Panasonic showed for the first time in Europe two new ultra low-light convertible cameras and complementary accessories, to strengthen its line-up of remote-controlled multi-purpose cameras.

Panasonic's convertible cameras are highly flexible, able to be configured with special function cards to meet a variety of applications ranging from studio to surveillance to sports. System flexibility is additionally enhanced by indoor and outdoor pan/tilt heads, which are controlled by dedicated controllers and RS-232C or RS-422A interfaces. Simple control panels run up to five pan/tilt heads and lenses, and advanced controllers handle up to five systems, while controlling all camera operational and setup functions.

At IBC, Panasonic is showing the AW-E750 2/3" IT 3CCD and AW-E655 1/2" IT 3CCD, which join current models: the AW-E800A 2/3" 16:9/4:3, AW-E600 1/2", AW-E300A 1/3" and AW-E300S 1/3" (with separate camera head). New accessories include the AW-EX500 signal converter box and the AW-EX100 additional card box giving additional benefits to the system.

The AW-E750 is an economical 2/3" 4:3 470,000-pixel 3-CCD camera, while the AW-E655 is a 1/2" 470,000-pixel camera with motor-driven optical filter wheel (3200K, 1/16ND, 1/64ND, No IR) for indoor/outdoor shooting. The AW-E655's optical filter rotates to facilitate its use as an infrared camera capable of shooting in completely dark scenes from a distance, or in bright sunlight, and offers remote switching with the 1/64ND or 1/16ND filter.

The AW-E750 and AW-E655 incorporate newly-developed IT CCDs that deliver an outstanding horizontal resolution, a 65dB signal-to-noise ratio (with DNR on), a remarkable minimum illumination of 0.00005 lux, and variable shutter speeds from 1/120 to 1/10,000/sec with synchro scan and electronic light compensation. The cameras are equipped with a new 12-bit A/D Digital Signal Processing and 12-vector colour matrix masking for fine colour adjustment and a wide dynamic range (600% for the AW-E750). Both models offer Panasonic's exclusive clean Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) technology, as well as chroma detail, dark detail and highlight chroma correction.

Panasonic's existing convertible cameras users can choose among ten feature cards: AW-PB301 studio card with RGB/component output; AW-PB302 RGB card with RGB/component output; AW-PB303 high sensitivity card; AW-PB304 SDI card; AW-PB305 studio card with composite/YC output; AW-PB306 Studio/SDI card with SDI (SMPTE 259M) output combined with use of a 5-inch viewfinder, intercom jack and RCU capability; AW-PB307 scan converter card, with direct conversion of S-VGA (VGA, XGA) graphics into a computer, ideal for streaming graphics and video out to the web; AW-PB308 lens interface card; AW-PB309 network (TCP/IP) card, which also facilitates pan/tilt system control from virtually anywhere; and the AW-PB310 IEEE1394 interface card.

Augmenting the versatility of Panasonic's cameras and optional feature cards, the AW-EX500 signal converter can convert analogue composite or component video to SDI video (with the AW-PB304 card), RGB video (AW-PB302), VGA/SVGA/XGA (AW-PB307), JPEG video (AW-PB309) or DV/DVCPRO video (AW-PB310). The AW-EX100 can attach to the AW-EX500 to allow two discrete types of outputs. The AW-EX500 operates on a 12V DC battery, and an optional AC adaptor can be used for AC operation.

The AW-EX100 can be attached to the AW-EX500 to allow two discrete types of outputs, or can attach to one of the two new cameras, AW-E750 or AW-E655, permitting the installation of the two feature cards on a given camera for broader use in more complex applications.