at 30 fps (28 Mb/s iFrame)
    Still Image Resolution JPEG: 25.9 Megapixel, 6784 x 3816 (16:9)
    JPEG: 14 Megapixel, 4992 x 2808 (16:9)
    JPEG: 2.1 Megapixel, 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
    JPEG: 20 Megapixel, 5472 x 3684 (3:2)
    JPEG: 10.6 Megapixel, 3984 x 2656 (3:2)
    JPEG: 2.0 Megapixel, 1728 x 1152 (3:2)
    JPEG: 20.4 Megapixel, 5216 x 3912 (4:3)
    JPEG: 10.9 Megapixel, 3808 x 2856 (4:3)
    JPEG: .3 Megapixel, 640 x 480 (4:3)
    Audio Format AAC
    Dolby Digital 2ch
    Dolby Digital 5.1
    Display Type LCD
    Touchscreen Yes
    Screen Size 3"
    Screen Resolution 460,800 Dots
    Exposure Control
    Shutter Speed 1/24 - 1/8000 Second ()
    Image Stabilization Optical & Digital
    Scene Modes Preset: Yes
    Lux 1400 (Standard Illumination)
    2 (Low Light Scene Mode)
    1 (Night Mode, Color)
    0 (Night Mode)
    White Balance Modes Auto
    Indoor 1
    Indoor 2
    Creative Effects Yes
    Built-In Mic Yes
    Built-In Speaker Yes
    Built-In Light/Flash Light - Yes
    Flash - No
    Wi-Fi Yes, Wi-Fi 4
    Accessory Shoe 1 x Cold
    Tripod Mount 1/4" - 20
    Input/Output Connectorsydqyrxtbazvtevdtbcxate
    Outputs 1 x Micro-HDMI (Type D)
    1 x A/V
    1 x USB 2.0
    Microphone Input Yes
    Headphone Jack Yes
    Battery Rechargeable Battery Pack, 3.6 VDC, 1940 mAh
    Max Runtime: 1 Hours per Charge
    Charging Method AC Adapter
    Power Adapter 5 VDC
    Power Consumption Recording: 7.1 W
    Charging: 7.7 W
    Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.6 x 2.9 x 5.5" / 65.0 x 73.0 x 139.0 mm
    Weight 12.38 oz / 351 g without battery and SD card
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 1.9 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 8.9 x 5.9 x 4.1"

    Panasonic HC-VX981K reviews

    HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 24.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shooting in 4k for cropped HD1080 is great! This camera is being used as an unattended left angle from the stage, that is one of a 4 camera shoot. The problem with unattended shooting is using a wide enough angle to keep the talent in frame, and also being able to pan & zoom in post editing to make it appear the camera does have an operator. I uploaded a wide and cropped shot to show how amazing the severe cropping retains resolution! Vegas Pro 13 was used for the crop. You can watch the whole video on You Tube channel csldallas, the June 4, 2017 sunday talk. I like everything else about this camera, too. The Wifi to iPhone interface is very easy to use, and very good picture for such a small body and price.
