Panasonic has introduced a new 3-CCD Mini-DV camcorder in carbon fibre alloy, the stylish but tough material used by many top-class tennis rackets and golf clubs. It has an innovative shoulder-mount design and a range of professional production features.
Equipped with three 410,000-pixel CCDs, the AG-DVC60 has a wide-angle 16X zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) and a focal length of 39.5 to 632 mm (35mm still camera equivalent) to meet virtually any broadcast and professional need. The new lens has low-dispersion glass to substantially reduce chromatic aberration, flare and ghosting. For sports applications, the 16X high-speed optical zoom is extremely fast in transitioning between wide and telephoto modes. It also sports a three-speed handle zoom and run switch.

An IEEE 1394 DV input makes it easy to upload data from the AG-DVC60, or to dub footage onto a digital video recorder. The IEEE 1394 interface also features a synchro lock function that allows the AG-DVC60 to remotely start and stop an external DV device. The AG-DVC60’s aspect ratio can be set to either 4:3 or 16:9 to accommodate wide-image recording. In 16:9 recording, the operator can select either letterbox or squeeze mode, facilitating more possibilities in editing and playback.

For shooting ease, the operator can slide the large electronic viewfinder to the right or left side as preferred, and lock it in place. With a multi-function lens ring that controls the zoom, focus and aperture, the AG-DVC60 has the same solid feel as a standard field camera. The AG-DVC60 also combines an oversized shoulder pad with a hand grip on the side of the lens to give professionals no-slip stability.

Like its popular mini-DV counterpart, the hand-held AG-DVC30, the AG-DVC60
offers built-in Super Nighttime Shooting (SNS) recording in black-and-white for night time monitoring, surveillance and newsgathering. Its built-in infrared capabilities supports near-field acquisition (up to 16 feet); and with the addition of its optional IR light, recording distance is extended to roughly 98 feet for remote surveillance applications. In IR mode, the camcorder allows professionals to view people or objects in complete darkness (0 lux).

The AG-DVC60 combines an A/D converter with 12-bit processing (the same as broadcast-quality cameras) and an RGB gamma processor (using Panasonic’s unique gamma curve function) to assure high image quality. The AG-DVC60’s movie-like mode teams a cine-style gamma curve and 30-fps frame mode, which electronically interpolates interlaced images to create frames, producing images that are remarkably cinema-like.

The unit provides three user-customizable buttons that can be assigned any of 18 camera functions and three VCR functions. The AG-DVC60 can save four sets of camera settings as scene files, which permit instant recall of specific shooting conditions including control of detail, chroma level, chroma phase, color temperature, master pedestal, AE shift and skin detail. Shooting support functions also include backlight correction, AE lock, zebra, marker, mode check, zoom position, digital zoom and wipe and mix effects.

Top-quality professional audio functions include a built-in, full-size stereo microphone on top for capturing audio from in front of the camera; two XLR-type audio inputs (with mic/line switches); manual level record pots(CH1/CH2); and a two-channel, two-color audio level meter that is displayed in the viewfinder and LCD monitor.

The AG-DVC60 includes permanent digital stamping of date and time into the image, an especially useful feature for legal depositions, court reporting, surveillance monitoring and evidence gathering. The camcorder’s impressive list of standard features also includes synchro-scan shutter, 18 shutter speeds, a built-in SMPTE time code generator/reader, and SMPTE- compliant recordable colour bar display.

First units will ship in October.