    Date published: 2017-06-10
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Consumer (Prosumer) Camcorder I've had this camcorder for approx. 4 weeks and have tested it under day and night shooting with and without additional light sources (white and IR lights). I also own a Panasonic HC-W850K which is a few models earlier and thankfully this one has performed even better to that excellent one. I've found this camcorder to be very well built, quick to focus (mostly), light weight with well laid out controls. It's a prosumer camcorder, don't compare it with professional ones; that said when compared to other prosumer camcorders it more than holds it's own. I say Prosumer based on the Leica lens; Leica lens are held to a high, repeatable standard so images\videos are identical quality between same models cameras. IR night shooting is exceptional when you add an IR light source. The built in IR light is ok but limited; for serious night shooting you need to add additional IR sources, but this is a standard requirement for real night shooting. 4K file sizes are large so you'll need at least a 128Gb SD card with fast write (and read) capabilities, I recommend the SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB UHS-I/U3 SDXC (SDSDXPA-128G-G46) at a minimum with this camera based on speed and capacity vs cost. Day shooting is excellent as well, colors are vivid, zoom and focus is fairly quick. MIC is adequate though not excellent; I recommend adding an external MIC with appropriate windscreen for the best audio pickup. Battery life with the one that comes with it is a little weak, adding an Panasonic VW-VBT380 is really a must if your filming outside or away from a power source. I do a lot of inside filming and have the camera plugged in a lot so battery life hasn't been a main concern for me. If you don't get a VW-VBT380 then at least pick up the Panasonic bag, VW-VBT180 battery and charger bundle, that way you can charge a battery while using the other one. Otherwise you have the battery that came with the camcorder which can only be charged on the camera while it's plugged i
    Date published: 2016-07-07
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good camera for its size I've been lugging around a GH4 and DVX-200 video cameras when traveling. I wanted something smaller and more automatic on my last trip, which didn't require pro-level video quality. I bought this camera and was very pleased. It is easy to use and provides a good picture. The lens doesn't provide a really wide angle but the zoom goes way in. Compared to the two cameras mentioned above (which can be considered professional, are much more expensive and have sensors which are much larger), this isn't a great low-light camera. The zoom rocker-switch is more of an on-or-off thing...I could not softly start or finish a zoom-in or zoom-out. As I've come to expect of nearly all video cameras, the hand strap does not allow the fingers to comfortably reach the camera controls. That said, I am pleased with my purchase, especially as I was able to reduce my travel baggage by a suitcase (this easily fit in a small corner of my backpack).
    Date published: 2017-05-15
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Grab Cam First off, I got this camcorder to be a grab cam for my family vacations and so I could hand the video camera to members of my family so I can be in some of the memories. The camcorder is perfect for this very purpose! It was not intended to replace my GH4 for my higher end video shoots. That being said, this camera has actually replaced my GH4 in certain aspects and had not considered. for example I do product reviews on youtube which I use my GH4. Well because of the Manual exposure features on this camcorder I have found I can produce my videos faster and easy switching to this handy little camcorder! I put the camcorder on the tripod, turn off O.I.S. and set to custom white balance in order to stop the WB from adjusting automatically. I leave AF on and honestly the results are great! sharp as a tack! The camera has a lot of formats, many I don't see anyone ever using like 1080i at varying degrees of quality as well as 720p30 and iframe (have no idea why anyone would use this horrible video format). However the MP4 and AVCHD progressive are great! 5.1 audio only works on AVCHD and MP4 (4K) will give you Stereo 2.0 sound. I will say the battery life on the provided battery will only last you an hour so getting a bigger battery may be necessary. This was a let down for me as the GH4 Battery lasts all day and I assumed all panny batteries would follow suit. The 4K looks great and does look better when downscaled to 1080p than actually shooting on 1080p in the camera. So just always shoot 4K! Conclusion, don't buy this to do high end video, but it's great if you want fast and easy access to recording video. Your family memories will look better than ever!
    Date published: 2016-11-30
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent 4k Video from this Camcorder I purchased this camcorder to film my daughters' gymnastics meets. While the user interface takes some getting used to, the video quality when displayed on my 60-inch 1080P (not even 4k) TV is fabulous; I cannot believe the quality from such a small device. Even with handheld shots, this camcorder shows little shake. The zoom, however, is tricky while trying to simultaneously pan; but with the quality of the video I will be zooming less and covering a wider area. While playback through the device to a TV is awesome, playback on a PC using Quicktime is less than ideal. And while the video quality is amazing, pictures are less than stellar which is a bit of a bummer. Overall I'm satisfied with this camcorder, but I wish the photos would be better and the the cost would have been lower.
    Date published: 2017-05-15
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from great little camcorder This is a great little camcorder that is easy to learn to use. It is much better set up than our Sony ax33's, even though it feels lighter and not as pro. One of the features I like best is when you open up your iris to the full open setting it then kicks in gain for more light. Very smart. This is a great way for people to learn how to think about processing light in cameras
    Date published: 2016-12-07
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from a good option for the price range We got the HC-VX981K for shooting small docs and it does wonders! It's not a full CMOS and it gets quite grainy on low lights, but if you manage to control your set it'll get the job done. As I stated before, a good option for the price range.
    Date published: 2018-08-21
    Rated 3 out of 5 by from not as good as i Hoped. But, its still Good Quality keeping So in short I used a HDC-TM90 for about 5 years. its was my go to camcorder. it was compact, light weight, nice wide angle out of the box. just about everything about it i loved. But the time came when the LCD decide to crash out on me... so i went for this camcorder. After my first month or two of using it, it was defiantly not my best choice. But i decided to keep it and live with it . I think my main problem was i was use to the wide angle on my old cam, and this dose just dose not compare. This camera is light, But its very bulky. I ended up buying a Panasonic 0.75x Wide Angle Lens Conversion (#VW-W4907). Although it did fix my itch for the wide angle shot i was use to. it also made the camcorder about 2x the weight! Ill live with it... its about the shot! I tried to use a cheep side angle lenses i had but it was to cheep. in the end. it really dose have a great picture. The quality is really nice! my main complaint. when switching from 4K to 1080P the shot is cropped. you can hear that it switches a mechanical noise that crops the image. so that means that even more loss in the wide angle shot. although this is to be expected. it also keep me using the 4K mode more often. Even tho I really like to shoot in 60 FPS. But 4K is max 30FPS. from what i understand the 1080P only camcorder ( non 4k model) has the full use of the view in 1080P60. so if you dont plan on using the 4k much, just get the other HD model. a few things about camcorder this i noted: pros: like the grove in the boom to help things stay in place when on a tripod. my old cam did not have this. its easy to use an external USB battery back up for long run times. with included cable. a lot cheaper than buying legit battery packs. wifi remote and multi cam. ( although i haven't used it at all yet...) seems like a great feature. and it works. i tested it... quite easy to use. and using in manual mode really gives flexibility to get the color and shot how you want it. cons: the touch screen... you really need to push on it to get it to respond. its not like your iPhone... it feels more like a first generation Touch screen... but i guess thats so you dont hit things on accident... dont get me wrong, it works... i just wish it was more sensitive. The auto level is slow to react some times. That means letting the cam sit for 5 seconds or so before starting to shoot when the cam is setting still. However i tent to put it on the tripod as I'm using it... ( V-log stile) so it's kinda annoying. but it dose work... seems a but bulky and i think it could be way more compact. because its light... my old cam felt dense and it was way more compact. I noticed that when the ISO image stabilization is working really hard you can hear it on the audio when is a quiet place... this is a bother but i never really noticed it to much in the real world use. just when testing... the built in Microphone I'm not so sure i like... i tent to be behind the camcorder a lot, and the audio when going to the front means a lot of audio editing... I found that setting it in manual mode and making it mono ( all mics recording at the same time from all directions in a mono mode) works a treat for what i want.... i use Lavalier mic a lot any how. iv also noticed that in time laps mode ( that i like a lot) the image shakes just a tinny bit. and if you forget to turn off the stabilization even if on a tripod... the time laps is almost useless. you have to remember to do this your self. its not auto... bottom line: I'm so use to my old HDC-TM90 that i feel i would have been better off buying a smaller compact 1080P Camcorder. but ill never know now... I'm sticking with this till it dies... and with the wide angle lens... I'm satisfied for now... I recorded a lot of test footage. This is directly off the camcorder and uploaded to YouTube. First play list is the first uses and testing. also testing the cheep wide angle lens. second is test footage with VW-W4907 lens. Thanks and have fun! God Bless! Russ Gries.
    Date published: 2017-02-02
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